Saturday, April 13, 2013

A place to have dessert & time travel; Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery

With the weather changing for the better in the coming weeks and months, and the urge to indulge in  some cold treats beginning to overtake you, the Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery just might be the place to satisfy your feelings of nostalgia and taste.  For the full story with great photos, click the link below.

Vancouver Observer article below:

Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery scoops up ice cream and nostalgia

Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery delivers more than just ice cream, it dishes up some cultural history too.

Sitting down in the 1940s-style shop is an immersive experience. The attention to retro detail is fine — from the counter stools and soda fountain equipment to the musical soundtrack and staff uniforms and on to the menu items and candy for sale.
Opened in mid-March in Burnaby Heights, local residents Ron and Roberta LaQuaglia spent several months refurbishing the space to achieve the vintage look and feel.
The menu lists classic ice cream sodas, floats, shakes and sundaes. Cones, single or double-header, or cups are available for a portable treat.
A little modern touch recognizes the changing times — gluten-free cones plus a vegan ice cream option can be had as well.
Local ingredients are a feature of the shop.
Abbotsford's Birchwood Dairy supplies a variety of ice cream flavours, from the staples of vanilla and chocolate to more complex mixtures like caramel pecan fudge, French cherry ripple and black raspberry cheesecake. Its product contains 16 per cent butterfat which gives it a thick and creamy texture.
For toppings, the shop uses fruits and nuts from the Fraser Valley as available. Flavours like hot fudge, pineapple, strawberry, butterscotch, and peanut butter. Last weekend, blueberry sauce was on the menu made from fresh berries.
Pie comes from a couple of local women who run a bakery supplier called the Vancouver Pie Hole. Pair it with coffee for $6.
Aside from the simpler selections, there are the special sundaes like banana splits, the peanut butter supreme, and the Canadian Mint — mint chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge, toasted almonds, topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips. Prices for these range from $7 to $9.50.
The LaQuaglias have brought back some old school treats as well, like malts and egg creams. The latter is made with syrup, milk and seltzer. It's like a fizzy chocolate milk, says Ron.
Ron is originally from the east coast of the United States. His family used to routinely visit the local ice cream shop. He and Roberta were looking for a food or sweet-related business to open in the Burnaby Heights area.
They noticed there were many gelato shops in the Lower Mainland, but not a lot of ice cream shops. While looking into potential businesses, their research revealed old-time soda fountains were making a comeback in the U.S. The theme dovetailed from there.
They spent more time researching the fittings for the shop, like the six counter stools. A 1950s Hamilton Beach mixer stirs up tall aluminum tumblers of milkshakes.
They found the soda fountain in Washington State. A lucky find, Ron said, since these sorts of items have become popular in collector's circles. Plus, it only needed a few machine parts refurbished, otherwise it's all original, he said, adding its really the centrepiece of the shop.
The confectionery part of the shop stocks sweet treats from bygones days: licorice kids, bubblegum, Tootsie Rolls, Cracker Jack caramel popcorn, Pink Candy popcorn, jawbreakers, pixy stix, sweethearts and more.

The shop is named after the former Glenburn Dairy that operated from the 1930s to the 1950s and was located at Hastings Street and Boundary Road.

Although there is limited seating, the turnover is fairly high, plus there's takeout in a pinch.
The best part is it suits all ages and it's an inexpensive stop for a date or family outing. Stay a little while and the 1940s effect starts to sink in.

Find the new Glenburn Soda Fountain and Confectionery at 4090 Hastings St. just west of Gilmore St. in Burnaby.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-8 p.m. Steet parking available, outside of rush hours.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Malls can either transform or die

The following Burnaby NewsLeader article explains how struggling malls must change to remain relevant.

