British Columbia

'Before I die' blackboard a hit in Vancouver

A giant blackboard in Vancouver has attracted hundreds of written suggestions completing the statement, "Before I die I want to–."

Passersby invited to complete statement of their life hopes and wishes

People have used the Vancouver blackboard to present a whole range of wishes for their lives. (CBC)

A giant blackboard in Vancouver is giving people a chance to share their dreams of what they’ve always wanted to do or to have in their lives while they still have time.

In an alley just off Keefer Street, the blackboard features columns of statements that say, "Before I die I want to," with empty spaces beside them that passersby are invited to fill in.

Dana Ramler set up the display and then waited to see if people would participate.

"I wasn't sure what sort of themes would come up, if it would be vandalized, what would happen," said Ramler. "And I've been really overwhelmed with how beautiful and positive the responses have been."

Some say they "would like to make a difference," others wish to "know love," or "see their granddaughter."

One says, "I want my family to believe me."

Universal desires

Many others express a hope to travel the world, while some of the responses show a yearning for simple pleasures, like learning to dance or getting a dog.

The blackboard is in an alley off Keefer Street in Vancouver. (CBC)

Similar chalkboards have been set up in other cities around the world and  Ramler said that rather than highlighting differences, they underline universal desires.

"Everybody wants the same things for themselves. We want to be loved, to find love, travel the world, have experiences. So I was surprised by the commonality of the responses on all the walls," she said.

Ramler said she will soon wipe the board clear to invite new responses.

As much as she loves some of the answers there now, she said it’s important to keep posing the question.


With files from the CBC's Tim Weekes