Living/Working July 31, 2020


July 31, 2020

Novelty architecture attracts motorists to North Vancouver

Photo: North Vancouver Museum & Archives, # 7026

The Old Dutch Mill service station and confectionery, shown here in 1943, is a great example of “novelty architecture” (a.k.a. fantastic architecture) from the North Shore's past.

Constructing novelty architecture near roadways became one way of attracting motorists and customers. The style became popular in North America as travel by automobile increased in the 1930s.

This image shows the Old Dutch Mill building and gravity gas pumps. The building was a two-storey, six-sided structure, built in the style of a Dutch windmill.

The other striking structure in the image was a well-known local sight: the “gas ball,” a spherical storage tank. It was once used for North Vancouver homes and businesses when the raising of the Second Narrows Bridge to allow ships to pass under the span interrupted pipeline supply.

Built in 1929, the Old Dutch Mill service station was located at the corner of Main Street at Mountain Highway (originally St. Denis Avenue). It was demolished in the 1950s.

For more information about the history of the North Shore and to learn about the new Museum of North Vancouver opening in late-2020, visit and sign up for the museum’s e-newsletter at

Currently, the Archives of North Vancouver at 3203 Institute Rd. in Lynn Valley is open by appointment only. Contact:

North Shore News


What Canada can learn from America about small business survival


COVID-19 has put unprecedented financial strain on Canada’s small to medium-sized business (SMB) sector – as well as on SMBs around the world – leaving companies to rely on government aid to remain hopeful of returning to profitability in a post-pandemic world.

I’ve watched small business lending evolve over the past decade, and I’ve often compared how we handle things in Canada as opposed to other countries. Now more than ever, it’s important to look to our neighbours with a critical eye to see how we can be learning from one another in providing effective and equitable economic support during these times.

What Canada got right

To support SMBs, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans and wage subsidy were both programs that worked well, as we would have seen catastrophic results without them. The CEBA loans allowed up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to small businesses and non-profit companies and were widely available to businesses with $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1, 2020. The 75% wage subsidy to small businesses was also a crucial factor in keeping businesses afloat.

What Canada did not get right

The rent subsidy program leaves all the power in the hands of the landlord, leaving tenants, who are typically the most vulnerable, without control over how their rent is paid. The tenant is the one facing the problem, yet the stimulus does not go directly to them.

The Canadian government has also recently refused fintech lenders’ offer to help support SMBs with accessible, fast and affordable financing for businesses affected by COVID. Although the CEBA has provided relief for many businesses, once the programs are no longer available, the banks won’t be there to support them any longer. Without working with fintechs, who in normal times fill the small business lending void left by the banks, it is only preparing them for the short term and doesn’t provide any stability for them in the future. Government collaboration with fintechs would allow for lending continuity for SMBs once the government programs die off. The reason behind government refusal to collaborate with fintechs is because it is easier to work with regulated banks, however, there are many other governments who have pushed to work with the fintech sector. This reasoning is outdated, and gives the notion that the government is unwilling to do the work that would support long-term sustainable support.

What Canada could learn from the U.S.

Although the U.S. is providing many examples of what not to do in the pandemic, its handling of small business survival is admirable and could provide some learnings for Canadian subsidy programs:

1. Give money directly to the SMBs for rent relief and other expenses to survive, putting the responsibility in the hands of the business owner, not any others (i.e. landlords).

2. The U.S. is giving more forgivable loans to SMBs; Canada should also be able to implement a similar forgivable loan program.

3. Introduce government backed lending programs, including financial technology-driven lending options to give SMBs the speed and access to capital they need to survive and ultimately rebuild and grow in the new normal.

The Canadian government remains hesitant to offer forgivable loans like the paycheck protection program in the U.S., which provides each small business a loan up to $10 million that’s forgivable if spent on certain expenses. The hesitation lies in the inability to police the program and ensure that the loan is spent on the correct criteria that allows it to be forgivable.

However, if the government was open to working with fintechs, this would be a problem easily solved, as fintechs have algorithmic ways to categorize the expenses of a business.

What Canada and the U.S. need to do now

As the pandemic begins to subside and the economy slowly reopens, government funding will slowly come to an end, leaving many businesses without the ongoing access to capital that they need to thrive in the new normal. Shutting off the wage subsidy and rent assistance will be unfair to businesses that are allowed to function only at a fraction of their normal capacity, such as restaurants and gyms. The wage subsidy should continue, and perhaps could be on a sliding scale depending on a business’ revenue drop and/or industry sector. We know that as long as businesses aren’t able to run at full capacity, they will need government support. We also need to re-engineer the rent assistance program so that every affected business can access it, and fintechs should be included in government solutions, for the sake of continuity of SMB credit availability. This is the right thing to do for the small businesses that make up the fabric of our communities and have been forced to reduce their activity for our safety. •

David Gens is Merchant Growth’s CEO.



