21 Feb What’s gentrification in Vancouver’s DTES?

My neighbourhood of Gastown and the Vancouver Downtown Eastside is again in the hotseat.

As a new restaurant called Pigdin just opened up across the street from Pigeon Park, a busy gathering space in the poverty-sticken Downtown Eastside within the astronomically pricey Vancouver downtown, demonstrators have been often lingering out front with signs shouting things like, “Feed the hungry, eat the rich.”

These “anti-poverty activists” surely have every reason to demonstrate peacefully (if you can ignore claimed shining flashlights into patrons eyes). And yes, this neighbourhood has had long lasting debate about its population and support for those living there. Here, they are crying gentrification. Thankfully, the restaurant management has acted with remarkable constraint.

But there’s a problem. Gastown is becoming one of the hottest neighbourhoods in an increasingly expensive city. Here comes a financially backed restaurant to bring business (and perhaps taste and culinary attention) into the area. Just because you can’t afford to rent in the same place as you’ve always lived, doesn’t mean you have a right to stay.

If you’re hard working, middle or upper middle class family looking to buy in Vancouver, you’re probably getting on the highway driving away from the downtown core until you can afford something you like. Now, are these people protesting?

As for me, I’m looking forward to trying it out for dinner sometime soon.

That’s the argument. Embrace business and culture in your neighbourhood. Don’t cry gentrification. And let me have your best debate.

Read More

13 Aug Garneau Evolution Annual Charity Ride

Re-posted from Facebook here

Cycling this year has been tremendously important to me, and I owe a lot of it to my team Garneau Evolution — I couldn’t have done it without their support and encouragement. We don’t just race bikes though, we also strive to give back to the community. And this Saturday August 18 is our annual charity ride. Our team and friends are riding from Vancouver to Whistler and back to Vancouver IN ONE DAY, riding over 260km to raise money for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and support directly hospitals and kids with medical needs.

I just made a donation and appreciate beyond words any amount you can too.

And if you want to join us, or for the shorter (also organized) 140km round trip to Squamish and back, please send me a message and/or check out

Support cycling, a local bike team, and, mostly, children in need.

If you’re not looking to donate money, please like, comment, ask, or spread the word. Thanks.

Read More

22 Feb Mt Baker ski area, big and tiny

As Mt Baker, a ski area in northern Washington state, is getting pummeled by snow this year, it’s amazing to think about the scope of this little ski hill on the massive flanks of heavily glaciated, active volcano Mount Baker. Well, actually, the ski hill is on the arm of Mt Shuksan, but nearly hugs the ridgeline over to Mt Baker. What amazes me about this little ski hill is not just the amazing amount of snow it gets every year (1140″ in 1998-99) or the access to phenomenal sidecountry skiing, but how it’s still just a tiny sliver of the volcano massif (inbounds ski hill as outlined in blue in the picture here) and how the highest lift served peak is 5689 vertical feet below the summit of Mt Baker, ie. more than the entire vertical drop of Whistler/Blackcomb or Revelstoke, the most in North America. The real world, via Google Earth, can still blow us away.


Read More

16 Nov Why I Ski

I’m always excited at the prospect of winning some free stuff, and SKIER magazine is giving away Dana Flahr’s setup. The signup form also asks: “Why do you ski?” Why, I thought… it’s been so many years, since I was two years old, every fall I get impatient, every winter since I’ve slid down hills, and the cycle continues. My answer:

A mountain is a craggy, unforgiving, inhospitable, massive thing. But cover it with layers of snow and me with skis and it’s a maneuverable playground, of mostly soft landings, smooth gliding, and bursts of yelling. But it’s still unpredictable and the gift for a lifetime.

Here’s to winning.

Read More

08 Nov Movember. Talk about it.

I finally decided to grow a moustache, but don’t worry — it’s temporary and for a cause! The month of November is also know as “Movember” — a genuine campaign to bring awareness to men’s health and prostate cancer. It’s serious business:

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It accounts for over a quarter (27%) of new cancer cases in men. Even 1 in 7 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yet prostate cancer is over 90% curable.

So I’m walking around with a moustache these days, and it’s an excellent catalyst to get people talking about these issues and opening up about men’s health in general.

I just set up a page online to accept donations. I’m really looking mostly to be part of the swarm of moustache-laden men talking about Movember, but happy to have my page as a donation page for Prostate Cancer Canada and Movember.

Check it out at

Thanks for your support — I don’t do this often (or often enough).

Hello #Movember

Are you a Mo Bro? Put your Mo link in the comments below! I’ll keep track of all of my bros and lady-bros doing Movember.

Daniel Reitman
Kevin El-Hayek

Read More

10 Nov Marathon #2: Victoria, Canada

As if completing 2/4 endurance goals for 2009 wasn’t enough, I had to put in one last attempt at a third. And of course I had to choose a marathon. What a dumb idea! I had been doing 40-50km weeks, then went traveling abroad for a month to England and Scotland. Impressively I managed to keep up some volume there. You see, I was planning on potentially doing the Victoria Half Marathon, but alas it was sold out WAY in advance. Seems like everyone wants to do half marathons these days!

Ok, let’s go for the full. I registered in the final week after determining that my body could handle a big 120km week (not sure how my body handled that torturous bump), then a 95km week, and a taper week. I was running great, but could I handle a full marathon at race pace (4 minute kilometers)?

Standing at the start line, I thought, just enjoy each kilometer. Get into a comfortable pace, eat and drink properly, and take it as it comes.

I was nailing my paces according to my GPS watch. At the halfway, I started working the km’s down to 3:52s, but always preparing for the pain starting at 32km. I actually didn’t even feel it until the last 5km. The km’s went down to 4:10s. And I slipped across the line in 2:49 plus change — much closer than I thought!

Victoria Marathon

Victoria Marathon

Victoria Marathon

Victoria Marathon

Read More