Tag Archives: Vancouver

Lest We Forget

The base of the cenotaph at Grandview Park 11/11/11.

I actually tear up with gratitude every Nov. 11. Usually, it’s during the final resonate notes of The Last Trumpet. This year was no different. I remember my Grandfather who drove armoured cars and was among the first Canadians into Holland.

This year my thoughts also wandered to the powerful story of Sgt. Gerald Walter Flower who took a few moments of his time and did an interview with me last year for a Remembrance Day assignment. I have thought about Flower a lot over the last year and I was happy to se that he was at the Cenotaph again today. Read his story in the original layout here or pasted below.

Sgt. Gerald Walter Flower 2010

A Survival Story

During the second world war, Gerald Walter Flower was a flight sergeant with the Royal Air Force, serving as the tail gunner for Lancaster Bomber Squadron 115. His crew did 21 operations over Germany before they were shot down and taken as prisoners of war.

Flower was a PoW for four years, spending time in various camps, including one called Breslow near the Polish-German border.

In the prison camps each day he was given only a cup of pea soup a tenth of a loaf of bread to eat. “Inside the pea soup was little black beetles, and we were all starving by then so it didn’t matter anymore,” said Flower.

As a prisoner, he spent much his time on the move. They were marched for 100 days through what Flower called, “the worst winter I ever saw.”

“[The Germans] used to take the Russian prisoners out every day and only half of them ever came back,” Flower said. He saw other atrocities, like prisoners being shot and a man crushed underneath a tank. “Some men were teated worse than dogs,” he said.

When Flower finally got out of the camp, he was sent back to Dublin where he began training again. This time he was to be sent to Japan. Fortunately, the war ended before he was deployed.

The day the war ended was one of the best days of his life. “I didn’t get released until after everything was over, but I made it,” said Flower.

Flower didn’t speak about the war for 10 years and was often tormented with nightmares of what he had survived. “My poor wife, I don’t know how she would put up with it,” he said.

Flower joined The Royal Canadian Legion in 1956, for comradeship, and has been a member of Grandview Branch, #176, ever since.

He calls Remembrance Day a very emotional day, and said, “I remember my crew because only four of us lived and three of them were killed so they come first in my mind.”

That’s A Wrap

Stylish and reasonably priced, a sarong is the Swiss Army knife of summer fashion.

My latest article on these breezy and versatile swaths of fabric for Frugalbits.com.

Vancouver Art Gallery opens WE: Vancouver


It is great to go to galleries to see familiar works of art, but the works in the new exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery are literally in your own backyard.

WE: Vancouver opened on Friday night and shows the work of over 40 new or recently exhibited projects by Vancouverites for Vancouverites.

From the seemingly banal components of Vancouver — like Kingsway or the Vancouver Special — to architecture, activism, and archiving; the exhibit asks us to stop looking outwards at Vancouver’s magnificent views and focus on what is in the city around us.

WE: Occupy, Carrall Street by Althea Thauberger

It is designed around Twelve Manifestos named for verbs. These action words suggest different ways of being in and thinking about the city.

Exhibition designer, Christian Kliegel, wanted people to think of the city and the gallery differently so he made some changes to the space itself. “Moving the walls was a way to change the way people move around the gallery and make the space more exciting,” Kliegel said, “It makes you look at the whole space differently… and the kids get pretty excited about it.”

Kliegel worked with exhibit curators Bruce Grenville and Kathleen Ritter to bring together cross-disciplinary practitioners who are interested in the city. “The kind of people who use the city as a way to produce work by thinking critically about what they are working on,” said Kliegel.

These practitioners produced a cocktail of spatial, visual, and auditory experiences. “I could tell you more” Kliegel said, “But the best thing is to just go and experience it for yourself.”

WE: Use, Mycologic Chandelier by Propellor Design

Take a peek at more of the contributors and their work  here.

WE: Vancouver is on now until May 1.