This note from our editor accompanies the release of our Autumn 2020 issue. Get a copy for yourself, and read our current issue cover story with internationally acclaimed Vancouver visual artist Stan Douglas.
I have spent a lot of time on my porch this year. It’s proven remarkably versatile. I start my day there with a cup of tea in hand, no phone, no computer, no thinking. In spring, all I could hear was birdsong, the usual hum of traffic paused along with the rest of our lives. I have watched the vegetable garden we planted in the front yard in April grow from a bed of soil full of seeds into a cornucopia of fresh food. We have feasted on radishes, onions, garlic, lettuce, peas, potatoes, and dark purple beans. As I sit here writing this in late summer, the tomatoes, squash, beets, and carrots are almost ready to be harvested.
Once I feel ready for the day, out comes my laptop and phone, and the porch transforms into my home office. My legs, usually propped up on the porch railings, are more tanned than any time in my life since those endless feral summers of childhood.
Office hours over, the porch becomes a social space. My sons sit on the steps and chat. When we had to stay home, it’s where I would call or FaceTime friends. Since the restrictions have eased, friends come, sit socially distanced, and share love and laughter and, yes, a bottle or two of wine. These few square feet have become the centre of my universe.
As fall approaches, I am already thinking about how to weatherproof my sanctuary. It is covered, and reasonably sheltered, so unless the rain comes in sideways (which it will some days, I know), I plan to wrap up and carry on. I am mulling a heater and may start mulling the wine, too. The future may still be uncertain, but I know the porch isn’t going anywhere.
It is where this issue has been conceived and edited. It is full of fresh air and fresh thoughts—from the skateboarding shoot featuring the menswear design collaboration between Virgil Abloh and Nigo at Louis Vuitton to the way Melissa Skelton, Canada’s first female Anglican archbishop, has drawn on her personal experience and business acumen to heal and help.
We take a look back at Vancouver culinary legend John Bishop as he prepares to shutter his Kitsilano restaurant and retire, explore the vision of the Okanagan’s latest top-notch winery, Phantom Creek Estates, and talk to the Norwegian chef who earned a Michelin star at Under restaurant just as the pandemic forced him to close.
The pulse of the city may have slowed this year, but there are always those with the courage to keep pushing ahead. We talk to three indefatigable local entrepreneurs about their business plans, check in with a number of charitable organizations about their ideas around socially distanced fundraising, and peek inside the painstakingly renovated and rejuvenated Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway as it readies to become a community arts hub once again.
And then there is our cover. We were delighted to be able to attend the fascinating shoot for the latest artwork by Stan Douglas—undertaken during the summer with full COVID safety precautions in place. If that wasn’t special enough, the Vancouver-born and -based internationally acclaimed visual artist offered to shoot a self-portrait for us (insert GIF of editor jumping for joy). It is an honour and a privilege to publish his work on our cover and to share it with you all. It is one of the things I will hold as a silver lining to this strange year.
There are others, of course. Another positive result of spending so much time on my stoop are the number of tiny but cheering connections that have been forged. There is the woman who walks by every morning and admires the progress of the garden, the children across the street who came out and banged pots with us every evening at 7 p.m. and now wave to me as they play, the mailman who I am now on first-name terms with, and the regular ramblers out for their evening stroll who never pass without a nod. The forced distance and isolation we all have shared mean these small interactions are no longer taken for granted. Let’s cherish them.
Get your copy of the Autumn 2020 issue.