Cigarette Butts Campaign

The DVBIA collected 52lbs of cigarette butts in only one month to show the impact that micro-waste makes on downtown cleanliness.

When the Downtown Clean Team collects cigarette butts, they usually dispose of them using Terracycle, a cigarette waste recycling program that recycles the butts into a variety of industrial products and composts any remaining tobacco.  

To show the impact that micro-waste has on downtown cleanliness, the Clean Team stored all cigarette butts picked up from the streets of downtown Vancouver, and in only one month, the team collected 52lbs of butts in the DVBIA’s 90-block catchment alone.

According to research conducted by the City of Vancouver, cigarette butts are the number one littered item in Vancouver, and one million butts are dropped every single day! *

Cigarette butts are made of a micro-plastic and one butt can take as long as 25 years to disintegrate. They are serious dangerous for aquatic life. 

On September 19th, the Downtown Vancouver BIA displayed the 52lbs of cigarette butts in a glass container on the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Joined by the City’s cigarette mascot, Ashley, the team handed out pocket ashtrays – small, envelope-style ashtrays that allow smokers to store their butts until they have access to a trash can. 

As part of the City’s annual anti-litter campaign, “Put waste in its place”, pocket ashtrays are being distributed for free year-round at several community centres, libraries, and at City Hall campus in an effort to decrease cigarette litter. The City’s pocket ashtrays were introduced in June and handed out throughout the summer in an effort to help reduce the number of cigarette butts littered on the streets of Vancouver.

Keeping Vancouver’s streets and public areas clean is a City priority. Today, and every day, we encourage residents and visitors to hold on to their cigarette butts. By putting waste in its place, we can do our part to protect our parks, beaches, waterways, and wildlife, and prevent human caused fires.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

Cigarette butts have a damaging effect on not only our streets, but our marine and aquatic life. It’s time to put an end to the littering of cigarette butts.

*To learn more about the City’s Cigarette Litter Reduction program, click here

Healthy Eating Downtown

Tractor is known for its quick-serve, deliciously healthy food. With three stores already downtown and a fourth on its way, Tractor is undoubtedly making its mark within the downtown core.

Anyone who has walked by the Marine building at lunchtime knows how popular Tractor has become. What do you attribute to this success?

We believe in delivering healthy, delicious food to people quickly and conveniently. So often, quick-serve food is not good for you. When we launched Tractor, we wanted to make it easier for those looking for healthy options. Our menu is meant to be approachable with a seasonal veggie-heavy backdrop. Everything is made from scratch in house, again this is unique for quick-serve restaurants. We offer menu items that are vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and we also have options for those who want protein such as chicken and fish. Clean eating shouldn’t be difficult. I think this is what people want more of today; therefore, the formula works.

What is your favourite item on the menu? 

I always have at least one kale salad in my bowl and a grilled avocado (I guess that’s two items). When we launched just over six years ago, grilled avocado was totally unique and not many people had ever tried one. Today, many restaurants around town sell grilled avocados. It has become a Vancouver staple!

You are expanding! Tell us about your newest downtown locations.

Yes, we’re excited about our next few stores coming online. We currently have three stores in downtown Vancouver (the Marine Building, Robson Steet, and our new Tractor Digital concept in Park Place at 666 Burrard). Tractor Digital is geared for downtown professionals who want to order online quickly, grab their food and eat. This store doesn’t have a dining room. Orders are captured through our app, then customers simply walk in and pick up their meals, with no need to speak to anyone or wait in any lines. Simple and fast! This Fall, we will open our fourth downtown location at 700 West Pender (Pender and Granville).

What does being part of the downtown Vancouver business community mean to you?

Downtown Vancouver is a vibrant, dynamic community. Being part of this fast-paced community has allowed us to test out new food ideas and be held accountable for the product we are offering. We’re honoured to be part of this thriving area and look forward to continuing to grow and expand.


Tractor’s Founders are Meghan and Steve Clarke

Autumnal Equinox Flower Wall

We said goodbye to summer and welcomed fall, with a beautiful and colour flower wall.

What better way is there to say adieu to summer and welcome the beginning of fall than taking selfies with a pink and rose flower wall? The DVBIA partnered with Cadillac Fairview to arrange for a flower wall which was displayed in the Rotunda at Cadillac Fairview on Friday, September 20, 2019. The wall was accompanied by singer, Andrew Woodall who serenaded the public as they took photos and selfies with the wall.

