By Adrian Sinclair
Ballot Box, City of Vancouver (1902). Wooden, Cedar. openMOV. H971.259.1
In 2013, Elections BC has taken a few notable steps to make voting more accessible. They have partnered with non-partisan organizations like Vancouver Design Nerds, Get Your Vote On, Rock The Vote, , and Bike To Vote to make educational resources available online and on the street for a new generation of voters.
The evolution of who has been able to access the voting process is quite the read. In 1918, Canadian women were enfranchised to vote in federal elections (except in Quebec, where women were enfranchised in 1940).
Suffrage Blotter, (1917). Rectangular, White Blotter. openMOV. H994.30.9
Historically, many other groups have been excluded from accessing the right to vote. In 1993 persons with diagnosed mental disabilities were given the right to vote for the first time. In 1970 the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and ten years before that in 1960, First Nations living on reserve were given the right to vote for the first time. There remains further work to be done in order to ensure the vote be fully accessible. Of concern are Young voters (18-35) who have the lowest turn out among registered voters.
Of course it’s not only the non-partisan institutions that have an interest in making the vote as broadly accessible as possible. A quick look through the MOV’s online collections database openMOV, yields an interesting attempt by a political candidate to get the youth vote out during the 50’s. This faux pep pill containing Teresa Galloway’s political platform on a mini-scroll of paper, was handed out to notify voters that “our city hall needs a tonic … A woman of action can supply pep and vigor.”
Theresa Galloway Election Campaign Capsule, (1955). Plastic, Paper, Ink. openMOV.
Elections BC’s efforts to ensure fair and accessible elections that represent the political will of the electorate is a work in progress. Here at the MOV, we are also constantly working on how to make our collections more accessible in order to provoke, engage, and animate Vancouverites around our shared material and cultural history.
After exploring our online collection political artifacts, reading up on the candidates (of past and present), get out there and vote today!
Engage with the political life of your city and province!
By Craig Scharien
My own sex education at school (in the mid ‘90s) was not exactly memorable, but there are a couple sections of Sex Talk in the City that remind me of that time of my life. The group of white desks with graffiti all over them certainly conjure up memories of boredom and a lack of true sexual understanding. The other is the giant black cougar on a striking red wall.
For anyone who was watching movies in the 1960s all the way to the 80’s in British Columbia it is easy to recognize the restricted cougar icon that once acted as a warning about questionable content in film. When I was a kid all it meant was that I wasn’t able to watch anything with the cougar on it. The cougar and the fact that it was forbidden meant that I spent a lot of time scouring the restricted section at Canadian Tire (they used to have movies to rent, believe it or not) looking for a movie I could get away with suggesting to my parents.
These days there are boring rating systems that include things like “18A”, but back then the cougar was a symbol of coarse language, violence, nudity and obscenity in general for movies. It was developed by the BC Film Classification Board and the BC Chief Censor, Ray MacDonald at the time. The hope was that the iconic symbol would help raise public awareness of R-rated films. The cougar plays a very effective role at Sex Talk, by reminding many of us of the way censorship has been approached in our province.
It is also a vehicle for articulating an important point – that obscenity is often in the eye of the beholder. Within the exhibition, it has allowed the Museum to present sexually explicit material and stories of censorship by allowing the visitor to opt in to that element of BC’s history. If you are curious you can take a peek through the holes in the cougar to learn about pivotal moments in the history of the production, consumption and censorship of sexually explicit materials. Like the red drawers in the bedroom section of the exhibition the decisions are left to the visitor, thus making moments of discovery just a bit more and powerful.
By Arleigh McKerlich
Now that the days are becoming warmer and sunnier, Vancouverites are returning to a long-time favourite recreation spot: English Bay Beach.
Residents of Vancouver have been flocking to "First Beach" since the earliest days of the city. Called "Ayyulshun" (soft under feet) by the First Nations people, the name “English Bay” commemorates the meeting of Captain George Vancouver, along with Spanish captains Valdes and Galiano, in 1792. (This is also how Spanish Banks received its name.)
The beach was opened for recreation in 1893, sand was added in 1898, and by 1900 the Davie Street tram line made it accessible to residents from all over Vancouver. Residents built a pier, summer cottages, a dance hall called "the Prom", and a bathhouse. The original structures were all built out of wood, but the current concrete bathhouse was built in 1932.
As early as 1913, visitors to English Bay who had forgotten their bathing suits could rent one (10 cents for an adult, 5 cents for a child) along with towels and lockers. The wool suits were rented until the 60s at the majority of Vancouver’s beaches.
In 1939, the bathhouse was converted into the city's first aquarium featuring Oscar the Octopus but by 1956, the aquarium facility was closed and manager Ivar Haglund moved to Seattle and started up a seafood business (Ivar’s Acres of Clams).
Today the bathhouse has new uses, including acting as a stage during the Celebration of Lights each summer and drawing record numbers of people to its sandy shore.
This week's MOVments has us thinking about what it means to make a mark (both literally and figuratively) on the city and beyond. From neighbourhood banners, landmark treaties, and public infrastructure we are exploring the ways that Vancouver is being marked, shaped, and influenced by the people who live here.
