Issue #159
Hives, Alive! Therapeutic beekeeping takes flight

Megaphone vendor Peter recounts his big day participating in the @hopeinshadows photography contest: t.co/rQ9g2T4mqW #dtes Jul 23, 09:26 AM

Vendor Voices: For Peter Thompson, The Hope in Shadows photo contest is an annual celebration of community


On Friday, June 6 of all nights, I wanted to go home and try to get in some early sleep. I knew it was going to be a busy day the next day, not only for me, but for a lot of people: the people from the Downtown Eastside. 

I managed to get some sleep but was up early Saturday morning. Coffee was on; I was excited for the day ahead. By the time I got to the Pivot Legal Society office, the place was already buzzing with people and things were happening: it was the big camera handout for the Hope in Shadows photography contest, where there were least at 200 disposable cameras handed out in the Downtown Eastside. For participating photographers, the theme this year was “The Community We Have Built.” 

I remember when I first started participating in the contest years ago. The photos were in black and white. Now, the contest is a lot more interesting, with more categories like Best Portrait, Best Landscape, Best Colour, Best Black and White photos, and Best Artistic Photos. 

So, as you can see, the camera handout is a great way to start your day. The tents were going up, the stage was getting set up for the live bands—we had blues singers, which was cool. All this was happening so participants could
get a number and didn’t have to wait in line until their cameras were given out. We even had chalk drawing on the sidewalks. My lucky number was 75. How lucky could that be? That’s 3⁄4 of a dollar, anyway. 

While I waited for my camera number to be called, I sat around listening to great music, drank coffee, even got called out to dance by Kristie, which was cool. What a great way to spend some time waiting. Once we got rolling, I was up. I signed a waiver, then got my camera. The first picture you take is a self-portrait so everyone knows the film is yours. Smart, eh! Then, they have a professional photographer come and give you tips on picture taking. We learned about lighting, shadows, great stuff. 


Soon, I found myself out on the road, trying to get a picture or two that would at least make the cut. I had some ideas, but to put them into action was a different story. I did manage to do one before I left the office. Last year, my camera never worked; hopefully this one will. 

I took some pictures of people, reflections, and places, around town. I even got some animal shots in. Once I ran out of film at the Downtown Eastside street market, I turned my camera in on Monday after the weekend of shooting.

Now, it’s waiting time to see if I make the cut. Landing a photo in the Top 40 is also very exciting time; you have another grueling wait to see what category you won. 

The waiting is intense, but all in all, the best and foremost part is having fun taking the pictures. 

I wish all the contestants the best. These three days of the contest are the ones that bring joy and peace to the people of the Downtown Eastside. Thank you, Carolyn Wong, for the work you put into this and all the volunteers, and everyone who took part for making this a success. 

Peter has participated in the Hope in Shadows photography contest since 2008—that year, he won honourable mention for a photo, and two years later in the 2010 contest, his photograph of his nephew won in the Best Colour category and was featured on the cover of the 2011 calendar. It was through Hope in Shadows that Peter started selling Megaphone. He sells Megaphone at Robson and Howe, and will be selling the 2015 Hope in Shadows calendar there when it hits the streets October 1. Photo: Robin Toma 

PUBLIC LIBRARIES, SOCIAL HUBS - For Homeless and Low-Income Citizens, Libraries are a Necessary Haven

Alvin Stewart lives in the Downtown Eastside and spends time at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch almost every day. Photo: Vivian Luk. 

In Vancouver, Victoria, and across North America, urban libraries are more than place to borrow movies and books. For people with no fixed address or in vulnerable housing, libraries are places to seek shelter, to stay in touch with loved ones, and even lay their heads to rest, even if just for a short while. 

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Hives, Alive! Therapeutic beekeeping takes flight

Megaphone's got all the buzz on urban beekeeping in issue #159 with a feature on how Hives for Humanity offers beekeepers in Vancovuer's vulnerable Downtown Eastside neighbourhood a place for quiet communion with nature and friends.


Also in this issue: the push for the B.C.'s first Community Investment Fund to save money while giving back to our communities; Ted Bruce fills big shoes as the Portland Hotel Society's new executive director; District of Central Saanich files suit against homeless haven Woodwynn Farms for bylaw violations; vendor Hendrik Beune reminices about sustainable summers spent sleeping under the stars; and much more!


Megaphone. $2 every 2 weeks. Find your vendor here


MEGA-NEWS: Proposed prostitution bill makes sex work more dangerous, UVic researcher finds


Photo by Steve Rhodes/flickr


Popular narratives about sex work tend to frame sex workers as victims and johns as predators. But that doesn’t fit reality, says Chris Atchison, co-author of the largest Canadian study of sex workers and customers. Atchison presented the findings to the federal Justice and Human Rights Committee reviewing Canada’s prostitution bill Monday.