It’s Time to Upcycle

Upcycling is becoming more and more popular. It has many benefits both the environment, and your wallet.

Upcycling is becoming more and more popular because of its benefits for the environment and your wallet. Although recycling is necessary, the materials recycled often end up in landfills after repeatedly being turned into more degrading objects. Upcycling allows those materials to be reused without ruining its quality. Here are some tips and ideas for upcycling that anyone can try!


Stencils are often forgotten when repainting a piece of furniture, but they can add so much life it the piece. They can be bought, printed out, or personally made.

Don’t forget that paint can be applied in unique ways. Splatter painting is achieved by brushing the brush with your fingers quickly, or using a toothbrush dipped lightly with paint for a cleaner style. Visible brush strokes give the furniture a handmade look and work well for vintage pieces. A sponge provides the paint with an airy, light feel to it as well. Lastly, to hide signs of wearing on furniture, sand and paint it for a brand-new look. 

Change drawer knobs 

When upcycling a drawer or cabinet, changing the knobs can completely transform the look. Using key or lock knobs can give the furniture an antique feel, while zippers or stones give it a more robust look. This also gives you a chance to personalize the drawer, such as having your favourite animal, colour, or food on it. 

Take inspiration from current trends

Trendy items can get expensive, but making your own version personalizes it and is cheaper. For example, scrunchies can be made out of old clothing, a hair tie, and a sewing needle and thread or sewing machine. Shoes can be decorated with patches of patterned fabrics or added on zippers. Lace can be made into choker necklaces, hair ties, or even belts. 

It’s a good idea to get inspiration from websites too. We’ve listed our favourite sites below that will get those creative juices flowing:

Be creative

Creativity is always needed when upcycling. Old ladders can be used as shelves, a big barrel can transform into a bench, light bulbs can become a plant habitat, the possibilities are endless! 

This article was written by Rebecca Wong, a junior summer intern. More of Rebecca’s articles will be featured in the upcoming months.

Lumiere is back!

Four different sites, over three spectacular nights

We’re excited to announce the return of Lumiere! November 1-3, 2019, Lumiere will be lighting up four different locations, including the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza (šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square), over three fabulous nights. Watch this space for more details…


Construction is now underway to transform 800 Robson Street into a permanent, public plaza. These upgrades will lead to a more vibrant, year-round, public space in the downtown core.

The final plaza design was informed through feedback from residents, plaza users, and businesses. Once complete, it will feature:

  • A flexible open space for year-round events with moveable seating and tables, additional benches and lighting
  • A continuous level surface of concrete and pavers to create consistency with the recently renovated šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (located on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery)
  • Pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Hornby and Robson Streets, including better separation for people cycling and driving 
  • Improved lighting and power connections

Why is this work being done?

The plazas surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery have long been a space for people to socialize, and a place for civic and creative expression. The 800 block of Robson Street, often referred to as Robson Square, is a city-serving public space and a regional destination, drawing residents and visitors to the heart of the city for democratic and creative expression, relaxation, and enjoyment.

Creating a permanent plaza fills a vital need for public space with important social, cultural, and civic functions. The final design was informed through feedback from residents, visitors, plaza users, and businesses.

Construction: What to Expect

Access to the 800 Robson Plaza will be closed until construction is complete in spring 2020. During this time, an accessible pedestrian detour will be in effect directing to Georgia Street along the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

  • Access to neighbouring facilities and amenities will be maintained
  • Work hours will typically be Monday to Friday from 7am to 5:30pm
  • Some extended work hours may be needed: weekdays up to 8pm and weekends
  • Periods of noise, dust and vibration are expected during construction
  • Plaza vendors have temporarily relocated to an adjacent spot in the area

Key Project Info and Contacts

Project Name: 800 Robson Plaza Upgrades

Project Website: vancouver.ca/robsonplaza

Project Email: robsonplaza@vancouver.ca

Project Contact: Jennifer Davis, Project Manager, City of Vancouver

Project Phone: 604-873-7394

Location: 800 Robson Plaza, Howe to Hornby Street

Construction Duration: September 2019 – Spring 2020

The City of Vancouver wants to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as they complete the permanent plaza upgrades with the Province of BC.

To learn more about this project, read there Robson Upgrades FAQ