Let's build a restaurant in the clouds
Plus, McDonald's as a gathering space, a sentimental bowling ball is stolen and Birdman
Earlier this week I noticed this Tweet fromwho also writes a great newsletter about music and memories and so much more I think you should check out, as an aside. Here’s the tweet:
I think she’s right.
Maybe not about it having to cost $60 but in virtually every ‘tourist destination’ city I’ve been to, there’s been a tall tower somewhere you can go to the top of to see the whole thing. I was just in New York, which has multiple, as well as Toronto which has the CN Tower and Niagara Falls which has the Skylon Tower on which the CN Tower is based.
These don’t always have to be buildings purpose-built for tourists, either. In Los Angeles, one of the best views is from city hall and in Lethbridge, Alberta, you can go up the old water tower and enjoy a meal. The key is it needs to be a space accessible to the public from which you can view the city.
Prince George doesn’t have this, and we should. Several years ago, now, I was able to go into one of the higher levels of a downtown bank building and was blown away by what I saw: A view of the city that included downtown, the Crescents neighbourhood, Connaught Hill and the Nechako River and cutbanks. It’s a really nice view! And you only get it if you work on the upper level of one of our downtown office buildings, or you have an appointment in one of them. I’ve had this opportunity precisley once in nearly four decades of being here.
I think that should change! We should get a restaurant built in one of these buildings. Let people look out at the community. Put in tourist brochures. Make us a real city!
Happy seven year anniversary to my greatest journalistic achievement:
McDonald’s as a Third Place
Listen, I miss China Sail as much as the next person but I’m going to come out and say it: Having a McDonald’s replace it has, as far as I can tell, been a pretty good thing for the neighbourhood. Every time I go by there are plenty of people walking in and out and when I’ve gone inside there has almost always been a gathering of some sort: A large gathering of people who were speaking Cantonese over lunch, a group of seniors in the morning, parents with their kids. It’s providing something the neighbourhood hasn’t had in a long time, which is a relatively casual space to gather with other people from the immediate community — a third place. As described here,
The term, which was coined by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg in the 1980s, essentially refers to a physical location other than work or home where there’s little to no financial barrier to entry and where conversation is the primary activity. The historical examples that Oldenburg cites in his book The Great Good Place include French cafés, German American beer gardens, and English pubs, all of which appeal to people from various walks of life.
French cafés and English pubs are certainly more romantic than a suburban McDonald’s but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s been more than a decade since the Tabor Plaza last had a pub or a coffee shop and a McDonald’s is about a low-barrier space to entry as you can get. The coffee is cheap, kids are allowed and the menu is familiar to people from all over the world (I’ll admit that when I lived in China, the existence of a McDonald’s nearby helped provide me with an anchor in a very unfamiliar environment). That last point is actually really important, too — I’ve long argued that the best place to see different cultures in the city intermingle is the Pine Centre Mall food court and again that’s because it provides an environment and menu items that are familiar to people who come from all over the place, appealing to foreign students and new immigrants alongside parents with kids or people who just need a quick bite to eat. Would I prefer the same experience from a family-operated restaurant unique to the city? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, the key thing is having a place where people from the same geography who might not otherwise intersect are allowed to gather, and if takes a McDonald’s to do that, so be it.
Spring is here
Yesterday there was a leaf blower, lawn mower and chainsaw going simultaneously in my neighbourhood so spring is surely here.
CN Rail has been charged $7,000 after being found responsible for sparking nine wildfires near Prince George in 2020.
On Monday, the first ever Canadian Rights Tribunal hearing to be held outside of Ottawa begins in Burns Lake. It’s a discrimination case against the Prince George RCMP alleging the force mishandled their investigation into the historic complaint of physical and sexual abuse at Immaculata Day School, APTN reports.
Later today, the province will be making an announcement about support for mill tradespeople and technicians. It’s happening in the Hubspace downtown.
Not many people showed up to Nathan Giede’s ‘Enough is Enough’ rally.
The union for support workers in Prince George schools is worried about workplace violence.
Parks and trails could close this weekend as river levels are expected to change rapidly. There’s also a high risk of avalanches. Temperatures will be up to 10 degrees above normal! You can take high ground at Connaught Hill Park, which opens Saturday.
“Catherine Blackburn, a Terrace-based artist and designer, utilizes traditional Indigenous beading practices to create contemporary work that blends fine art and high fashion. Visitors will be able to view these artworks, which have graced runways in Toronto and been featured by Vogue, from April 28 to July 9.”
RCMP news: Police shot a man who was reportedly stabbing people on Wednesday, and have gotten charges approved in the stabbing death of a man killed last year.
Alright, have a good weekend!
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The Hart McDonald's has become a bit of a third place for us with our toddler along with the Nechako Library Branch. Great place to grab a bite and then visit with local parents in the play place. Am I sad that a multinational conglomerate is our default community space? Of course, but there aren't many alternatives during the winter, and McDonald's is one of the few restaurant experiences that is welcoming, and sort of built for, very young children.