Haunting images of pre-Expo 86 Vancouver, before the ‘Glass City’ and million-dollar teardowns


Wandering the city at night in the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Greg Girard captured an eerie Vancouver that has almost completely ceased to exist.

Before Expo 86, forests of glass condos and the birth of the million dollar teardown, Vancouver was a mid-sized port city where coffee was served up in greasy diners and the word “microbrewery” didn’t exist.

Photographer Greg Girard was there, capturing haunting images of a city just on the cusp of changing forever. Recently showcased at Vancouver’s Monte Clark Gallery, they’re also featured in his book Under Vancouver 1972–1982.

With permission from Girard, a selection of his photos are below.

Granville Street Bridge, 1975

Just underneath the Granville Street Bridge, pictured in the background of this photo, Granville Island is undergoing its metamorphosis from a polluted industrial area into a waterfront tourist destination. One of the sharpest contrasts with modern Vancouver and its industrial predecessor is the city’s changing approach to False Creek, the inlet that is now one of the city’s signature features. But it was only as recently as the 1950s that city officials were seriously tossing around a plan to completely fill in the then-filthy waterway in order to free up more industrial land.

Parked Car (Gran Torino), 1981

When this image was taken, Vancouver real estate prices were in a tailspin. Real estate prices dropped by as much as 30 per cent in the early 1980s — a sharper decline even than housing prices in Fort McMurray, Alta. following the recent oil price collapse. The average price of a Vancouver detached home in 1980 was $177,000 ($350,000 in 2017 dollars). Meanwhile, the condo — a type of apartment that you could own — was still a new and unfamiliar entrant to the city’s real estate market.

Lux Theatre, 1974

This is the Lux Theatre, a movie house on East Hastings Street that occasionally did duty as a punk rock venue. The movie on the marquee, meanwhile, is The Conqueror Worm, a mostly forgotten B-movie starring Vincent Price. Although some variety of cinema had stood on the site since 1910, the market slowly dropped out from The Lux. In one of the final pictures of the theatre taken in the early 1990s it was desperately advertising $2.50 double features. Like many properties on East Hastings, the site is now home to a social services agency — a low barrier housing complex called The Lux.

Chinese Voice Daily News, 1982

The first thing to note is the dress: Men clad casually in suits. The second thing to notice is the two men on the right obtaining their news the same way humans have been doing for centuries; by looking at broadsheet pages pinned up in a newspaper’s front window. This photo was also taken only a few years before a momentous demographic change overtook the city’s Chinese-Canadian community. As Hong Kong prepared to revert from British to Chinese control, a wave of Hong Kongers arrived in the city, bringing entirely new food, consumption patterns and and cultural norms to the city’s Chinese areas.

Unpaved Parking Lot, 1981

In this particularly gritty image, a gravel parking lot hosts a collection of cars that all seem to have some kind of scrape or dents. With Canada gripped by recession in the early 1980s the downturn was felt particularly hard in British Columbia. Vancouver was also a much smaller city that it is today. In 1981, the City Vancouver was two thirds the size of its modern incarnation, while Metro Vancouver was less than half the size.

Car and Building, Franklin Street (1981)

A feature of modern Vancouver is how echoes of its working class origins continue to dwell alongside high-end restaurant patios and pristine bikeways. Perhaps nowhere is the contrast more striking than in the part of East Vancouver where this photo was taken. This would be near the modern day sites of the West Coast Reduction rendering plant and Hallmark Poultry Processors, a chicken slaughterhouse. With pricey condos and high-end coffee shops now dotting the area, the rendering plant endures frequent complaints over its bad smell — and has taken to sponsoring a local theatre to gain community favour. The chicken slaughterhouse, now has semi-regular animal rights protests outside its gates.

East Hastings Street (Dusk), 1975

Although he grew up in Burnaby, Girard often took these photos during weekend trips into Vancouver where he spend the night in a cheap Downtown Eastside hotel. The neighbourhood has been seedy almost from the moment of Vancouver’s founding, but three devastating developments would profoundly change it in the late 20th century: Harder drugs, the AIDs epidemic and deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients.