Burnaby NewsLeader - Opinion
COLUMN: How shopping malls are being transformed into true city centres

The shopping centre is dead. Long live the shopping centre.
All across the U.S., traditional suburban malls are dying. In Texas, if you can believe it, a Walmart has been turned into an award-winning public library. I know—books? It's a topsy-turvy world.
Here in B.C. most malls are still doing OK, though many malls across Canada are struggling, at least according to
But when things die, new life isn't far behind.
And this new life for dead malls is—and I'm talking as someone who drags his heels into a mall only when new underwear is mandatory—actually quite exciting.
Three local malls are poised to become authentic, living, breathing town centres.
Oh, today's malls are pleasant enough, but it's kind of like watching your favourite TV show in black and white—beyond the occasional decent food fair or services like a doctor or physiotherapist's office, malls are an unrelenting stream of shops cut from a single bolt of corporate cloth.
What? There's a Gap here?
It's the people that give a mall any stitch of charm. Saturday at Metrotown, it's the vibrant human tapestry we're drawn to.
But malls are changing. Soon, Burnaby's Brentwood Town Centre, Vancouver's Oakridge and not too far off another Burnaby mall, Lougheed, will be transformed.
If they get the go-ahead, these malls will become true city centres as they re-shape our idea of the shopping centre. At the core, these changes are driven by the concept called New Urbanism, which means building on a human scale, with emphasis on walkability, easy transit access, a mix of uses and reduced dependence on cars.
The buzzwords are "placemaking" and the creation of "high streets," which tap into our idea of main streets of yore, humming with people and shops, where it's easy to meander.
These new malls will still make space for cars, of course, but it'll be all hush-hush, tucked away somewhere, so the overall feel is more friendly.
Plans for Brentwood and Oakridge amount to a huge bonanza for the mall owners as a sea of wasted asphalt becomes home to residential and office towers, while retaining all the shops (and more) that are on the site today. Residents will win in this change, too.
Instead of being giant boxes of canned air, few windows and no clocks, these new malls offer a mix of everything. Places to live and work, places to shop and eat, places to just hang out—it's a recipe for creating a real beating heart that's active and engaging during all the waking hours.
Oakridge will have a new seniors centre and library, and much of the old-fashioned mally stuff will be tucked beneath 16 acres of green space on the mall's roof.

It's yet to be hammered out, but the Brentwood project will also deliver millions in cash or amenities to the city in exchange for the added density. Shape Properties has an approved master plan to stud the 28-acre site with 11 residential towers and two office buildings. The whole place will be transit and pedestrian friendly, with wide sidewalks (picture bistro tables), bike paths, park space and plenty of pedestrian-only pathways.
The ugly bus loop at corner of Willingdon and Lougheed will be gone, the SkyTrain station will merge into the project, and that corner will become a one-acre public plaza where the developer wants us to imagine caf├ęs, restaurants, public events and a great space to just lounge and people watch.
Brentwood's owner also owns Lougheed and appears poised to do something similar there. At 38 acres, it's 10 acres larger and soon to become the junction two SkyTrain lines.
For people who live near Brentwood, Oakridge and Lougheed, it's quite possible they'll one day find themselves living near real city centres—places to gather, shop, re-create and bump into your neighbours.
Yes, malls have always been community gathering places.
But they've lacked soul.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I can one day imagine myself spending more time at the mall.
• Chris Bryan is editor of the NewsLeader.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jobs and people converge around transit hubs

While mentioning the fact that the Fraser Health Authority has relocated to the Brentwood area, the following Vancouver Sun article notes the high value placed by companies on transit hubs in Metro Vancouver.


