Each city has a thing or two that most people shake their hands and “facepalm” over. I love Vancouver, but sometimes it makes me cringe. And now I have created a page, where I’ll be collecting and displaying all odd occurrences that made our city what it is today.

For example, how often do you see impromptu massage sessions in Skytrain, or someone losing their drivers license over the unwillingness to remove a colander due to religious reasons?

How often does THIS happen in your city?


Welcome to “Oh You, Vancouver“, where OP always delivers.

Beekeeping in Vancouver

A few weeks back my friend Stan and I had a chat about beekeeping in Vancouver. We thought it is pretty fly to keep a beehive and have an access to your own honey supply.

As a part of their goal to help make Vancouver one of the world’s most sustainable cities, Vancouver City Council encourages beekeeping in urban areas. Urban beekeeping is an excellent way to improve pollination for plants in backyard, community, and public gardens, which leads to better vegetable production.

There was a 393% increase in the amount of registered bee colonies in 2001 to 2011: the number went from 2,822 to 13,902.

However, you can’t just set up a beehive and start making honey; there are certain rules that need to be followed.

1. Make sure your swelling permits beekeeping:

2. Make sure that the amount of your beehives does not exceed the regulation (4 beehives max. over 10,000 sq. ft), and that the beehives are spaced evenly, according to the regulation;

3. Beehives are located in the backyard.

4. Your beehives must be registered with the City.

The full set of rules for backyard hobby beekeeping can be read here.

If you live in an apartment, you are out of luck: beehives can only be set in a single or a double family dwelling. Your other option is to join a local community, and take shifts in helping taking care of somebody else’s bees.

More information about beekeeping in Vancouver can be found here.

UBC Greenheart Canopy Walkway review

IMG_20140928_141922521This Sunday Maria and I went to UBC to check out the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, as I had a Groupon from a while ago, that was about to expire. I was very surprised that this place gets less traffic than all other Vancouver attractions, because, in my opinion, it is one of the best out there.

IMG_20140928_142427801_HDRIts length is only 310 meters, however, it feels much longer. The walking boards are secured to the tall fir trees with metal cables, and they swing up and down, and to the sides, as you walk on them. Some of the trees, Douglas firs, Grand firs, and Red cedars are 100+ years old. The walkway is only wide enough for one person, so everyone is moving in a single file. This is not much of an issue, as long as everyone is moving at a similar pace.

The walkway is located within UBC Gardens, so you have to pay the $24 admission for the garden+walkway entry, or a little less if you want to visit just the gardens. There are guided tours to join (which do not cost anything extra), or you can walk at your own pace.

IMG_20140928_143515408_HDR IMG_20140928_142952701 IMG_20140928_142729378 IMG_20140928_142405611

IMG_20140928_140500405_HDRWhat surprised me, is that there are no security cameras (usually, there is one on every corner in such attractions, mainly for liability). And, as such, the absence of 1984-esque “Your every move is being filmed” signs, makes the teenagers go a little crazy. I have witnesses 4 guys jumping their hardest at the second to the last portion, and, even though it felt like we were on Paris Hilton’s waterbed, the cables did not snap, which was reassuring.

This is what the garden part looks like

This is what the garden part looks like

The tunnel to the North Garden

The tunnel to the North Garden

The gardens are a nice walk for a sunny day, too (though, I doubt we would have much more of those until the next summer). They have created a ton of micro-floras, showing what the mountains look like in certain areas. The gardens have different fruit trees and vegetable plants.

Overall, it is definitely worth the $12 single admission, and is still a good way to spend a half-day even if you are paying the full price.

Click the Groupon logo below to sign up for large discounts, and get deals such as this one.


Ioco (Imperial Oil Corporation) Ghost Town visit


Image from

Resized image from – click to expand

I’m sure you remember the previous post I wrote about Ghost Towns in BC. Ioco town in Port Moody is ones of them, and probably is the closest one to Vancouver.

Location: Ioco Rd., Port Moody V3H
Distance: 28 km from Waterfront Station;
Recommendation: check it out, if you are nearby;

Ioco and the DRZ

Ioco and the DRZ

The Imperial Oil Company built an oil refinery in 1914, and began construction of the Ioco Townsite in 1921. After the WWII, IOCO no longer wanted to take care of the town, and people started moving out. In 1992 Ioco own has been incorporated into Port Moody.

