Posts Tagged ‘City of Vancouver’

Hope for calendar sales in the rain

November 24, 2011

Re-posted from the Hope in Shadows Blog with permission from Project Director Paul Ryan.

Over the next few months you might see Hope in Shadows vendors sporting new rain-proof bags, warm toques and large blue umbrellas.

The rain is more than annoying for many Vancouverites, but for the Hope in Shadows vendors, it’s more than an inconvenience – it really does affect sales. Vendors don’t have a choice if they want to sell the 2012 calendars as they are almost all sold on the street.

We’ve suspected for years that the rain affects calendar sales. In an effort to understand what was happening, we looked at the calendar sales results over several years and noticed a trend: when the “pineapple express” rain hits Vancouver in November and December (usually several fronts coming in from the Pacific Ocean, one after another causing many days of unrelenting rain), sales of the calendar dip. If the rains come in November, but we have a dryer December, November will be the slow month. If November is mostly dry, but December wet, sales will be slow in December.

The bags were made locally by Common Thread, a non-profit operated by the Kettle Friendship Society, also a location of one of our calendar vendor training workshops. Common Thread creates employment for groups such as newcomers to Canada and Aboriginal communities, and is also based in the Downtown Eastside.

I spoke to Common Thread’s vice-president and co-founder Jenette MacArthur who says the people making the bags were women who, like Hope in Shadows vendors, thrive in a flexible work environment. Melanie Conn, who coordinated the making of the bags says that they were made by people who, for a variety of reasons, wouldn’t fit into a formal manufacturing setting. Like Hope in Shadows, Common Thread has an overriding social purpose. “We don’t usually have a customer (such as Hope in Shadows) where we’re so in sync.”

Fairware, who sourced and branded the toques and umbrellas with the Hope in Shadows logo, is a local company dedicated to high standards both environmentally and socially.

The uniform purchase was a team effort. We were very happy to have the financial support of the City of Vancouver and the Betty Averbach Foundation.

City of Vancouver supports public drinking water stations

December 14, 2010

The following article was written by Serena Calder (@serena_calder) and re-posted with the permission of Hilary Henegar (@granvillemag).  The piece originally appeared on Granville Online’s Eds. et. al. blog on August 30, 2010.

It’s a sunny afternoon and you’re walking along the Seawall when you realize you forgot your reusable water bottle. You’re thirsty, and faced with a choice: either stop at the concession stand up ahead to buy bottled water, or wander around nearby parks in search of a public drinking fountain that may or may not work.

Boosting public drinking fountains is one way Vancouver is helping to say “good-bye” to the plastic bottle

As the City of Vancouver works to phase out bottled water and raise awareness of the high quality of municipal tap water supplies, it confronts the challenges of increasing accessibility and awareness of public tap water sources, like drinking fountains.

A portable water fountain at the northeast corner of Commercial and Broadway. The City of Vancouver has added four more stations around town.

Sarah Messel, of the City’s engineering services department, said Vancouver has about 250 drinking fountains maintained by the Board of Parks, and about 25 maintained by the engineering department, but so far no convenient way for residents to locate them.

“Our goal is to have all the locations on our Vanmap and open data service,” Messel said, adding that this should be finished this summer.

Even if people knew where to find the fountains, the question remains whether or not people would use them. An April 2009 administrative report to the city services and budget committee notes many people perceive drinking fountains as dirty and unhygienic, and often used as a water source for dogs or by the homeless for bathing.

The inscription on the water fountain at Victory Square in Vancouver reads, "Donated to the Citizens of Vancouver by Mary Stewart, 1960."

But Kareece Goh, an Australian traveler, thinks that Vancouver’s public fountains and taps are great, especially because of Metro Vancouver’s water quality (called “the purest tap water in the world” by some).

“It tastes a lot better than the water back home,” she said. “I’ve been here for two and a half months and I’ve been drinking tap water all the time.”

Improving public perception is just one factor in encouraging increased tap water consumption. Currently, drinking fountains are turned off from November to April. In order to boost the role of drinking fountains in a move towards tap water reliance, Messel says the City is piloting two freeze-resistant water fountains that can function throughout winter, and installing little taps on the outside of buildings for residents to refill water bottles.

Messel is hopeful about these developments. “There is a need for fountains, but there is also a need for these taps,” she said. “I think that’s going to expand quite a bit.”

Fairware at the Olympics: Vancouver House

March 22, 2010

During the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Fairware was featured in Vancouver House. The City of Vancouver set up the “House” to highlight the city’s Green Capital Initiative. The Vancouver Green Capital brand is at the heart of the creation of a robust, long-term economic strategy that will guide the City’s pursuit of economic opportunities around the world.

The exhibit included products and images from many innovative and sustainability-focused businesses in Vancouver. We were proud to be in such cool company – profiled along with Vancouver based businesses Fluevog Shoes and  Red Flag Designs.

We recently uploaded some photos of the exhibit to our Flickr site. You can view them HERE.

To learn more about the City of Vancouver’s Green Capital initiative, click HERE.

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