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Archive for the Environmental

Vancouver Pest Control

The recent discovery of bed bugs in a Vancouver library book has embarrassed the city’s lending service and reopened the inquiry into how prolific the bed bug problem is in our city.

The bugs were found in a book borrowed from the Mount Pleasant Library.

Since the incident, the library has done a thorough search of their stacks. Their work has turned up no evidence of further infestation. It may have only been the one book, stored near an infected mattress or couch that acted as a temporary home for the critters – unlucky for the library.

The fact that the bugs were found in an item other than furniture or clothing illustrates how prolific the problem is in our city. Bed bugs are everywhere, but those infected are keeping their mouths zipped.

Unlike a public library, homeowners can silently try to deal with bed bug issues without the prying eye of the public. Victims call a pest control service, they move to a hotel for a few days or go on a ‘vacation’, they buy all new mattresses and when they get back, the Taylors will ‘still’ be sending little Jenny over for play dates. A convenient solution with little-to-no public humiliation.

Until there is a strategy to wipeout the bugs for good, private pest control will be the public’s best option.

Bug Problems

“Let’s Get Crafty”

Christmas crafts sales are a one-stop shopping centre for all those people on your list that need something simple but festive. From ornaments, to wreathes, to salt and sweet treats, you’ll find everything under the broad blanket of Christmas crafts.

This weekend hosts a number of Christmas craft fairs around the city. Simmons Mattress Gallery suggests the following sales:

Friday, November 25th

-9th Annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Crawl

Various times and locations in Chilliwack

-North Delta Potter’s Guild Christmas Pottery Sale

Artspace Studio (11425 84th Avenue)

-Richmond Potter’s Club Christmas Sale

Richmond Cultural Centre (7700 Minoru Place)

Saturday, November 26th

-Dunbar Community Centre’s Annual Craft Fair

10am – 5pm (4747 Dunbar Street)

-Renfrew Community Centre’s Craft Fair

10am – 3pm (Eastt 22nd and Renfrew)

-Strathcona Community Centre’s Winter Craft Fair

601 Keefer Street, Vancouver

-Urban Artists’ Craft Fair

10am – 5pm Roundhouse Community Centre

-Woodside Gallery Christmas Arts and Craft Show

10am – 5pm (2226 Lougheed Highway)

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Mattress Break-Up (Curbside)

Do the people who abandon mattresses on the streets think they are helping the homeless? Do they believe there is a magic mattress collector that trolls the alleys at night looking for soggy discarded beds? One would wonder…

With the recent ban on mattresses at city transfer stations, beds are being illegally abandoned all over the city.

Last year 1,500 mattresses were discarded illegally on city streets. This year, with the $20 surcharge in effect, frugal, lazy citizens have dumped over 5,000 mattresses.

The city has used taxpayer money to send out special vehicles to collect the unwanted beds. It has been a massive resource drain on the collection department’s budget. All this because people did not want to properly deal with their waste.

It’s a shame.

The good news is that more beds then ever are being properly recycled. Thanks to the new ban, over 47,000 mattresses were given to Lower Mainland recycling agencies in the first half of this year.

If you are looking to properly dispose of your old mattress and do not want to pay the $20 fee, consider one of the three mattress recycling companies operating in and around Vancouver.

Here is a list of the companies and their minimum charge:

Canadian Mattress Recycling - If dropped off, CMR will charge $12 per item. This is the cheapest option. They also have pick-up options starting at $72.00. - This company charges $12.50 per dropped off item. With a professional website and David Suzuki’s endorsement, this company appears to be the most respectable operation in the Vancouver area. We have also featured this company in an earlier post on mattress recycling.

Recyc-Mattress - This is the most expensive option. Recyc-Mattress charges $15 per item.

A mattress dumped in a landfill takes decades to decompose. Do your part and recycle your bed properly.

Mattress Abandonment

Word Exchange

Language is a toolbox from which we borrow implements to cut, shape and model our thoughts. From Facebook posts, to journal entries, to private poems, our soul is portrayed through the words we connect together.

This month, writers and readers from around the province will have a chance to celebrate the expressive power of writing. The 24th Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival will be held on Granville Island from Tuesday, October 18th to Sunday, October 23rd. It begins with an interactive session with the children’s author, Paulette Bourgeois. Bourgeois is the creator of the ‘Franklin’ series that adults and their children have enjoyed since 1986. The discussion is aimed at young readers. Primary teachers and encouraged to bring their classes down for this midmorning discussion.

