Becoming part of the TikTok epoch video interaction
What drives Emmanuelle Vaugier ‘Two and a Half’ times everyone else?
Viral YouTube sensation Michael Downie live and on trackLos Angeles San Francisco Washington, D.C Seattle New York City
Becoming part of the TikTok epoch video interaction
What drives Emmanuelle Vaugier ‘Two and a Half’ times everyone else?
Viral YouTube sensation Michael Downie live and on trackLos Angeles San Francisco Washington, D.C Seattle New York City
Introducing Curve: the latest generation of modular sofas from Resource Furniture. A sinuous silhouette defies linear design, embracing soft edges and creating an aura of comfort and warmth. Movable backrest cushions can be endlessly rearranged into any seating arrangement.
Moving the peninsula expanded the entrance and created making and
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TikTok has taken the world by storm, expected to hit 750,000 million users by the end of 2022. Here’s what you need to know.
Vancouver’s Emanuelle Vaugier is one of Canada’s busiest working actresses. Follow her journey from grade school to recurring and feature roles in both film and television.
Jim Murray and Brian Jessel are the team behind Brian Jessel BMW. They’ve been partners since 2007. What makes them tick?
David Hooper has quite the story to tell: from film to furniture and how actor Charlie Sheen saved his life.
Hop onboard and meet local YouTuber Michael Downie, who has carved out a niche and millions of views with his engaging travel adventures.
Blaine McNamee realized his dream of owning not just any old guitar shop; but the iconic Rufus Guitars.
Artificial intelligence is generating internet content at a dizzying rate. You’ll be amazed at what it can do, what it is doing right now, and where it is likely to be headed in the future.BY AEON
High-end global furniture brands come together at Habitat by Aeon.
British Columbia’s favourite local brokerage expands its range while maintaining personalized service after partnering with Toronto’s Navacord, a Canadian leader in group insurance and risk management solutions.
The Vancouver Art Gallery’s new building, designed by international architects Herzig & deMeuron, together with Perkins and Will, is set to change the cultural and physical landscape of Vancouver when it opens in 2027.
Universal Music National Promotions Director Dale Robertson on how the record business is thriving again in this post lockdown world.
Just a couple of hours’ drive takes you to this comprehensive (and smoke-free!) casino destination. Get all the information you need for a fabulous stay where you can Xperience it all.
Meet Howard Blank; a modern day showbiz ‘Impresario’.
VANCOUVER 1480 Kootenay Street 1-877-606-1166
CHILLIWACK 8104 Evans Road 1-877-606-1166JESSEL
A custom home build is quite often the single largest investment in one’s life. This is a tremendous responsibility to entrust to the construction community.
Understanding this concept and exceeding customers’ expectations are what Westeck strives for and is at the core of the Westeck culture.
President Brian Jessel
Managing Partner and CEO
Sales & Marketing Manager
Abdel Karim Awwad
Contributing Creative Director
White Canvas Design
Emmanuelle Vaugier actor
Shyloh Ray photographer
Arezoo Aliperti stylist
Bailey Murphy Hair Design hair
Alyssa Bradley hair
Kyla Plush Artistry makeup artist
Holt Renfrew Vancouver wardrobe
Shyloh Ray cover, page 18, 19, 26-29, 33-39, 98
Dylan Dufault page 42-44
Jacob Couture page 46-49, 66-70
Jozef Povazan page 58-63
Andrew Van Beek page 76
Chrsitine Robertson page 89
Published by Brian Jessel BMW
2311 Boundary Road, Vancouver, BC V5M4W5
© Brian Jessel BMW 2022. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited editorial material. Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of BMW Canada Inc.
Welcome to our fall issue of Brian Jessel BMW Magazine; a publication quickly establishing itself as the hottest new luxury, entertainment and technology publication in Vancouver. It’s the summit of style meeting sophistication, fashion and flair.
In the driver’s seat in this issue, you’ll meet the artist that graces our cover: Vancouver’s own, Emmanuelle Vaugier. Best known to television viewers as ‘Mina’ on the long-running CBS hit series ‘Two and a Half Men’, this local actress/ model brings a lot to the table and as you’ll also find, to the stable.
We’re thrilled to welcome Mike Agerbo of Blink Creative Agency as a feature contributor. Mike has been long associated with the tech world and focuses on sizzling-hot, cutting edge 3-D technology. We’ll also have you
understanding the short form video hosting service app, TikTok and explain why it’s ‘blowing everybody’s mind’.
Our feature architectural story takes you into the planning and construction of the brandnew Vancouver Art Gallery, slated to open in 2027, and Leeta Liepins from ‘Our City Tonight’ offers a rather cheeky take on the pros and cons of owning a convertible in the Rainforest known as Vancouver.
So kick back and enjoy the ride!
TikTok, the user-generated video content platform, is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world. According to an Insider Intelligence report, it’s expected to hit a whopping 750M users by the end of 2022, making it the third-largest social network worldwide.Story by Mike Agerbo
Some brands have already found their way into the hearts of consumers by using TikTok. Notable among them are Duolingo and Chipotle. However, many other brands are still figuring out how to best leverage the platform’s capabilities to create awareness about who they are and what they do. As a UGC platform, marketers can expect users to create their own content related to their brands – this organically increases the brand’s credibility and attracts new customers.
On the TikTok for Business side of things, marketers can use in-platform features to increase engagement when sponsoring content as well as to easily partner with influencers. Some of the influencer-focused features the platform offers are:
Spark Ads: This is when an influencer makes their content available to the brand to promote it.
TikTok Creator Marketplace: This is a platform to connect with various influencers and have them create content for your brand and campaign (minimum investment required to use this feature).
Remember, TikTok is an entertainment video platform where people are looking for funny and interesting content that they can relate to - whether it’s a challenge, a recipe, or even shopping. When creating content for TikTok, there are a few things the platform recommends you keep in mind:
Sound-on! Make sure your video has sound. This could be a music track, voice-over, or just someone talking to the camera, but it’s a must-have!
Keep it short and sweet. Shorter videos perform better. According to TikTok, the top-performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long.
Vertical is mobile-friendly. The vast majority of TikTok videos are shot in vertical format because people mostly use the platform on their phones.
First off, what does it mean?
Shadowbanning is when your social content stops being visible to anyone but yourself without any official notification given by the platform. It may seem unwarranted, but it’s an effective way to keep spammers from spreading junk all over the community.
How do I know if my brand has been Shadowbanned?