Camaro in Alley, 1981

Just behind this Camaro is the back of the Hotel Vancouver. Girard captured a seemingly desolate scene where a Camaro with a flat tire could sit seemingly forgotten in a downtown alley. Go to that alley now and it’s at the centre of one of Canada’s most high-traffic areas: With high end shopping, gourmet restaurants and towering glass condos on all sides. This was also snapped only a few month before the Vancouver Canucks would first advance to the Stanley Cup finals — marking the last time that the Canucks would make the Stanley Cup finals without sparking a devastating riot.

Silver Grill Café, 1975

Captured during a rare Vancouver snowstorm, this café was at 750 Davie Street, at the heart of what remains the city’s most recognizable “gaybourhood.” The site is now a condo tower, with another condo tower across the street. The café’s neon sign, meanwhile, is now an artifact at the Museum of Vancouver.

Super Valu, 1976

The misty parking lot of a Super Valu, complete with a solitary Volkswagen Beetle. This was still a time when Sunday shopping was banned in most parts of the Lower Mainland. And like any self-respecting retailer of the era, Super Valu had a neon sign, albeit with a malfunctioning “l.” Parts of downtown Vancouver once buzzed with whole forests of elaborate neon signs — until city hall effectively banned the signs in the late 1960s amid arguments that they looked “sleazy.”

Gas Pumps Near Sugar Refinery, 1981

Obviously, the modern viewer will first note the price: 26.6 cents for a liter of gasoline. The pumps are also analog and unaffected by the prepay legislation that now governs B.C. gas stations. Behind it, however, is the British Columbia Sugar Refining Co., Vancouver’s oldest industrial site. Built in 1890, it’s still there — and it’s still refining sugar.

Tracks and Bridge, 1973

This is the oldest photo in this gallery, taken when Girard was still a teenager. As an official description of Girard’s Vancouver images has noted, this was an era before post-9/11 security concerns effectively sealed off Vancouver’s port and rail facilities. Port Metro Vancouver is now so thoroughly set apart from the life of the nearby downtown that it’s remarkably easy for many residents to forget it’s there.

Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) review


Assassin’s Creed may have been met with mixed reviews, but it still sold extremely well. This and the fact that the story was designed for sequels made Assassin’s Creed II an inevitability. What’s amazing is just how much they improved upon the original title. For plot and gameplay reasons, this review will assume you’ve already played Assassin’s Creed 1. If you’re interested in the series, I advise starting from the beginning, a review for which can be found here.

Assassin’s Creed II starts off with a bang. Lucy Stillman, one of Desmond Miles’ captors from the previous title, breaks him out of confinement in Abstergo Labs, but not before saving some data from the Animus and plugging Desmond into it just long enough to re-live an ancestor’s birth (weird!). After a short sequence of escaping the lab, you’re brought to a small Assassin hideout to be trained. Lucy plans to use the Animus’ “bleeding effect” to train Desmond as an Assassin by having him relive the training of ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Renaissance Italy. The base is fully equipped with an “upgraded” Animus, thus explaining the improvements to the menus and HUD’s between the two games.

The plot structure for Ezio’s life is very different from that of Altair. At first, Ezio doesn’t even know he’s an Assassin; once this knowledge is provided, it’s time to learn the ropes whilst on a quest for revenge. You therefore learn as you go, and the story missions are usually provided one after another instead of thrown around the map to do as you please (although that does still happen occasionally). Gameplay controls are strongly based upon those of AC1, with only a few changes. There is no longer a “blend” button, as blending has changed into something you do automatically by walking into a group of people. Instead, low-profile “feet” button pressing initiates “fast walk.” This move seems utterly useless at first, but is used to pick pockets for loose change once you earn the ability. There’s also a new quick-swap weapon wheel that’s accessed using R2 in order to accommodate the expanded arsenal.

