Gordon Price, from SFU is hosting a conversation on Sept 5th about corner stores in Vancouver. I really like the idea of the corner store. I think this is another one of those concepts that will return as society re-evaluates itself like it is with the local food movements and the return of organic food that used to just be called “food” before the advent of the “modern day” agriculture industry.
“Before the 1950′s, Mom & Pop grocery stores were common features of Vancouver’s single-family residential neighbourhoods. Then car culture, supermarkets and rigid zoning rules that relegated commerce to main streets changed how communities functioned. A handful of “grandfathered” locations survived, and now their successors are transforming their neighbourhoods’ social life. Is it time to legalize new corner stores, or would they create noise and activity problems?”
I think it is time to bring this concept back. The definition of the corner store I think needs updating but these corner stores could become micro hubs in some communities.
I like the idea and would love to see a corner store in my neighborhood that had a general store and coffee shop/cafe. Not quite sure if the density allows or what the exact business model would have to be but it’s an interesting idea.
A few nights ago on a walk around the Squamish Oceanfront with my family, the idea struck me that a permanent obstacle course in Squamish would be a great asset to the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. So, I’m taking on the task of proposing the idea to see what others think.
Updates: I’m adding detail as I go so this post will be updated as new ideas come forward and as the concept evolves so check back again later.
If you like what you see, have some ideas to add to it or have a question, please leave a comment below this post or reach me on Twitter. This is just an idea at this point to gauge interest.
The proposed Squamish Obstacle Course Trail would consists of a trail equipped with obstacles or stations distributed along its length for exercising and physical fitness training. The course could have various circuits between 5km and 20Km with 15 to 20 obstacles or fitness stations. Runners could start at the official start, possibly the adventure center or anywhere on the course. They could run a short 5km circuit or the full 20km course. A similar timer like the what is used for the Grouse Grind could be used to help runners keep track of their personal times and a leader board could be posted in the Adventure Centre.
The course could follow existing trails in the Squamish area focusing on the area from the Oceanfront to Brennan park community center. The following is a proposed trail map with potential obstacles/ training stations in red. This is just a proposal at this stage for illustration purposes. More research and community involvement would be needed to determine the exact trail, number of obstacles and obstacle locations.
Proposed Obstacles and Fitness Stations
The proposal would include 15 to 20 obstacles or fitness stations placed on the designated trail circuit.
Here are examples of the types of obstacles and fitness stations that could be setup on this course throughout Squamish.
The slack-lines on the Oceanfront are a great example the types of obstcles t to this course.
Hand held Zipline
This is the simple zipline, low to the ground that requires that the person hold on with their arms to bridge the distance. Could be created as the image below or between two trees.
This is just a sampling of possible obstacles. There are many different obstacles and fitness stations that could be used on this course. Here are obstacles from the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, The RAID race and the Warrior Dash. They could be made out of the natural timber and the terrain of the surroundings. What would you like to see?
The obvious benefits are the health benefits of the people that would use the trail and the obstacles fitness course.
A fitness tourism attraction for trail runners from Vancouver and the lower mainland
Local Boot Camp programs could use the course
Crossfit athletes could use the course for training
A yearly race could be created for this course
People could train here for races like Tough Mudder, and the Spartan Race.
Potential revenue source for Adventure Centre through Timer
Business Startups are the economic engines that drive innovation and progress in today’s hyper-connected global economy and it’s Startup Communities that are at the center of this revolution.
Startup communities are entrepreneur ecosystems. They’re being created around the world in small and large cities like Boulder Colorado, Vancouver, Iceland and Russia to name just a few. These communities are driving innovation, creating jobs and invigorating small business energy. Simply stated; start-up communities attract and breed entrepreneurs who go on to build companies like AirBnB, Dropbox, Sendgrid and many, many more.
Squamish is a small town with big ideas currently going through a transformation. It was once a forestry town that’s now transforming into an outdoor recreation tourism destination. It’s challenged in finding ways to create local jobs and to evolve into a sustainable, self sufficient community. The population is growing quickly but the local job market is not keeping pace.
Squamish is my community, I love this place and I want to see it succeed and prosper. It’s beautiful and has the ability to provide what I consider the best work-life balance opportunity in Canada. That may sound biased but for me and many others, it’s the truth. There’s an abundance of great activities at our doorstep and this is what mainly brought me to Squamish in the first place. However, the challenge to completing the work-life balance equation is local jobs. Like me, there are many people that commute to Vancouver or Whistler for work and therein lies the challenge.
How do we create jobs and transform Squamish into a great place to live, work and play?
The solution to me is simple in theory. Jobs come from businesses and businesses come from entrepreneurs so it seems logical to me to find, attract, nurture and support entrepreneurs. One proven way to do this is by establishing and growing an inclusive startup ecosystem.
Startup communities are not something new. Author, entrepreneur & investor, Brad Feld is the co-founder of TechStars; a mentor-driven business accelerator in Boulder Colorado that has succeeded at building one of the most successful models for startup communities. Boulder has an incredible Startup Community. Brad’s authored several books including Startup Communities, Do More faster, and Venture Deals. All great books I have read and that have inspired me and given me great knowledge and guidance on this subject.
“The effect on the local startup community in Boulder has been even more amazing than we anticipated. Boulder has developed a culture of sustained mentorship, where new founders place great value on seeking out mentors, and experienced entrepreneurs generously offer their time and expertise. This mindset makes the community better as a whole and it helps everyone in the community be more successful.”
To get a better understanding of exactly what I’m talking about, this great video gives a quick explanation of what a startup community is and what it needs to be successful. These lessons can be applied in Squamish or anywhere, to establish a local vibrant startup ecosystem.
The Key Points of making this a reality in any community
It takes long term commitment. (20 years) Creating a entrepreneurial ecosystem is a marathon not a sprint.
The entire entrepreneurial stack needs to be engaged.
Continually attracting and recruiting fresh people into the system
“In order for Techstars to be effective, there have to be the best mentors in the community who are ready and willing to participate and who understand the “give first” culture that is so important to successful startup communities. When you have a whole community behind you, rooting for you to win, and making connections for you—it’s a huge, unfair advantage.”
What’s being done for startups with Techstars in the past 7 years is fascinating and exciting in that the mentorship-driven accelerator model is and has been duplicated in over 1000 local communities around the world with great success. Techstars has helped fund over 100 companies a year, and they have more than $70 million under management.
If Squamish wants to create a sustainable economy well into the future, it needs to look at new solutions for creating jobs and I feel that creating an active, vibrant startup community is a long term solution to our present day challenge.
Squamish Days is a weekend long festival that includes music & art events, children’s activities, a parade, wacky bed races, a 10K run, pancake breakfast and two world class Loggers Sports Shows. The logger shows are very cool with competitors from all around the world competing in all kinds of unique logging events like chainsaw chair carving, Axe throwing and tree climbing just to name a few.
It’s a great family event and all this logging and forestry stuff it reminds me of this little vignette from the 70’s called the The Log Driver’s Waltz. If you’re in your 30’s and 40’s and grew up in Canada, this one should be familiar to you.
I love maps. I love how I can explore remote areas of my town and other parts of the world. Google is in the process of revamping it’s Google Maps app for the desktop. There is a new search box and the entire map is now interactive. Clicking anywhere will focus the map on that location and show you helpful things, like related places and the best ways to get there.
It now gathers all the imagery of a location into one spot, making it easy to explore your world from every angle and more and more it’s starting to behave like Google Earth, my primary desktop exploring tool.
Here is a screenshot of Squamish using the Google Maps. Try it out for yourself.