First check the stats on the ‘For You’ page. If you notice a significant drop in engagement, try looking up your post by some of the hashtags you used. If it shows up under the hashtag search, you’re safe. If not, you’ve been shadowbanned.
Even though TikTok’s Community Guidelines don’t officially mention the word “Shadowban”, the platform’s algorithm is designed to detect content that doesn’t follow the rules and appears spammy. So, the simple answer is to always follow the Community Guidelines and stay on the algorithm’s good side.
Brands need to be active to create meaningful connections on TikTok. Interact with other TikTok users, answer questions, and thank people who create content using your brand. Follow trends on the platform and add trending hashtags to your content. These simple things can make all the difference.
The time is ripe for TikTok! P
Mike Agerbo @MikeAgerbo. Your Digital Living expert, host of @GetConnectedNow TV, Radio and #TheAppShow.
Brian Jessel and Jim Murray have been partners for years—since 2007, to be exact. Scrooge and Marley, they are not. But liberté, egalité, fraternité are at the heart of this tale of two partners. They are both accessible, down-to-earth people known for their generosity, love of freedom, and sense of fun.
They’re also different from Dickens himself, who left school at the age of 12 to work in a factory when his father was thrown into a debtors’ prison.
Jim Murray and Brian Jessel had good parental role models. Brian’s dad taught him how to be a good guy in the car business and Jim’s dad taught him the power of hard work. Brian attended Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; Jim chose to forego higher education so he could get into the workplace right away.
Nonetheless, all three are undeniably selfmade men. They worked hard and created their own destinies. Dickens was passionate about writing. He sold a lot of books and became famous.
Brian and Jim are passionate about cars. Brian Jessel BMW sells more BMWs than any other dealership in the country and it has become famous as well. It has been the No. 1 dealership in Canada for 18 of the past 20 years.
Their personalities balance the partnership: Brian is decisive, and Jim is methodical. Everything Jim does, he thinks through and executes well. Parties and gatherings at Jessel BMW are always a hit, thanks to his careful planning. Both partners love all kinds of parties, even tea parties, but would never be found in some dark Victorian tearoom. It’s just not their style. We caught up with them outside, in the full sunlight of Granville Island, with gorgeous actress Emmanuelle Vaugier, this issue’s cover woman.
Nearby are a silver and a blue version of the 2002 BMW Z8, two sought-after heritage cars that form part of their small private collection of interesting BMWs. The 2016 i8 that Brian often drives is another car from their collection. Jim found the i8 n St. John’s, Nfld., and shipped it back to Vancouver. Mostly, Jim prefers to drive an iX electric SUV.
Brian first hired Jim in 1998 as New Car Sales Manager at the dealership he then owned in Coquitlam. “It was a smaller dealership, but we got big results,” Jim said. “When we moved to our current location in 2004, we were already the No. 1 dealership in the country.”
“He did a great job,” said Brian. “In 2007, we became partners.” He is President; Jim is Managing Partner and CEO. “He’s the boss and I’m in charge” he explained. “Titles mean very little to me. We’re a lot the same. We think the same but have different approaches.”
Unlike most of the partners Dickens portrayed, their personalities harmonize to mutual benefit. “It’s a marriage that’s lasted, ” Jim says. He thinks of Brian as a mentor and a friend. “He’s a visionary with a real gift to see the future.”
Jim’s focus is on the values that set them apart in business: connection, family, and a strong community presence. Agility is a key business differentiator as well. “We are the last of the big independents,” he says. “Because we’re not part of an automotive group, we have the flexibility to pivot and move with the industry as needed. And we’re accessible. I’m always on the floor at the dealership, and Brian is lightning-quick to respond to emails.”
The flexibility of their ownership structure, their agility, and their personal accessibility will continue to help the partners drive even greater success in the car business well into the future. Their love of family, community and fun parties will make sure they keep on living life to the fullest. P
With specialists in each field of service, ZLC has you and your business covered. Contact Garry M. Zlotnik to learn more.
There is no set degree of requisite screen time an actor must accrue before the adjective ‘veteran’ can precede their name.
And with such a vast body of work as listed on the resume of Emmanuelle Vaugier, the term most certainly applies.
With well over 100 screen credits in her 27 year career, the Vancouver-born actress/model has been steadily working and garnering key roles in the process.
“In second grade I was the understudy for a girl in the Christmas Pageant play as the narrator angel,” says Vaugier.
“The girl was sick one night and I got my moment to shine for all of thirty seconds and say my four lines onstage and I found I really liked it.
Plus, I loved Michael J. Fox growing up and watching ‘Family Ties’ and all his movies.
He was very inspirational and was also a local and I thought, well if he can do it, I can do it.”
Vaugier’s depth of range is fully evidenced by the broad spectrum of roles portrayed, including horror. She recalls a non-scary example of working within that genre.
“I get asked a lot about ‘Saw’ and people want to know if it was scary.
And I say, ‘Not really’, because you’re at Craft Services eating a sandwich, and the dude with a knife through his head is there pouring a coffee. When it all comes together, that’s when you see the horror.”
The most notable of appearances for the actress would be recurring roles on primetime series, ‘Rogue’; ‘CSI: NY’, and the long-running ‘Two and a Half Men’, where she played Mia, the ex-girlfriend of lead actor Charlie Sheen.
“That was pretty wild,” she recalls of the frenzy surrounding appearing on the top-rated hit sitcom.
“That coincided with me having ‘Saw II’ coming out to a huge opening. It was this whirlwind of a year of everything happening…it was pretty wild. I didn’t even know what ‘Two and a Half Men’ was when I auditioned for it! And when I got the role, I didn’t know why it was such a big deal. Then I start seeing all these billboards around Los Angeles and realized, Ok, I guess it is a big show!”
The other overriding passion in the life of Emmanuelle Vaugier is animals.
A vocal activist for the protection of animals, she holds an annual fundraising event called ‘Fluffball’.
“It’s a 501 (c) (3) non-profit registered to do business in the US. We throw high-end cocktail events and do online fundraising to bring awareness and generate funds for various animal welfare causes. Growing up with dogs as a young girl, I’ve always loved animals. I just connect to them very easily and they bring something special to my life.”
Organizers are currently working on the ‘Fluffball 2023/2024’ event and, as opposed to solely being California-based, plans are to take it on the road.
Occasionally Emmanuelle’s two passions align, enabling the actress to portray a role that involves animals.
