A Terrific, Truthful Article About Vancouver

James sent along this great, long profile of the city from The Walrus magazine. It’s by Gary Stephen Ross, the current editor-in-chief of Vancouver magazine. He’s written an insightful, well-observed piece that’s neither cheer-leading nor bitter:

Amid the stereotypes, of course, obscured by them, Vancouverites live substantial, complicated, inaccessible lives. Newcomers say folks here are quick to engage you in a friendly chat but slow to invite you over for dinner. There may be a flaky, hippie vibe to the lineup at Trout Lake Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, but there is a seriousness of purpose as well, an act-on-it conviction that organic tomatoes from the Okanagan are in every way superior to industrial tomatoes from Mexico. Local initiatives to address the Downtown Eastside, too, are more than compulsory nods toward civic responsibility; they are attempts to ameliorate vexing problems before they ossify into permanence.

For anybody wanting to understand our city, this is a terrific place to start.


  1. I don’t know … I gave the article a read and to me it came off a bit too cheer-leading. I’ve been pretty down on my adopted city as of late though (nothing to do with the Olympics, just overall sort of disappointed with and bored in Vancouver), so maybe that’s it. I’ll have to give the article another read over to be sure.

  2. I agree with Mike, and to be blunt, the piece that resonated most with me was the one from Penelope Chester: “Now based in Liberia, she liked Vancouver but noted that locals “have an exalted sense of their city’s standing in the world, without much experience of the world to support it.”.

    To be fair I think it applies to more of Canada than Vancouver, and is very much a reflection on values – and the values that we might compare and contrast other places by – which raises some interesting questions. Personally, as someone who relates as bicultural (and bilingual) my conclusion is that despite globalization and the relatively recent wonder of the google translator tool, at the end of the day the distinct identity, uniqueness, and strengths of a good many other cities is lost in translation or lost amidst the chorus of louder voices.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: