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Editor's Desk: Join us for a year-long journey with Vancouver Special

Try out Layar for extra content

 How do you define a city? In Vancouver, we think rain, mountains, ocean views and yoga pants. Starbucks everywhere. Chickens in backyards. High-rise developments endangering heritage. Off-leash dog wars. Traffic congestion. Entire blocks where English is the last language you hear. The seawall. Wall-to-wall festivals and parades. A mayor who made his coin selling juice.

Its also a city of neighbourhoods. When we sat down as a newspaper last year to redesign the physical look of the Courier, we came up with a new tagline: the voice of Vancouvers neighbourhoods. It reflects our origins as a neighbourhood newspaper many decades ago. It speaks to the needs of our citys perse but isolated neighbourhoods to learn about one another and see themselves better reflected in this citys media. It was a promise to you about our mission.

In this issue, we bring that promise up front with Vancouver Special, which were calling a journey through our citys neighbourhoods. Every two weeks for the next year (with time off to cover the provincial election), well be focusing on a different neighbourhood in Vancouver and telling stories about it with text, pictures and video.

Were starting Vancouver Special with Mount Pleasant. As one of Vancouvers oldest and most central neighbourhoods, its an excellent jumping off point for our journey.

We have four feature pages about Mount Pleasant beginning on page 23. Spread throughout the paper are stories related to Mount Pleasant in news, entertainment and sports. All of these stories will be on our website at

Its an evolving project and were open to ideas. Let us know what you think.

Next up in two weeks: Kerrisdale, where the Courier began. If you have a story you think we should tell about that neighbourhood, contact us.

Layar it

This issue we are trying out a new way for readers to interact with the print version of the newspaper using an iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet. Its called Layar and it uses your phones camera to trigger online content by simply scanning the newspaper page.

Download the free Layar app from iTunes or the Google Play Store direct from your device. It only takes a moment.

Then look for the Layar icon on this page and on pages 4, 26 and 31. Start the app, point your phones camera to the general area of the icon on the printed page and watch for on-screen buttons to emerge, giving you choices of online content, including photos, video and social media feeds, to view right on your phone.

On this page, try Layar out with the photo. It will take you to a video about Mount Pleasant history and heritage by entertainment editor and columnist Michael Kissinger.

Well do more Layar projects each issue as we experiment with its potential to enhance the stories we tell about Vancouver. Try it out and, as always, give us your thoughts.