Inspector orders kids’ tree house demolished

Published in the Vancouver Sun last year and still interesting as it could happen in Ontario as well.  Innovative creators take note!

City fires one across bow of shipshape tree fort

Glenn Bohn, Vancouver Sun

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2006

Architect Andrew Dewberry built a tree fort for his two young sons in a big cedar tree in the front yard of his Kerrisdale home.

Now the city wants him to take it down.

According to a letter a city inspector sent Dewberry and his wife Jayne Seagrave at the end of September, the boat-shaped structure is an “accessory building” that violates the zoning and development bylaw.

Jayne Seagrave and Andrew Dewberry display the letter they received from the city. The tree fort they built for their boys rises above them at back.

Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun


    The one-level wooden structure is about three metres by two metres in size and shaped to look like a cannon-armed ship. One end is curved like a prow and there is a wooden platform that resembles a crow’s nest high up in a mast. Plastic pipe-lined holes along each side of the fort are pretend “cannon ports.” Sons Sam and Jack can push chestnut “cannonballs” through the ports to ward off enemies. There are a few practical features too, like a cone-shaped roof of wood and tarpaper for the rain.

To six-year-old Sam and seven-year-old Jack, the tree fort is a pirate ship on the high seas.

“I like to play in it and stuff,” Sam said. “Some day, I’d like to sleep in it.”

Boaters can find freedom on the high seas, but local governments have rules about what can be built on city-sized lots.

Dewberry says he talked to a city official by phone on Aug. 31 to ask about tree forts, before he bought $2,000 worth of wood and other building supplies. According to Dewberry, he was told there were no guidelines for tree forts and no mention of them in a bylaw.

“He told me the department was ‘complaint driven,’ ” Dewberry said, “so I asked him the obvious question: ‘If there was a complaint, what would you do?’ ” Dewberry said the official replied: “Nothing.”

But something did happen. Although the fort isn’t very visible from the street or Dewberry’s front yard, it is more visible from a neighbour’s front yard and one side of the fort is close to the property line.

The city’s Sept. 29 letter notes the tree fort is on the south side of the front yard, and that it was build without a permit. The letter asks the parents of Sam and Jack to come to city hall, submit building plans for the tree fort, sign a development application and pay a fee. That paper work is to be done within 30 days or the parents have to “remove” the tree fort to avoid “further action” that is not spelled out.

McLellan said the city allows people to build tree forts in back yards — as opposed to front yards — because small tree forts in back yards usually don’t affect a neighbour’s privacy.

“Avoid an impact on your neighbour,” he advised. “Some people complain because [a neighbour’s tree fort] compromises their privacy. There are often ways to screen it, to deal with those issues.

“The only reason we’re out there is that we’re acting on a complaint,” he said. “Most people try to work things out with their neighbours, without involving city hall.”


You don’t need a building permit to erect a tree fort in Vancouver, however, here are some things to keep in mind:

– Build it in the back yard, not the front yard.

– Don’t put up a structure that’s more than 100 square feet in size.

– Keep it away from property lines and legal setbacks.

– Talk to your neighbours before building, to ensure the tree fort doesn’t look down on their back yards and affect a neighbour’s privacy.

Source: David McLellan, City of Vancouver

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

Golf Day!

Greetings! It’s that exciting time of year again, when we have the pleasure of announcing the date of our TEUCU Annual Golf Tournament (In Memory of Terry Godfrey).  We hope that you will be able to join us at the Whispering Ridge Golf Course on Monday August 11, 2008 at 12.00 p.m. Shotgun start.  Prices this year are $35.00 for Executive/Ultimate members and $70.00 for Standard members. If you are unsure of your member status please call us for clarification. Please join us in honouring our loyal members for their commitment to the continued success of the credit union.     Please remember there is limited availability.  All player registrations will be on a first come, first served basis and we wouldn’t want you to miss this great opportunity! For more information please call our offices at 416-542-2522.

Posted in Uncategorized

UFC Fouls list.

With the victory of Canadian Georges St.Pierre last Saturday night it is only fitting to let everyone know exactly what will constitute a foul during your next MMA bout.


1.   Butting with the head.
2.   Eye gouging of any kind.
3.   Biting.
4.   Hair pulling.
5.   Fish hooking.
6.   Groin attacks of any kind. 
7.   Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent.
8.   Small joint manipulation.
9.   Striking to the spine or the back of the head.
10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow.
11. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.
12. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
13. Grabbing the clavicle.
14. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
15. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
16. Stomping a grounded opponent.
17. Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
18. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck.
19. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.
20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent.
21. Spitting at an opponent.
22. Engaging in an unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
23. Holding the ropes or the fence.
24. Using abusive language in the ring or fenced area.
25. Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
26. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
27. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat.
28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee. 
29. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury.
30. Interference by the corner.
31. Throwing in the towel during competition.

There you go …just in case…check out the link here.

Barcode Art From Japan

We’re accustomed to seeing the exact same size and shape UPC barcodes on retail packaging, but who knew that these parameters could be played with yet still serve their intended function?

