Elevate the Everyday

We enjoyed a busy summer and are so thankful for our contributors in August. We hope they will continue to be a part of this blog as they added so much to it. Thank you Anita, Laura and Tommy.

We chose this week’s theme, Elevate The Everyday, in homage of the founder of Shutter Sisters, Tracey Clark. We thought it would be fitting as we will be joining Tracey and the other Shutter Sisters towards the end of this month to click away in Palm Springs at Camp Oasis!


Tamar Haytayan

September for me is usually a time of renewal, of new beginnings, of reinvention and of many possibilities. This is so true for me more than the start of any new year.

The corner of Charles and Commercial has a special place in my heart. It is where I turn right from Commercial to make my way home, several times a day. I could turn right on any other street but I choose this one. This decision elevates me, it is a place of familiarity and it is a place where I am most likely to stop and linger for a moment to admire the colours of the vibrant flower arrangements at The Flowerbox. Most of the time I end up taking a picture of ‘where I am standing’ amongst this beauty and yes, of course it goes on Instagram.

This ritual makes me appreciate life, makes me say thank you for being able to see, smell and sometimes gently touch the flowers.

Right next to The Flowerbox, another familiar and favourite place is Little Nest. The place where I frequented with my second child and acquired memories of relaxed coffees with friends who were with newborns too. It is a place where I would choose to go alone and have a coffee and something yummy if my time permitted.

So, in honour of elevating our everyday, this is what elevates me most days in this lovely nook in East Vancouver.

– Cherish Bryck

Our habitual, commonplace activities seem to fill in the cracks between the big moments, the highs, the milestones and special moments in life.  We need those daily rituals to remind us that life is full of the good, the bad and even sometimes the very mundane.  When I am able to turn my camera on the routine, ordinary events of my life, I elevate them to a new perspective – a new understanding.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are any less of a pain in the butt, or less tedious etc., but I get a chance to slow down, observe and even sometimes savour these passing moments.

Grocery shopping is not something I like to do, but well, it’s on the list of things I need to get done every week.  On the Westside, we are inundated with food stores and I usually like to support my local store owners in Kitsilano.  However, sometimes I just have to go into one of the big chain stores to pick us some necessities that aren’t available at the smaller outlets.  I loathe shopping at the big box stores.  I dislike the whole experience.  The other day I shifted my perspective (and mood) by narrowing in on the pattern of the shopping carts and enjoyed how the lovely September light was streaming in through the big windows.  This small gesture turned the unremarkable into the remarkable. Celebrating the everyday.

“An authentic life is the most personal form of worship. Everyday life has become my prayer.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach



City reflection, Vancouver reflections, reflection,

Reflection of a man

Can’t is not in his vocabulary!  I was walking along the Marinaside neigbourhood enjoying the evening and contemplating this week’s theme “Reflections”.  Walking along the street I watched as this rowboat slowly floated along the Marina waters. Even from where I was walking I could see the reflection was fantastic.  The water is so still and let’s face it, murky, in marinas; reflections come gift wrapped.

As I got closer, I noticed several people smiling and some even waving and giving the thumbs up as he slowly rowed his boat.  I walked ahead of him, waited and took the shot.  He stopped and smiled for the camera.  Suddenly, my camera went black.  My battery died!  I thanked him and he smiled back and rowed on.  As he made his way, I noticed that he only had one leg.  What an amazing individual.  This week’s theme became so inspirational to me.  What a human being!  I think my camera was telling me that I just got this week’s shot.  Thank you camera, and thank you lovely man in the row boat.
Guest Photographer, Anita Lee
Vancouver reflections

Vancouver skytrain reflection

I grew up shuttling back and forth between my father’s farm and my mother’s small town home. And I always longed for the city and its exotic glass and steel. The noise and wheels, wires and bunches of people. Buildings and people shining and reflected off of one another in a beautiful mass. I knew, eventually, I’d end up where those crowds were.
And now I move through them every day. I’ve never been a driver. It just somehow never happened. So modes of transit fascinate me, but are also an essential part of my daily life. I love the subways in world cities and the amount of bodies they can move so quickly. But I have a soft spot for our good old Vancouver Skytrain too.
Broadway and Commercial Station is arguably a stressful and busy place. A transfer hub for points in all directions. But there is also everything wonderful a city can be, right there in its own little mix.
Guest Photographer, Laura Krutz


Dykes on Bikes parade

Dykes on Bikes parade

I attended the first Vancouver Dyke March by happy accident. I was out walking with my baby daughter and friends and she started squealing at all the colour and excitement. The march starts at McSpadden Park, by my local school, and makes its way north along Commercial Drive to Grandview Park where there is a subsequent festival and live music. It is one of East Van’s major Pride Weekend events. This year the Dyke March and my daughter both turned nine. I’m happy to report they have both grown in beautiful, marvelous ways.