“The movie I just did this past June had me working with horses and chickens on a farm, so basically I was in my element combining my two favourite things.”
An accomplished equestrian herself, she loves talking about her own horse, Bunny.
“Then I start seeing all these
and realized, Ok, I guess it is a big show!”
It’s a true joy and the subsequent environment is one she absolutely relishes being around.
“When I’m at the barn, which is almost every day, if there’s anything Bunny needs I make sure she gets it. I’m grateful to have her at a barn where she is so well cared for. I love spending time with her, riding, grooming; as well as just hanging out with her and bonding.”
In her own words, careers happen organically and you are best to roll with things – but always strive to branch out and spread your acting wings in the process.
Staying incredibly active onscreen, with exciting projects either about to be released or in pre-production, Emmanuelle Vaugier has a measured approach to her craft.
“To me it really is to do what is the best fit at the time,” she explains.
“It’s also what fits into my lifestyle and where I’m at. For me right now my biggest priority is to be able to be with my animals; work, compete with my horse and just enjoy life. And if I can combine some of those things, even better! I try not to take anything too seriously.” P
Within the pantheon of luxury lifestyles there is a correlation between highend automobiles and commensurate residential real estate. The two are not mutually exclusive.
As founder of Team Bold, Glen Bohnet is a testament to that tenet. Consistently ranking within the top one and two percent among 20,000 Royal LePage realtors across Canada, Bohnet is in the business of pairing discerning clients with high-end properties.
It’s a philosophy that aligns perfectly with Brian Jessel BMW as a service providing the ideal fit for the customer – a connection that further cements the symmetrical bond.
Holding his realty license since 1993, Glen Bohnet moved from Edmonton; spent time in Hawaii and Las Vegas before settling locally; all the while sparking an interest in the acquisition of properties and the resulting process of renovation.
“The end result of seeing people respond to the transformation into something beautiful really stuck with me”, he says. “Because you created something that the end user truly appreciated”.
In the Lower Mainland real estate scene, Bohnet has been largely focused on the transformation of Anmore. Situated north of Port Moody, along the shores of Indian Arm and a mere 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver; Anmore is quickly establishing itself as a sought-after residential destination. It’s an area replete with an abundance of unspoiled, exclusive multi-acre properties ideal for future development.
To witness the spectacular settings the area offers, one need look no further than 3299 Black Bear Way; a stunning jewel in Glen Bohnet’s portfolio of properties.
This exquisite Whistler-inspired construction marvel provides nearly 11,000 square feet of contemporary luxury living in a pristine environment. The sprawling estate boasts six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two elevators, parking for eight vehicles and attached carriage house, with a price tag of $8.889M.
“The original developer had a dream,” says the award-winning realtor of this unique listing. “He hand-selected the property and simply didn’t shortcut on anything.”
Those plans would change. After selling the property in 2020 original builder Ross Pearson completed the project, fully maintaining the integrity of the initial vision. To call this listing a ‘dream’ is an understatement.
“In my 25 years of selling in Anmore a property of this stature has never come to this market before,” says Bohnet. “Anmore is truly the Hamptons of Vancouver.” P
Resource Furniture Vancouver boasts an extensive collection that perfectly fits the bill, offering contemporary items in multiple categories of home furnishings, offering stylish and multi-functional designs, ideal for limited spaces. With a vast array of everything from Italian wall beds, sofas and sectionals to extendable dining tables and multiple shelving options, the Hastings Street showroom offers everything one needs to maximize square footage while maintaining an image of style and sophistication. Practicality, functionality and style are key components when furnishing any living space.
“It’s space-saving and transformational furniture ideal for limited spaces,” says Resource Furniture Vancouver owner David Hooper, “but that being said it’s not just for small spaces.”
Vancouver is one of three Resource Furniture stores in Canada and joins US locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Washington and Seattle. Hooper opened the Vancouver store in 2011.
While a love for design prompted his early inspiration, the furniture venture moved to the forefront out of necessity for the former actor and stuntman. “Around 2010 the Canadian dollar hit par and really decimated the film industry,” he says.
“I saw a video of this type of furniture that was transformable and space-maximizing, and I thought that somebody has to bring this to Vancouver.”
“I got a role in the Jackie Chan movie, ‘Rumble in the Bronx.’”
“At that point I saw a video of this type of furniture that was transformable and space-maximizing, and I thought that somebody has to bring this to Vancouver.”
David Hooper’s film career path is an interesting one to be sure. “I got a role in the Jackie Chan movie, ‘Rumble in the Bronx’ which got me into stunt work, having been a trained gymnast. At that point, I met a bunch of stunt people and realized my background lent itself to stunts. Before that film was over, I got a few other dedicated jobs.” While emerging relatively unscathed from his numerous stunts, Hooper sustained serious damage as a result of a 2001 car accident in which he was rear-ended by a tow truck carrying another vehicle. That resulted in a surgically reconstructed neck.
“I used to say I feel more safe on set than I feel driving to set.”
Eventually the accident would further lead to lingering complications involving atrophying muscles in his arm. This prompted numerous medical exams and opinions, including an eventual MRI to determine the extent of these additional symptoms. “In the accident I suffered a fair amount of soft tissue damage and took some time to recover.”
And that’s where actor Charlie Sheen enters the story, a man he credits for saving his life.
“I was working on ‘Scary Movie 3’ and had to crash a truck the length of about six feet into the front of a tractor,” recalls Hooper, “Everything was set up; I’m in the car waiting to do the stunt and Charlie Sheen is there smoking a cigarette. He says, ‘Hey, did anyone check the airbag in that car?’ When we do stunts,
we turn the airbags off or just remove them altogether.’” Sure enough, Sheen’s inquiry proved fortuitous. Hooper was removed from the vehicle with airbag intact, meaning had he performed the stunt, his fate would have been sealed. “Days later I received a call from my doctors with the test results, and they diagnosed a compressed spinal cord. They said if I had moved really quickly or received a punch in the head, I was likely going to become a quadriplegic.”
While prospering in the world of home furnishings these days, Hooper teaches gymnastics but acting is still in the picture. He is currently working on a locally shot series, “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” And the stunt work continues. To witness it in person, ask for ‘Transformable Dave’ on a visit to Resource Furniture at 124 West Hastings Street. P
Michael Downie’s life is on track. The 35 year old Vancouver native has become something of a viral sensation in the digital world, providing informative visual content as he explores Canada and beyond – much of it by rail.
