Talk Description to Me

Episode 97 - Christine in Vancouver

March 26, 2022 Christine Malec and JJ Hunt Season 4 Episode 97
Talk Description to Me
Episode 97 - Christine in Vancouver
Show Notes Transcript

On a recent trip to Vancouver, Christine met up with some of the great folks at VocalEye, a not-for-profit organization that does amazing and innovative work in the Description world.  After a full day of exploring, Christine got a ride home with longtime Describer, and all-around lovely Vancouverite, Ingrid Turk. Full of questions about Vancouver's much-hyped landscape, and not willing to pass up a golden opportunity, Christine switched on her mic and recorded this impromptu episode. 

Special thanks to Ingrid, Steph Kirkland, Eileen Barrett, and Amy Amantea, who we'll be hearing in future episodes!

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JJ Hunt:

Talk description to me with Christine Malec and JJ Hunt.

Christine Malec:

Hi, I'm Christine Malik. And I'm JJ Hunt.

JJ Hunt:

This is talk description to me where the visuals of current events and the world around us get hashed out in description rich conversations.

Christine Malec:

In early March of this year 2022, I took a visit to Vancouver, and I was lucky enough to hook up with several members of the vocal AI team. And you have heard us mention them before and you will hear us mention them again, because we are going to be collaborating on several exciting projects. And because I was in BC, and in Vancouver, I really wanted to meet up with these lovely people in person, which I did. And so over the next several months, you're occasionally going to hear some episodes of talk description to me with a guest host, guest co host. And what you're going to hear today is a conversation between myself and vocalize audio describer Ingrid Turk. So we spent several of us spent an amazing day traveling around doing things, some of which you will hear about in later episodes. But Ingrid was generous enough to offer me a ride home in her sweet little car to the place where I was staying. And so I asked, can you talk and drive at the same time? To which she said yes. And so I took advantage of an audio describers perspective, to be a tourist who could get descriptions catered to a blind person. So on the trip home in the car, I just kept asking questions and asking questions, which as you know, I do fairly well. And Ingrid did a lovely job of satisfying my curiosity. So buckle in, do up your seatbelt and get ready for the car vibe, as we get a little ride in a sweet little electric car through Vancouver, described for you by vocal eyes, one and only Ingrid Turk. One thing that whenever I talk to anyone who's been to Vancouver or who lives here, they talk about the natural landscape and how even when you've lived here a long time, it's still on spiring. And every day, I've heard people say I've lived here my whole life or when I look around every day and feel. And so if you can think and talk while you're driving, I'd love to get some feedback on the natural landscape of Vancouver and what it's like to live here and just be here.

Ingrid:

I'd love to talk about that a bit. I'll be careful. So where we are on Granville Island is an artificial island. It was made out of garbage in the midst of the 20s and 30s Then who decided decided this would be a good industrial area. So they filled it in. It used to be seawater, brackish water because of the creek that actually does come in at the head. And and it was all mud flats up there too. And I try hard to imagine what it must have been like I know that the indigenous people say it was like a grocery store. Just had to go to the beach and pick right what you needed for the day. Right? Whether it was clams or finish berries or whatever. And then in the 70s I guess industry was dying off a little bit. And for whatever reason. Granville Island that became the property of federal government, and they've decided to de-industrialize it or mostly de-ndustrialize it and turn it into this big sort of, I don't know, bit of a playground really and it was originally meant for Vancouverites so we could buy fresh fruit, fruit and stuff like that. Turned out to be a really big hit with tourists too. One of my pet peeves in Vancouver because it's so great all the time is people who dress in black and gray. Pedestrians, particularly on a rainy light, it's really bad. Yeah. So that's a little bit about where we just were closed Creek. And then as we had so just make big main part of Vancouver is, is between Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River. And so all of the indigenous people used to live around False Creek. They got pushed mostly to the Fraser River side of the city, although there's still a strip of reserve land under the Broad Street Bridge left over from the old Kitsilano reserve. And the Squamish nation is building 600 units of housing on that little patch of reserve land, and some people think it's awesome. And some people think How dare they, but some of its going to be market housing, some of its going to be social housing, of course, much of it will be dedicated to indigenous people who need housing. And, yeah, but I looked at a map yesterday, and the whole shoreline around Vancouver was dotted with settlements and villages and summer camp areas. It's quite remarkable how many indigenous people used to live down here. So we're on Fourth Avenue. Now this used to be the Haight Ashbury of Vancouver. Kitsilano Fourth Avenue, there was that Hard Rock Cafe. And it's a little bit before my time. But if you wanted to see real hippies, this is where you can.

