We know now who is going to be on the ballot in Vancouver on October 20, 2018. And it’s a long, long list. Especially for mayor and city council where there will be nearly twice as many candidates as last year.
21 Mayoral candidates, compared to 9 in 2014. (1 will be elected)
71 Council candidates, compared to 49 in 2014. (10 will be elected)
33 Park board candidates, compared to 31 in 2014. (7 will be elected)
33 School board candidates, compared to 29 in 2014. (9 will be elected)
The nomination papers that were submitted last week don’t have much detail (I was hoping to figure out who rents and who owns), but they do have the postal code for each candidate. So I decided to plot them on a map. Some interesting tidbits:
Yes Vancouver has a council candidate that lives in Burnaby, Glynnis Chan.
ProVancouver‘s Breton Crellin lives even farther from Vancouver, in Pitt Meadows.
Coalition Vancouver‘s candidates are clustered in the south half of the city.
School board sees the biggest east-west divide, with the NPA and Coalition representing the west side and OneCity, Vision, COPE, and Green representing east Van.
Independent candidate Kelly Alm is running for both council and school board.
There are 3 aliases on the ballot:
Rollergirl aka Angela Dawson (mayor)
Spike aka Gerald Peachey (council)
Mrs Doubtfire aka Tavis Dodds (school board)
Map of where the candidates live for mayor and council:
Downtown Vancouver is home to 100,000 people and some of the most expensive real estate in Canada. And yet pretty soon there will only be a single gas station serving the entire area (the Chevron on Georgia is being sold to developers).
As Anne McMullin points out in the article linked above, “land in the city is too valuable to be saved for a single use”. Because gasoline is volatile, you can’t just slap a condo on top of a gas station.
After 4 months backpacking through India, we have a lot of fond memories and unforgettable stories. We did our best to see as much of this amazing, diverse country as possible. We took dozens of trains, buses, and shared jeeps, covering more than 13,000 kms (further than the distance from Vancouver to Delhi) traveling between 35 destinations. There are individual blog posts about each stop on our trip, which you can read if you have hours of free time. Otherwise, here’s our recap.
We spent four days exploring the massive ruins around Hampi and the boulder strewn landscape. We could have spent more. Every day was special, but there were two very memorable moments. On the first day we hiked over a ridge and found ourselves alone with a sprawling ruins below us just begging to be explored. On our last day, we rented a motorbike and explored the north shore. We got lost on small dirt roads amidst rice paddies, hiked up to a monkey temple, and ate lunch at a packed, chaotic restaurant where no one spoke English, there was no menu, and the only thing they had was an unlimited thali with the tastiest food served on a banana leaf – no plates or cutlery.
Indians know how to party and we got to celebrate a few big festivals. We were lucky to celebrate India’s most colourful festival, Holi, in its most holy city, Varanasi. It was a riot of colour – fun but intimidating too. We brought in the New Year in Kochi with elephants, fireworks, and burning Santa Claus.
Camel Safari in Jaisalmer
Riding a camel might not be the most comfortable or fastest way to travel, but it sure is memorable. We slept under the stars at night and played cards under a shade tree during the day. Our camel ride left from Jaisalmer, one of the most relaxed and picturesque towns we visited in Rajasthan.
Yoga in Pushkar
Yoga in India is much more spiritual than the purely physical form you find in Vancouver. We really enjoyed many of the classes we took and our excellent instructors, but the highlight was meeting Swamiji in Pushkar, who we formed a deep personal connection with during our short stay. He really impressed us with his teachings on the fundamentals of yoga and his wisdom. We plan on making yoga part of our daily routine in Vancouver.
Beach Time in Goa
Far way from the chaos of India’s cities, the beaches of Goa and Gokarna are in a different world. For 10 days we slept in dirt-cheap huts and spent our days doing yoga, hiking, and reading on the beach. It was a great opportunity to recharge our batteries after our first month in India.
Our first attempt to hike the Himalayas along the Singalila Ridge didn’t go as planned, but we knew there was something special about the worlds highest mountains and signed up for another trek. The second time, Dan joined us for an epic 3-day hike to the top a snow-capped Chandrashilla Mountain. It wasn’t easy, even with porters carrying our gear and cooks making our food, but we survived and were glad we did it.
Karma in Kolkata
We met a lot of fascinating people throughout India, both locals and other travelers. In many ways the people we met were more memorable than the sights we saw. In Kolkata we were lucky to meet Karma and his friend Priya. We spent two days talking with them, sharing stories, and talking about our hopes for the future. They also showed us a part of the city we would have never found on our own.
Udaipur and Krishna Ranch
We spent a whole month in the Rajasthan, a state rich with history. After a while many of the cities started to blend together. Every one had an imposing fort, and ornate palace, and divine temples. But Udaipur really stood out from the pack with its beautiful setting on a lake with floating palaces. We also spent 3 relaxing days just outside the city at Krishna Ranch, enjoying the tranquil setting and doing some adventurous hiking/bushwhacking.