“I started my YouTube channel when I was 29,” he says.
“I’ve always enjoyed travel, scoping our different landscapes and different parts of the world, seeing how different cultures interact.”
And thus, a concept was created, albeit with a difference,
“I really enjoy doing what other people aren’t doing, and that really sculpted my style.”
The channel was created some six years ago, when he was on the cusp of turning 30 and witnessing his peers advancing in their careers.
“You have that existential crisis and feel all the judgment from family,” he says, “parents that think their 30 year old son should be a little further along in life, so I took a job as a junk removal man – a job I would hate so that it would encourage me and motivate me to make You Tube work faster.”
With such an immersive, behind the scenes approach, audience results speak for themselves.
Downie’s YouTube adventure series, known as “Downie Live,” - boasts some 450,000 subscribers and over 40 million views with an additional 207,000 followers on TikTok.
This success is due in large part to his popular ‘Travels by Train’ series, the origins of which happened by chance.
“I was returning from San Francisco and wanted a more adventurous way to get home rather than flying. A 24-hour Amtrak train ride seemed appealing.”
The resulting footage clearly resonated with viewers as Downie’s social media “blew up” after posting the resulting adventure.
“For a channel with 30,000 subscribers at that point – the train video went viral and hit some 600,000 views in no time. I realized then I was onto something and my train adventures began.”
“I really enjoy doing what other people aren’t doing, and that really sculpted my style.”
As his audience numbers continue to grow, Downie attributes the growing interest in his adventures to a general, natural curiosity among viewers, based on both the informative nature of his storytelling, coupled with his somewhat unique perspectives.
“I’m not going to exclusive resorts and showing you the best deals or discounts,” he says.
“I go to places and do things that no one else is doing as I believe that people like to learn in a fun way.
It’s like you having a question in your head - but it’s not enough so that you’ll go out in search of the answer.
But if I can bring it to you in the title of a YouTube video; that’s what brings the clicks.
If you can give the audience behind-thescenes information and tell the story and history and why they should care; and pull them into this world where they want to learn more, that’s when I feel like I’ve done my job really well.”
Downie’s mission is simple – tell a compelling tale and have fun doing it.
The viewer ultimately, will appreciate the legitimacy of the storytelling.
“The location doesn’t matter,” he adds. “It’s the story that matters.”
And despite what pitch ideas may be put forth to him, he continues to follow his proven formula for success.
“I’m open to going anywhere,” he admits, acknowledging the various opportunities presented to him.
“I’m not looking for the perfect beach; that’s boring. I’ll go with the next project that interests me.” P
“I go to places and do things that no one else is doing as I believe that people like to learn in a fun way.”
“Artist Holly Hearndon created an AI version of her voice that could perform a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene on its own, as the AI artist Holly+.”
The software tools used to generate this content range dramatically. Some were formerly used in research projects at various big universities and tech companies, often requiring very powerful computers. Others were distilled down to smartphone applications usable anywhere, thanks to cloud computing technology. Stable Diffusion, Dall-E and MidJourney are just some of the tools available today.
In the last few months alone, we’ve seen some very basic images being generated from text phrases advancing to the point now where the same text phrase can create short video clips and even write stories— with little to no input from the users other than the starting text. The systems in use behind the scenes can now generate incredible scenes and artwork with photorealistic-looking imagery, to the extent
where the users are even able to specify what style is being used—and even the type of camera and lenses to be used—in the creation of the artificial images. All without having to even own those real-world devices.
Other recent developments are the ability to upload your own images and have these tools reimagine them in a different style or enable you to erase part of an image to have the AI tools replace that erased part with something new. Small cropped photos can be uploaded, and the tools will expand the canvas to show you what it thinks was outside the frame when the photo was taken. It truly is unbelievable.
Musicians are able to train these systems on their voices and generate entirely new songs without having to actually sing into a microphone. Artist Holly Hearndon created an AI version of her voice that could perform a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene on its own, as the AI artist Holly+.
Creators of these tools are also starting to enable developers and companies to integrate AI into all kinds of different applications. Stock photo sites can now generate imagery from your search terms instead of relying on a back catalogue of existing photography. Microsoft is integrating tools that enable you to add photos and artwork to your PowerPoint presentations without having to hire an illustrator or photographer.
There has recently been a considerable influx in Internet content generated by artificial intelligence.
Things are moving at such a rapid pace that it can be hard to speculate where things will be in the next few months—but it seems reasonable to assume that within a few years, these tools will have advanced to the point where you’ll just use your voice to request something from the AI and it will be delivered directly to your smartphone.
Imagine being able to use Netflix to search for a movie starring your favourite actors, in your favourite genre, that doesn’t actually exist, but the AI can generate it for you in real time?
We’re not that far off. And with the rapid pace of improvement in these tools, that reality is coming sooner than you might think. P
So where is this all going?
“Imagine being able to use Netflix to search for a movie starring your favourite actors, in your favourite genre, that doesn’t actually exist, but the AI can generate it for you in real time?”Mike Agerbo @MikeAgerbo. Your Digital Living expert, host of @GetConnectedNow TV, Radio and #TheAppShow.
Shama Gupta: An entrepreneur, businesswoman, and influencer, who launched state-of-the-art businesses in India and Canada.
Shama, a business management graduate and a DU alumni, took her first ingenious entrepreneurial steps. Putting her stark vision and skills to work, she began her venture by exporting high-quality stones, tiles, and slabs to North American markets. In 2008 after coming to Vancouver, post her entrepreneurial success, she laid the groundwork for her online store - Stones Hub. One thing led to another, all paving her way to her triumph.
Embracing new surroundings with sheer ease, Shama began routing for the Canadian market. With her two business associates and her unceasing zeal, she triumphantly established a brick and mortar store that exclusively sold premium natural stone. This led to the formation of her first ongoing business, Aeon Stone + Tile, in the year 2008. Aeon Group roared high and achieved several milestones.
In 2016, Aeon Group envisioned yet another idea. An idea to transform the soul of every home, its kitchen, into a luxury, and voila! A new feather in Aeon Group’s journey was added. Habitat by Aeon is known for its exquisite Italian style tailor-made kitchens.Story
Poliform, one of the finest Italian furniture brands known pan globe, came to the picture in 2019. The brand is a reflection of her fondness for family and togetherness, delivering exceptionally stellar furniture.
