March 4, 2015

Winner: The Cat Box Contest

By a large margin – two-thirds of the 50 or so who voted:




It was submitted by ‘Downtown Charles’ – Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver BIA.  So I assume he’ll accept a Mink chocolate bar on behalf of Better Transit & Transportation.  Call, Charles, and we’ll go choose.

Interestingly, this was the only poster that did not have a mode of transportation (save feet) as the dominant image.  Confirming what Stephen Quinn said in his Globe column: “Show me why I should vote Yes for the transit tax.”

For the Yes side, this campaign, such as it is, has been all head and no heart. My head is sore from all the numbers, and my heart remains ice-cold.

Unfortunately, the Mayors’ Council campaign still hasn’t got the message.  Here’s an excerpt of the kind of thing they’ve been sending out:




No chocolate bar for them.

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  1. It has been said before, but I think we need to make this personal: ideally with photos of ordinary people and their stories.

    My mother-in-law is Chinese, 75 years old, and speaks little English. She lives with my family in a suburb that was built to be car dependent. She walks regularly and is in excellent health, but has never driven a car. Were she to rely on us to drive her she would be a prisoner of the neighborhood. But Brentwood isn’t car dependent any longer.

    On her own initiative, she learned to take the bus. She would pack a bag and travel across Vancouver to spend a night or a weekend visiting her niece and nephew. My young son loves to play with his cousins; sometimes he would go with her, leaving my wife and I to enjoy some time alone.

    When the niece and nephew moved away, she discovered Crystal Market at Metrotown. She sets out with a shopping buggy and returns later in the day laden with fruit and Chinese vegetables, dough for dumplings and minced pork. There is often much cooking when she gets back. These trips are entirely independent: just last week I went to fetch her for a doctor’s appointment I had neglected to tell her about, only to discover she had gone out.

    One word for what transit means for her: Freedom.

  2. Actually there was one poster with two people in this contest, an operator and a passenger in a wheelchair entering a HandiDART bus. I’m hesitant to call them elderly because I am about the same age, but mobility with the elderly will become a much greater issue as Boomers age. Those of us practicing elder care now will understand this, and also know that the number of today’s elders will grow exponentially.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing my work! I conceptualized and designed this piece for and with the Mayors’ Council for BC Family Day.

    You can see the original here:

    I look forward to ‘Downtown Charles’ passing on his winning chocolate bar—or at least sharing it.

    Also, if you would like to share this as a poster, I am happy to pass on a better, full-size and print ready image. Please email me at

  4. Wow! Good work Charles on getting on board for Transit. I have heard Charles make some unsavoury comments in the past about alternative modes of transport. This is encouraging!

  5. This is exactly the kind of campaign that the YES side should be using. It’s personal; it’s about people. It strikes a chord.

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