The final event of the festival is the Governor General’s Award Party, where four previous recipients of Canada’s highest literary achievement will discuss the award and it’s social merit.  The four writers, Nino Ricci, John Pass, Joan MacLeod and John Vaillant, will each read a short passage from their decorated work.

In between these bookends, will be a number of author seminars, publishing and writing workshops, poetry slams and literary debates.

The Vancouver festival will also host a short story and poetry contest for emerging writers. Deadline for submissions is October 23rd.

For more details on the contest and the festival events, visit

Share Your Words

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. -Lord Byron

Great House of Stone

Zimbabwe is a country with deep political problems. It’s economy has been suffering for more than a decade and personal freedoms have been being steadily reduced as its president for the last twenty years, Robert Mugabe, struggles to retain control. It is far from a safe region to visit.

This is a tragedy for art lovers around the world, as Zimbabwe is home to Africa’s finest stone sculptors. The word Zimbabwe actually means, ‘Great House of Stone’ in the Shona language.

Fortunately, many of the stone pieces being produced in the country are now part of a traveling exhibition that will be visiting Vancouver for the next month. The works are being shown at the VanDusen gardens. It is the only Canadian stop on the world tour.

The pieces are strategically displayed around the gardens amongst the beautiful flora that Vancouverites have come to love.

Two of the artists behind the works, Passmore Mupindiko and Patrick Sephani, are giving daily lessons on stone art. The two artists are currently traveling with the stones and the exhibitions two curators, Vivienne and Joseph Croissette.

There is no extra cost to see the sculptures or to attend the daily stone workshops.


A Walk in the Park

Looking for an educational activity for the family this weekend. All Discovery Walks is offering a interactive tour of one Stanley Parks secret bogs. The tour begins at Lost Lagoon at 1:30 and ends around 3:30.

Vancouver Community College Science Instructor, Maria Morlin will be hosting the walk that will focus on the role of bogs and wetlands in forest ecology.

This is an excellent opportunity to subtly get your children back into an academic setting. You may want to research the topic of bogs beforehand with your family, to get them thinking about the subject matter. While on the trail, encourage questioning by modeling. Maria will be happy to answer any questions you or children bring to light.

Educators might also want to take part, specifically those working with students in Grades 3 and 4. ‘Habitats and Communities’ is a big part of the Science curriculum for these grades. Maria’s tour may inspire you to organize your own forest walk in the fall.

If you do plan on attending, you may want to wear appropriate footwear. We suggest boots.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the start of the tour.

Beaver Lake

Vancouver Earthquake Preparations

As the world tries to come to grips with the damage caused by the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan, here at home, people are starting to fear that the next big quake could occur somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. This has many Lower Mainland residents thinking very seriously about their preparedness level.

To address these concerns, citizens can visit the British Columbia Earthquake Preparedness website for tips on what to have ready and what actions to take in the event of a massive earthquake. The site is an excellent resource for preparing your loved ones for an environmental disaster.

Remember to Hold On!

Here are a few quick tips for your family to work on:

1. Know the safe areas of your home that can be used for cover.

(heavy tables, desks, archways)

2. Know the dangerous areas of your home.

(near windows, beside large appliances, near shelves)

3. Signup for a first-aid course.

4. Plan and practice safe evacuation routes from your home.

5. Have a plan in place if your family is separated. Organize a contact number of a family member or friend who lives in another area of the Province.

6. Make sure every member of the family knows how to turn off the gas incase of a leak.

7. Have a list of emergency contacts posted near your main phone. You can also add these numbers to the contact list on your cellphones.

8. Prepare emergency supplies for at least 72 hours.

This should include: first aid kit, tarp or small tent, water (lots of it), water purification tablets, non-perishable food, flashlights, am/fm radio, batteries, toiletry items, fire extinguisher, wrench, shoes, gloves and if possible, sleeping bags.

Gregor, Bike Lanes and Tojos – The Best of the City

The Westender Magazine has just published its annual Best of the City reader’s choice awards. From dining, to shopping, to health and fitness, the results are in and some of them are a little surprising.

In the people section, Mayor Gregor Robertson seems to be in every category. He’s third in the Most Wonderful Vancouverite category behind David Suzuki and our timeless captain Trevor Linden. He’s first in the Most Trustworthy Politician, in front of Spencer Chandra Herbert and ‘None’. But Robertson is also second in Most Spectacular Failure and second again in Biggest Windbag. Conflicting messages from the voters…

The city’s new bike lanes also seemed to be a dividing issue, with people either loving or hating them. The bike lanes won Best Use of Taxpayer’s Money and also came first in Worst Use of Taxpayer’s Money. The lanes also won Most Spectacular Failure, ahead of the wonderful HST.