Kits Pride. In Kitsilano, residents are marking their streets with signs that proclaim their love for the neighbourhood. The Kitsilano Neighbourhood House started the 'Kits Me-Love the hood you're in!' project to give locals the opportunity to share what makes the area special to them. Each banner features a photograph of the contributor and a quote, with people talking about everything from Kitsilano's walkability to its famous farmers' market.
Treaty Approved. After some hiccups, the Sliammon First Nation has approved a treaty with the federal and provincial governments. The agreement will give the Sunshine Coast group 8,300 hectares of land and $30 million over 10 years. Chief Clint Williams takes a practical view of the milestone event, saying "Now the real hard work starts."
Vancouver: Richest Canadian City (For Now). Nationally, Vancouver has set a record by coming in as the country's richest city for 2011 according to Environics Analytics WealthScapes. But there's speculation about how long this will last given the level of debt financing happening in Vancouver. And there's also the little matter of the declining housing market.
Velo City. As Luke Brocki reports, Vancouver is a long way off from being the benchmark in cycling infrastructure and bike-ability. In this case, it looks like we'll need to take cues from cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, and Portland. Global experts at last month's Velo-city bike planning conference challenged Vancouver to move beyond helmet issues to creating more separated bike lanes and increasing the total number of trips taken by bikes.
Seawall Politics. Controversy continues to swirl around what would be a new line drawn on the city: a proposed continuation of the seawall linking Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach. Critics have been quick to point out the cost involved and the problems associated with private funding of public works. As OpenFile reports, Vancouverites have historically been pretty outspoken about what happens with our public spaces, and the seawall is no exception.
At the MOVeum:
August 18 - MEMBERS ONLY Art Deco Chic: Talk & Tour with Ivan Sayers
[Image: Vancouver bike path. Photo by Charles Lamoureux]
Vancouver got hot this week, and the people have flooded back to the streets! Before we get sunstroked, this week’s MOVments attempt to hydrate you, dear reader, on thoughtful events from around Vancouver and Canada.
The City of Vancouver wants you to combat glass-tower syndrome with a touch of green. They’ve announced two-million dollars in grants for the Greenest City Fund. Need inspiration? Check out the latest Nerd Jam event on turning streets into parks. Who knows, maybe our next exhibit will be a comparison of New York- styled high lines, rather than Dubai-esque sea walls.
On the industrial fence, Vancouver prepares to demolish a 100-year old school house, designated as having significant historical and cultural value. It appears seismic upgrades are too expensive for the large brick building. In its wake, perhaps a mini-school could replace this large antiquated schoolhouse? Some Gastown residents are making due with only 226 square feet of breathing room - in what is known as a, ‘micro-loft’. If that’s not enough leg-room for you, maybe you’d like to get out of town on a spacious “Bolt Bus”. This extremely cheap bus service transits between Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland for as little as $1 each way. Personally, I find this very confusing.
Provincially, BC marks a significant move this month with an official apology for internment of Japanese Canadians.
At the MOVeum:
May 24 - Vintage Voltage! MOV Youth Council - Free - rsvp to email@example.com
May 31 - MOV AGM - come vote, meet the board and MOV staff. Exclusive talk and tour from Ivan Sayers
June 2 - Swaporama
June 8 - Dapper/Flapper Formal
Lost your compass and looking for the path creatively travelled? This hand-illustrated map of Vancouver has delighted the audience engagement office at the MOV. We love coming across artistic gems like “they draw and travel” which celebrate unique perspectives on the world. Here’s another, which takes a “higher” perspective on mapping the city’s history.
There are some maps, however, that make us queasy – particularly the map that draws a thick oily squiggle into Burrard Inlet care of daily Kinder Morgan oil tankers cruising along our captivating coastline. Vancouver’s Mayor Robertson seems to feel the same and has sent a warning cry to citizens in his Vancouver Sun op-ed article. Read it.
Then there are some trails that carve themselves. Like the bamboo bicycle trail. A new venture in Vancouver is seeing the procurement of bamboo bike frames as a way to increase sustainability and local production of transportation materials. If you’re interested, they’ll be at “Bike the Blossoms” http://www.vcbf.ca/events/bike-the-blossoms this Saturday, and the upcoming Sustainability Expo http://vancouver.epicexpo.com/. Not to be confused with the Fan Expo that happened over the past weekend.
Little did we know… YVR loves to dress up! Last weekend’s Fan Expo brought loads of people downtown dressed in their favourite superhero/ comic character/ legendary villain attire. Lucky you, the MOV is giving you a chance to dress up for our Mother’s Day High Tea @MOV – explore the Art Deco Chic exhibit in classic 1920’s style with your mum.