Guest Photographer, Laura Krutz

Damn it, you should be proud!  It’s summer in Vancouver.  No, I mean really summer: the sun is out; it’s 20 degrees at 7am; people’s spirits are up; convertibles are out; boats are coming in and out of False Creek; strollers trip over beach clad sunbathers at various downtown parks; and it’s absolutely, undeniably beautiful.  Everywhere you turn you are provided with a picture perfect postcard view and we take pride in that in our city.  We apologize for the rain most of the year; but this is when we celebrate our city.
That’s what the people at Lululemon decided to do by holding their first annual SeaWheeze Half Marathon .  Their mission is “to celebrate our hometown with the world by hosting the sweatiest, most fun run out there. Vancouver is our inspiration and we figured it was time to show our city some love!”  Not a bad reason to encourage people to wake up early on a Saturday morning and treat your body to an intense workout!
In fact, the pride I am really talking about is the personal pride that comes in the dedication, determination, and fearlessness that it takes to run a 1/2 marathon. It’s not just a meander along the seawall, or a leisurely walk across the bridge.  So much credit to all the people that were out there today.  Pockets of random people gathered to clap and cheer you on, or wave at you like people used to do to passing passenger trains in the country.  You should be proud of yourselves.  You busted your butts for this moment, this long, long moment.  You are true inspirations and I am proud of you! 

Guest Photographer, Anita Lee

Fair Fun

summer carnival

A few weeks ago the Westside got their party on at the Point Grey Fiesta.  This carnival is small scale, but perfect for people who want to stay local and enjoy some fair fun.  All of the quintessential fair accouterments were available.  Cotton candy, popcorn, over-priced games, a fake tattoo parlor and of course lots (well, enough) rides to thrill the younger crowds.  I hope this neighbourhood celebration continues to thrive.  It sure is a wonderful Westside event.

A week before the end of this school year, I had the pleasure of accompanying my son’s class to Playland. I had avoided it up until now to the surprise of many of the parents. I thought it would be too overwhelming and not really my cup of tea as the mere sight of some rides make me cringe. Well, look at this ride! It is called ATMOSFEAR (notice the ‘fear’ in italics), it will either excite you or make you want to just run away. However, needless to say, the children absolutely LOVED Playland and all that it had to offer (there is something for everyone). For a consistent 4 hours, they went from one ride to the other with big smiles on their faces. Some tried certain rides a few times over and over again. It was pure joy for me to witness this and another lesson of ‘never say never’. The parent who avoided this fun fair at all cost is now planning the next trip with full excitement.

Canada Day

What is Canada Day without a parade?  This year it was cold and damp.  I don’t recall such a cold July 1st.  Nevertheless, we Canadians are a hearty bunch and a little rain didn’t stop people from heading out to celebrate our beautiful country’s birthday.  I threw on my plaid jacket, grabbed a cup of steaming Tim Horton’s and was ‘aboot ‘ ready to join in the festivities.

We just celebrated Canada Day on July 1. Most communities across Vancouver organised live entertainmnet, activities, parades, and fireworks. In East Vancouver some salsa dancing was on the menu.

Community Garden

 I am big fan of community gardens.  I love the shared culture that they cultivate, the obvious beauty created, the local food producing aspect and the juxtaposition they bring to urban centres.  This photo was taken at Cypress Community Garden in Kistilano.  It runs along the train tracks off West 6th Avenue in between Cypress Street and Burrard Street.  It’s a beautiful place to walk and enjoy the greenery.  This is the “Philosophy” of the garden as per their website:

To promote organic gardening methods.
To foster inter-generational cooperation and community initiatives.
To enhance the beauty of the neighbourhood through the creation of a vibrant urban green space.
To contribute to sustainability through urban food production

It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

According to the City of Vancouver, there are 74 gardens with approximately 3260 garden plots total. And this number is increasing each year. A few years back, our tenants who subsequently became our friends, wanted to create a plot in our big front yard. We were happy for them to do it which surprised them as apparently landlords do not allow tenants to do that. It introduced me to gardening, and by no means can I call myself an avid gardener now, but I was grateful for the opportunity to learn a little about it. I saw the benefits it brought them and their 2 year old child at the time. Community gardening creates community, sustainability and freedom for people to eat fresh produce they have grown themselves. There is nothing better than having a salad with the tomatoes and lettuce you grew in your own garden, right? It is so sublime.