A major new feature in ACII is money, in the form of Florins. You earn some simply for completing missions, and can get more by pickpocketing, looting enemy corpses, or searching for treasure. There are various shops strewn through the city streets in which to spend all this cashola, including Blacksmiths for new weapons and armor, Tailors for pouches and purely cosmetic clothing dye, Art Merchants for paintings and treasure maps, and Doctors for healing and pharmaceuticals. Ezio doesn’t simply refill health automatically as Altair did, so it’s well advised to keep a good stock of medicine on hand. Once you get far enough in the game, you also unlock an investment minigame. You pour money into upgrading your uncle’s villa, and in return you earn money back that must be collected from a chest in the villa. If you keep at this diligently, you’ll wind up with hundreds of thousands of Florins with nothing much to buy by the end of the game (at least if you go for 100% completion), but it’s still a nice gameplay addition nonetheless.

Collectibles abound once more, but are now significantly easier to gather overall. There are 100 eagle feathers scattered about the cities, which are usually found on roofs. You can keep track of how many you have in which area in the menus, which is a huge help. Subject 16 has left 20 special glyphs painted on significant buildings through Italy for you to scan with Eagle Vision. The game points out via database entries which buildings have one, so they’re easy to collect. There are also 330 treasure chests hidden all over the place, but those maps you buy from the Art Merchants makes collecting them all a snap! Why these artists are privy to this information and would sell it so cheaply is unknown, but you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when the alternative is scouring the web for maps. As with the eagle feathers, chests are recorded in the menu.

The oddest thing about the game design is that the story follows Sequences 1-11 and then abruptly skips to 14. The original excuse for this was that Sequences 12 and 13 were somehow “damaged” and could not be accessed. Of course, this was really just a cynical way to cash in on some DLC, as those two Sequences are indeed available for download for a nominal fee. I’m not saying they’re BAD, mind…they are in fact quite good. It’s just that the way they’re presented is awkward and may anger those who are generally against the concept of cutting part of the game to sell as DLC. If you want to experience the full game, I recommend the Deluxe edition available on PSN; you get the game and ALL DLC included for the same price as a new retail copy.

The visuals are a definite upgrade from AC1, partly because Renaissance Italy is naturally more visually appealing than Medieval Israel. The world is much more colorful, and the streets of the city feel at least slightly less repetitive than before. The music is an improvement as well, doubtlessly also because of the move to Renaissance style. The voice acting sounds nice and clear this time around, and there are also now subtitles available should you desire them.


Assassin’s Creed II is rated M by the ESRB for Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, and Strong Language. As usual for the series, the blood can be turned off in the options menu. The intense violence includes brutal kills such as stabbing people in the face. The sexual content revolves around courtesans, which were quite commonplace for the setting of the game. Sex is referred to, but never shown. The strong language includes words up to and including the classic F-bomb; in a change of pace, many of the worst words tend be spoken in Italian and translated in the subtitles only. The Templars are not as clearly linked with the Christian church as they had been in AC1, though some of them are clergymen. It becomes clear as you play that the Assassin’s Creed fiction revolves around completely fantastical explanations for creation that cut God out of the picture altogether. It makes for a fascinating story, provided of course you remember that even though the game’s fiction is interwoven with historical truth, it is, in fact, still FICTION.


Assassin’s Creed II is an astounding improvement over its predecessor. With nicer graphics, better programming, and a multitude of gameplay improvements and additions, it’s a game I can easily recommend. There remain some repetitive and sometimes aggravating side-missions that dampen the experience to a small degree, but Assassin’s Creed II is nevertheless an experience well worth undertaking.

School Lunch in Japan – It’s Not Just About Eating!

Get inspired to see how Japanese students operate their lunch period! You can see why “lunch period” is placed as a learning period in Japanese schools. Directed, edited and filmed by Atsuko Satake Quirk, Cafeteria Culture’s media director. Visit http://www.cafeteriaculture.org to see how we bring in this Japanese style student-led operation into US school cafeterias on sorting their waste!

Nazi Plunder: A History of Missing and Recovered Art Treasures | Artland Magazine


Of all dishonourable art thefts in history, the one perpetrated by the Third Reich has been the most monumental, involving the looting of over 20% of Europe’s art by the end of World War II. Partly due to the systematic assault on modernism, partly deriving from Hitler’s desire to open a “Führermuseum” in his hometown of Linz, Austria, where to exhibit all of the most valuable and acclaimed works of European art, Nazi Party members began looting and hiding artworks in places like the Musée Jeu de Paume in Paris and Nazi headquarters in Munich as well as in caves and mines in Merkers, Altaussee and Siegen.

