May 2024 Newsletter

Union Market Is Back!
Aman Loodu and head barista Maria McGrath

Aman Loodu is the new proprietor of the re-imaged Union Market. He’s a trained baker with 20 years experience in the restaurant industry, specializing in bread, cookies and pastries. He had been looking for years to find the right place to open his first business and discovered the Union while biking by with his wife (they live in Mt. Pleasant). He became a fan even before he heard it was for sale.

The space has been transformed to be less grocery store, more café. But it’s important to Aman that it keep the neighbourhood feel and still be a place for people to meet and hang out. “I don’t want to take over a landmark and change everything up.”

Initially, it will focus on coffee and pastries baked on site (I tried the cinnamon bun. Incredible). There will be limited staples: milk, butter, eggs, cream, drinks. He plans to add some sandwiches within a month and hopes eventually to bake sourdough bread on site. Maybe even pizza. The hold up is that the larger ovens required won’t fix through the existing doors. “Equipment has been tricky because of the small doors. Ovens will have to be built on site, from scratch” which will take a few months. He wants the business to grow and evolve with feedback from the community. The plan (fingers crossed) is for a soft opening on Thursday, May 23, from 10-3, then expanding to 8-5, and eventually 7-7.
The Story of the Stumpy Hootel

Recently something magical happened to the dead tree stump on the corner of Heatley and Keefer. A tiny village appeared out of nowhere. Tiny houses, a church, a lighthouse, even a mansion at the top. All finely-crafted bird houses.

It’s the work of Rebecca and Adrian Bisek, the couple who live in the adjoining home. When they first moved in, they wanted to get rid of the ugly stump, but the price to have it removed was too high. So they decided to turn the stump from an eyesore into an art project. Rebecca applied for a Small Neighbourhood Grant and used the money to buy bird houses online.  Before long, the stump became a village, which they’ve dubbed Stumpy Hootel. Neighbour Sailor (with some help from her dad Sean) crafted a lavender-coloured house in memory of her brother Eric. 

Rebecca and Adrian plan to add more houses, a sign and maybe even solar-powered lights to illuminate it at night. It’s already become a local landmark with a news piece on CTV and its own Instagram account: @stumpyhootel.

Thanks Rebecca and Adrian for this wonderful addition to the community. 
No. 2 Fire Hall Annex to go on Gore St.

Vancouver City Council recently approved the construction of an annex to Fire Hall #2 that will be located along Gore Street just north of Union in what is now a triangular park bordering MacLean Housing. The fire hall annex will be built using an existing modular building used in the redevelopment of No. 5 fire hall and a large tent from No.17 fire hall. Most of the $3-million cost will be to prepare a foundation and hook up services to the annex.
Armin Amrolia, deputy city manager, said the annex is necessary to address overcrowding at the No. 2 fire hall, where up to 14 firefighters per shift work inside the cramped building at Main and Powell streets. No. 2 hall is also not big enough to accommodate one of its medic-rescue trucks, which is parked outside and has had its windows smashed and tires slashed. Firefighters’ personal vehicles have also been vandalized.
No. 2 fire hall is believed to be the busiest hall in B.C., if not Canada. A city staff report said the hall is six times busier than the average hall in Vancouver. The number of fire fighters at the hall increased in recent years because of council-approved measures to respond to a spike in calls, particularly overdoses and fires. The annex is expected to be fully operational before the end of 2025.
The city is also planning to install a public art project on the Union St. side of the  park. Details to come.