Vancouver's annual Greek Food Festival turns to take-out this year go!

Loukoumades, a Greek fried dough treat, being served up at a past Hellenic Community of Vancouver event | Photo: Hellenic Community of Vancouver

For its 42nd year, Vancouver's Greek Food Festival is having to change up what they usually do in order to make it work in the era of COVID-19.

Typically held in the spring, the event, which is hosted by the Hellenic Community of Vancouver, is a major draw each year, bringing in hundreds of people to enjoy the live music, entertainment, history, and, of course, loads of food.

For 2020, the Greek Food Festival has bumped itself to August, and will now take place the weekend of August 15 and 16 on the grounds of the Hellenic Community Centre.

The festival will be a totally take-out model, though organizers say they may also have some delivery options available.

Attendees can expect to find all sorts of traditional Greek fare, from souvlaki to spanikopita, gyros, loukoumades, and much, much more.

Greek Food Festival 2020

When: Aug. 15-16, 2020 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Where: Hellenic Community of Vancouver - 4500 Arbutus Street

Vancouver Is Awesome


Retired Vancouver food truck gets new lease on life with restaurant on The Drive

That Sweet & Spicy Chicken Karaage is coming back

Mogu Fried Chicken/Facebook

For seven years you could find Mogu Japanese Street Eats' food trailer parked and serving up the goods in downtown Vancouver. But they've since given up their spot at Howe and Dunsmuir, and are instead prepping their return with a bricks-and-mortar location on The Drive.

Mogu is gearing up to move into 1012 Commercial Drive, in the space that was previously Skylight, a casual Chinese-Canadian diner that closed down last fall.

Currently in the hiring stages, Mogu will launch as a casual dinner-only izakaya-style restaurant, serving up Japanese small plates. The restaurant has been in the works for several months, but now is tracking for an August opening

While the restaurant can seat 34, Mogu says due to COVID-19 restrictions, they will open with reduced capacity. Plans are to launch with all-day service six days a week, likely from 11:30 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. daily.

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A post shared by Mogu (@eatmogu) on

When they were up and running their food trailer, Mogu specialized in fare such as sweet and spicy fried chicken, rice bowls with beef or fried chicken, and sandwiches (such as pork katsu or chicken teriyaki). 

Based on their Instagram hashtags, looks like we'll for sure be seeing some fried chicken at the re-emergence of Mogu. Follow them on IG for updates.

Vancouver Is Awesome


This massive floating cinema is coming to Vancouver this summer

Photo: Beyond Cinema

If you're hesitant to visit a movie theatre right now, you aren't alone. 

And while there are a number of drive-in movies to attend in the Lower Mainland, there's an alternative way to catch a flick under the stars this summer.

Beyond Cinema presents the "Floating Cinema": a fresh air cinema that allows patrons to enjoy moonlit films with friends and family from the comfort of a physically-distanced mini-boat.

The cinema will be made up of 12 to 24 mini boats, holding up to eight people per boat. Tickets will require you purchase the whole boat to ensure that groups will be seated with friends and family only, and to allow for social distancing on and between boats.


Photo: Beyond Cinema

Organizers say movies will be a mix between golden oldies and new releases, and the lineup will be announced when tickets go on sale.

There will be free popcorn for everyone attending, and other movie snacks and drinks will be available to purchase before you set sail.

This unique cinema is coming to Vancouver on Sept. 16 for one week. Location TBA.

Find out more information HERE.

Note: This is a pre-registration event only. You will need to purchase a ticket to attend the event.

Vancouver Is Awesome


What are we reading? July 30, 2020

Getty Images

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Emma Crawford Hampel, online editor:

Europeans feel increasingly fearful of a second wave of COVID as cases have been surging in recent weeks. – The Guardian


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor:

Gabriola’s Bert ter Hart returned to the B.C. coast this month after circumnavigating the world alone in his “family cruiser” sailboat. His nine-month feat is particularly impressive for his having relied on low-tech navigation, plotting his course with a compass and sextant. – Vancouver Island Free Daily


Over the past several months, the pandemic has often highlighted what is good about Canada; unfortunately there have also been more than a few incidents – racist attacks and potentially lethal sabotage of vehicles with out-of-province plates among them – showing our ugly side. – The Star