We moved Antarctica from funky fashionable Yaletown to smack in the middle of Vancouver’s downtown core. We got more space, better space, escaped our bubble-era lease, saved big bucks, so the move was a no-brainer. The downtown experience is way different; among other things we have front-row seats at a hot flashpoint in the coffee culture wars. Plus, I finally got a picture that shows how Vancouver really looks.

First of all, here’s the picture; when it’s not sunny the Pacific Northwest has a quality of light that’s not like anywhere else but is hard to photograph. You’d think the best way would be to use mountains and trees as a backdrop, but it turned out that a reflective glass building did the trick. Worth enlarging, if only for the geometry.

Vancouver skyline

Coffee Culture Wars · We’re on the twelfth floor of one of a pair of towers; thus the lobby is two-sided. One side has a Starbucks (not a very good one, they don’t have short cups), the other a Tim Horton’s.

Tim Horton’s outlet

For the non-Canadians in the crowd, Tim Horton’s is a coffee-and-doughnuts chain that is quite central to our national identity up here. The coffee is decent and as the sign says always fresh, and the doughnuts are way up there, really outstanding. Plus it’s fast, plus it’s cheap.

For the Canadians, remember that Tim Horton’s ad on TV back in the Eighties, about how the girls had to keep pouring the coffee out because it was blizzarding and the boys hadn’t made it in? I’ve seen people get misty-eyed over that ad.

Anyhow, in our office lobby, both Starbucks and Tim’s do a roaring business pretty well dawn to dusk. It’s really archetypal, on one side funky baristas, on the other uniformed MacJob victims. But I gotta say C$2.00 for a medium coffee and, say, a chocolate-glazed is one of life’s major bargains.

Anyhow, kitty-corner to our building is Trees coffee shop, which has organic coffees roasted in-store, better than Starbucks and cheaper, and they get my biz, except when I need a doughnut.

Geometry · Yaletown was all brick buildings and fashion victims. Down here, it all happens faster and everything’s under construction; oh, the geometry!

Storefront under construction

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September 17, 2003
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