In 2022, after a feel out of Downtown Vancouver, Aeon Group decided to establish a new refreshed Habitat by Aeon store by adding furniture lines by exclusive global design brands such as Giorgetti, Moroso, Lasvit and Bomma to their existing catalogue. The new showroom, designed by Walker Mckinley of Mckinley Studios, is a look to behold and treats connoisseurs of contemporary design with its visual richness. The idea to show how furniture enhances the overall experience of a space is the key thought behind the new store that opened on November 21, 2022 after a grand opening party.
Shama believes little things make a huge difference, and lead one to indefinite success, be it work or life. And that is what makes her a terrific leader, a visionary pioneer, and an unsurpassed achiever in all walks of life!
Allwest Insurance has a deeply rooted history of delivering a high level of client service. It’s the foundation that Allwest has built upon. Originally founded nearly half a century ago, the company first built its outstanding reputation by providing onsite services and delivering on the auto insurance needs of car dealerships on Vancouver’s North Shore.
The original founder was Bill Verlaan, a local entrepreneur, who prided himself and his company on consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations. With this level of commitment to service excellence, the family-run business grew to gain the trust of its customers—particularly its high-net-worth clientele across West Vancouver. In the 80’s Paul & Devina Zalesky joined the company, eventually acquiring it in 1993.
Together from their start, they envisioned a company that would provide concierge service throughout many of the dealerships across the North Shore, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley while continually enhancing Allwest’s reputation for delivering exceptional service.
Over the years, Allwest became British Columbia‘s premier auto insurance provider, building its reputation by offering personalized insurance needs to customers of leasing programs as well as from local high-end auto dealerships. Throughout this time, the local insurance brokerage continued to develop their expertise in home insurance and commercial insurance products for small and medium size businesses.
With Allwest’s continued growth and success over the last five decades and its expansion to six offices across the Lower Mainland, from North Vancouver to Langley, the growing local brokerage attracted the attention of Navacord, one Canada’s top four commercial insurance brokerages.
Navacord, based in Toronto, Ontario, is a Canadian leader in group insurance and risk management solutions. It was created when industry leaders Jones Delauriers Inc. and Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers joined forces to start a brokerage with a unique ownership model and value proposition.
Originally created when “two like-minded insurance brokers came together to create the Great Canadian Insurance Brokerage,” Navacord is now strategically building a broker partner network across Canada, carefully targeting smaller, successful insurance brokers that demonstrate strong leadership and share niche sector knowledge. Navacord partners with them and offers national strength together with access to underwriting options that the small brokerages traditionally would not be able to acquire on their own. This ultimately delivers an unparalleled level of service while still honouring and maintaining the high level of personal attention that the smaller brokerage’s local touch can provide.
“This ultimately delivers an unparalleled level of service while still honouring and maintaining the high level of personal attention that the smaller brokerage’s local touch can provide.”
In May 2021 Navacord announced its acquisition of Allwest Insurance Services, expanding their footprint in British Columbia for the first time.
At the time of the announcement, Navacord’s Chief Executive Chairman, T. Marshall Sadd, said, “We’re excited to welcome the Allwest team and to expand on the synergies that will exist with our other broker partners across the province. Allwest’s solution-oriented focus on client delivery and service, eye on growth and deep local relationships make them an ideal addition to Navacord.”
For Allwest, the newly formed partnership was a great opportunity to expand its product and service offerings. “Navacord provides an ideal platform for the development of our team, clients, and business. They share our vision and provide a collaborative model that enhances what we’ve built within our market while providing the resources to go even further,” said James Beaulieu, Chief Operating Officer,
Allwest Insurance. Joining with Navacord’s allows Allwest to deliver enhanced product and service offerings that range from personal and commercial insurance to surety, employee benefits and retirement consulting. Navacord leverages its national strength, resources and expansive international network to support the insurance needs of Canadians in local markets.
Allwest was not Navacord’s first partner in British Columbia as they already had Waypoint Insurance, a commercial, home and auto insurance broker headquartered in Courtenay, as part of the family. This relationship between Allwest and Waypoint allows all of their client’s access to more locations across the province as well as specifically designed home and commercial insurance products and programs that support better coverage and pricing for their clients. Couple these resources with Navacord’s personal, group and employee benefits partners in BC, Arbutus Financial and Dehoney Financial Group, and Allwest clients have access to all insurance, financial and wealth
management products and services under one umbrella.
By partnering with Navacord, Allwest now have the resources to deliver more comprehensive value to their clients and expand further with the resources to serve new business opportunities. Being a Navacord business partner will ultimately drive and support a long-term strategic vision, while never losing sight of the Allwest Insurance founding commitment to personal customer service.
It’s what Allwest is known for, after all. P
In music circles, most hip cities have that one special location that caters to everyone from the absolute elite performer to upand-comers and wannabe musicians.
In Vancouver, that place is Rufus Guitar Shop, and it’s been a prominent figure within the West Coast’s rich guitar culture for years.
Long in the game but only at the helm since 2014, Blaine McNamee is the owner/operator of the landmark store, with three locations.
“Rufus was founded in Halifax in the sixties by Rufus Stewart and then it moved to Montreal,” he says.
“He then sold it to the gentleman I bought the store from in 1972 and they moved it to Vancouver in 1983. The original location has been here since ‘84.’”
Originally from Edmonton, McNamee started working in a guitar store at the age of 14.
That would lead to employment in other music shops, all the while honing his love for the instrument.
“At the age of 20 I was playing in a band and touring across Canada and got the idea in my head that I wanted to own a guitar store.
The band eventually broke up and the woman I was with at the time got accepted to Emily Carr.
It was 2006 and I was 24 and wanted to move away from Edmonton, so I moved here.”
After relocating to Vancouver, the mission was to begin scouring area music stores looking for suitable employment. One in particular stuck out.
“I found I liked Rufus Guitar Shop the best,” he adds, “and I could also sense that the owners were close to retirement.”
At that point McNamee identified two goals in his life.
“My main goal was to play music – which I did – and my backup plan was to own a guitar shop.
I started working for Rufus in 2006 and then when the owners retired in 2014, I bought the shop.”
Today there are three Vancouver locations: the original store on Alma Street in Point Grey; Rufus Drum Shop, which opened in 2015 on West 10th Avenue; and Rufus Guitar and Drum Shop which opened four years later on Commercial Drive at 2nd Avenue.
"My main goal was to play music - which I did - and my backup plan was to own a guitar shop."
“The reason I opened the shop on Commercial was the fact that a lot of musicians live in East Van so it just made sense and a great building became available.”
