It’s about 11 a.m. on Wednesday and John Burn is heating up a pan of tahini on a wood-burning stove in his 110-square-foot, truck-house in East Vancouver.
The smell of wood smoke wafts out of the little chimney and drifts through the neighbourhood…
Burn’s home turns heads in the neighbourhood around Grandview Park. It’s a stylish shingle-sided shack built onto the back of a classic green 1946 International two-ton truck. The vehicle, with Saskatchewan licence plates, is parked on the street next to the park.
“I would think that about 90 or 95 per cent of the people who pass by like to see the truck in the neighbourhood; it adds a little something,” he said.
“There are a few people — some of my neighbours object to noise and sometimes there’s gatherings of people around near the truck, and we can get a little rowdy.”
Burn built the truck-house about 15 years ago in Saskatoon. There’s a little sketch of a strikingly similar vehicle he claims to have drawn 30 years earlier when he was in jail on a drunk driving charge.
Burn says he’s been to jail a few times — he was once charged with uttering a death threat. The mellow retiree chalks up all of his run-ins with the law to his alcoholism, but he says he’s been sober for a couple years.
Some of his art pasted to the truck-house’s ceiling was inspired by acid trips, though he says he mostly put LSD behind him in the 1980s.
Burn was born in Vancouver and grew up in the neighbourhood around Gladstone Secondary School. He had planned to become a doctor but couldn’t get into medical school.