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Arrival is here to shake up Vancouver’s cultural scene

Artist Paul Wong recalls his memories of working on projects at the Waldorf Hotel as he stands outside the establishment in East Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, January 19, 2013.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The group behind reimagining and programming – until recently – the Waldorf Hotel is launching a new company it says will shake up Vancouver's cultural scene. An announcement to be made Monday details ambitious plans for various projects in the city, including the construction of a new culture hub meant to pick up where the Waldorf left off. No longer called Waldorf Productions, the group will also officially launch its new creative and events agency, called Arrival.

Beyond its plans to transform the Fox Cinema on Main Street into a live music venue (with partners David Duprey and Rachel Zottenberg), Arrival is planning to develop a new multivenue creative hub, partnering with the Cheaper Show, the New Forms Festival and the artist-run centre On Main. "The team envisions a multifaceted project that will facilitate a mixture of entrepreneurial and art organizations combining work, performance, and leisure space," reads the prepared statement.

The group will also curate the "art and guest experience elements" for the Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival. The free event, scheduled for July 13, drew more than 80,000 people last year.

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And the group will relaunch its popular Food Cart Fest, which was held on Sundays last summer in the Waldorf parking lot. And Arrival's Daniel Fazio, who was also with Waldorf Productions, said there's a possibility the festival could expand beyond Sundays, depending on which location it locks down.

"We are excited to continue the work we did at the Waldorf, expanding it further into the city," read a statement by Thomas Anselmi, who will lead the team along with business partner Ernesto Gomez.

The group had transformed the Waldorf into what was often referred to as a cultural compound – where art and music thrived, beginning with the reopening in October, 2010. The group says the sale of the hotel in January, 2013, forced it to cease operations. The hotel remains open, but the diverse music and cultural programming of those Waldorf Productions days are over.

"We're sad to no longer have the hotel as our home base but continue to be excited about the potential to collaborate with new organizations and work in new spaces," said Mr. Gomez in the news release.

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