My Roving Eye – Gastown

Vancouver, British Columbia has been my home for the past five years, and I love it for its beauty, culture and diversity. And there’s nothing that expresses that diversity more than its many distinct neighbourhoods.

I love choosing a neighbourhood and capturing its personality and vibrancy through my photos. Last week, I wandered through historic Gastown, the oldest part of Vancouver, and one of the most colourful parts of the City.

Here are some of my favourite shots from that walk. I look forward to sharing my photos from other Vancouver neighbourhoods as I continue my #EyeOpener adventures as a blind photographer.

CAB_2537

CAB_2544CAB_2553CAB_2546CAB_2563CAB_2556_2CAB_2570

Enhanced by Zemanta

Telling the Olympic Story – One Experience at a Time

I’ve never been what you’d call athletic. I couldn’t play sports myself because I couldn’t see enough.  So over the years, I’ve channeled my passion for sports into being the best and most enthusiastic fan I could be.

From the time I could remember, the Olympic Games have given me the ultimate sports high.  Winter or summer, I’ve been in a state of perpetual bliss, parking myself in front of every imaginable TV screen, from the teeny black and white of my childhood to our 20 year old color set. (This year, for the first time, it’ll be an awesome HD flat screen we’ve just bought. I’m pumped.)

And what a rollercoaster of emotions – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed, yelled, screamed and bawled my eyes out over the years.  My heart has alternately ached and swelled with pride for our Canadian athletes.  I’ve been captivated by the Red Ensign and the dear Maple Leaf hoisted above the medal platform.

I’m ready to do the whole thing again in less than two weeks.  But this time it’s going to be different. I’ll be living the Olympic experience in my new home in Vancouver, the host city.  I’ll be taking in two curling matches at a beautiful new facility just a mile or so from my home, where I can assure you I’ll be beside myself.

And  I’m part of an Olympic team as well.  No, we’re not athletes, but we’re bringing our own brand of dedication and passion to the Games.  The Metro Blenz News Squad will be telling the Olympic story through a variety of social media – the blogs we write, the photos we shoot, our Twitter and Facebook activity, and the visitors and locals we meet.

Why have I decided to get involved?  I have a few reasons.

I want to try to help people feel as comfortable and happy to be here as I have been made to feel.  I’m still new to Vancouver, still discovering, and I’m hoping to bring my unique ‘local visitor’ perspective to the table.

I also don’t think I’m the only excited, proud and rabid fan out there, and I want to help convey this unique experience over the next six weeks or so.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not, if you’ll pardon the pun, wearing blinders. No situation is perfect. There are many challenges. Not everyone is happy. Having grown up in Montreal, I know it’s fact of life in an Olympic town. It may be part of what I get to hear.  And I’ll write it down, along with everything else.

Log on to www.metroblenznewssquad.com and follow along. And if there’s something you think I should write about, leave me a comment.

Let the Games begin!

Blogathon Vancouver – 24 Hours, Many Heroes

Yesterday, at the ungodly hour of 6am, several of my Vancouver friends plunged into 24 straight hours of blogging for charity.  Blogathon Vancouver has helped support the efforts of some 20 local charities – from the BC Cancer Foundation and the BC Children’s Hospital to the Vancouver Food Bank and the Federation of BC Writers.  And it’s also introduced the world to some of the most talented and caring people I know.

I was fortunate to guest-blog during the event.

Check out my post for @hummingbird604 on Making the Most of  Twitter in Real Life here.

And I took a slightly lighthearted look at how social media, especially Twitter, can level the playing field for disabled people. Take a look on @ganga_narayanan’s blog here.

For more comprehensive info on Blogathon, visit both @hummingbird604’s and @Miss604’s blogs for starters.  You’ll see references to the many people who participated and the charities they helped.

Next year, I hope to be part of this marvellous group in person.  Great job, everyone!

You are heroes.

An Ounce of Prevention…

I like to keep tabs on what’s happening in my adopted city, Vancouver BC, and today my Twitter pal Dixon Tam sent out a tweet about a post by our friend Gus Fosarolli in his Gus Digital blog.  It’s called “You Don’t Want to Drown Today”, and it centers on the efforts of a BC group called The Community Against Preventable Injuries to raise public awareness of drowning dangers.

Here are some sobering stats:

  • Half of the children who drown are alone and unsupervised
  • Alcohol was associated with 40% of drowning among Canadians aged 15 years and older
  • About 90% of people who drown while boating do not wear a life-jacket

The Community will be distributing beach towels and putting up signs and posters throughout BC. The overall message packs a punch:

“You’re Probably Not Expecting to Drown Today.”

Why did this post make me stop and write about this?

Because 40 years ago this summer, my cousin Robert O’Donnell drowned at the age of 17.

He was a smart, handsome boy who was loved by everyone. He was a wonderfully supportive son and brother. He had a promising life ahead of him. And it was cut short all too soon. To this day, I always wonder what the world would have been like with him here, and what he could have contributed to his family and community.

Hats off to The Community for all its hard work as it educates British Columbians that accidents can be prevented, and lives can be saved. Check them out here.

Have a happy – and safe – rest of the summer.