Homeless in Vancouver: Pirates of Mount Pleasant

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      There’s lots to see in the neighbourhood around the Go Green bottle depot at East 7th Avenue and Ontario Street. But none of us customers are there to sight-see, we’re there to return our bottles and get our money.

      While some of the other binners only give a hoot about taking their money and going downtown to get a hoot, once I’ve cashed in, I’m willing to look around.

      One street south, on Ontario Street, there’s the historic Anza Club, and across from the Anza is another interesting building. Well, it looks more like a fortress, and speaking of hoots, wouldn’t you know it—that’s where the social-media company HootSuite Media, Inc. has taken roost.

      Something old, something new, something leased, something blue

      For one thing, all the security cameras have been removed.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      That’s quite a change from the previous tenants of 5 East 8th Avenue, who might have been the KGB for all the concrete, narrow windows, and camera turrets. HootSuite’s taken down the security cameras, which for years sat atop each corner of the cream-coloured bunker, but it still sports a communications array on the roof, along with a flagpole.

      Until 2012, the building served as office space for the Vancouver Police Department. In January of that year, the VPD announced it had finished moving its investigative offices from 5 East Avenue to a new building located at 3585 Graveley Street.

      And for another, that's no Canadian flag; that's HootSuite's mascot "Owly" as a pirate.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      HootSuite leased the building from the city, with an option to buy, near the end of 2012. As of August 2013, the East 8th Avenue address was officially its new world headquarters, and that month it posted the Hootlandia video to YouTube promoting the company culture—and the police trappings—and rooftop patio of the new Mount Pleasant digs. On the 9th of October, it made news by holding a job fair to fill over 100 positions.

      A frame from HootSuite's Hoodlandia promo posted on YouTube.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      HootSuite is a private company founded in 2008. Its one product, called HootSuite, is a Web-based online marketing tool to help a brand broadcast its message to multiple social-media networks, and monitor the feedback, all from one dashboard-like interface. HootSuite claims eight million users, including many top brand names.


      This November 30th, HootSuite is hosting Intro to JavaScript (Vancouver Edition) put on by Ladies Learning Code. JavaScript has been the backbone of a lot of visual fanciness on Web sites for over a decade, but there is speculation that the emergence of  HTML 5 will be the death of JavaScript. but not right away. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.