Christine Malec:

Heh heh. Real hippies.

Ingrid:

Real hippies!

Christine Malec:

Not just those poser hippies

Ingrid:

No, not the posers in Gastown, the real hippies.

Christine Malec:

Heh heh. So I'm just used to Toronto, where you look around and if you're near the lake, you'll see some water. And if you're not, you're just mostly see high rises or low rise and stuff. But in Vancouver, my sense is that the natural landscape is more predominant in the visual field all the time, like mountains and ocean. Is that a fair? Can you kind of elaborate, elaborate on that?

Ingrid:

I can. You can always orient yourself in Vancouver by knowing that the mountains are to your north. Oh, oh. And they're in Vancouver has been quite careful. Careful to keep view corridors. Oh, high rises go up. Really identified a few few quarters that they keep open. So basically, every time we come to a cross, we were traveling west now every time we cross a North South Street. If if you turn your head to the north, there are the mountains.

Christine Malec:

Oh, wow. By design in the urban planning.

Ingrid:

Yeah.

Christine Malec:

Oh, lovely.

Ingrid:

And you get a sense of the landscape too from the hills. You know, there are very many really steep hills in Vancouver not like San Francisco, but it's very much up and down and up and down. So you know, where the forest used to be heaviest. You can tell maybe where a creek ran through. There was maybe a pond or a marsh. But most of Vancouver's creeks and streams. A lot of them still exist but they're underground right. Although there's an effort to daylight them Hmm. So there's been a couple that have been daylighted and I think last year one of them had its first salmon visit in a long time!

Christine Malec:

What?! Oh my gosh!

Ingrid:

There were only three of them, but still!

Christine Malec:

Wow. Oh my gosh. That must have been a real epic moment.

Ingrid:

Yeah, it was pretty great.

Christine Malec:

And so if you looked to the north to the mountains, are they like peaks that you could name or does is it very obvious to where you are like how distinctive is the skyline?

Ingrid:

The mountain skyline is very distinctive, because there's a pair of twin mountains that we call the lion And I can't pronounce the indigenous name of them, but they're two sisters. Okay. And they dominate the northern horizon and their other because they're part of the coast mountain range. There are other mountains beside and behind them. But those are the only two that people know what they're called.

Christine Malec:

Okay. Okay. Do the others have names?

Ingrid:

Oh, they all have names.

Christine Malec:

They all have, ok, ok.

Ingrid:

They all have indigenous names and settler names. Okay, okay. We call them the North Shore mountains. People who live in North Vancouver live on the North Shore, okay, like Eileen. Okay, she lives up there. Okay. And you can see that the development has crept its way up the mountains so, you know, subdivisions. From here, there. It looks like they're halfway up the mountain and then it's all dark green forest. Right. But when I was a kid, you couldn't even see subdivisions up there. Because everything was still so much closer down.

Christine Malec:

Right? Right. Anytime I've walked on sidewalks in Vancouver and brushed by a shrub or something, the leaves are enormous. And I think everything is just grows bigger in in BC is it is the temperate rainforest. And so if you are able to, I don't know, just compare it to other urban landscapes. How does Vancouver stack up in terms of things growing in the city and Greenspaces?

Ingrid:

I feel like Vancouver has more trees than any other North American city I've been in. Oh, wow. Lots, lots of street trees on main streets like this. Both of both sides of our street, which is four lanes are boarded are bordered by trees. Oh, poetry's there's a stand of cedars right there. And we're here. This is a mixed neighborhood. It's commercial and residential. So there are condos to the left and to the right. And hair salons and cafes. There's the Kitsilano Dental Group. And entries on every sidewalk.

Christine Malec:

Oh, wow.

Ingrid:

Pine trees.

Christine Malec:

And do your deciduous trees lose their leaves? Yes, they do. Okay, and are they what stage are they at? It's almost mid March.

Ingrid:

Now they're bare but some of them you can see the bud swelling. Okay. And some of our cherry trees are beginning to bloom the early cherries.

Christine Malec:

Wow!

