Category Archives: 22. RE References In Popular Culture

Ken Lum’s ‘Vancouver Especially’ – “Two of the city’s great crises: Homelessness and Obscene Real Estate Prices”


A man who appeared to be homeless offered to sell me a tiny house – actually a new art installation by Ken Lum, which I was looking at – for “a good price:” less than $1-million (which would be a good price, considering the tiny plot of land, on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown, is alone assessed at more than $1.7-million).

The exchange exemplified two of the city’s great crises: homelessness and its obscene real estate prices. Lum’s installation, Vancouver Especially, speaks very much to the latter. The work, with its faux brick and stucco, replicates the mass-produced, no-frills house known as a Vancouver Special, scaled to its 1973 property value ($45,000 – Lum’s production budget), then enlarged eightfold, because the installation would have been too small otherwise.

There’s a house-shaped cut-out in the base at the front that Lum says represents what $45,000 would buy today. Growing up in East Vancouver, Lum watched Vancouver Specials popping up everywhere. Built with working class and immigrant families in mind, what they lack in architectural significance they make up for in square footage – and are now out of reach for the common home buyer.

Beyond the obvious economic commentary, the work, at 271 Union St., addresses the transformation in this specific neighbourhood. “I find it shocking that Chinatown may lose its special, ethnic character,” says Lum, who now lives in Philadelphia.

– excerpted in total from ‘Ken Lum’s new art installation tackles Vancouver’s real estate crisis’, Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail, 2 Mar 2015
– images from, G&M, Vancouver Sun



Art as a beacon of sanity in insane times.
Very well done, Ken Lum.
– vreaa

Vancouver School Trustees Threaten Risk Of Property Price Drops In Debate Concerning Rights Of Transgender High School Student

A current public debate regarding the rights of a transgender student at a Westside public high school has caused elected school trustees to invoke risk to property values to shore up their bigoted side of the argument. They claimed that “senior people in the real estate industry” supported their viewpoint, but they did not name those people (and it is not clear whether any such views had actually been expressed by any real estate salespeople).

By virtue of the prominence of Vancouver RE values in this remarkable debate, we document it here, for the chronological record. Reminiscent, of course, of the UBC Hospice debate (where sanity fortunately prevailed).

By virtue of the inflammatory nature of the debate, and because we do not ride shotgun on comments on this blog every hour of every day, we have chosen to close comments for this post. It’s here simply as a marker on the very long and winding road that is the Vancouver RE saga.
Keep well all.

Peace. Love. (and moon-age daydreams of 1960’s RE valuations…)

– vreaa

Entire Vancouver Sun Blog article reproduced verbatim below:

‘Vancouver school trustees turfed after event linking real estate, unisex washrooms’
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, 14 Jun 2014

“The Non-Partisan Association expelled two of its elected school trustees from caucus Friday after they held a news conference and claimed leading realtors are upset the school board’s proposed policies on transgender students may reduce real estate prices.

The NPA released a statement late Friday afternoon declaring it had formally expelled Sophia Woo and Ken Denike “given that the two have chosen to follow their own course in various matters without consulting with the other members of caucus.”

“The caucus has concluded that Denike and Woo do not share the same level of sensitivity and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.”

During a raucous news conference in a Chinese restaurant Friday, Woo and Denike condemned the way Vision trustees on school board are trying to bring in a policy to protect transgender students from discrimination and ostracization.

Parent Jane Wang, sitting beside Woo and Denike, said the transgender policy that is scheduled to go before the board on Monday is a threat to her two young children and those of many other parents, some of whom “were close to emotional collapse” at a recent public meeting where the transgender policy was debated.
Wang, an associate professor in engineering at the University of B.C., has already placed her two children on a waiting list for a private school.
Wang does not want them to have to deal with the possibility a transgender public-school student could, under the proposed policy, enter either a boys’ or girls’ washroom.

Asked to provide the names of what Denike said were “senior people in the real estate industry who are expressing real concerns” about the effects of the proposed transgender policy, neither Woo nor Denike would provide any names.
However, the first sentence of a release that Woo and Denike put together to draw journalists to the news conference at Flamingo House Chinese Restaurant said:
“Realtors express concern that a revised policy on sexual orientation and gender identities could negatively impact enrolment of international students and West Side students in Vancouver’s public schools.”

One parent told The Sun her friend has already returned with her child to China because of the proposed transgender policy.

Asked if realtors are concerned that foreign parents will stop buying houses or condos for their children to live in while they attend school in Vancouver, Denike said West Side realtors know there is strong “competition” for international students, whose offshore parents might avoid Vancouver schools in the future.
There are 1,170 fee-paying foreign students in Vancouver public schools, said Denike, the board’s longest-serving trustee.

Woo and Denike said the realtors they talked to were mostly concerned about “the quality of education” public school students would receive in light of what they said is a flawed, rushed new transgender policy.
But Denike, in response to a question, said the realtors may also be concerned about declining property values.

A few hours after the two NPA trustees finished their press conference, Vision Vancouver released a statement “calling upon the NPA to condemn disturbing comments” made by Denike and Woo, in which Vision maintained the trustees “suggested that support for the rights of LGBTQ students could somehow harm property values.”

School board chair Patti Bacchus, of Vision, said: “Vancouver is known throughout the world for our commitment to a learning environment that is safe and inclusive for students of all backgrounds, including LGBTTQ students.”

Bacchus urged the NPA to “apologize for in any way suggesting that LGBTTQ students or their rights could have a negative impact on our community, and I hope all NPA elected officials and prospective mayoral candidates will condemn these remarks.”

