Pirates and Treasure

Yesterday something startling happened.

I was minding my own business sifting through the contents of Hammond Forever House looking for stuff we don’t need (to give away during Hammond Treasure Days) when I noticed a flicker of movement outside in the street.

The kids were upstairs ostensibly going through their toys and clothes to separate them into three piles, keep, store for six months while we renovate, and give-away but what they were really doing was playing with the toys we had already put in the give-away box.

Normally our street is quiet except for the occasional dog-walkers and newspaper or mail carriers. Sometimes a vehicle roars past, trying to see how fast they can get from one stop sign to the next and how much gas they can burn doing it. We don’t typically see several people in a group.

I looked out the window. Nothing unusual. Wait.

What is that behind the Ridgewater sign? And sitting behind that truck across the street?

A chill ran down my spine.

Visual artists.

I looked out the other window.

More of them.
A marauding band of local visual artists had descending on our street and begun their work.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

Leanne came home after a long day at the Recycling Society and we chatted with the artists. They were very nice.

We talk about the value of preserving heritage buildings and neighbourhoods, but it is hard to quantify that value until something like this happens. Until someone notices and celebrates them.image

Thank you guerilla art flash mob! Leanne and I would love to see the results of your visit and you’re welcome back anytime!

The property has been the subject of artistic expression before, as published in our Statement of Significance, first by a tenant who lived here…
SOS Page 6
…and then by my mother who surprised us one year with this painting.

My Mum painted this in . You can see my kids on the porch and our cat, Bailey, who we brought home from Japan and has since passed away.


I called them a marauding band of visual artists because I have pirates on my brain. This weekend Hammond is having its third Hammond Treasure Days and this time we have a Treasure Map!

Treasure Days is when a neighbourhood or municipality designates a weekend for giving stuff away. On any other given day you may see a piece of furniture at the curb with a ‘FREE’ sign on it. During Treasure Days everyone does it at once and treasure hunters can plan to tour the streets. I love it because it makes it easy to reduce the clutter in the house and it promotes the idea of a sharing economy where we don’t need to buy everything new.

The almost 1000-member-strong facebook group Hammond Neighbours is a large reason for the success of these neighbourhood initiatives. Last time we heard from several people in the group that wished there were a map with locations of Treasure Troves marked. I asked the group how to do that and a few options were suggested immediately. Here is what we came up with:
Anyone can add a marker with the password “Hammond” and a few already have. That means that treasure hunters can print out the map before they leave or consult their SuperPhones en route so they don’t waste time driving around. We quickly realised that this tool has the potential to be very useful for the neighbourhood. One of the key steps to community building is making an asset map. That’s where you identify what resources are in your community and start to think about how to connect them. I think we have stumbled on a living, breathing asset map.

As long as we don’t post actual street addresses (security concerns), neighbours can share locations with each other. Our three community libraries are marked with sunflowers.

Zoom in on Hammond Forever House
Zoom in on Hammond Forever House

You can try it out here:Hammond Treasure Map

Speaking of marauding and artists. Hammond Treasure Days is happening the same weekend as The Art Studio Tour. You can visit artists in their studios and see their work and how they work. The local HUB group has organized a cycling tour in conjunction with the Studio Tour. I thought this would be a great use for the map so I added all the addresses I could get of the stops on the Arts Studio Tour. Think of all those art lovers marauding around enjoying meeting artists and picking up free stuff along the way. What a beautiful thing.

Happy hunting!

Find more information about the Art Studio Tour here.

Find more information about the cycling tour here.

You can see the markers for the Arts Studio Tour when you zoom out like this:image

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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