This attack on culture led to an Allied response, and volunteers began hiding and protecting works held at national institutions (private collections were often seized with little protection in place). From Paris’ Louvre Museum to the British National Gallery, workers and resistance volunteers began to move artworks into safehouses to guard them against Nazi plunder. From countryside monasteries to a massive slate quarry in Wales, European art was hidden in the unlikeliest of places to protect the cultural heritage of numerous countries and centuries.

Despite these efforts, countless thousands of artworks were stolen from individual and institutional owners – circulating around the personal homes and professional offices of some of the most powerful players in the Nazi movement. We follow the fate of several famous works of art throughout World War II and beyond.

The Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck

Notoriously described as the most stolen piece of art in history the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck was one of the first works that utilised oil paint instead of tempera. After Napoleon spirited the work to France and the Germans took it during World War I, it was stolen again during Nazi rule in World War II. The piece drew the attention of Hitler when he decided he wanted it for his Führermuseum, while Hermann Wilhelm Göring, his right-hand man, also came to covet the work. Göring first stole the Ghent Altarpiece for his Carinhall estate before Hitler took it for himself and stored it in the Altaussee Salt Mines in case of Allied air raids. The piece was ultimately recovered after the war by the Monuments Men, an Allied World War II platoon established to find and return looted art to their original owners.

Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo

Madonna of Bruges, the only work by Michelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime, was made between 1501 and 1504. The sculpture of the Virgin and her Son was brought to Bruges, Belgium, by merchants and installed in the Church of Our Lady. In 1944, as German forces were retreating from Belgium and the Netherlands, the work was reportedly stolen and brought to Germany in a Red Cross truck, likely with the goal of adorning the Führermuseum. Only a year later, in 1945, the Monuments Men found the masterwork in the Altaussee salt mine, a favourite hiding spot of Nazi-looted art. The Madonna of Bruges has since been reinstalled at the Church of Our Lady in Bruges.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt

The most famous example of Gustav Klimt’s iconic golden period, a classic of the Viennese Jugendstil style, his first portrait (of two) of Adele Bloch-Bauer, wife of Austrian industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer went missing in 1936 when the family fled Austria and left behind their art collection. Looted by the Nazis, the work was ultimately sold off to the Austrian State Gallery. The piece became the focus of much attention when the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer attempted to regain it, understandably arguing that its restitution should result in her ownership of the work. The trail and work centre prominently in the 2015 film The Woman in Gold, highlighting the painful process of restitution that still continues for many works of Nazi-looted art to this day.

Portrait of a Gentleman by El Greco

El Greco’s Portrait of a Gentleman was part of the personal collection of Julius Priester, a Jewish industrialist, when the collection was looted by the Gestapo in 1944. After turning up in 1952 in New York City, the work went through several deals and collectors hands before resurfacing again in 2014. The Commission for Looted Art in Europe recovered this famous El Greco in 2015 and restored it to the Priester family, over 70 years after its theft. It was just one of the 3,500 works handled by the commission since its founding in 1999.

Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

Painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1489, Lady with an Ermine depicts Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Records show that the painting was brought back from Italy by Adam Czartoryski in 1798 to Krakow, Poland. Stolen in 1939 by the Nazis, the work was first brought to Berlin but quickly returned to Krakow in the hands of Hans Frank, an early member of the German Workers’ Party (precursor of the Nazi Party). Part of a tumultuous journey typical of the chaos that surrounded the end of World War II, the da Vinci was ultimately rescued from Hans Frank’s home and was returned to the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow.