The northern state of Sikkim, next to Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan was another unique Indian gem. Rich in Buddhist culture, we loved the views of the towering Himalayas, ornate monasteries, Nepalese food, and our epic shared jeep rides between towns.
The tropical, jungle atmosphere of the Kerala backwaters in South India stole our hearts. We stayed in a lovely guest house on Munroe Island and enjoyed exploring the canals that connect the local villages by canoe. We also stumbled upon a Hindu festival with drummers and actors dressed up like gods and demons from the Hindu scriptures.
Monkeys in India are like racoons in Canada – cute but mischievous pests. But monkeys are not afraid of people and are active during the day. We lost count of the number of times got close to an adorable monkey, smiled (big mistake), and ran away when it bared its teeth and hissed at us. On Christmas morning at Karuna Farm, monkeys stole food from our outdoor kitchen while I was cooking breakfast. In Varanasi, one tried to pee on us from a rooftop. And in Hampi, we sat and watched monkeys jumping from roof to roof and making a mess of clothes lines and water barrels.
The number comes from Statistics Canada, but is often misunderstood and misused. The 2011 long form census (now optional and called the National Household Survey) has the following question:
How did this person usually get to work? (Their emphasis, not mine)
Car, truck or van – as a driver
Car, truck or van – as a passenger
Walked to work
Across all of Metro Vancouver (including the burbs), 1.7% usually commute by bike. In the City of Vancouver it’s 4.3%. The neighbourhoods around downtown have cycling mode shares of 15%, but in southeast Vancouver there are many areas where no one bikes, or so the stats seem to indicate (full searchable results). It’s important to consider what the statistics represent.
The question asks what the usual means of commuting is. Think of all the recreational riders, weekend warriors, and fair-weather cyclists (cycling volumes often double in the summer vs the winter). It’s unlikely casual cyclists would identify the bicycle as their usual means of commuting to work. Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t ask people what means of transportation they sometimes use, and there aren’t any other comprehensive data sets available. The NHS survey results might under-represent cycling but it does indicate a minimum level that cycling has reached (it’s safe to say at least 4.3% of Vancouverites commute by bike) and it offers a good opportunity to create maps and see trends over time.
Here’s are the Vancouver maps of commuting patterns in 2011 for cycling, walking, and public transit. The Vancouver Sun created similar maps a few years ago with 2006 census data. In 2006, the highest mode share for cycling was 12% in South Cambie. In 2011, Grandview-Woodland had 15% bike commuters, Strathcona had 14%, Mount Pleasant had 13%, and Kitsilano, South Cambie, and Riley Park had 12%. For the walking and public transit, the darkest areas represent mode shares of close to 50% (for walking in the West End and transit in Marpole and Renfrew-Collingwood).
If you want to play with interactive maps, you can open these files in Google Earth: biking.kml walking.kml transit.kml
I generated these maps using KML files from techearth.net as a base. I would be easy to generate heat maps for all of Metro Vancouver, but I couldn’t find a kml file with census tract boundaries for more than the Vancouver proper.
Strava is an awesome web app that helps runners and cyclists track their training performance and compare it with friends. I use it to log all my runs and occasionally my bike rides. They’ve taken the GPS data from the millions of trips their users have logged and built a crowdsourced mapping tool. If you’re technically inclined, I highly recommend the engineering blog post that explains how the graph datastore and geospatial index were designed. If you’re not, you can still appreciate the heat maps and route builder tool they provide.
Here are heat maps of the most popular cycling and running routes in Vancouver, compared to the official bike map. It’s interesting to note there are several streets that are popular cycling routes but not official bike routes – like Cornwall, West Point Grey (soon to be a bike route), 16th, Denman, and sections of Cambie and Main Street. The seawall is the most popular route for running, but cycling is only popular on the seawall where there is physical separation with pedestrians.
Vancouver’s Official Bike Network
Vancouver’s Popular Bike Routes Heatmap
Vancouver’s Popular Running Routes Heatmap
Strava’s Route Builder application is a worthy competitor to Google Maps. It knows the most popular routes so it often gives better directions than Google Maps for running and cycling. For example, here are the directions for my commute to work. Strava chooses the route I actually take over the Dunsmuir Viaduct while Google is way off. Most of Strava’s cycling data comes from competitive cyclists, not commuters, so the data is a bit skewed. You can really see it in the time it suggests for my commute – 6 minutes. In reality it takes me about 10-12 minutes to bike to work, which is closer to what Google displays.
Directions to Work via Google
Directions to Work via Strava
Strava has released a heatmap application that does a much better job of showing off the popular running and biking routes.