Ingrid:

Yeah. And they're my favorites. Not as pretty in quotation marks as the Japanese flowering cherries. They're really delicate pink, they're not covered in blossoms, you know, you see the structure of the dark tweaks in the branches, okay, still. And the color of the petals of the flowers is pink, but it's got a slightly gray tinge to it. You know? Not conventionally pretty, but it's I really like them.

Christine Malec:

What else is blooming at this mid March time I'm here in Vancouver? Okay. Oh, interesting.

Ingrid:

Well, Steph pointed out we've got the snow drops and the crocus's. The early daffodils are up and in bloom and other And there's some shrubs on the right hand side just daffodils are up and you can see the flower buds on them. But there's a shrub called Winter Daphne. That's in bloom somewhere. It's mostly in residential gardens. Right? Not not part of the street landscape. outside this gas station. They're called Photinia. And you can see they're already putting out new growth, which is their new growth is red, and the mature growth is green.

Christine Malec:

Oh. How about the ocean? How frequent is it and just wandering around the city in your day to day life that you see ocean?

Ingrid:

Not as often as the mountain.

Christine Malec:

Okay. Yeah.

Ingrid:

How often do I see the ocean? Well, I see it every time I go over a bridge. And depending on which bridge I'm going over and what time of day and how much cloud there is, sometimes I can see the mountains on Vancouver Island where I grew up.

Christine Malec:

Oh!

Ingrid:

Which is a really funny feeling to see that silhouette but from so so far away.

Christine Malec:

Oh wow.

Ingrid:

Yeah.

Christine Malec:

Oh yeah. Cuz that's, on the ferry anyway, that's an hour and 40 minutes or something.

Ingrid:

Yeah.

Christine Malec:

So not inconsiderable distance. What kind of wildlife would you come across in urban Vancouver?

Ingrid:

Urban Vancouver? It's coyotes and raccoons, rats, crows, eagles all kinds of little brown birds.

Christine Malec:

Lots of crows! I've heard I've just by the soundscape I've heard a lot more crows than I'm used to.

Ingrid:

The rookery for our local crows is at Burnaby lake which is a few miles to the east of us here.

Christine Malec:

Oh.

Ingrid:

And so at dusk every night there's the crows all fly across the city East Lake.

Christine Malec:

Oh wow!

Ingrid:

It's a pretty amazing sight.

Christine Malec:

Wow!

Ingrid:

It's not thick like a flight of starlings. But it's just this constant kind of ragged train of crows.

Christine Malec:

Oh, I'd love to be in the middle of that! Wild.

Ingrid:

I used to have friends that lived further east than me. I used to phone them up and say"oh, the crows are on their

Christine Malec:

Ha ha ha! Oh, I'd love to be to be in the path way". of that would be so fun.

Ingrid:

I was surprised when I moved here at how urban the bald eagles are. In the city parks.

Christine Malec:

Oh, okay.

Ingrid:

I work The Bard at the Beach in the beach in the summer and there's Eagle's Nest very close to that site. And when the eaglets fledge, they find a soft landing place on top of the Bard on the Beach stage tent.

Christine Malec:

Oh!

Ingrid:

Cause it's just far enough. If they hit it wrong, though, they skid!

Christine Malec:

Yeah? Heh heh.

Ingrid:

And then we have the fireworks festival and that's when the Eagles decide. It's time to get out.

Christine Malec:

Ah, yep, yep.

Ingrid:

We don't see them again until next spring.

Christine Malec:

Oh, wow. Oh.

Ingrid:

So this is one of the hardest hills of Vancouver's what we call the seal. I don't know the 10th Avenue Hill, something like that. It's brutal for cyclists.

Christine Malec:

Oh, yeah, we're going down pretty steep. Oh, boy, we're it's steep. Are there more cyclists than in other cities that you've been in?

Ingrid:

I don't think so. I know Toronto has many, many cyclists. And certainly not more than European cities, that's for sure.

Christine Malec:

Okay. Okay. And you have dedicated bus lanes. So there are a lot of dedicated bike lanes,

Ingrid:

More and more.

Christine Malec:

More and more, ok.

Unknown:

And more and more they're actually physically separated from the car. At first, they were just aligned on the pavement. But now the there's actually a radius between the currently bicycle lane with that Hoover first proposed putting bike lanes into the more commercial areas like downtown. The merchants made big, big us and then it happened. And suddenly the downtown business association is like these bike lanes are these customers. Aren't they awesome?

Christine Malec:

Right? Yeah, right. That's often the way I think.

