People have been living "off the grid" in cabins and floathomes around the shores of Burrard Inlet since before the creation of Vancouver. Squatting on the foreshore was one strategy for finding affordable housing in what has always been an expensive city. Little by little these foreshore squatters were evicted from their homes to make way for port developments until today none remain.
A couple of years ago the last of the squatters cabins at Cates Park in North Vancouver was threatened with destruction by a real estate development next door. For many years the cabin had been home to the musician and writer Al Neil and artist Carol Itter. Through the intervention of the local arts community the building was saved. It has been restored and will reemerge as a floating artist residency.
Today the grunt gallery opens an exhibition showcasing the restoration of the Blue Cabin by Jeremy and Sus Borsos. As part of the exhibition Jeremy Borsos will be giving a talk describing the restoration of the building. That's on June 20 at 7 p.m. at the grunt, 350 East 2nd Avenue in Vancouver. And then the following week, June 28, same time, same place, I will be giving a slide presentation about the history of squatting in the Inlet, trying to provide some historical context for the community at Cates Park of which the Blue Cabin was a part.
A full report on the Blue Cabin project is here.