Aptly described as being owned and run by musicians for musicians, Rufus offer everything from lessons and repairs to guitars; from entry level right up to the most sought-after vintage models.
“It’s not uncommon to have legendary Fenders from the sixties in the store,” he adds.
“They are kind of like the Holy Grail. Fender and Gibson are the two original guitar companies and you could call them ‘the BMW of electric guitars’ – Jimi Hendrix played a Fender Stratocaster.
For acoustic guitars, it’s Martin – Johnny Cash played a Martin.”
Rufus remains among the largest dealer of both Fender and Martin Guitars in Canada.
“We brought on a lot of lines that the previous owners of the store didn’t and we totally beefed up the electrics.
We got into pedals and we got deeper into vintage guitars as well.”
And for customers, one does not need to be intimidated by the range of high-end product within the walls.
McNamee promotes an inclusive world for axe-slingers of all types and talent.
“Our customers are everything from beginners and buskers who just want to buy a single string, all the way to famous Hollywood musicians who are willing to drop between 15 to 20 grand.” P
Golf Burnaby, with its facilities nestled within the heart and spectacular natural beauty of the Lower Mainland, offers many of the luxuries experienced within a private club setting.
This popular golf course boasts natural tree lined and gentle rolling terrain offers blend of charm, character and serenity.
One of the premier golf courses in the area. With imaginatively designed links-style fairways, lined by sweeping mounds of wild fescue, this course has an array of white tan bunkers and water hazards that are strategically placed to make every shot exciting.
The new building that will house the Vancouver Art Gallery at Chan Centre for the Visual Arts will forever change the creative and physical landscape of this city. The new building for the 91-year-old old Gallery is widely seen as a catalyst for a cultural renaissance that is taking place in Vancouver.
With the new building, the Vancouver Art Gallery can more significantly contribute to Vancouver’s thriving cultural and civic ecology. The Gallery will be able to take programs, exhibitions and collections to the next level, providing expanded opportunities for artists, educators, collectors, scholars and the Gallery’s increasingly diverse audience base.
“We are coming of age, and we need to be able to showcase the work of our artists in suitable, accessible milieus,” said Judith Guichon, BC’s 29th Lieutenant Governor, at the project’s inception.
The Province of British Columbia, which has been involved with the Vancouver Art Gallery
for decades, really got things started in 2008 with a lead gift of $50 million. In 2013, Vancouver granted the Gallery a 99-year lease on the city-owned Larwill Park, bordered by Cambie, West Georgia, Dunsmuir and Beatty Streets, six blocks east of the Gallery’s current location. In the first part of Vancouver’s history, the park, originally called the Cambie Street Grounds, was a vibrant public space, a parade ground and gathering spot that was popular with Vancouverites. This has inspired the architects to design a building that encourages public gatherings.
The request for qualifications proposal drew responses from about 75 firms from 16 countries. The Gallery involved Vancouver artists like Jeff Wall, who sees the new building as part of a turning point in the history of the city. The new building will accommodate hundreds of travelling exhibitions that previously could not come to Vancouver, so that the Gallery will be able to participate in the circulation of exhibitions among museums that can collaborate. “This single aspect is so important,” Wall said, “because the ability of people to experience original works of art is decisive.”
The international design practice Herzog & de Meuron was unanimously selected as design consultants. Perkins & Will, the second-largest architectural and design firm in the world, are executive architects. According to Vancouver architect John Patkau, who designed Whistler’s Audain Art Museum and the Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver, Herzog & deMeuron is “among a very small handful of the most respected and successful architectural practices in the world.”
Herzog & deMeuron began in 1978 in Basel, Switzerland, as a partnership between Jacques Herzog and his childhood friend and university classmate Pierre de Meuron. It has grown into an international practice, still based in Basel but now with studios in Munich, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, New York and San Francisco. Herzog & de Meuron won the Pritzker Architecture Prize (USA) in 2001; the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK) and the Praemium Imperiale (Japan) in 2007; and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (USA) in 2014.
The practice has designed architectural projects from the small scale of a private home to the large scale of urban design. Herzog & de Meuron became well-known in the 1990s with the commission to convert the Bankside power station in London into Tate Modern (with about 5 million visitors annually, the most visited museum in the world) then became even more internationally recognized with the design of the stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in partnership with the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
After completing 18 museum projects around the world, they are now at the forefront of international museum design. They have had a long-term engagement with the world of art.
“Our obsession, almost, is to look at each project in a new way, a different way, and to come up with specific and different solutions. A museum is not an elitist bunker that is just to store artworks and present them to sophisticated people, but it’s a place for everybody to congregate and meet. We should make buildings open for everyone to go in, even if they are not museum-goers. The Vancouver Art Gallery is not such a huge museum as Tate, but in Vancouver it is important to create diversity. The art in the architecture is to give it a natural feel,” Jacques Herzog said.
With approximately 310,000 sq. ft. of space, the new building will double the current VAG size. The new Gallery will offer approx. 86,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, with 40,000 sq. ft. of galleries set aside for the cherished permanent collection. There will be a resource centre, an expansive artist archive, an education centre and a 300-seat theatre. “This building is an unapologetically bold and modern expression, a tower in the city that is public, that is about the celebration of the visual arts,” said David Dove, Principal at the Vancouver architectural firm Perkins & Will Canada, Executive Architects for the Gallery project.
“The project has a civic dimension that can contribute to the life and identity of the city, in which many artists from various cultural backgrounds live and work,” said Simon Demeuse, Partner in Charge of the Vancouver Art Gallery project at Herzog & de Meuron. “The symmetrically stacked building calls for a textured, human scaled facade which makes the tall upright structure approachable. A copper-colored woven metal facade protects the wooden soffits and structural elements below; both wood and copper are equally present and visible. The copper skin has a veil-like quality; a texture and lightness which, like traditionally woven textiles, changes its appearance depending on the vantage point of the observer and the time of day, creating a dynamic visual experience.“
The referencing of copper in the design of the façade is the result of a dialogue with local artists. Objects made of copper, often elaborately embossed, bent, and coloured, carry a powerful message among many First Nations peoples of British Columbia.
Demeuse considers Vancouver’s beautiful natural setting a defining feature of the city. Accordingly, the design has taken every opportunity to introduce nature into the public courtyard with trees, gardens and plantings spread throughout.
