As of 2007, multi national oil companies have been shipping 700,000 barrels of crude oil from the tar sands through Vancouver’s harbor. Previously, crude oil made its way to the refinery via pipelines, but recently two large tankers have been spotted passing through the Burrard inlet carrying three times the amount of oil discharged by the Exxon Valdez spill. The dirty secret was revealed when a man spotted the tankers outside his office window passing under the Lions Gate Bridge. After a few days of inquiry, he discovered that no public process or debate had been conducted on the use of Vancouver’s harbor as an official tar sand port. With the countless oil spills that have taken place up to date, it is well known that the risk associated with a potential spill has indeed become a certainty. British Columbia is home to the richest ecosystem in Canada, it has become refuge for 17 keystone species of carnivores and holds spawning grounds to over 5 species of salmon indigenous to the coastal waters. Fishing is a critical sector in British Columbia’s economy, it contributes to more than $1.9 billion in revenues to the provincial economy and accounts for more than $601 million in GDP annually. It is the primary sector that supports first nations – an oil spill is something we simply could not afford.
Members of No Tanks, the Wilderness Committee and Greenpeace held a rally last Sunday calling for a public process to ban oil tankers off the BC coast. A large group of ships and kayakers gathered around the Lions Gate bridge voicing their concerns to media and government officials. As British Columbians, it is our responsibility to turn these tanks around – so let’s say No Thanks, No Tanks.
One of the fun fan passions at any Olympics is collecting pins. You can spot the collectors on the streets here in Gastown and around Vancouver because their lapels or sleeves are aglitter with pins from competing nations, exhibits, sponsors, etc. Each pin is a special memory or, if you traded for it with someone you just met on the street or at a venue, a new friend. Still, not all pins are created equal. When HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco pinned Yang Zho Cho at a party at Bob Rennie’s new gallery in Chinatown,
the Prince also was welcoming Mr. Cho as an official ambassador for the Peace and Sport Foundation.
Prince Albert is Peace and Sports High Patron. For those who just tuned in, he is the son of the late Prince Ranier and Princess Grace, a.k.a. movie mega-star Grace Kelly.
Mr. Cho, the chairman of Hanjin Group and Korean Air, also is chairman of the Korea Table Tennis Association and active in the sport internationally.
He is the tenth ambassador of Peace and Sport, the first from Asia. Joel Bouzou, president of Peace and Sport and a former Olympic medalist and modern pentathlon world champion, was here for the event. So too was Canada’s Charmaine Crooks, among many other current and past Olympians. Bob Rennie’s stunning $10-million space is the Athletes Reunion Centre for these Winter Games and champions past and present have been dropping by.
Peace and Sport, launched in 2007, sponsors programs in the third world that increase access to sport for young people. Not professional sport or top-tier competition such as the Olympics ‹ just kids having fun at the community level, breaking down barriers while learning about mutual respect and fair play.
Someone should give them a medal. Or a pin at least.
Several days following the international Help-Portrait event, the team at Jonathan Cruz Photography and the many amazing volunteers are still reeling from an extraordinary day spent with some extraordinary people.
The crew set up shop at the Carnegie Library in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown eastside. It was snowing lightly – the perfect day to come inside, have something warm to drink and have your family portrait taken by one of five local photographers, volunteering their time to give back to the community.
It was a busy day, snapping pics, running to and from Gastown Photo (who kindly donated all the beautiful black and white prints!), and framing each portrait for our subjects. All the frames were donated by Homewerx on Davie Street – stop in and check them out – and we were also fortunate enough to have five fabulous makeup artists on hand to gussy up all the gals before each shoot. Special thanks to William F. White International for donating all the lighting and equipment and Off-Set rentals for the makeup stations!
The purpose of the event was to demonstrate that each and every member of our community matters and everyone deserves to have their photo taken with their loved ones. The positive response from the community lead to nearly 400 people having their portraits taken that day.
Thanks to all the many volunteers that made this event a success and a big congrats to all the other events around the world! See you next year.
Philanthropy and photography will go hand-in-hand December 12th as local shooters set up shop in the downtown eastside to photograph families for the holiday season. As the newest member of the Jonathan Cruz team, I seem to have arrived at a good time. Aside from the edgy glamour of Gastown, teeming with artsy folks and film sets galore, I find myself working among some truly dedicated people. Dedicated to giving back to their community at a time of year where it always seems to mean the most.
Help-Portrait is a movement that started with one Nashville-based photographer, who set out to create a social network to engage and inspire photographers around the world to give back to their communities in the form of a photograph. This quickly spread world-wide and I’m excited to get involved here in Vancouver with Jonathan and his crew of talented volunteers.
We’ll be setting up shop at the Carnegie Library on the corner of Main Street and E Hastings Street on Saturday, December 12 from 10am-7pm or until the last shot has been snapped. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello!
Follow the Help-Portrait movement on Twitter or visit http://www.help-portrait.com/ for more information on how you can get involved or coordinate an event in your community.
Guest blogger – Heather Magee