At the MOVeum: Art Deco Chic Curator’s Talk and Tour with Joan Seidl – May 3, 7-9
MOV Walking Tours are back! Home: An Exploration takes place May 6, 10:30am
[Image: Illustrated by Adela Kang c/o They Draw and Travel]
Despite our efforts to bring people together over stimulating talks and exhibits, the conversation of “Lonely Vancouver” has reared its lonely head once again. Luckily, however, this time it comes with a well-written and somewhat rousing remedy: Rent-A-Friend. Do you find yourself yearning for occasional companionship? If Rent A Friend is up your alley, you might want to consider this bubbling compilation of events around town as date-options. Careful, it might make Vancouver seem fun and action packed.
In Burnaby, one woman is aiming to build, not only a network of friends, but an entire community of empowered immigrants. Through launching a community market in her Edmonds neighborhood, Lubna Abdelrahman is a shining example of the type of leadership Vancouver needs to embrace. Speaking of which, did you know there is a free market taking place this Sunday in Grandview park?
While the “Regeneration” dialogues around transportation and sustainability continue this week, some are calling the series a new platform for public engagement with the City. Indeed. On the contrary, forty years ago, the City’s idea of public engagement consisted of possibly the most daring act of grant-giving in the enactment of a Town Fool.
And on that note, we leave you with some contemporary, digital tomfoolery.
What do you think? Next MOV exhibit, “#YVRlolz”?
The quest for truth is always on our heels, and as many of us head into Easter, this week is no different. In true Vancouver fashion, “chicken classes for urban farmers”, aims to teach us which barnyard animal truly lays the Easter eggs around here. On the other side of the proverbial fence, Vancouver is just shy of joining the ranks of online cities using techno-power to engage tourists and citizens. Interestingly, however, green-thumbed gardeners are using their ithumbs to connect garden-to-garden. Now if only there was an app to actually garden the garden…
Local robot-lover and handsome musician Dan Mangan has walked away with two Juno awards including best new artist. Luckily, the witty folks at CBC Music provide some helpful tips on how to win a Juno. At MOV, we wonder all these years later, whether or not it was the hard work and enthusiasm of folks like Red Robinson who led the way for Vancouver’s thriving musical-talent base. In recognition, Happy Birthday Red Robinson!
In contrast, in Northern BC young people are adamantly opposing the Enbridge Pipeline project by declaring a hunger strike. Check out this video on the Tyee’s website http://thetyee.ca/Video/ for more information. In tying together ideas of political willpower and video production, a video contest is asking participants to pontificate on how parliament would look with a 75% female cast (rather than the current 75% male representation). Good question - particularly as we hear the news that CBC is being forced to cut 650 jobs in the next three years.
At the MOVeum: MOV Youth Council begins this week! Congratulations to the participants. We look forward to meeting you.
Additionally, Ivan Sayer’s Curator’s Talk and Tour is this Thursday April 5, 2012 is SOLD OUT. Next opportunity is June 7 - book early! Or, at our MOV AGM, which is for MEMBERS only, and May 30
Take Down The Giant Sign Now – a demand, yes, but also the name of a very concerned group of residents urging for the removal of the bright and blaring 1500 sq foot signs outside newly minted BC place. At MOV, it sounds very reminiscent of the storyline of our current exhibit, Neon Vancouver Ugly Vancouver. Except we probably won’t be celebrating the anniversary of digital signs in the same nostalgic way we look at Vancouver’s chic old neon signage. Happy birthday, neon tube!
In other land-use matters, things are heating up in Mt Pleasant too. The Rize development is hearing a lot of negative feedback from neighborhood residents worried about the future of affordability in the eastside; a frustration which, apparently, dates back centuries in our fair city.
Token words? A small, yet audacious, mayor and council on Vancouver Island is challenging the current legislation and casting a broad political net for the decriminalization of marijuana. We’d love your thoughts on this! While you’re debating the challenges and benefits, take a listen to up-and-coming, Pleasure Cruise, a brand new local indie-surf rock band. One thing's for sure, this city doesn’t lack artistic merit.
And neither does this museum in London, which is unveiling the world’s largest pieces of cloth made from spider silk.
MOVeum-related event: Re:generation – How we Move our City, Wednesday January 25.
New years resolution? Maybe do go for that jog and get your bum muscles prepared for some cycle commuting. Seems BC transit wants to increase our already ridiculously high bus fare rates, while elsewhere, innovative small businesses are figuring out ways to implement a bike sharing system in Vancouver that is conducive to our mandatory helmet laws.
Or – you can just take your laughs while you still can, and ride around public transit with your pants off until they listen!
It might even help you swing some romance in the so-called ‘cruel’ dating world of Vancouver. A recent article in VanMag has facebook and twitter alight with cat vs. dog understandings of what it’s like to find love in the city of glass. Reminds me of those videos we made a few years back citing the MOV as the perfect place for a date. What are your thoughts?
Up North, BC First Nations in Kitimaat Village, Hartley Bay, The Dogwood Initiative, and other so called “radical environmentalists” (as named by the Tories this week), are standing up for the future of their communities and the environment by participating loudly in the Northern Gateway hearings.
Down to the lower mainland, Vancouver Coastal Health is strongly considering the addition of supervised injection services at a number of its clinics.
At the MOVeum: Come check out Neon Vancouver/ Ugly Vancouver!
(photo credit: B.C. Electric files at the Vancouver Archives.)