At the news conference at the Cambie Street restaurant, roughly two dozen-ethnic Chinese parents who had squeezed into a side room of the facility to support Woo and Denike clapped enthusiastically when one East Asian parent stood up and shouted:
“How would you feel if you had a daughter in the washroom at one of these public schools and a transgendered student – maybe a girl, maybe a boy? – walked in? How would you feel?”
The man, dressed in suit and tie, would not identify himself.

Visibly tearful, Enda Yua said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun her friend was so upset about the transgender policy that last week she pulled her child out of a Vancouver public school and they flew home together to mainland China.
“I’m so sad. I don’t want my friends to leave,” said Yau, who lives on the West Side of Vancouver.
“My friends say to me: ‘I feel so bad. I shouldn’t have come to Vancouver, to Canada. I thought it was a democracy.’ In the Chinese community there is very serious concern about this policy. This policy makes transgendered kids too special. It gives them an extra shell that will keep other students away from them.”

Yau said Chinese people come to Canada with “very old traditional conservative values” and that Canadian policy makers have to respect that.

Trustee Woo told the room of reporters and Chinese supporters, some of who later gave flowers to Woo and Denike, that she has been overwhelmed in the past two months by the volume of complaints from worried parents. “I’m concerned many of them will send their children to be students in other school districts or other provinces.”

In an interview Lana Liu said she has been part of a group which has gathered 4,000 signatures protesting the school board’s proposed transgender policy. While Liu said petition signers have been “mostly Chinese,” she noted some parents from Iranian, South Asian, Caucasian and other ethno-cultural backgrounds are also upset.

Bill Dick, managing broker for Macdonald Realty in Vancouver, said he is not aware the VSB’s transgender policy has become a real estate issue. “There hasn’t been any discussion in my office, and we have 175 realtors in Vancouver.”

A spokesman for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, who declined to be identified, said the first they have heard about alleged realtors’ complaints about the transgender policy was in Friday afternoon phone calls from media outlets following up Denike and Woo’s comments.”

House Painting

ken kewley - model with house

‘Model With House’ by Ken Kewley

Making Sense Of It All


– Leandro Erlich’s Dalston House is at 1-7 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL until 4 August as part of Beyond Barbican.
See here for video from The Guardian 26 Jun 2013: “A Victorian terrace has popped up in east London that lets you swing from its ledges, run up its walls and generally defy gravity. Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright hangs loose at Dalston House, the novelty installation by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich.”


Former PM Kim Campbell Sues Vancouver Condo Developer For Market Weakness

Former prime minister Kim Campbell is suing the redevelopers of the Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver, alleging her condo wasn’t ready on time, and now she wants her money back.
In her statement of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court Campbell says she paid a $368,000 deposit on a condo in the new residential high-rise at the Hotel Georgia in 2007.
Former prime minister Kim Campbell is suing the developers of the Hotel Georgia in Vancouver. (AP )
Her lawyer Bryan Baynham says the pre-sale agreement with Georgia Properties Partnership was that that the condo would be finished December 2011.
“The project wasn’t finished on time. They were more than a year late and not surprisingly the people don’t want to complete and they want their deposit back.”

– from ‘Former PM Kim Campbell sues Vancouver condo developer’, CBC, 15 Mar 2013

EVERYBODY speculates on Vancouver RE, it seems.
If prices were up, these claims wouldn’t be occurring.
– vreaa

Mark Butler – Paintings of Basement Suites

[UPDATE: Images removed 1.May.2013, at the request of the artist, Mark Butler. -ed.]

Basement Suite (Night)
(Acrylic, gouache, pencil, paper on canvas)
Mark Butler, 2012

Basement Suite (Red)
(Acrylic, gouache, pencil, paper on canvas)
Mark Butler, 2012

Basement Suite (Dusk)
(Acrylic, gouache, pencil, paper on canvas)
Mark Butler, 2012

Basement Suite
(Acrylic, gouache, pencil, paper on canvas)
Mark Butler, 2012

– paintings by Mark Butler, BFA (Visual Arts), ECUAD; from the Emily Carr UAD 2012 Grad show.

We like these paintings a lot.
Despite their low, dark subject, they are beautiful.
The third and fourth images are taken from the Emily Carr site.
The first two are cell-phone snaps taken at the 2012 ECUAD Grad exhibition.
We trust that Mark is okay with us posting them here.
Good work; many thanks to the artist.
– vreaa

RE Mentions In Popular Culture – Realtor Wins Canucks 50/50 Draw – “The last quarter of real estate was the toughest in 24 years, there were periods where we spent more than we made.”

“Phil Moore was in the stands on October 9, 2008, and when Candice, joined by Roberto Luongo and Alex Burrows, presented the Bourdon family with Luc’s jersey, he came up with a plan.
When – not if – but when I win the Canucks For Kids Fund 50/50, I’ll give back.
“I just knew I was going to win sooner or later,” said Moore, a real estate agent and Canucks season ticket holder. “I visualized it over and over again, winning and handing out this big cheque.
“If you’re in the shootout and you’re skating down the ice, you have to visualize your move and visualize scoring. If you visualize something over and over again, it just happens.”
And, wouldn’t you know it, it happened.”

“The last quarter of real estate was the toughest in 24 years, there were periods where we spent more than we made,” explained Moore. “The majority of the winnings will go to pay bills, but it was a unanimous decision within the family that we didn’t want a vacation or anything, we’d rather give a chunk back to help out as much as possible.”
– from ‘Giver’s gain’,, Derek Jory, 19 Feb 2013 [hat-tip rob]

Nice of him to give some back.
Interesting word from the trenches regarding market conditions.
Also, noteworthy for the magical thinking, something common to a good percentage of market participants.
– vreaa