I hope the success of Ivy's Family Kitchen leads to more variety in the local food scene
Plus a major garden upgrade at UNBC, virtual vet care and a hummingbird rescue
Happy Thursday! Be careful as you’r driving as we’re expecting heavy snowfall today. And thanks to everyone who’s signed up for this so far. Would love to hear how you think it’s going, questions, comments, etc.
We have enough "New American" cuisine
Yesterday I attempted to get lunch at Ivy’s Family Kitchen, the new Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Prince George. But the line was out the door, even just to get takeout, and every seat in the house was taken so I didn’t get to try the Bánh mì after getting the pho at a packed seating late last Thursday (as an aside, complaints about downtown Prince George remind me about that old joke about the food being terrible and the portions so small — everyone talks about how nobody goes downtown, plus all the parking is always taken).
The early success Ivy’s is having is, I hope, proof to other aspiring restauranteurs that there is a real hunger in this city for a little more variety. I often think about how less than a decade ago we had Greek, pho and two — TWO! — Iranian restaurants, and in the years since those shops closed seemingly every new venture has been either Indian, sushi, or some version of the New American menu of pizzas, burgers and wings (I’ll place Chicko Korean Fried Chicken in a separate category, and also note that they seem to be having wild success, despite being awkwardly located in a gas station near the airport).
Not that there’s anything wrong with those menus — I feel like I’m being selfish for complaining we have too much sushi. But I feel like we’ve hit a saturation point, with multiple good choices in each of those categories while other major schools of cooking are non-existent (note: I would make an exception if Red Tomato Pies wanted to expand their pizza up from the Cariboo to here). We don’t have anything authentically Mexican, nothing Iranian or similar, I’m still looking for a good dim sum after Star Wok shut down. After two years of not traveling during the pandemic I was shocked, on a recent trip to Vancouver, to realize I’d compeltely forgetten falafels existed as a street food.
The latest census stats show Prince George is more diverse than it’s ever been (more on that in a future newsletter) and yet somehow our food seems to have gone the opposite direction. Hopefully, the success of Ivy’s will mark the beginning of the reversal of that trend.
UNBC’s David Douglas Botanical Garden to get bigger
Some interesting projects in the latest Northern Development Initiative Trust newsletter, including a Vanderhoof robotics company making hay-drying machines, new restaurants (!) at the airport and news that the David Douglas Botanical Garden will start phase two of its expansion project next year:
Phase 2 includes the construction of a visitor kiosk, accessible deck, public washroom, parking lot, axial walkway, maze, landscaping and other amenities at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. The Visitor Kiosk is a donated passive house demonstration building that will feature a reception area, washrooms and deck.
Work is expected to wrap up by the end of 2023, with the third and fourth phases to follow.
Those next phases are even more ambitious and will eventually include a 23-acre property with a cable walk which, I’d argue, would be one of the most significant additions to the city’s tourism infrastructure in decades. You can read more about hte long-term plan here.
Northern Health Indigenous care survey
There have been several high-profile incidents of racism in healthcare throughout the province and the country, and northern B.C. is no exception. The health authority is launching a survey to try and get a better understanding on how to move forward.
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Not sure how much it will help with the veterinary shortage, but Telus is launching virtual vet care in seven locations, including Quesnel, Prince Rupert and Prince George.
Tourism Prince George is expecting a “banner year”, having collected more hotel tax revenue from visitors to the city than ever before, the Prince George Post reports.
Earlier this week, it was reported that John Brink’s Nechako Corners project is being delayed until at least 2024, but development of the surrounding neighbourhood seems to be going ahead with the company announcing two streets are being named after Jim Good of Goodsir Nature Park fame.
School District 57’s school bus problems continue, with Salmon Valley and Bear Lake now completely cut off from the service.
And let’s end things with a rescue mission for a hummingbird that failed to leave town: