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Old and new coffee shop murals of Cambie St.

October 18, 2014
The new mural on the Starbucks at Cambie and 19th.

The new mural on the Starbucks at Cambie and 19th.

After the coffee house chain JJ Bean angered many Cambie Village residents this last August by destroying a popular mural on the side of their new Cambie Street location, the established Starbucks coffee house a block away has created a pleasing new mural of their own.

The mural is on the south side of the Sturbucks coffee shop on the southeast corner of Cambie Street and 19th Avenue. It depicts a view looking north down Cambie Street towards Vancouver’s downtown skyline.

The mural seems finished but for a large white oval hole which is the exact shape needed to contain a Starbucks logo. In fact the entire mural is painted almost exclusively in the colour palette of the Starbucks logo: black, white and green.

Branding aside, the trees and green in the design nicely echo the three green wooden benches flanked by large trees. All in all the mural makes a fitting backdrop to the popular sitting area.

JJ Bean and the angry faces of the Cambie Village


One block north of the existing Starbucks location, the coffee shop chain JJ Bean  is moving into the site of a former corner grocery store at Cambie and 18th.

As part of their renovations, one of the first things they did  in August was destroy the eight-year-old mural on the side of the building.

Artist Teresa Waclawik created the The Face of Vancouver mural between 2005 and 2007 as a fundraising project for Covenant House Vancouver, Canada, a non-profit that helps homeless young people.

The mural depicted one large face made up of 261 faces of Cambie Village residents, each of whom made a financial contributions. The mural also included their dogs and cats.

JJ Bean’s owner John Neate explained to the media that the destruction of the mural couldn’t be helped due to water damage inside the wall and though he would’ve like to have preserved it, he wasn’t required to.

Neate told the Vancouver Courier and other media outlets that the coffee house asked for and received permission from the city of Vancouver to remove the mural and put two large openings in the wall to create a new patio area.

Neate complained that JJ Bean had done nothing wrong but was being made out to be the “bad guy”.

There is no evidence that JJ Bean made any attempt to systematically remove the mural — by, say, cutting up in small squares so it could be removed and reconstituted somewhere else. In fact workers appear to have ripped it off the wall in jagged pieces which were simply thrown away.

Plenty of fish — coffee shop-wise

I personally don’t see how destroying the landmark neighbourhood mural could in any way help JJ Bean become a beloved neighbourhood hangout.

Perhaps there were lots of people who actually disliked the mural or perhaps JJ Bean is counting on people having a short attention span for such things.

I’m sure JJ Bean founder John Neate knows his business.

I’m unashamedly a fan of murals and a fan of the work Covenant House does to help street youth. Up till recently I didn’t care about JJ Bean one way  or another.

One thing I know about Vancouver; if you decide you don’t like a particular coffee shop for any reason whatsoever, there are always plenty of other coffee shops to choose from.

That’s how I feel about the new JJ Bean on Cambie — there’s another coffee shop just a block away and it has a nice new mural. Click the images to enlarge them.


From → Art, South Cambie

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