A Bookworm & A Pig Talk Gastown Rent

I was inspired by a news article to make a short video on high rents and gentrification in gastown. It is a dialogue between a bookstore owner and a landlord.

The article Gastown up for Grabs (July 14, 2010) from Westender.com was about an independent bookstore that had to move out of gastown due to increased rent and decreased foot traffic. Catherine Lough Haggquis, owner of Biz Books on 302 West Cordova Street, has to relocate her business to White Rock. The Westender article also includes an interview with Dana Colburn, co-owner of Metropolitan Home, a retro furniture shop that was previously located on Hastings Street but is now in Kitsilano.  Other points of views from merchants in the neighbourhood are quoted too.

In brief, gastown is booming and people are scrambling to lock up commercial space. Retail rent has increased by 200-300% and small independent businesses that can’t pay must move. Speculation on gastown’s future pull is reconfiguring the neighbourhood: only high-revenue businesses can afford to stay or move in.

The video also refers to the National Post’s interest in the Woodward’s hot tub.  Those links are below. I had a hoot making this video. Maybe I’ll make videos on a regular basis.

The National Post series mentioned in the video is The Woodward’s Project and these are the  two articles about the building’s amenities:

The Woodward’s Project: ‘Not my reality’ at the 42nd-storey rooftop spa (June 26, 2010)

The Woodward’s Project: We wish to warn that you are being warned (June 28, 2010)

The W shaped hot tub with a city view

One of the signs seen by the National Post reporter

Biz Books at 302 West Cordova Street

The Greedy Pig is across the street from Biz Books at 307 West Cordova Street

The Greedy Pig is across the street from Biz Books at 307 West Cordova Street


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7 Responses to A Bookworm & A Pig Talk Gastown Rent

  1. Erica Lee July 22, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    This is such a good video!! I love it!

  2. dan July 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Fantastic video… I was laughing the whole way through

  3. craig July 24, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Well done.

    Very funny, and so very sad.

    You nailed it.

  4. Erin July 27, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    That was awesome! Great job getting your point across in the video, while keeping it funny.

  5. ojisan November 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    It’s a rare thing for me to forward websam to my friends – but this is an exception. Thank you –

  6. ojisan June 14, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    I keep coming back to this, mostly to share it with friends. It’s become a catchphrase, when one of us starts on a rant about unfair building or renting practices, to say (robotically) “shut up little book worm. You do not know the teach ings of Rennie”

    • Zoe June 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      It’s been awhile since I made this video. Tickled to hear that you guys are enjoying it!

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