Clear favourites in the foody section were Tojos for Chef and Japanese and surprisingly, the White Spot, which showed up on a number of the categories for casual fare.

We were a little surprised that Mattress Store was left off the list. We know it’s not nice to brag, but we’re pretty sure Simmons Mattress Gallery would have received top honours

Reducing Landfill Waste; One Mattress At A Time

In the City’s continuing effort to reduce landfill waste, a new surcharge will be laid on any mattress being discarded at the Delta landfill. The charge is $20 per bed.

Mattresses will no longer be considered general garbage at all Vancouver Transfer Stations and landfill sites. There will now be a limit on the number of mattresses that one customer can drop at a time. The mattresses will also be left in a separate area from the regular waste. These limitations were put in effect on January 1st.

Simmons Mattress Gallery would like to applaud the city for implementing these measures.  Mattresses are almost 100 percent recyclable or compostable and make up a significant portion of the waste dumped in our local landfills.

If you have just purchased a brand new Simmons and are looking for an ethical way to dispose of your old mattress, contact They are the first and largest mattress recycler operating in British Columbia. The price for a mattress drop-off is $14. The warehouse is located at 7885 North Fraser Way. If you would like your mattress picked-up, charges $55.

Breaking Down Your Bed

For more information of mattress recycling visit

Mattress Maintenance Follow-Up

After publishing our Mattress Maintenance article last week, Simmons Mattress Gallery received some interesting questions from our readers. We thought, instead of answering them individually, we could share a few in a blog post.

1. “If I am unhappy with the support my box spring is providing, is it appropriate to add a layer of [plywood] between my foundation and my mattress?”

-NO! Absolutely not. If your foundation is so bad you need to beef it up with plywood, it’s time to buy a new bed set. You should never have to add anything to your bed set. Sorry to be so blunt, but your bed is not a sandwich.

2. “How do I prevent picking up bedbugs when I’m traveling?”

-Bed bugs are making a resurgence around the globe. Travelers can easily spread these annoying creatures. One way to minimize your chances of collecting bed bugs is to always store your luggage on a table or countertop. It may not be aesthetically pleasing to have your suitcase piled on the table, but the chance of bug collection dramatically decreases when you elevate your personal items. It is also a good idea to do a quick check of the mattress itself. Remove all the bed coverings and do a quick surface check. Bed bugs like the folds of the mattress, so always examine the hem lines just below the pillow top

Check Your Cracks and Folds

3. “My neighbour is offering to sell me his deluxe mattress of three years. What is an appropriate price to pay?”

-Zero. If it is a deluxe mattress, then there should be no reason why your neighbour would want to part with his bed after three years. He/She has probably damaged it. Either that, or it is not as deluxe as he/she claims. If you want to improve your sleeping conditions, purchase a ‘new’ mattress from a mattress dealer. If you want the best sleep possible, purchase a Simmons.

Ballet BC and Things That Go Creak in the Night

If Christmas carols crackling from shoddy speakers in supermarkets and teeming throngs of holiday shoppers have exorcised all Christmas cheer from your soul, then it might be time to lift your spirits with something with a little more substance and style.

Simply going to the playhouse to watch a ballet is a magical event in itself. The dressing up. The candlelight dinner. Walking hand-in-hand through the snowy streets. The time-honoured culture of ballet always promises an evening of enchantment.

Yet despite 25 years of history, BC Ballet is not what it once was. They’ve discarded the frilly tutus for a contemporary look, and lavish sets and decorations now adorn the stage, complemented by falling snow and beautiful costumes once unfamiliar to the tradition.

The ballet has evolved beyond that of an art form. It is entertainment as well.

The Nutcracker will premiere in Vancouver from December 29-Jan 1, 2011. Tchaikovsky’s timeless tale of true love, sprites and Christmas cheer has never been so theatrically expressed. Alberta Ballet will be behind the lavish performance under the musical accompaniment of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

In the words of BC Ballet, the new production promises “a fresh, vibrant magic to the mix, where every cent of the $1.5 million budget is displayed through the stunning set designs and elaborate costumes.”

Now is a good time to get tickets.

As a mattress retailer, we’ve always wondered what kind of beds the stars sleep on. If you’ve ever been forced to spend the night on a sagging mattress, you know the creaks and cracks your bones can make the next day. Imagine that as a ballet dancer? It could be rather distracting.