The City of Vancouver made its bike rack data public yesterday. The data is divided into 4 spreadsheets, which isn’t terribly useful. The only interesting tidbit is the exponential growth in bike lane installations. Vancouver now has 1468 bike racks at 1119 locations throughout the city.
In the all the years up until 2009, 676 bike racks were installed.
In 2010: 52
In 2011: 197
In 2012: 543
In 2013: 138
In 2014: 148
In 2015: 422
But without a map, that doesn’t tell the full story. The map above is an interactive google map.
Note: The dataset uses addresses to identify the bike racks, so it’s not perfect when you zoom in.
Building on the analysis I did for COPE, here is a map that summarizes at a very high level the voting results in Vancouver. I looked at the ‘winners’ – the candidates that placed in the top 10 for city council, top 7 for parks board, and top 9 for school board in each of the city’s 135 polling districts. There are a few slates that do well in concentrated regions of Vancouver.
Hopefully this clarifies my quote in the Vancouver Courier about ethnic voting in south-east Vancouver and the split between west-side enviros vs east-side social progressive voting blocks.
▆ NPA Slate – In the 21 red areas, every single NPA candidate, all 21 of them, win a seat. The NPA’s strength is in Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Arubutus Ridge, and Shaugnessy. ▆ Mostly NPA – In the 11 pink areas, at least 18 of the 21 NPA candidates win. ▆ Vision/COPE Slate – In the 19 blue areas, all 26 Vision and COPE candidates win. The Vision/COPE slate excelled in Stratcona, Commercial Drive, and Mount Pleasant. ▆ Chinese Slate – In the 19 yellow areas, the 7 candidates with Chinese last names win, regardless of what party they are running for. Chinese block voting was the biggest factor in the south-east part of the city – Renfrew-Collingwood, and Kensington. ▆ Green/Vision/COPE – With the addition of Green candidates things get a bit messy. In the 26 light green areas, the Green Party elects at least 2 candidates, and Vision/COPE take most of the rest. The Green Party does best in Kitsilano, the West End, and Fairview. ▆ Green/Vision/NPA – In the 3 dark green areas, the Green party still wins two spots, Vision does well, but COPE is shut out. This is similar to the purple areas below. ▆ Vision/NPA Coalition – These are probably the most interesting parts of the city. There are 12 purple polls where all the Vision candidates win, but the remainder of the spots go mostly to the NPA (not COPE or even the Green Party). Most of downtown, including Coal Harbour and Yaletown, plus a few polls in the Sunset neighbourhood fall into this category. ▆ Mostly Vision / Strong COPE – In the 11 orange areas, Vision elects most of its candidates and COPE elects at least 5 of its 7 candidates. These areas are scattered throughout east Vancouver. ▆ Mostly Vision / Weak COPE – In the 14 light blue areas, Vision elects most of its candidates, but COPE struggles and elects less than 5 candidates. ▆ Mixed – There are 2 gray areas that are a mixed bag that don’t fall into any of the above categories.
For reference, here’s the 2008 map created with similar criteria (tweaked slightly because the Greens ran as part of the Vision/COPE slate and the numbers of candidates from each party is different).
Vancouver doesn’t have a ward system, so city council councillors don’t represent a neighbourhood, but rather the city as a whole. I don’t want to go into the pros/cons of a ward vs at-large system, but it is interesting to see where candidates live.
Vision-blue, NPA-red, and COPE-yellow, other-purple – I chose to put the other parties as purple dots to prevent clutter.
– south-east Vancouver has no candidates (from the major parties), even though it is densely populated.
– The breakdown of candidates by large geographical area is:
– Downtown: 1 Vision, 4 NPA, 7 other
– West side: 4 Vision, 3 NPA, 1 COPE, 8 other
– East side: 3 Vision, 3 NPA, 2 COPE, 15 other
– NPA candidate Bill McCreery lives in Richmond
Since we announced we were moving into the Olympic Village, a lot of people have asked me “do you know which athlete lived in your unit during the Olympics?” I sure do. Sexy German speed skater Anni Friesinger was the former occupant of our suite.
How do I know? I did some sleuthing and discovered that 122 Walter Hardwick was occupied by Team Germany during the Olympics. Most of the German medal winners were staying up at Whistler, but the hockey team, speed skaters, figure skaters, and curlers were all in Vancouver.
Now, I have no proof that Anni stayed in our unit, but until I find a name scratched into the wall or a stray hair that I can analyze for DNA, I’m going to just assume our unit was occupied by either Anni Friesinger or Andy Kapp, skip of the German curling team.
Photo by ygx
In all seriousness, I’m a bit surprised that more isn’t done to advertise the Olympic Village as the former home of Olympians. The two towers that were once full of Canadian athletes is now branded Canada House, but otherwise there aren’t any references left to the athletes who once resided in the units. Maybe it’s a privacy issue.
If anyone is trying to determine which athletes may have lived in a specific Olympic Village building, I’ve created this handy guide. Continue reading →