The building has a vertical component and a horizontal component: the vertical structure is lifted, leaving the courtyard open and transparent. The day-lit spaces of this low building will house a number of public uses including a restaurant, lobby, museum workplaces, artist in residence studios, community functions as well as public art. The vertical building houses the main gallery spaces, both temporary and permanent, as well as a library, educational spaces and visible storage facilities all in relation to windows and terraces providing views out over the city.
The new Gallery is scheduled to open in 2027. P
Time it right to avoid a border line up and make sure your Nexus Card is renewed so you can take a leisurely drive down the I-5 to Exit 210, and arrive at Arlington’s Angel of the Winds Casino, in just under two hours. No need to stop along the way. The casino has it all, and it’s now 100% smoke free. Entertainment is everywhere, with a huge range of slots, table gaming, sports betting, and Keno, and there’s bowling, concerts, a brewery, a wide range of dining choices, bars, and their newly renovated rooms to enjoy. Event space is available should you be planning something special.
Be sure to book your room in advance as the resort is a destination for many coming from both north and south. The spacious rooms have recently been renovated and updated with modern lighting, new flooring, furniture and accents, relaxing rainfall shower heads and extremely comfortable mattresses. Big screen TVs and ample desk space could keep you in your room, but you really should get out and explore the casino.
it all, and it’s now 100%
Once you check in be sure to visit the Xperience Players Club to sign up for the Xperience Players Club Card. The card is free, and gives you discounts on dining, the hotel, Strikerz Bowling and All Things Sports, where you can play golf and many other virtual sports.
We’d recommend taking a seat at 210 Brewing Co. and sampling a few of the craft beers made by the first tribal-owned brewery in Washington State. There are seasonal beers, and plenty of ales, IPAs, and lagers to sample, as well as a happy hour from 2pm-4pm daily. The menu here is diverse. There’s bar food such as street corn dip and carne asada fries, but also mains such as the steak frites and wild char-grilled salmon. You can also pop back here for a delicious breakfast in the morning, as they open at 7 a.m.
Other onsite restaurants include Playa Bonita - Mexican Cuisine, Jade Fusion - Southeast Asian, Katie’s Kitchen - great burgers.
There are four bars should you get thirsty, and a coffee shop that has delightful pastries. Outside the main casino, between Strikerz Bowling and the Rivers Run Event Center you’ll find Angel Eats, the spot that keeps bowlers and “golfers” fueled up. Their party and appetizer platters are built for sharing, and the nachos and sundaes are impressive.
The real treat here for dining is the Whisky Prime Steakhouse, with their locally sourced Washington beef, their own meat aging lockers, fabulous service, a great menu, and an impressive wine list. People come to the casino just to dine here, so reserve a table in advance. Order a cocktail and perhaps the scallops Rockefeller, seared octopus, or shrimp ceviche to start. The wedge salads and French onion soup are very popular, and then there is a range of steaks and other mains to choose from with sauces and veggie sides to ensure your meal is complete. Dessert is worth saving room for.
Once you’re ready to hit the casino floor, the flashing slots are difficult to resist. There’s the Treasure Wave with extreme rewards such as a hotel stay as well as cash prizes, and The Wheel Force Double Supreme with all wheels, no reels and five prizes per spin. Table games include Bahamas bonus blackjack, roulette, ultimate Texas hold’em, fortune pai gow poker and craps.
Whether you come to relax in your room, hit the slots and tables, try some craft beer, dine out in style, or just grab a quick bite, Angel of the Winds has a special Xperience for you. P
It’s easy to appreciate just how much the business of selling records has been altered by years of advancing technology.
Yet despite substantial transformational developments, records still exist, and the promotion people within the various record companies still rely on the services of commercial radio stations to get their artists airplay.
Dale Robertson has been in the record business game for nearly 30 years on the label side, following a stint on the retail music side in 1991.
Robertson holds the title of National Promotions Director, Universal Music Canada, and recalls a much wider landscape of record labels back then.
“At that time there were seven record labels: BMG, A&M, MCA, Sony, Capitol, Warner and Polygram.”
Today there are three (Universal, Sony and Warner).
“The various label reps would come into our store as CD sales were still just getting started back then.”
Major releases from rock acts Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Soungarden helped to further establish the digital boom, thus sounding the death knell for earlier methods of recordings.
“CD’s totally killed vinyl,” he adds.
“That’s not to say that cassettes didn’t, but CD’s were much easier for a variety of reasons.
For one, it was convenient and you could have the entire record on one side.
“It was also portable and you could easily play it on a Discman or in the car, and getting to the next song was immediate.”
And while digital technology has made access to artists and the recordings infinitely easier since through myriad sources, record promotion people still play a key role in the overall process; certainly with respect to radio stations as they too remain a key component within the mix.
"Now that radio stations are opening up again and offering a physical visit, you can get back into 'feeling the energy' in the room."
“I deal with radio stations from coast to coast primarily and there’s a team that I work with closely.
“I also captain the country format, which is a substantial part of our roster, so there are a lot of great artists I get to work with.”
The primary objective of the promotion person is to “sell” the record and/or selected single to radio station programmers.
And while some may veer away from the recommended track in favour of something else, Robertson acknowledges that in the end it all proves beneficial in overall exposure.
“Sometimes they’re right,” he admits, but cautions, “They’re not going to have the advantage of all the other radio stations that went with the chosen single, especially when it comes to building a new artist.”
As for the various recording formats, interest in vinyl is again renewed and has helped stem the tide of declining overall sales within Canada.
According to sales tracker data, more than 1.1 million vinyl records were sold in 2021, an increase of nearly 22 percent over 2020, a year in which sales suffered, due largely to COVID-19 and the resulting supply chain issues.
Today, the various applications of music (physical, digital, vinyl and compact disc) blissfully coexist, bolstering sales and trending up.
“These days it’s a hybrid of a physical and digital business,” says Robertson on today’s reality.
“Using Zoom became the norm over the last couple of years, but now that the radio stations are opening up again and offering a physical visit, you can get back into ‘feeling the energy’ in the room.
“You can pick up the odd social cue from Zoom, but it’s not the same.
“In terms of music delivery, currently it’s now completely digital.
“We service all our singles to radio on Wave files, which they then download on their end.”
The record business remains vibrant in 2022 and Universal Music has much to brag about.
“We’ve been fortunate, given our roster of artists such as Keith Urban, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo, just to name a few and even more fortunate on the artist development side as we help grow and nurture careers.
“I’m extremely proud of the impact we’ve had here in Canada as our roster continues to blossom.”