Currently, Port Moody Heritage Society is trying to preserve the site.

It seems rather odd to find all these expensive waterfront homes on the way, even a block or two away; but to see the abandoned homes just a little further down the road. Nonetheless, there are only two houses that still have people living in them, and the soccer field behind the school is still used by the local residents.

The houses have the windows and doors decked up, and the signs promising a maximum $50,000 fine completely discouraged me from attempting to get inside. My friends and I stayed there for about an hour, took a few pictures, and left.

Here is an artistic picture of Lady and myself by Andrei Onokhov.



Sodium intake in Canada, and its health risk.

nutritional chartSalt has long been a treasured food staple. Salt provides two elements – sodium and chloride – that are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own, so you must get them from your diet.

As well as that, salt is very important when it comes to preserving food. See the nutritional chart at the back of a can of Campbell’s soup next time you are in a supermarket, chances are it is pretty high in sodium.

Salt does great things for the body: it’s essential for the health of all the cells. Along with potassium, you need salt so that your nerves can function and your muscles can contract. Salt helps to balance out the body, it contributes to fluid, electrolyte and pH balance.


However, as per Health Canada, the average sodium intake for Canadians is about 3400 mg, which is more than 2x the recommended daily intake. If you are a healthy adult, your upper limit for daily sodium intake should not exceed 2300 mg per day, and if you suffer from a coronary disease like high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, aim for 1500 mg daily. 

Kazakhstan, where I am from, has the highest average sodium intake in the world, measuring at whopping 6000 mg per day! Their average life expectancy is 67.35, versus 68.50 global average (according to the World Health Organization).

Salt is made of sodium and chloride, but the processed (table) salt also has man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents and flow agents, dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate.

The more sodium we have in our bloodstream, the more water it binds. As such, sodium is thought to increase blood pressure (and it does, though mildly). If blood pressure is elevated, the heart has to work harder to push the blood throughout the body, and there is increased strain on the arteries and various organs. High blood pressure (AKA hypertension) is a major risk factor for many serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Cardiovascular disease deaths.

Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. These statistics are based on 2008 data (the latest year available from Statistics Canada).

In 2008 cardiovascular disease accounted for (Statistics Canada, 2011c):

  • 29% of all deaths in Canada (69,703 deaths – or more than 69,500)
  • 28% of all male deaths
  • 29.7% of all female deaths

In 2008, of all cardiovascular deaths (Statistics Canada, 2011c):

  • 54% were due to ischemic heart disease
  • 20% to stroke
  • 23% to heart attack

Its not a secret, that too much salt can kill you. But how much is “too much”? Apparently, 0.45g/lb of body weight. If the average person weighed 150 lbs, then about 5 tablespoons will be a lethal dose.

My girlfriend Maria and I are guilty of binge-watching TV series. The day before yesterday, a new show we’re watching, “30 Rock”, passingly mentioned the dangers of high-sodium diet, which made me think, “how much sodium do I take per day?” I really like clamato (clam + tomato) juice, and my evening meal usually includes a large sandwich with bacon and pickles, and a glass of the juice. To my surprise, a nutritional chart at the back indicated that 250 ml (about 1 glass, give or take) contains 800 mg of sodium. And that’s almost 1/3 of the upper limit for adults. In just one glass! Add the 300 mg from the 2 slices of bacon, more from pickles, and the potato chips (even though I prefer Boulder branded ones, which have nothing but potatoes, vegetable oil and salt), that is already pretty close to the 1500 limit, which I should be aiming to.

TL;DR: Canadians eat too much salt – on average 4000 mg. daily vs. 2300 upper limit recommended for healthy adults, or 1500 for ones suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease. If needed, reduce the salt intake to the adequate level; read the nutritional chart before you eat something; try to replace the table salt with the healthier kosher, additive-free or sea salt. Keep in mind that no salt is also dangerous, and, as anything else, salt is good for you in moderation.

Refer to Health Canada article on sodium consumption: