Editor’s Note: September 2012

Every morning, I buy coffee from young Tony. He charges $2.75, which i’m happy to pay because he makes an excellent Americano. I’d pay him more (but don’t tell him that). Some mornings I drive to work, and though there’s underground parking, it’s $13 a day. The lanes around are free, though. And when the time comes I’m towed, I figure I’ll still have saved money on the transaction, plus the extra walking helps keep me in shape.

The most common abacus for assessing value in this city is the ground we walk on. even as the markets continue to falter, with supply far outstripping demand, detached houses in metro vancouver rise in price—up slightly over last year to $961,600. The buildings themselves, of course, aren’t the lion’s share; my own home accounts for barely 20 percent of the property’s valuation, with the bulk coming from our standard skinny lot, with its share of chafer beetles, morning glory, and, I’m pretty sure, a nascent ant infestation (but don’t tell our neighbours that). Yet to me, the most precious components of our home are unrepresented in that assessment: that we bought with my mother-in-law when she was bereaved, that I can walk to work if I choose, that my daughter learned to climb trees in the maple out front.

This issue studies value in diverse ways. Charles Campbell and Jennifer Van Evra look at unexpected methods to inject value into our uncertain real-estate market— Charles through guerrilla renovating and Jen by moving us off the land altogether. Our annual fall fashion section tips you off to investment pieces for the coming season. And Steve Burgess sorts pearls from grit in our ubiquitous sushi scene.

One last way to assess value is through the esteem of others, and though we don’t put too much stock in external appraisal, I want to recognize the contributors who helped us win five Western magazine Awards in June. Frances Bula (Urban Fix), Randall Watson (art direction of the June 2011 cover), Timothy Taylor (“Blood Brothers”), and Danielle Egan (“Lost Girls”)—thanks to you, and to all the contributors who made us Western Canada’s magazine of the year.