Magnolia and Cherry Blossom Cascades

I’ve always look forward to the annual spring burst of cherry tree blossoms in Vancouver. A cascade of delicate pink, sometimes white blossoms, sweeps across the city, in waves, for a month. Usually during the latter part of March into April. While cherry trees are busting out, larger petals of magnolia flowering trees are breaking…

Rising with Community Gardens: Three Cities

Vancouver’s Sole Foods: Bringing Back Dignity and Purpose to Emptiness  Last year, a large dreary parking lot in downtown Vancouver was transformed with rows of bright green vegetables under the shadow of B.C. Stadium, elevated light rail viaduct and condo towers.  It didn’t take long for rich green leaves to unfurl and cover part of the…

What Shapes Me: Neighbourhoods That Are Walkable, Cycleable

It isn’t just my genes or my lifelong, whole food cooking tendencies (thanks mom), that shapes me: I have always lived in walkable, cycleable neighbourhoods. That’s a long time. Over 55 years in 9 different neighbourhoods across 7 Canadian cities. I’ve  previously trumpeted this fact in this blog, as a cyclist living in Toronto, Vancouver…

Nurturing Life: In Praise of Gardeners, Keepers of the Earth

As a non-gardener, I couldn’t help giggling at a tiny stand of flower pots for sale when we stopped by the University of British Columbia’s Botanical Garden Shop, during a bike ride last month. One of the pots had a garden ceramic sign emblazoned:  Grow, damn it!  Do expert gardeners lose their patience too? Respect for…

Cherry Blossom Ballet in Vancouver: Nature and New Mural Art

I had been wanting to highlight this new outdoor public mural that featured cherry blossoms against the backdrop of West Coast Japanese-Canadian and aboriginal history. The St. James Community Service Society mural was commissioned in 2011 by the City of Vancouver, as part of their new public art works in celebration of the city’s 125th…

900 Years of Architectural Legacy: Why Prague is a Royal Empress

I had heard of Prague’s splendid old World charm.  But I was unprepared for the city’s dizzying variety and historical compression of architectural centuries at each street corner and with each turn of my head.  Good thing we could explore its astonishing richness of Romanesque, medieval, baroque, renaissance, gothic and art nouveau building wonders, by…

Kohl Rabi Memories and Redux

Kohl rabi is still one of those under performing root vegetables that hasn’t yet penetrated mainstream North American food consciousness. Or not even in too many other places world-wide.  Let me know if my guess is wrong. This blog post is not going to be a rapturous paean to this pale green, bland-looking veggie.  It’s…

Cycling under Cherry Pink Flowering Bowers

When we first moved to Vancouver, I was struck by the ubiquity of cherry trees blooming in a lot more numbers than in Toronto. Vancouver has over 37,000 cherry trees of which some were given by the Japanese government 1930-1950’s from the cities of Kobe and Yokahoma. In commemoration of the Japanese-Canadians who served in…

People’s Oases: Community Gardens

Not far from home, there are more and more community gardens popping up each year. Some garden plots are quite tiny by the curbside, while others are larger and cunningly designed with a winding pathway, twisted tree branch arbour or even a park bench. Some gardeners must spend whole warm summer evenings basking in their patch of garden artistry…