If any of you know what kind of bed our prima donna sleeps on, we’d love to know. We’re guessing it’s a Beautyrest Black – and if not – it should be!

For more information about Ballet BC, go to the website at

Hunt, Gather, Sew and Sell

Eco-fashion and art merge in the work of Natalie Purschwitz, a recipient of a 2010 BC Creative Achievement award. In a yearlong research project called Makeshift (September 2009-Sept 2010), Natalie wore only clothing and accessories she designed and made herself. This included her shoes, undergarments and coats. Natalie documented her journey on a blog that gained worldwide attention.

Natalie On Her East Vancouver Rooftop

Natalie Purschwitz on Her East Van Rooftop

She described her project as part conceptual art, part fashion design, and part social experiment. Having taken training in anthropology, visual art and design she wanted to examine the convergences of ‘clothing,’ ‘living,’ and ‘making.’  Only three weeks into the project Purschwitz confessed to being very tired. The steep learning curve and the task of maintaining a high level of creativity and innovation were not easy. As an example, her first shoes were rudimentary foot coverings, constructed of leather and wood. In addition to making clothing for herself, Natalie was still operating her own business, the Hunt and Gather clothing line.

Purschwitz’s clothing, as you would imagine, combines the functional with the conceptual. Utilizing used, found and organic materials her clothes are contemporary and futuristic, while maintaining a hand-made feel.

A $2,500 prize accompanies the award Natalie received this week. She also now has the honour of using the BC Creative Achievement Award seal, signifying creative excellence.

Simmons Mattress Gallery applauds Natalie Purschwitz and wishes her continued success.

A River Runs Through Us

“It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw,

not because she is Canada

but because she’s something sublime that you were born into,

some great rugged power that you are a part of.”

-Emily Carr

Sometimes, in the bustle and hustle of our daily routines, we occasionally forget we live in one of the most environmentally charged countries on the planet. Just behind those coastal mountains, that we often take for granted, are a host of diverse habitats teeming with untamed wildlife and vibrant ecosystems. Supporting them are river systems that run into three separate oceans and carry, what is soon to be the worlds most sought after resource, across North America. The water from this network feeds life into our forests, provides us with drink and powers our cities. These rivers are the veins of life that carry our Canadian blood to every corner of our country.

"Mount Cheam and the Fraser River" by EJ Hughes

On September 26th, British Columbia will be celebrating BC Rivers Day, a day to acknowledge the mighty power, fluid beauty and environmentally vital traits of the river systems contained in British Columbia.

This is the 30th year BC will be celebrating this event. Activities have been planned across the province for this Sunday.

Here are a few of the events taking place around the Lower Mainland:


BC Rivers Day Festival – live music and interactive displays including salmon habitat demos, streamside tree-planting and  bird house building.

Location: Williams Park

Time: 11 am to 4 pm

North Vancouver

World Rivers Day – educational outing at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. Focus is on salmon in the Seymour Valley.

Location: Rice Lake Gate

Time: 10 am to 2 pm

Port Coquitlam

Rivers and Trails Festival – organized trail ride through Peace Park, community displays, local entertainment and boat building.

Location: Peace Park (1470 Kebet Way)

Time: 12 pm to 4 pm

If none of these activities attract you, grab a group of friends or some family and head up to the mountains on your own. Find a stream or major waterway and spend 15 minutes or more admiring its environmental impact. We guarantee the experience will renew your appreciation for Canada’s river systems.

The Sky is Falling

The Perseid Meteor Shower

While normally Simmons Mattress Gallery is keenly interested in securing the rest you deserve, this Wednesday and Thursday Simmons would like to suggest leaving the sanctuary of your Beautyrest to enjoy the celestial offerings being displayed in the night sky.

The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is at its peak on August 12th and 13th. There will be approximately 80 visible meteors (shooting stars) per hour. The show will begin after sunset and will continue to dawn. Luckily, Environment Canada is predicting clear skies on both nights.

The best viewing spots will be away from the light pollution given off by the city. For astronomy enthusiast, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be holding a function in the Aldergrove Bowl. Tickets are a mere $2, with the event running from 8pm to 6am.

There are no plans for a gathering at the Planetarium, due to the previously mentioned problem of viewing the night sky from within the city limits.

The meteors themselves are a by product of the passing comet Swift-Tuttle.

