fear & loathing in Lotusland

The Cringe: The Arc

by Zbigniew

From Paris, to London, Beijing, and Vancouver, a whole lot of hot air.

Promotional Verse

by Zbigniew

Vancouver: A Pacific Celebration

Source: BC History Channel


And that’s
probably the key
to appreciating Vancouver
that intangible element of change
in season
in elevation
in style of architecture
in people and
their pursuits and
work and seeking

Life is very full
in this city a unique
of outdoor freedom and
naturalness with
civilized sophistication
a seaport
and crossroads of the Pacific Rim

a city with its own
distinct identify and its own
sense of being Vancouver
where you will enjoy
year round
a Pacific Celebration

Fantasy City

by Zbigniew

“Fantasy City is solipsistic; isolated from surrounding neighborhoods physically, economically and culturally. As such, it is the epitome of what Christine Boyer has termed the ‘city of illusion’ -a metropolis which ignores the reality of homelessness, unemployment, social justice and crime, while eagerly transforming sites and channels of public expression into ‘promotional spaces.'”

John Hannigan, Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis


That’s Entertainment (January 20, 2014) considered Vancouver’s historic function as an entertainment venue, a betotemed urban playground of bars and parks, vaudeville and mountains.

Almost four years on, with the city’s economy firmly attached to global capital flows, this role is taking on mass. The ground is buckling, deforming, and adapting: space and view turn private, trees are uprooted but live on as decoration and marketing, homes mutate into hotels -all in the service of a growing wave of short- and long-stay tourists sharing a taste for corporate-circumscribed distraction.

The $600 million Parq Vancouver casino is scheduled to come online in the Fall of 2017. “An international destination,” with an “architecture inspired by mountains, escarpments, gorges and valleys” and its own private park six stories above grade.


Vancouver-based Reviver Sport proposes CitySurf, a wave pool to be located in False Creek. Quarantined by a giant membrane, surfers nose ride their boards in peace, secure from “Shit” Creek’s notoriously E. coli-rich tides.


Vancouver City Council removes Park Board oversight of the PNE -and any hope of achieving the expansion of green space in Hastings Park- then approves $1.5 million for detailed designs of a $120 million, 10 year, expansion of Playland and its transformation into a “world class theme park.” Led by Forrec, developers for Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags, design elements will include a “Main Street,” graffiti stations and a “narrow green strip called ‘The Park.'”

So, a city-themed theme park -a corporate fantasy built on a civic illusion.

hasting-park-fantasyHasting Park/PNE Master Plan (2011)



The Worst of Vancouver, 2016: Winners, of a Sort

by Zbigniew

Friends, citizens, lookie loos, welcome to the 4th annual Worst of Vancouver, where we collectively unburden our metaphoric bowels on the well-manicured lawn of Vancouver’s morally and spiritually bankrupt establishment. Will anyone notice the steaming pile? The attached palazzo, in the conspicuous Florentine Urinal style, is likely vacant -still, it feels good.

To those that completed the survey, my sincere thanks. Your urbane cynicism is the roughage that moves me.

As in previous iterations, ten questions were posed -the limit set by the cheapo version of Polldaddy. Subjective responses were carefully considered by a Snark Cabal, cajoled by into the task by free booze and salty snacks. (If you are interested in joining this rarefied company, please let me know your preferred choice of sub-$15 wine available in a full litre bottle or carton.)

While the questions posed did not lean towards any identifiable group of humans, sentient machines, or politicians, this year’s responses betray a clearly pessimistic disposition towards those hailing from a certain Republic, one noted for its long and colourful history, a thin-skinned and autocratic government, and rampant corruption. In our home we refer to this place as “Hungary.” Ie. “If it’s made in Hungary, don’t put it in your mouth.” Or, “The Hungarians are laundering their ill-gotten gains in Vancouver real estate!” What’s going on? As the fallout from the tax targeted at foreign buyers of local real estate suggests, in the prophetic words of the real estate play that was Expo ’86: something’s happening here. We ignore at our peril.

On to the survey results.