Somebody in Japan finally figured out that as long as optical character readers (OCRs) can recognize the encoded information, nothing else really matters. The next step was to work hand-in-hand with manufacturers to liven up their barcodes and by doing so, create an innovative new way to attract consumers’ attention.

In Japan nowadays, artistic barcodes grace everything from soup to nuts. The theme typically matches the actual product inside but just as often it doesn’t. No matter, the theme is secondary to the thoughts of the artists who, though limited by the need to retain the barcode’s original purpose, still have enough leeway to surprise and delight.

Leading the pack when it comes to artistic UPC barcodes is a Japanese design firm named D-barcode. With a name like that, it would seem they have enough commissions designing creative UPC codes to keep the company in the black. Thanks to D-barcode and other design firms, artistically rendered barcodes have attracted quite a following in Japan – so much so that there’s a book featuring them (which appears to be sold out).

Will we be seeing these kinds of creative, artistically designed barcodes on American packaging anytime soon? It’s likely we will – competition being what it is, companies need to grab our attention any way they can. Now that the “bar” has been raised in Japan, it’s certain our corporations will come in from the “code”. 

Steve Levenstein


Forget the patch…you just need to quit your job…..

So there is this guy who wants to quit smoking. More power to him. He has decided to quit smoking and to do this he spends the first few days in “lockdown” playing his video game to keep his mind and his hands busy.

He also advises those who wish to quit. “I did nothing but play Pokémon non-stop. My routine was to sleep extra late (because if I’m not awake, I’m not craving a smoke), play Pokémon for about 8 hours with breaks to stretch and eat, read Pokémon walkthroughs, F.A.Q.s, strategies, and websites, and then sleep.”

I guess the idea is good in theory.

If you would like any more medical advice from an unemployed man who stays home and plays children’s video games all day, you can check out the link here.

Now you can bid on International Mischief…

Here is the original post’s offerings to the lucky winner…

“You are bidding on a rare chance to traumatize a treasured friend or relative with baffling, mind-numbing, mystery correspondence from abroad.

Here is the arrangement:

I will be spending the Christmas holiday in Poland in a tiny village that has one church with no bell because angry Germans stole it. Aside from vodka, there is not a lot for me to do.

During the course of my holiday I will send three postcards to one person of your choosing.

These postcards will be rant-ravingly insane, yet they will be peppered with unmistakable personal details about the addressee. Details you will provide me.

The postcards will not be coherently signed, leaving your mark confused, guessing wildly, crying out in anguish.”

This is/was a brilliant idea….check out the link here.

Three Famous Things Invented by Accident – Slinky, Silly Putty and the Popsicle

The creation of the next hot toy or snack is often a long one, involving lots of time and market research. But did you know that the ever-popular Silly Putty, the Slinky and the Popsicle were all invented accidentally?

Silly Putty

The invention of Silly Putty started out scientifically. During World War II, the United States government was in dire need of a substitute for rubber to use on such things as boots and airplane tires. They asked their engineers to experiment with silicone to find this synthetic rubber. In 1944, a General Electric engineer named James Wright added boric acid to silicone oil and ended up inventing what became Silly Putty. However, before it was Silly Putty, it was nothing. Though it was elastic and bounced, it wasn’t sufficient as a rubber substitute and was put aside. It wasn’t until 1949 that Silly Putty realized its true potential. It had attracted the attention of a toy store owner named Ruth Fallgatter. She teamed up with a marketing consultant named Peter Hodgson to find a creative use for the putty. It was first marketed to adults and then became a toy for children. The rest is history. Despite the rationing of silicone brought on by the Korean War, Silly Putty persevered and is now one of the world’s most populat toys.

The familiar SlinkyThe familiar Slinky


The Slinky was also invented by a engineer during World War II. Richard James was a naval engineer with the US Navy. One day in 1943, he was working with torsion springs when one tumbled to the floor. To James’ surprise, the spring kept moving end-over-end across the floor. This fascinated James, and, upon returning home, he and his wife Betty decided to market this invention as a toy. They developed a similar spring, coiling a steel ribbon into a spiral, named it “Slinky”, and began production of this newly-invented toy in 1945. Like Silly Putty, the Slinky isn’t complicated or hard to use – a secret to its success. More than two million toys have been sold since its invention, and the original design has only changed once.

The PopsicleA cherry PopsicleA cherry Popsicle

Unlike the Slinky and Silly Putty, the Popsicle wasn’t invented by an engineer as a byproduct of research. The Popsicle, one of history’s favourite frozen snacks, was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old boy. At the turn of the 20th century, soda water powder mixed with water was a common drink. Young Frank Epperson began to mix this drink for himself one day in 1905, but instead of drinking it, left it on his back porch overnight. Though he lived in California, temperatures reached a record low that night and, the next day, Epperson found his drink, frozen, with the stirring stick still inside. This was interesting enough to a child, but it wasn’t until 1923 that Epperson thought he could sell his accidental invention as a snack. He began selling his invention, then called “Epsicles”, in seven flavours. The name was changed to the now-familiar “Popsicle”, and an estimated three million are sold each year, in more than 30 flavours. Pretty good for a forgetful kid!


Charlotte Foltz Jones. Mistakes That Worked. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Wikipedia Image:   stock.xchng