Ingrid:

Okay, at the top of the scale of budgeting left on Dunbar Street and you're on Dunbar

Christine Malec:

3930. West 39. Yes.

Ingrid:

Main Main Street in Vancouver is the dividing line between East and West.

Christine Malec:

Oh, we have one of those two, it's very dividing.

Ingrid:

Ha ha ha!

Christine Malec:

When you live on one side, you might visit the other side but you don't live on the other side and people don't tend to defect from one side to the other. It's not hostile at all. It's just that there's a side. There's that side of Yonge and that side of Yonge and you don't...

Ingrid:

I think it's a bit more fluid here.

Christine Malec:

Ya? ok.

Unknown:

Especially, it's like, if you find a place to live, you go there!

Christine Malec:

Nab it! the market being what it is.

Ingrid:

So this is a nice little commercial section. There's four storey condos. The older apartment buildings or three storey walkups. Okay, here we have four stories of condos mixed with commercial drugstores stores, Starbucks. And now as we begin to descend a little bit, there's quite a VISTA in front of us, looking out over the Fraser River, courts, Richmond, which is also all reclaimed land. And then beyond that, you can see the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula and a big bank of clouds.

Christine Malec:

What kinds of things go on on the Fraser River?

Ingrid:

It's a very, it's a working river. There's tugs pulling log booms up and down. There's Birch's sea planes. What else? Fishing, commercial fishing? Oh, all right, especially this time of year. It's the herring fishery right now. I don't know how close they got here. Oh. Yeah, there's a lot going on down on that river. Oh, see, where are we now? Speaking to the third. Now we're into purely residential, very, very Suburban. One family houses are quite big lots. Still lots of trees.

Christine Malec:

Do you still in a neighborhood like this? Do you still see the same emphasis on decorating public spaces that we saw in Granville Island?

Ingrid:

Not so much. Okay, but people still have their holiday lights up.

Christine Malec:

Oh!

Ingrid:

I guess we're coming into now rooms which is the Parisian holiday?

Christine Malec:

Oh, the new year?

Ingrid:

Yeah. So people basically never take the lights down. Okay. Because, you know, there's always it's always something. Okay, so 31

Christine Malec:

So, one a cloudy day like this. When you look for mountains, you just see up to a certain point and then it's just puffy gray.

Ingrid:

That's right. And from here because we're on the downward slope towards the Fraser River. I don't see the mountains. Okay. All I see is puffy gray with a lot of local trees right in front of it.

Christine Malec:

Okay. And do clouds have variability in their heights? Like on different days? Will you see a different elevation? Yeah, and

Ingrid:

yeah, it's really obvious when you look at the mountains, right?

Christine Malec:

Oh, I guess it would be

Ingrid:

High above the mountains, partway down the mountain.

Christine Malec:

Have you become a connoisseur? Like, you know, when you see them low, it means it's gonna rain or is there any correlation you make? Or do you just go "Oh, they're low today?"

Ingrid:

Yeah. There's correlations if they're, the mountains are partly obscured. generally means that the weather's mild, you know that there's a lot of humidity. moisture in the air. If they're completely obscured, it's probably

Christine Malec:

What's your favorite visual part of living in the city?

Ingrid:

Oh, I think the plant life.

Christine Malec:

Oh. All of it? Or the trees or... I like all of it. Yeah. Did you grew up -- you grew up on the island, right?

Ingrid:

I grew up on the Island, ya.

Christine Malec:

Okay. Some of this stately old houses here on the west side are being replaced by less stately modern houses. Oh, yeah. In this block alone, these past two construction sites Oh, you can see old houses... We hope you're loving the show. We really enjoy the challenge of putting together a new episode each week. To ensure that our efforts are worthwhile. We need to reach as many people as possible That's where you can help spread the word. Maybe send a podcast link to three friends. Post about the show on local listservs and Facebook groups. Perhaps tweet about a favorite episode and tag some followers you think might like it, or show your love by becoming a patron. The broader our reach, the longer we can stay buoyed and keep afloat. With your support. We'll be around for a long time. Thanks for listening and staying connected on social media. It's what makes this so rewarding for us have feedback or suggestions of what you'd like to hear about. Here's how to get in touch with us. Our email address is talk description to me@gmail.com. Our Facebook page is called Talk description to me. Our website is talk description to me.com and you can follow us on Twitter at talk Description.