Two Riders on the Beach by Max Liebermann

Two versions of Two Riders on the Beach by German-Jewish painter Max Liebermann exist and both go down in history as some of the most impressive German Impressionist works. Of the two paintings, one went into a collection in New York City, while the other was purchased by Jewish industrialist David Friedmann. Seized in the aftermath of the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938, it entered the hands of Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, who worked on building the collection for the Führermuseum. Surprisingly, he was able to keep the painting after the war until, in 2012 it made headlines when his son Cornelius Gurlitt was discovered to be in possession of over 1,200 works in his Munich apartment, including innumerable works with contested provenance that had been considered lost. Among other masterpieces, the loot included works by Chagall and Matisse and was sold for £1.86 million in 2015.

Le Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps by Camille Pissarro

The personal collection of Max Silberberg, a Jewish businessman from Breslau, was so prolific, encompassing works by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, and Cezanne, that the Nazis went out of their way to personally seize his lot. Included within his collection was Camille Pissarro’s Le Boulevard Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps: one of many Pissarro’s Impressionistic Montmartre paintings. Though much of the collection disappeared during the war and Max Silberberg tragically died at Auschwitz, this particular painting was restored to his son and daughter-in-law in 2009, just four years before Gerta Silberberg’s death. It was sold in 2014 for £19.7 million.

Ashes II by Edvard Munch

Likely looted by the Nazis in order to be sold to collect funds for their reign of terror, Edvard Munch’s Ashes II would have been considered ‘degenerate art’ due to its expressionistic nature. Hitler himself was reportedly critical of Munch’s work, and at least 82 pieces by the artist were confiscated from German museums in 1937 alone. Though Ashes II is now held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, its past and provenance are completely unknown, mirroring the fate of countless other works of this time.

Still Missing: the Continued Restitution of Nazi Looted Art

Though the artworks covered here have been recovered, and some returned to the descendants of their rightful owners, it is worth remembering that over 30,000 pieces of art are still missing. It is possible that many have been destroyed, while others could be hidden from the public or are circulating privately for large profits. Innumerable cases saw the restitution contested or even impossible, and the owners of these masterworks never lived to see their return.

‘I feel targeted’: Asian woman pepper-sprayed in random Manhattan attack too traumatized to walk down the same street


Within minutes of being pepper-sprayed in SoHo, Yaeji Kim knew she had been the victim of a random attack — and possibly a hate crime.

As she made her way home, still crying from the burning in her eyes and temporary blindness, Kim tried to push the severity of the Feb. 16 incident out of her mind.

Yet the more she thought about the man who rolled down the window of a dark-colored sedan on W. Houston St. and pointed a canister at her, the more frightened she felt.

“When it first happened, I felt helpless. And as I was walking home … I was crying because it burned, but [because] I was also feeling bullied,” 30-year-old Kim, a pharmacist and professor who grew up in South Korea, told the Daily News on Thursday.

“I tried to downplay it … I wasn’t even going to report it. But I think I am more traumatized than I thought,” she said. “It’s hard for me to walk down Houston Street … and whenever I’m on the subway I’m really tense, and [have] a panic attack.”

“I feel targeted,” she continued. “I wish I didn’t feel this [way]. I wish it didn’t affect me as much as it has.”

Kim, who reported the attack to police on Feb. 18, said she did not recognize the passenger who pepper-sprayed her or the driver of the sedan, both of whom she claims were white men in their 20s or 30s.

The attack has not yet been ruled a hate crime, though Kim said she has been in close contact with the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. There have been no arrests.

The incident is the latest in a string of random attacks on Asian-Americans across the city.

Police have made 18 arrests in 28 incidents of “COVID-related” hate crimes against Asians since the start of the pandemic, though the commanding officer of the task force acknowledged many more incidents have likely gone unreported.

City officials have responded by directing the 500 additional officers deployed to the subway system to help combat bias, and Mayor de Blasio has vowed to meet with community leaders about the issue.

Yet for Kim, an HIV pharmacist at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and a professor at Touro College of Pharmacy, the lingering fear of another unexpected ambush has left her on edge.

“As an Asian woman I have experienced racism but not [to] this extent … I don’t think we were expecting this kind of hate towards us,” said Kim. “Now we are worried about going outside and taking the train and doing normal things.

“If there was logic to this, I think it would be easier to solve,” she said. “But I don’t think there’s logic to this right now. It’s just chaotic.”