Cars barrel down my quiet residential street. Drivers in their heavy metal carapaces take dangerous liberties with dedicated bicycle lanes. Pedestrians look about furtively, as they step into an intersection. Friday afternoons are the worst, the spastic, frenetic energy almost palpable. What spurns such behaviour? What’s so urgent? Are they racing to the lab and a cure for zika? Are they off to YVR to greet arriving refugees? Perhaps they’re late for a volunteer stint at their neighbourhood house?

Not so fast.

Some asshole blows off a red light, bowls over a pedestrian, and flees the scene. Clearly, they are in a hurry. Where are they going?

The co-winners, by modest pluralities:

Vision #25KLunch or BC Liberal fundraiser


  1. To put down a no-subject $1 mil above asking offer on a Dunbar teardown
  2. River Rock casino to launder money
  3. Late for a reservation at Glowbal

Dishonourable mentions:

“Close their real estate purchase before the 15% tax kicks in”

“A developer on their way to city hall to file for a spot-rezoning request”

“Returning the ‘pearl green’ Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 to the Scenic Rush headquarters because their 20 minute ‘Sea to Sky’ experience has expired”

“First day of new model year. Trading in last year’s Maserati”

“To the next bus stop on their bus route?”

Whitecaps game

Diner en blanc

Burning Man

Yoga class

“Ball waxing and massage with happy ending”

Rest easy, folks, a solution is at hand:

Source: yvettegr

inside-airbnbInside Airbnb

The ersatz political leadership claims it is making a (cough) “enormous effort” (cough) to increase the stock of rental housing -which seems to consist mostly of media scrums and stern expressions. Meanwhile, in the increasingly dystopian real world, short-term holiday rentals platforms (Airbnb and their nefarious ilk) proliferate unchecked and have embedded themselves to such an extent that even the defacto homeless are selling their spaces for upwards of $60 a night –pee jar included.

Sitting in your home, estimate the distance to the nearest short-term holiday rental

[NB: While this survey leans somewhat closer to the “wise-ass” than “scientific” end of the spectrum, every effort was made to define results as accurately as possible. All distances reported were converted to metres. “City blocks” were based on a 138 metre average of the typical 161 metre and 115 metre Vancouver variants. For “upstairs,” “next door,” or “down the hall,” hypothetically reasonable distances were applied consistently. For the divine smart ass that reported in cubits, I used the “long” option of 52 cm per unit.]

Average distance reported: 177 metres.

Median distance: 50 metres.

(You can throw a good-sized rock 50 metres; so -please- throw it hard.)


“I am living IN the ‘holiday’ rental.”

“Twenty metres, if you don’t count the rough trade meth-boys our neighbor allows to sleep in our building’s laundry room.”

What name would you give to this architectural style?

Palais chinois“I’m a little disappointed – they could have added at least two more bedrooms and three more bathrooms to the front.”

The winner, by a modest stack of illegally laundered yuan:

Palais chinois

Oh, so many contenders:


Particle Board Foreign Money Bait

Developer Creaming Spec McMansion

Neocolonial Bricks & Mortar Portfolio

Casa forte / Strongbox

Boite d’investissement

Millionaire’s Club

Foreign Investor

New Canadian

Florentine Urinal

Post-modern Mausoleum

Post-modern Fugly

Early Century Fuerdai (“the second generation of the rich”)

Tuhao (“wealthy but uncultured”)


Vacancy Deco

Neo Vancouver Special

Super Happy Special

“I see not one pixel of style in this photo.”

The local media outlet or personality (sic) most likely to tow the “it’s supply and/or you’re a racist” line?

Hands-down winner:

The Georgia Straight and/or Charlie Smith/Travis Lupick


  1. Global
  2. Frances Bula
  3. Bob “I’ve always been a waste of oxygen” Ransford


“Turd Sommernuts”

“They’re all living mannequins”

“Any of the mainstream journalists who’s newspaper, magazine, website etc is paid for by real estate ads”

“Oh, god. I just stopped paying attention”

“Your question is racist”

Since the start of 2016, how many of your friends, family or neighbours have been evicted, renovicted, demovicted etc?

