Thursday 27 November 2008


This funeral chapel was not part of the Eastside Culture Crawl. But it was on my way from one gallery to another. This was shot about 3:00 in the afternoon and the shadows are cast by transformer towers or telephone poles in the lane behind me. 

This is part of Downtown Eastside, Canada's poorest postal code. What I suspect is the largest open drug market in the world is here. Junkies are a common sight. The area isn't less safe than other parts of the city but some pockets are real eye-openers and not recommended for delicate constitutions. 

The problems plaguing the DTES are daunting and complex. I wouldn't want to seem to be making light of them. Nor would I let any politician off the hook. They are not doing enough to help the victims of poverty and addiction and to clean up crime in the area. 

Every once in a while I have to get on my soapbox. 


Kris McCracken said...

I had the good fortune to attend a conference in Sydney earlier this week at which a fellow by the name of Dr Mark Tyndall spoke about his work around HIV and Hepatitis C in the DTES community.

It was at once bleak and encouraging. From both an academic and policy position, some really innovative and productive work is being done in Vancouver, and progress is being made, but as you suggest, more could be done.

Virginia said...

I love it when you climb up on that soapbox. Let er rip! I also like this nice clean photo with the grand shadows. One of my favs I think.

Jane Hards Photography said...

Never ever apologise for getting on your soapbox- from the world's biggest soapbox hogger. Shows the camera lies. To me it's a brilliant image, the lone figure in motion, the ;ight and shadows- then I read the narrative which puts it in context. With your soapbox we wouldn't know the realism.

Hilda said...

Sometimes, governments needs more people on soapboxes so they'd listen. Carry on, Wayne.

Jill said...

My first thoughts were of such a clean, white structure, a chapel no less, and the wonderful long shadows. To hear of the state of this area puts a very different slant to it. To lose one's way in life is a great loss, but hope and a genuine helping hand can redeem.

Benjamin Madison said...

Interesting post and photo and a good link to the wiki article. when I was a kid (in the 50's) the area around Main and Hastings was known as skid row (another interesting Wikipedia article - seems this term may actually have originated in Vancouver.)

Benjamin Madison said...

Also, an interesting post in light of Vancouver's position as one of the world's best cities to live in; that at the city's heart there has been for a half century or more this festering spot that just won't go away.

Kim said...

The shot drew me in (I love the light, shadow, building, letters, person in movement, etc.), then your text educated me. You look good on a soapbox, Wayne.

Good grief, if Kris on an island in NZ is hearing lectures from people working with the DTES population, makes me ashamed of my complete ignorance that BC harbors a place so deeply incongruous with my image of her. So, professor, thanks for the eye opener. :-)