Tent city for the homeless, Victoria, BC 2015

January 10, 2016 | Filed Under Architecture, BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Don Denton, Historical, History, Homelessness, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Photography, Photojournalism, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | 2 Comments 

Tent city for the homeless, Victoria, BC 2015

Homelessness continues to be an issue, mainly for urban areas and Victoria is no exception.  Over the past decade a number of tent cities have sprung up, established by the homeless and transient street folk, usually in city parks. The city created a bylaw to address the issue, one that allows camping in parks overnight, but creates time boundaries, when tents can be pitched and at what time they have to be removed (7am I believe). The bylaw has worked reasonably well without solving any real issues, giving people a place to sleep with allowing any permanent encampment.

This situation has changed though with the realization by someone that the park abutting the courthouse in the downtown core is actually provincial property and not subject to city bylaws. This has allowed the creation of  a new tent city on the park grounds. Reaction from the province has been nonexistent but a solution of sorts for some people has been created with the conversion of the old Boys and Girls Club building into a temporary (April) shelter with room for about 40 of the tent city residents. That still leaves more than that still camped out in the park who have no intention of leaving and really, without anywhere permanent to go anyhow.

The tent city obviously can’t stay. the area is not made for any continuing encampment. There are no permanent washroom or shower or laundry facilities there. The constant foot traffic has already turned most of the grass into a field of mud (the park was still largely green when the photo above was taken) and the site is gradually being accumulating more possessions/garbage on the periphery.

The campers at this site have been largely responsible with their self governing structure but they need residences, a park in a city is merely a temporary stop. Continuing to allow the tent city to remain will only cause further deterioration of the park grounds and will not solve the very real issues of  homelessness.

Another take on the issue of the homeless and tent city’s can be seen here , from the blog Fraseropolis which explores a variety of urban issues on the lower mainland.

UPDATE: While some campers did leave, the tent camp has both continued to grow and become more permanent. Several wooden structures have been erected among the tents and the grounds continue to deteriorate. Note the full size filing cabinet, at centre of image.


Update #2: Andrew Macleod of The Tyee has an interview with one of the tent city residents here. I don’t think the guy does himself  or the encampment any favours in the interview, coming across not as someone who needs help or who has been overcome by events but as someone who is taking advantage of the situation.  A couple of quotes below:

The first time you started sleeping outside, how did you end up there?

That was actually a self-choice. I chose to become homeless because well, I was just sick and tired of life the way it was for me, and honestly it’s very, very freeing when you become homeless for the first time. Not needing to pay rent on anything, not needing to worry about having to work for this, work for that. If you go hungry in Victoria, you really have to be stupid, because there are so many things that are available to the homeless here. I’m also better dressed than I ever was when I was working.

Why’s that?

I’ve just had more expensive, nicer clothes, an abundance of them, here being homeless than I did when I was working. Working, you’d think about money, think about this, think about that. Here you get handed RDS hoodies, leather jackets. I got this; it’s a brand new Guess leather jacket, absolutely free. [It was] just a hand-me-down from somebody who donated it.”


Tent city for the homeless, Victoria, BC 2016


BC Transit Bus And Metal Scrap Yard, Victoria British Columbia 2015

August 12, 2015 | Filed Under Art, Arts, BC Photography Archive, Blog, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Don Denton, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photography, Photojournalism, Photos, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | Leave a Comment 

BC Transit Bus at Metal Scrap yard 2015

A BC Transit bus lies at the bottom of a heap of scrap metal waiting to be torn apart and added to the pile in Victoria, British Columbia. The business sits on Victoria’s waterfront just on the edge of the city core. The city has voiced support for keeping industry on the waterfront but one wonders how long a recycling plant will stay (be allowed to stay) on shoreline property with amazing views..

British Columbia Ghost Towns, Victoria, British Columbia

February 28, 2015 | Filed Under BC Photography Archive, British Columbia, British Columbia Photographic Archive, Canada, Canadian, Cascadia, Documentary Photography, Landscape, Pacific Northwest, Personal Project, Photographers, Photography, Photojournalism, Street photography, Urban, Vancouver Island, Victoria | 1 Comment 

Not a ghost town but a sign from a ghost car lot. Victoria, BC 2015

Not a ghost town but a sign from a ghost car lot. Victoria, BC 2015

A good read from Mark Hume with photos by John Lehman in the Globe and Mail about ghost towns that still exist (for now) in British Columbia. Story can be found here. Another reminder about how our built landscape disappears from view, taking a part of our history with it.

Luceo Images – You Are Here

July 8, 2012 | Filed Under Collectives, Photo Book, Photojournalism | Leave a Comment 

The photographer’s from Luceo Images, the American photo collective, are the photography world’s (or at least the photojournalism world’s) current IT girls, the stars of the scene. It’s with good reason too. They have taken up the challenge of working in a world that is often seen as falling apart, no work, no venues for display and no money to be earned, and found new ways to get their images noticed, make a living from it and take things in often new directions.

One area that is old school, service, they still pay attention to. I ordered, or tried to, their new handmade catalogue You Are Here off heir website and kept getting a message that the item couldn’t be shipped to Canada. I dropped an email to Luceo and quickly received a message back from member Matt Eich who arranged for an alternate way for me to pay and for shipping. The catalogue arrived last week and what was most impressive upon opening was a small detail, a signed note saying thanks.

The catalogue itself is small with photographs printed on to Moab paper and then bound simply between covers with clips. This might be my favourite image from the book, a combination of  lots of visual detail inside the road and then the man disappearing into the light outside, it’s as though a Bill Allard image was combined with an old Duane Michaels image.

I like this one too, very different look and feel.

A fun touch is the garish orange envelope at the back that has fragments of prints inside.

One sad and/or amazing thing is that the catalogue, printed and/or assembled in an edition of 100 and on sale at the recent Look3 festival for a special price of $15 did not sell out there. Here’s a chance to pick up a book of 10 photographs and more by a group doing some of the most interesting work in North America and it didn’t sell out. Good news for you as you can order it, at a slightly higher price, here and check out more of Luceo Images here.

BCYNA Win For Feature Photo

April 29, 2012 | Filed Under Photojournalism | Leave a Comment 

A late post, two weeks ago, I won the feature (colour) category at the annual BCYNA Ma Murray awards. This photograph of an artist cleaning a totem pole originally appeared on the front page of the Victoria News.

Wild Wet West Coast Weather

December 10, 2011 | Filed Under Daily Work, Photojournalism | Leave a Comment 

It’s been, for the most part, a dry fall but we’ve had a few great days like this.

Spiderman Gives Good Photo

September 22, 2011 | Filed Under Photojournalism, Photos | 1 Comment 

The great thing about Spiderman is that as Peter Parker he makes a living as a news photographer so he knows what photographers need. A local radio dude strikes an action pose for photographer Jesse Hlady.

The Summer that Was

September 21, 2011 | Filed Under Photojournalism, Sports | Leave a Comment 

Summer returned for a couple of  days but tonight the rains came back, just in time for my bike ride. Time to buy fenders for the bike I think. Anyhow, the photo above was taken a few weeks back at a high school football game when we were in the middle of our late arriving but hot dry summer. A reminder of what was.

Recent Images

September 11, 2011 | Filed Under Photojournalism | Leave a Comment 

Young Buck On The Golf Course

August 10, 2011 | Filed Under Photojournalism | Leave a Comment 

A normal hazard for this par of the world, a young buck deer jogs across a golf course.

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