 1 to 5 – 62.5%

0 – 15.6%

>10 – 12.5%

6 to 10 – 9.4%

In other words, more than 84% of respondents have had at least one friend, family member or neighbour displaced since the beginning of the year. The remainder need to meet more people.

Political hack Judy Tyabji’s ass-kissing softball biography of the Premier is entitled “Christy Clark: Behind the Smile.” Alternatively, “Christy Clark: ____________________”

The winner, by unanimous decision of the Cabal:

Manchurian Candidate

The short list:

Vampire Queen

Name Your Price

Hit Delete Three Times

Fuck You & Your Family

Everything Is Great at My Son’s Private School

Most Successful University Drop Out West of the Rockies

The Gaping Maw That Swallows Whole Futures

A Mile Wide & an Inch Thick

Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Why Won’t It End?


Bob Rennie, “Condo King” and BC Liberal Party fundraiser-in-chief: Knew? Or “knew”?

By an almost two-to-one margin (64%), clearly, Bob knew

To mark the release of The Worst of Vancouver -Christy, channeling Bob (September 11, 2016):

What (loosely defined) icon would you add to this tableau?

Tourist Vancouver

Green ‘N’


Lululemon logo

Satan with a boner

Paddle board yoga

New Coast Realty sign (featuring Ken Cui)


“Sold Above Asking!”

Fourteen construction cranes

Thousands of homeless people

A tent city with Doctors living in it

A car packed with children, towing a u-haul trailer, driving away. Maybe to Halifax

Gregor behind the wheel of a globally revered food truck

“A range rover and a massive dildo shaped, European designed luxury tower dripping with pretension and advertised exclusively in Asia, to eclipse all else. Maybe some ugly public art and a homeless person as well. A massive ‘for lease’ sign. Oh wait that’s more than one and I haven’t even added the stink lines yet.”

Randomly discarded dog poop bags

Curious responses:

“Disneyland hair police”

“Naked Gregor should be riding that whale. Not sexy times riding, but SeaWorld riding”

Sold Over Asking

In June of 2016, 15,592 properties were sold in British Columbia, representing $11 Billion in sales. The average sale price in British Columbia (NB: British Columbia) was $714,000. What do you believe tomorrow will bring?

More: 49%

Less: 33%

I don’t care, as I have cashed out, or been evicted, and/or am leaving to take advantage of depressed property values in Alberta: 18%

The top Google search result for “Vancouver real estate” + “more” spat up a recent photo of Prime Minister Justin “trading-on-the-family-name” Trudeau drumming-up business/selling us down the river in the People’s Republic of Hungary. Unfortunately, more seems inevitable.

cda-china-20160902Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

That’s it! You’re packing up and leaving Vancouver, but you must leave something behind. What is it?



My fee-for-service MSP card

Portable A/C and Versace Sunglasses

A lot of randomly discarded dog poop bags

My old six person Coleman tent so someone can put that shit on Airbnb, too

I bequeath my Pendleton coat to the unfortunate souls forced to sleep in the SFU quad

My retirement savings and my kid’s collage money

The unclean vibe of local poison between non-Chinese poor and Chinese poor

Any sort of faith that a politician will act in the best interest of their constituents

Sense of bittersweet entitlement

My career that went nowhere

My sense of moral outrage

My naïve faith in humanity

My dignity

My mortgage

Sense of hopelessness


“I’ve already left YVR. It’s a shithole.”

Speaking of shit, to bookend the manure-laced introduction:

“A fresh steaming pile of shit. Because I gave a shit about this city but it didn’t give a shit about me.”

“Several weeks’ worth of saved-up self-generated turd on the steps of Vancouver City Hall.”

And the last word:

“For better or worse –and likely worse- I’m not leaving. For now, anyway.”

Seen in Passing: Commercial & Grant

by Zbigniew

Dashboard Skull

Smells Like Teen Sauce

by Zbigniew

Synergy Logo

As I drop below street level –my last glimpse of the surface is a flash of orange and brown. I take 20 minutes for the trip from Waterfront to Marine Drive; stepping outside, I am greeted by the same colour scheme.