Employees prefer to not walk more than 500 metres to get to work

VANCOUVER — Demand is increasing for office towers around Metro Vancouver’s transit lines, with companies willing to pay a premium of $10 per sq. ft. so employees don’t have to walk more than 500 metres to get to work, Metro Vancouver’s regional development and agriculture committee learned in a report Friday.
The Fraser Health Authority, for instance, has moved into a new tower less than two blocks from Brentwood Town Station in Burnaby, while HSBC has occupied a new building next to Renfrew Station in Vancouver.
TransLink is also planning to relocate, to the Brewery District near New Westminster’s Sapperton SkyTrain station, with Coast Capital Savings slated to move its head office to a mixed-use development at King George Station in Surrey City Centre.
“Every week we are dealing with companies, either local or international, every single one that’s going to the suburbs needs to be near transit,” said Scott MacDonald, research associate for Jones Lang LaSalle Real Estate Services Inc., which produced the staff report.
“(It has to be) a five to 10 minute walk …. farther than 500 metres, especially with Vancouver’s weather, they might see that as too far for some of their employees.”
The trend, which is happening in countries around the world, falls in line with Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy, which aims to identify transit-oriented neighbourhoods where people can live and work close to transit in an attempt to reduce vehicle use, protect land for other uses and create vibrant pedestrian communities.
But Metro directors acknowledge it’s often hard to get stand-alone office towers in high-density neighbourhoods because residential buildings take precedence, which has forced businesses in the past few decades to set up shop in suburban office parks.
The staff report, titled Office Development in Metro Vancouver’s Urban Centres, also suggests the region has a relatively slow-growing office market, with a large proportion — 46 per cent — of existing and new office space located in the “Metro core,” which includes downtown Vancouver and the Broadway corridor.
Burnaby and New Westminster have about 21 per cent of the region’s office space, with nine per cent in both Richmond and Surrey/White Rock The rest — less than 10 per cent — is distributed throughout the rest of the region.
“In our city it’s been an issue that has kind of plagued our council because there’s been such a downturn in commercial space and because of developers’ reluctance to build,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan. “They’re under pressure to move commercial into residential. I find it very interesting that 500 metres is a crucial figure for almost everybody.”
Corrigan said his city has been lucky to see the development of Metrotower III, crediting the move to the fact that the office tower is located across from a busy SkyTrain station and bustling mall.
Meanwhile, in Coquitlam’s City Centre, there are no stand-alone office towers because there aren’t enough tenants at any one time to fill a building, despite the promise of the planned Evergreen Line rapid transit, said Mayor Richard Stewart.
MacDonald said rapid transit is highly preferred by companies, which will pay a premium to be close to it, while rapid bus is seen as a “consolation prize.”
But Corrigan said rapid bus should not be underestimated, saying Vancouver’s density is a result of its grid of electric buses that used to be the main mode of transportation in the city. The 99 B-Line bus, he added, has also shown the demand for rapid transit along the Broadway corridor, carrying more passengers than any other system in North America.
“You build ridership and you build an argument for rapid transit,” he said.
He cited the situation in Richmond when the Canada Line was built, replacing the 98 B-Line. Surrey Coun. Linda Hepner said her city could use more transit, noting the city’s high office vacancy is a result of having limited access.
Meanwhile, Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said he would be happy with just a direct bus — rather than what he described as a “magical mystery tour” bus — to help serve the growing downtown core.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brentwood Mall a topic of history presentation

The Burnaby Historical Society will host a presentation by David Pereira (author of one of my favourite blogs to the right) on the history of Brentwood Mall.

Time: Wednesday April 10 at 7:30pm
Location: Burnaby Village Museum

The articles below are from the Burnaby NewsLeader and the Burnaby Now.

Burnaby NewsLeader - Community

Local historian speaks on Brentwood mall's past

Local historian David Pereira will speak on the history of Brentwood Town Centre at the next Burnaby Historical Society meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m. at the carousel pavilion of Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Ave.
The Brentwood mall was built to serve the residents of the homes built in the 1950s  east of Willingdon between Hastings and Lougheed. Anchored by the large Eaton's department store, there was a gas station and garage and Jack Cullen broadcast his music show on CKNW from his record store.
In the 1960s you could look south from the Brentwood parking lot and the only tall structure you could see was a white ventilation tower sporting "SEARS" in blue letters. Today you can scarcely see the Sears sign because of all the high-rise  buildings built at Metrotown, something that's set to happen at Brentwood in coming years.

History of Brentwood Town Centre revealed

Curious about the history of Burnaby's Brentwood Town Centre?
The Burnaby Historical Society is hosting David Pereira for a talk on the bygone days of the local mall.
According to the society, Eaton's was Brentwood's early anchor tenant, and Jack Cullen would broadcast a CKNW music show from his store, where he sold records. These are just a couple of the interesting historical anecdotes tied to Brentwood Town Centre.
The event is on Wednesday, April 10, at 7: 30 p.m. at the Burnaby Village Museum.
Pereira's talk is open to the general public, and admission is free. The museum is 6501 Deer Lake Ave., and the event will be in the carousel building.
Pereira is an amateur local historian who did his master's degree in urban studies at Simon Fraser University, with a focus on town centre planning in Burnaby.
Membership for the Burnaby Historical Society is $15 a year. For more information on how to join, call the Burnaby Village Museum at 604-297-4565. For more local history from Pereira, visit his blog at