And the future looks bright.
“The progress we’ve made with the likes of Josh Ross, Reve and Preston Pablo is just getting started – and radio’s support has been instrumental.
“It hardly feels like work – any day of the week!” P
Howard Blank is a self-described ‘modern-day impresario’. A longtime fixture on the local landscape, actively involved in myriad entertainment and charitable ventures, his life is eerily reminiscent of many of the city’s most industrious figures.
“I’ve always wanted to emulate Hugh Pickett as he was an icon to me as a young kid,” notes Blank, who counts the late legendary impresario among other notable influencers, such as former Commodore Ballroom owner Drew Burns and talent manager Bruce Allen.
It’s an impressive list that also includes restaurateurs John Teti and Roger Gibson and serves as a veritable who’s-who of Vancouver’s rich entertainment history.
A lifelong love of Hollywood seemingly laid the groundwork to where Blank’s life would lead.
“Show business has always been a passion in my life and I got involved with it, even when I was with the Great Canadian Gaming (Entertainment) for many years as Vice President Media, Responsible Gaming and Entertainment.”
It’s an affiliation that has lasted over thirty-five years. Blank’s showbiz path began at The Vogue Theatre as a teen in the role of volunteer usher where, he says, “I got to see all the movies I wanted for free plus all the popcorn and soda I could handle.”
1: the promoter, manager, or conductor of an opera or concert company 2: a person who puts on or sponsors an entertainment (such as a television show or sports event)Story by Joe Leary
In his graduation year something resonated. “In Grade 12 I saw an article about Bruce Allen collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia. I wanted to work for him out of college so I reached out and wanted him to see my memorabilia. He showed up at my parents place one afternoon with two guys: one was Red Robinson and the other was Bryan Adams”.
Allen encouraged the young Blank and that acknowledgment proved beneficial.
“I’ve always believed boldness is greatness and if you can be bold and take that step, great things come of it”.
His life is replete with involvements in some 100 films and TV shows, broadcasting radio feature segments and in various other media capacities.
He has rubbed shoulders and often striking friendships with showbiz legends including James Brown, Don Rickles, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart and Olivia Newton-John.
When COVID-19 struck, throwing the entertainment showrooms into the dark, Blank approached Great Canadian Casinos about taking over the River Rock and Hard Rock Show Theaters. “I knew they wouldn’t be putting on the same number of shows so I wanted to come in and run them, and now have the contract to do just that with my company, Point Blank Entertainment. Coincidentally, Bruce Allen’s son Quinn is a member of our production team.”
The plan is to bring back the luster and glamour of earlier days with headline entertainers, but in the post-pandemic world, show business poses a challenge. “It’s hard,” admits Blank. “To break even, your ticket prices need to be higher. It’s not that we’re gouging – it’s just that everything you do these days cost double.”
While spare time is limited, he’s found a niche serving as a board member and an auctioneer, and gives much of his time and talent to various philanthropic events.
He was named among the Top 500 Business People within the Charitable Sector by Business in Vancouver. His numerous credits include hosting “The World’s largest 50/50 Draw,” “BC’s Big Bingo,” supporting numerous charities along the way and among them, one near and dear to the Brian Jessel team. “I’m thrilled to be part of the www.winabmw.ca team through the Brian Jessel Foundation, who donates a car to the Jewish organization Chabad Lubavitch BC. We’ve raised a lot of money and it’s been phenomenal.” Going forward, the plan is to expand his entertainment services across Canada and perhaps internationally as well.
Entertainment courses through his veins and through his years of celebrity encounters, Howard Blank has noted a fairly consistent trend among the rich and famous. “I’ve found that some of the hottest stars of the time are not the nicest and the stars that we’ve grown up with and loved, know exactly who butters their bread. They care for every fan no matter who they are.”
“I’ve always believed boldness is greatness and if you can be bold and take that step, great things come of it”Howard Blank, Rod Stewart
As the leading BMW dealership in Canada, Brian Jessel BMW is a landmark and an active partner in the community. Brian Jessel BMW’s drive for quality has earned them their distinct vision for consistent excellence, in addition to being a dealership that prides itself on providing first-class service and a unique BMW purchasing experience.
Some might say we like to party. We simply love to connect with our community.
The Brian Jessel BMW Holiday Party celebrates the shared accomplishments and highlights of the outstanding team for their invaluable effort, sensational service, and cheerful spirit, which had been the key to bringing excellence to the BJBMW brand through the years.
Last November 19th the 2022 festivity glowed with the glamour of a packed dancefloor, a luscious buffet, and a colorful crowd of stunning guests, who enjoyed the evening with cocktail reception and live band at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
We thank our incredible team for all they do, and we hope to continue growing together. Cheers!
The timeless, lavish wedding featured an extravagant orchestra, VIP guests, elegant dinner, and the unmistakable Brian Jessel BMW luxury vehicles. The stunning bride and groom had a weeklong celebration, with highlights from their Traditional Chinese Reception which honored the bride’s family and heritage, to the glamorous ceremony held at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
We wish the newlyweds all the love and happiness their future will surely bring. Cheers!
Driving a convertible in a rain forest is an opportunity to commune with the elements in a rare and sometimes refreshing way. The exhilaration of mist over wind in your hair as you cruise along the upper levels. The stubborn streak that allows you to believe that your luck will hold, and that all will remain cozy and dry until you reach whatever wet destination you call yours. The easing into a damp pleather seat after a sudden summer squall catches you with the roof down. The horror, the horror.
Why then would anyone want to own, much less drive, a convertible in Vancouver? The answer is found in that most powerful of
psychologic truisms: that intermittent reinforcement is among the strongest of the psychological conditioners. Whether you are chasing Amy or the dragon, it is that first ride that triggers your addiction. Driving a convertible during a warm and sunny west coast day is a spiritual event. It transports us to a time and a place of youthful innocence where and when all things are possible, and the world is an Elysian Field.
In an epoch of naysayers, the convertible is the ultimate act of defiance. To paraphrase JFK, “I choose to drive a convertible not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” I boldly drive what few dare to because I want
it, I can afford it, and because when the skies are sunny and the weather is warm nothing else on this green earth matters. Storm clouds be damned.
Granted, this sort of resilience is not universal. The convertible car is not for the timid, the mild mannered, or the meek. Driving a convertible vehicle in a rain forest is a statement about what, rather than who you are: first and foremost, a waterproof optimist.