Biking in the Snow

Post by Mike Klassen in


biking in the snow

It's Christmas Eve and all is quiet here at the corporate campus of Empty brandy bottles and flattened cartons of egg nog still litter the desks from Monday's staff party. Those who made it in today were told to go home at noon. Only myself, the security detail at Gates 3 & 7, and Gomez the sub-contracted cleaner who took a 2 1/2 hour bus ride in today from Guilford are left on campus.

Daniel, who typically works banker's hours, has long since headed home to shovel his walk. Daniel loves shoveling his walk.

As I sit here alone on the 37th floor of the CityCaucus Tower it's a good time to reflect upon our heady 2 weeks of publishing, and what lies ahead in 2009. And most of all it is a time to take stock, and give thanks. was born in a backroom thick with the scent of Cuban cigars, and flavoured by the sweet burn of fine glasses of port. It was one of those places where a jacket and a tie is required. Extra marks if you wear cufflinks. You could practically feel the power in the room, and we're not necessarily talking BC Hydro.

That it was the creation of the elite makes seem all the more brilliant. Having Daniel Fontaine, son of a crane operator and stay-at-home mom, and Mike Klassen, raised by a single-mom nurse and later by a small business operator stepdad, gave the brand a distinctively Canadian middle-class mask.

On December 8th we had our inaugural launch to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of city and municipal governments across Canada. The beginning was chaotic, and not unlike trying to put snow tires on a bus while it is moving. So much info was pouring in to our CityDesk from across the country. Lavish taxpayer-funded parties to celebrate one's own greatness, heads of civil service were fired, threats of selling public assets, debates over development, lawyers and PR firms being hired for damage control. We'd hook something each time we dropped our line into the water.

The leads and story ideas are coming into like the snow hitting the ground today. It's almost too much, but we say keep it coming and thank you!'s official launch takes place on January 7th. We think that 2009 will bring us the riches of the tips, comments and referring links of our faithful readers and fellow bloggers. For this, we are grateful.

Before you tuck into your turkey and cranberry sauce we'd like to acknowledge the people at our cities, both staff and volunteers, that really make them work. City of Vancouver staff, for example, must be credited for the city's success and almost continuous global top-ranking for livability. It's a culture of leadership fostered at the top, good hiring from outside and from within that has developed a great staff and management team across Vancouver's civil service. It's not perfect, but it's the envy of many.

Vancouver also has some of the most successful citizen involvement of any city. The volunteer city advisory committees do yeoman's work in return for sandwiches and a very rare pat on the back.

A sincere thank you, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas from all of us here at for the work you do.

Now I'm going to kick it into 4-wheel drive and head home for Christmas, because biking in the snow would be foolish, wouldn't it?


A very nice piece of writing, Michael.

Merry Christmas to you and Daniel, and all the other contributors to, and all the best in the coming year.

Talk about yeoman's work ... you and others have put in a great deal of work creating a first rate online "magazine" covering the urban political scene (an online "magazine" - replete with lengthy, thoughtful and provocative feature stories - is where I see heading in the months to come, while continuing to publish the shorter item entries which have defined the site to date).

Congratulations on your unofficial launch. Keep up the good work.

Heard about this website on NW today. It is terrific, and needed I think. The more people realize how complicated Vancouver urban politics are, and how interconnected we are with the workings of our provincial and federal governments and agencies, the better to understand the issues. A nice addition and dare I say, "balance" with the Tyee.

Check out!

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