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…

That Train in My Canadian Cycling Horizon

Every few weeks when I’m cycling, a major train pops up on the horizon with dinging bell, 1 or 2  red locomotive engines, pulling a serpentine string of cargo train loads and tanks.  The train is either the Canadian National Railway or the Canadian Pacific Railway. Like any cyclist, I just hope the frickin’ train is…

Canadian Contrasts or Ignorance: 3 Cities, 3 Solitudes

It’s harder than it appears:  distillating facts and personal musings on the major cities where I’ve lived, worked and cycled so far.  Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are big and jostle for world stage, as Canada’s world-class city. Several sword points to note: Vancouver in my infographic, refers to  City of Vancouver.  Not 20 other suburban cities around which…

Salmon Art Leaps Into Pacific West Coast Imagination

Salmon is king in Vancouver  –in local cuisine and in art.  After a few days wandering in the city or anywhere along the coast of British Columbia, you are bound to stumble across salmon swishing through water or jumping up in sculpture, murals or mosaics.  Salmon iconography is in Salish coastal Indian art, outdoor contemporary…

Cycling and Searching for Sublime Seafood Chowder

I had my first dreamy seafood chowder, when I was in a bad  mood. It was a clam chowder that placated me, over twenty years ago near the start of my longest ever bike-camping trip over 1,000 km. long  in the Canadian east  coast Maritime provinces.  I was fuming desperately after only cycling 40 km….

More than Just Dragons- Art on Chinese-Canadian Experience

Don’t get me wrong: I love dragons. A dragon pops up often enough:  whenever there is a celebration or poster flogging a Canadian Chinatown event or something involving Chinese-Canadian history or culture. I love the dragon for its aesthetic drawing power –in parades, dance, paintings, textiles, rugs, sculpture and jewellery. Dragons in Canada- Convenient Icon? However, I…

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…

Bike to Work Day, Month: Affirmation in 3 Canadian Cities

Cycling  to work, shopping or to school, is still a minority transportation choice in North American cities. For me, as a long-time  bike commuter for the last 22 years, Bike to Work Day or Month (depending on the city),  is not only a public event to encourage bike commuting love. This Bike to Work event, also affirms…

Are You a Couch Foodie, Garden Foodie or Stove-Top Foodie?

Recently in a cycling forum, a question floated over the Internet: “Do you have a discerning palate?” That got me thinking about foodies, people who pride themselves as food connoisseurs, worldly arbitrators of food dishes from a dizzying array of cuisines. Just a Stove-Top Foodie: Homespun Knowledge I fancy myself as a foodie. Not a…

Drama at Construction Sites : Things I Never Knew

I never dreamed that mud piles, cranes and caterpillar machines at a large construction site, could be a stage for human drama of love, tragedy, perseverance, danger, achievement and comedy.  The whole shebang. Well, make that 6 construction sites for 1 huge construction project.  For 3 years of my life, I worked for a $800 million…

St. George Rainway: Painting a Bygone Salmon Stream

On a misty grey summer morning, we hotfooted by bike to see a brand-new road painting that memorializes a bygone salmon stream that ran through the Mount Pleasant Vancouver neighbourhood. That’s right –a somewhat bumpy road surface was graced overnight with a blue-green swirly art stream of salmon, frogs, trees and sea life in a…

2010 Olympic Birthmarks in Neighbourhoods: Vancouver, BC

For locals,  the 2010 Winter Olympics legacy for some Vancouver buildings and artwork becomes paradoxically like a familiar face that we may longer notice its unique birthmarks over time. I haven’t spent any time researching, analyzing  nor comparing long lasting transformation of buildings, art and infrastructure in Vancouver and other Olympic cities worldwide.  So just take my…

How to Celebrate Bike-Pedestrian Bridges: Let Me Count Thy Ways

A shiny new bridge,  is a local cause célèbre in many ways, for expected and totally unexpected reasons. Sometimes it’s just a lovely architectural backdrop to frame not only cyclists and strollers, but also graduation parties, post-wedding photos, seminal reunions of family and friends. Peace Bridge, Calgary: Frames Grad, Wedding and Family Celebrations We were cycling…

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…

Cycling For Favourite Foods To Devour at Farmers’ Markets

I tend to be a goal-oriented cyclist –I have a destination in mind. Sometimes that turnaround point involves food. Now any diet-conscious cyclist would admonish my attitude:  to maintain a healthy weight, do not reward yourself by eating calorie laden food.  True.  The reality is at least a snack at the market, is a fabulous carrot…

Maidei Touches Down in Vancouver, B.C.

Maidei continued her world-wind adventures during her TeamEstrogen global cycling relay,  but now in western Canada.  She  boarded on an Air Canada flight from Calgary to Vancouver. She wanted to escape the shenanigans of the annual Calgary Stampede in early July which features bronco horses, chuckwagon races, deep fried foods and nightly drunken partying for nearly 10…