We Shape Our Cities

Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”


Every city has a story that encompasses all the memories of the people who lived in their “hometown.” Even in our world where people move from city to city, there is an emotional attachment to a location where we have resided, even for a short time-frame.

Cities are a reflection of who we are as individuals, and as a collective. Our homes, cafés, churches, stadiums, museums, open spaces – all speak to the need for creating places that resonate with our shared values and need for beauty and comfort. Buildings are the foundation of communities but what brings us together is the creative spirit that accompanies structures.

Granville Island, once the industrial manufacturing heart of Vancouver, has been transformed into a vibrant shopping area and entertainment centre that boasts a huge public market, community centre, marina, theaters. Locals and tourist from across the globe come to this place to experience the story of a location. And what better way to view a story than through art.

Welcome to Granville Island.

33 Replies to “We Shape Our Cities”

  1. Beautiful post Rebecca, what a wonderful collection of murals, I think it is the best way to bring art to the public and fill with color some areas of the city.

    Sorry, I, as always, arrived late for everything … it’s my destiny 🙂

    1. Thank you for your insightful words, Belen. I am learning that art is about integrating our inner journey with a ever-evolving complex external world. Art allows us to examine who we are and our place in time. When we embrace art, we accept that we are part of the narrative of humanity. And you are never, ever late!! Hugs.

      1. Yours, if they are wise words, your reflection is the most exact definition about what is the true essence of art, I think my English sometimes falls short to express everything I want to say about the accuracy of your comment … Hugs!!
        ( I have returned to my English classes … I hope to improve 🙂 )

  2. Rebecca, there is no reblog button, so I hope you like what I did! -Resa
    It really is a fab post about Street Art.

  3. OMG! i missed a post!
    Well, Granville Island has definitely changed since I lived in Vancouver! Wonderful post. I’ll give it a reblog on GLaM when I get back there! Fab,

    1. Vancouver has changed a great deal over the years – but it has never lost its love of rain. And we have lots in the forecast for the next couple of weeks. I call it liquid sunshine – the perfect time for tea, a great book and good company. Thanks for stopping by. Vancouver is waiting for your return!! Hugs!

  4. Fabulous art work in this regenerated part of Vancouver – it is so striking and captivating. I doubt I’d get any shopping done as I’d be so fascinated with the art! Beautiful and interesting post, Rebecca … I long to visit Canada and Vancouver as well now!

    1. I have a feeling that we will indeed meet one day. I have noticed that there is very little distance between us – about 8 inches according to my atlas. When we bring a camera along on our walks, we become more involved in our surrounding, especially these days as street and public art have taken over our cities. It is marvelous to see art integrated within our communities, inspiring us to seek positive outcomes for our society. Hugs coming across the pond.

      1. Ahh…I like that kind of distance! 😀😀 Oddly enough my husband and I were both planning a trip to Canada before we met … afterwards life became its usual busy. However with our son off to uni next October it is a holiday destination we hope to visit! Fingers crossed! Xx

  5. I’ve been in the Vancouver metro area for two years now and still haven’t gotten to Granville Island… you’ve really inspired me and the weather’s really nice right now – I have to put this on my list of great things to do! Thanks!

    1. You will LOVE Granville Market. Summer is very busy – my favourite time to visit is September. I especially like taking the water taxi rather than taking a car because the parking can be difficult to find! Thank you for your visit and comments – much appreciated.

  6. Herzlichen Dank Rebecca für diese wunderschönen Graffiti-Kunstwerke von Granville Island.
    In der Schweiz war Harald Nägeli der erste Sprayer, der in den 1970er Jahren in Zürich nachts Wände besprayte und so Europaweit als Graffiti-Künstler bekannt wurde. Anfangs der 1980er Jahre wurde er erwischt und sogar wegen Sachbeschädigung verurteilt. Ein lieber Gruss. Ernst
    Link: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald Naegeli

    1. Danke, Ernst für deine Kommentare und Einführung in Harald Nägeli. Ich habe noch nie von seinem Namen gehört. Heute Nachmittag habe ich über sein Leben und seine Arbeit gelesen. Er ist ein erstaunlicher Künstler !!! Dies erinnert mich daran, für Kunst offen zu sein, die schwer zu verstehen und zu schätzen ist. Einen schönen Tag haben. Danke, dass du meinem Tag Freude hinzugefügt hast.

  7. What wonderful art, Rebecca… the murals are so vibrant and joyful…your hometown looks such a wonderful place…and it always sounds so thriving and full of energy too…

    1. Have you ever noticed that market places have a remarkable way of bringing people together. There are so many wonderful words that embody the word, “marketplace” – souk, bazaar, mercado, tianguis, palengke – they all possess an energetic feeling that comes when people gather together to trade, eat, share stories and gossip . I try to imagine what a medieval market must have been like – tales of silk roads, foreign lands!! AHHH- the stuff of legends. Whatever the time or location, markets – the story of people is/was embedded in the moment. Thank you for your visit and for sharing your story – many exciting and profoundly moving moments. Hugs!!!

  8. Thank you for this post. Granville Island has changed so much in the time we have been in this area. It has been a long time since I have been there, so I enjoyed the progression of your video to see some of the Art. Truly a great place to visit.

    1. I remember when Granville Island opened! There have been so many wonderful changes over the years, with more on the way. There is a new building appearing on the boardwalk, which should be finished this summer. Did you know that there are more than 275 businesses within that small area. Approximately 2,500 employes that generate more than $215, Million, according to Wikipedia! WOW!!

  9. Marvellous post, Becky – such inspiration and creativity. Art is at its finest when it helps us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. 🙂 “…Seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
    ― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

    1. What a fabulous quote, Liz! I have placed it on my computer and will be looking for the book, Invisable Cities. We are experiencing a global trend of moving from rural to urban, which is a continuation of the Industrial Revolution. I am fascinated how we create our “homes” within diversity. We live in exciting times. Many opportunities as well as risks. I believe art allows us to express the voice of our generation. Thank you for your visit! Have a great day.

      1. Exciting times indeed, although rather puzzling too – that is why it is so interesting and inspiring to share thoughts and experiences with each other. Invisible Cities is an unusual read, but absolutely fascinating – one long quote in a way – I am sure you will enjoy it! 🙂

      2. I attended a convocation ceremony at Simon Fraser University. Your thoughts were echoed in the President’s address to graduates: in the past, we planned for the coming future. Now, the future is coming to us and we must explore new ways of creating value and inspiration. What better way than sharing thoughts and experiences. Hugs!

    1. Isn’t it exciting how art brings us together to create a collective story. What is most interesting about this street art is that it has transformed a drab car parkade. What was once a place used for function is now a space to wander through with purpose. I was not the only one with a camera. Lots of selfies and family photos taken in the parking lot the day of my visit. A building with many stories. Thanks for your visit – always a joy to see you comments. Hugs!

You're welcome to join the dialogue!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.