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Beyond the Books: Libraries scale up their social work

Homeless and low-income people have been using the free internet, books, washrooms and comfy chairs in libraries for decades. In Megaphone Issue #158 out today, we look at how libraries are changing to better serve their most vulnerable patrons. 


Also in this issue: Victoria's new police chief takes a friendlier approach than his predecessor to low-income people and their allies; a provincial rental subsidy for seniors could go a long way to improving housing security if more people applied; vendor Hendrik Beune talks about the many lives--and jobs--he had before selling Megaphone; Canada's proposed anti-prostitution law gets sex workers and their customers all wrong; and much more!


Megaphone. $2 every 2 weeks. Find your vendor here

Pending closure of Victoria youth custody centre raises questions

The Victoria Youth Custody Centre, pictured here, is slated to close due to dropping youth detention centre populations across B.C. The closure would require current youth custody centre residents to move to a facility in Burnaby, B.C., which advocates say could land at-risk youth in even riskier situations. Photo courtesy of the B.C. Ministry of Child and Family Development.


When the provincial government announced earlier this year that it was shutting down the Victoria Youth Custody Centre, the closure was touted as the result of a success story: the number of people in B.C.’s three youth detention facilities has declined so dramatically over the past decade that it no longer made sense to keep the one in Victoria open.

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OPINION - Disciplinary architecture: A case study in anti-homeless NIMBY-ism

Vancouver’s Spring Advertising designed benches this year for RainCity Housing that aim to provide an alternative to the disciplinary architecture often seen in public spaces aimed at welcoming certain demographics of people while shutting others out. Photo: Spring Advertising for RainCity Housing.


Big news last week was the street-level installation of spikes outside a new luxury housing complex in Southwark, a south central neighbourhood of London, England. The spikes were assumedly erected in response to a homeless person who had been sleeping there a few weeks ago. Pictures and commentary about the spikes spread quickly through Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

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MEGA-NEWS: After a long wait, the Kingsway Continental opens


Former residents of the Old Continental residence, pictured here and situated at the north end of Vancouver's Granville Bridge, moved into a new, city-owned non-market housing complex called the Kingsway Continental in Renfrew-Collingwood this month. The Old Continental is set for demolition and subsidized housing will be developed in its place over the next 10 years. Photo by Herb Neufeld/flickr. 


It was almost a year behind schedule when it opened this month due to a mould problem, but the Kingsway Continental welcomed its first residents this month. The new city-owned, non-market housing development in a former Ramada Inn hotel on Kingsway near Joyce is a replacement for the Old Continental, a city-owned Single Room Occupancy Hotel that closed in Downtown South earlier this spring— the building was old, and maintenance costs had become too high.

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Moving On Up: Megaphone expands to Victoria

I'm incredibly excited to announce that the new issue of Megaphone out today is being sold in both Vancouver and Victoria.


Victoria’s street paper, Street Newz, recently announced it would stop publishing after 10 years. They asked if Megaphone would step in and ensure Victoria’s vendors continue to have a strong and vibrant magazine to sell. Of course, we said yes.


Being in Victoria makes a lot of sense for Megaphone. With growing poverty and homelessness rates, Vancouver and Victoria share a lot of similarities and struggles. Megaphone will be a voice calling for more affordable housing in both cities.


The issue you’ll see on the streets will be sold in both Vancouver and Victoria. We’ll have a mix of stories about the important social, civic and cultural issues going on in both cities and we'll have stories about the vendors and how selling the magazine helps them in their lives.


Megaphone provides an opportunity to homeless and low-income to earn an income and have a voice. Now, whether you live in Vancouver or Victoria, you'll be able to help make that happen.


Help support Megaphone's expansion in Victoria and make a donation to our vendor program.


In this special issue of Megaphone, you'll read stories about our Victoria vendors, the history of the Victoria Street Newz, how a meal-share program is helping charities in both Vancouver and Victoria, and much more!


Thank you for your support,

Sean Condon
Executive Director 

Champion city: Vancouver hosts Canada's first Street Soccer Cup


Rik Mountain (left) and his teammates from the Woodward’s street soccer team support each other in a cheer during the Canada Street Soccer Cup. Mountain and other Vancouver players have travelled internationally to represent Canada at the Homeless World Cup in Brazil and France. Photos by Kristian Secher.


Ten years ago it was just a few people, pavement, a ball and an idea—that playing soccer could be a therapeutic and recreational outlet for people living vulnerable lives. Since its first teams formed in 2008, the homeless street soccer movement has become a venerable force in Vancouver. The latest in its long line of international accomplishments: local teams hosted the first-ever Canada Street Soccer Cup in North Vancouver at the end of May, staking their claim in a national movement that has brought hundreds of people together to enjoy sport, community, and work towards a better life.

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