I stop to consider this curious set of bookends, a geographic/temporal dysphoria usually reserved for malls and airports, when I catch the whiff of kitchen grease.


A&W was founded in 1923 in California; the first Canadian venue opened in Winnipeg in 1956. The Canadian division was sold to Unilver in 1972, and then purchased by the food company’s senior management in 1995. Although the companies share most branding and product lines, Canadian A&W has no corporate connection to its U.S. counterpart. A&W Food Services of Canada is headquartered in North Vancouver.

While the company ditched its drive-in service years ago, it continues to flog a vaguely “‘50s diner” orientation via a loud colour scheme, cutesy bear mascot, and a nuclear family of products (Baby, Mama, Teen, Papa, burgers etc), augmented and updated for the 21st century through a commitment to market “healthier” toxic quantities of sugars and saturated fats. Industrial foodstuffs, shilled the corporate way, with a generous squirt of “Teen Sauce.”

It’s the second largest fast food chain in Canada, with about 850 outlets and a “strategic thrust” to keep growing.


Exiting the Marine Drive Station into the shadows of Marine Gate, and A&W’s local growth strategy becomes apparent. It’s a player in the public-development-service complex that continues to transform the physical, social and economic space of the city.

Transit hubs are dramatically rezoned, enabling massive residential construction -a giant reef that attracts a supplementary round of deep pocket corporate capital to provide the punters with goods and services, those that can extract enough value to justify the substantial investment and rents.

In addition to outlets at Waterfront and Marine Drive, you can have your notional diner experience at Granville (Dunsmuir exit), Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown, and, Oakridge, with Main Street –and presumably others- coming soon.

That greasy odour? It’s merely the exhaust of the synergistic machine pumping out its special sauce. It’s the smell of money, lining some faceless shareholder’s pocket.

Fair Market Doublespeak

by Zbigniew


“Vancouver app lets renters pitch ‘sealed’ offers,” 24Hours


“It connects landlords with tenants in hot, low vacancy markets.”

“What we want to do is give tenants a voice in this market, because it’s a competitive market, they need to stand out. And they really need to be able to … uh … impose what they feel fair market value is.”

“We want to give tenants the ammunition they need to compete in these type of markets.”

“We’re really trying to create an environment that’s fair for tenants –that currently doesn’t exist.”

Jordon Lewis, Co-founder & CEO, Biddwell, on CKNW


“Through YVR4Sale’s partnership with Biddwell, our investor clients are able to use this revolutionary tool that connects renters and landlords for fair market value rent. As an investor, you are able to post a listing to Biddwell and potential renters will bid on your property. Set your minimum monthly rental return and voila! Matching begins. Many investors achieve higher rental returns as the demand in Vancouver is high and inventory is low.”



Much, Much Worse: The 2016 Worst of Vancouver Survey

by Zbigniew

Friends, it’s more or less that time of year when we, the underpaid and emotionally destitute Scamcouver editorial staff, provide you with an opportunity to let off a little steam and have your say on the glorified safety deposit box that is Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Just answer the ten questions of the Worst of Vancouver Survey and you’ll feel as fresh as a vacated bowel.

It’ll just take a few minutes. You can complete the survey while your waiting in line at the Residential Tenancy Branch to dispute the inappropriately submitted eviction notice you received, and still have plenty of time left over to go through rental notices on Kijiji.

Special thanks to @IngeFinge, Ms. Demeanor and DJ Clueless for input, general wise assery, patience, and smokes.

Survey closes Sunday, September 4th, at 11:45 PM.

If you find the formatting of the link above is a bit wonky, try accessing the survey here.


Refuge: Silence

by Zbigniew

Six-and-half hours of multinodal travel, rewarded.

Eviction by Demolition

by Zbigniew

5025 Imperial Street, Burnaby

Imperial Squat

Imperial Squat 2

Imperial Squat 3

Imperial Squat Corrigan


Demovictions 2

Demovictions 3

Imperial Squat Development Map

And just a few metres away:

Imperial Squat Epilogue