The annual meteor shower has been given the name Perseid because of the visible concentration of shooting stars around the northern hemisphere constellation Perseus.

If you are living an ample distance from the bright lights of the big city, you may want to lay a tarp down in your backyard and place your mattress on top. This way you can fall asleep to the heavens falling down around you.*

*Great idea for a romantic date.

Air Quality Concerns

Just before dozing off on your Simmons, you may have noticed an odd sight on the skyline, these last couple of nights. A giant orange-red ball has replaced the sinking sun in the westward sky.

Red Sky at Night

No, smog levels have not risen to apocalyptic proportions. And no, it’s not a harvest moon (wrong side of the horizon).

The reason for the burning ball: the forest fires in B.C. are sending so much ash into the atmosphere that they are affecting the way we view the fading sun.

There are now over 400 active forest fires blazing in our province.

This may be a staggering number, but in reality, the figure is close to par for this time of the year.

What is concerning is the rate at which these fires have sprung up. The average number of new fires per day is currently about 55.

Fire crews are working around the clock to contain the blazes, but with so many fresh burns, its a wonder the whole province isn’t a sea of flames.

And while Lower Mainland residents may not see the fires firsthand, we are experiencing the effects.

The sun’s peculiar disguise is a sign that air quality has deteriorated to a dangerous level. Metro Vancouver posted an advisory warning residents to avoid strenuous activity and to limit outdoor exposure for infants and the elderly.

Showers could come as early as Saturday, but till then, enjoy the new occupant of the evening sky and remember to take care of your lungs. If you’re feeling any new discomfort you should definitely contact your doctor immediately.

May Long Weekend

The Victoria Day long weekend is coming up and across our lovely country, Canadians will be celebrating the late Queen’s birthday by rekindling their enthusiasm for our beloved monarchy.

Well, that is probably not entirely correct, but is a public holiday and the unofficial first camping weekend of the year.

Mixed in with the tents, tarps and campfires will undoubtedly be the usual beer drinking.

Beer is the inspiration behind the affectionate alternative label for the last weekend before the 25th, May 2-4; this refers to the standard number of cans sold in a flat of barley pops.

So if tea and crumpets isn’t your thing, grab your friends, your camping gear and all the hotdogs you can fit in your cooler and head off for a semi-wilderness adventure.

The Queen looking noble and surly.

We at Simmons Mattress Gallery may not condone the beer consumption, but we would like to recommend a few ideal camping destinations inside the lovely province of British Columbia.

Here are a few:

Manning Provincial Park (North of Hope)

-Just far enough away from the city, Manning Park has four campgrounds to choose from. There may still be snow in the higher regions of the park.

Ruckle Provincial Park (Salt Spring Island)

-It’s a quick ferry ride to the most beautiful campground on the Gulf Islands. Located right along the shoreline, Ruckle has 78 sites and is perfect for cyclists who want a medium distance ride from the ferry terminal.

Golden Ears

-This is a great alternative for campers with limited travel time. Golden Ears is just outside of Maple Ridge and hosts three separate campgrounds. Canoes, kayaks and pedal boats are available for rent.

April 22nd is Earth Day

Are the recent earthquakes felt around the world a message from the planet we all share? Are the volcanic explosions in Iceland the result of the anguish felt by the earth’s displeasure?

We may not have the answers to these questions, but it does seem an odd coincidence that the frequency of devastating natural disasters is increasing as we increase our damage to the Earth.

April 22 is Earth Day, a day to reflect on the importance of nurturing the environment which we so often take for granted.

Simmons Mattresses Gallery would like to remind you of a few ways you can help the planet, not only on Earth Day, but throughout the year.

1. Leave the car at home.

-Walk or bike as much as possible when traveling in your local community. Your heart will thank you as well.

2. Monitor your water use.

-Try not to prolong your showers and when at all possible share. Also try and collect rain water for your garden instead of using the hose.

3. Use re-useable containers

-You may need coffee in the morning, but you don’t need that white and green paper cup from Starbucks each day. Buy a thermos cup and enjoy your java warm throughout the day.

4. Turn off your computer and other devices when not in use.

-This will ultimately help your savings as well.

5. Take an interest in your local environment.

-Look into volunteering at the local community garden. See if you can name every tree on your block; that doesn’t mean give them names like Barnaby or Jolene. Look them up.

6. Take a half hour before bed to think about the larger world we live in.

-Turn out the light and have a conversation with your loved one about the state of the earth. It doesn’t have to be depressing or overly sentimental, just a conversation about the planet we all share.

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