Wilson, Spider oral history interview

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Spider Tattoo
Columbia Street

Spider Wilson is a tattoo artist who operated a tattoo parlour on Columbia Street for 17 years, and is a New Westminster native. He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital and attended John Robson Elementary and later Lord Kelvin Elementary. He believes his job as a tattoo artist is a mixture of being a social worker and a bartender. He reports feeling a strong connection to the business community on Columbia Street. Having grown up five minutes away from his current shop, he talks about the changes to Columbia and Front Street in the face of real estate development. In his recollection of New Westminster as a child, he shares stories of his visits to Rob Roy Meats, Royal City Café and how he cruised up to the A&W on Stewardson Way as a teenager. He spent time at the waterfront as a child, and remember the large number of tug and fishing boats on the Fraser River. He toured the Russian submarine on the Fraser River and states jokingly that he never saw longshoremen working, as that was never in their job description. In this interview, he mentions his friendship with Gary Lobel at Galo Shoe Services and how he tattooed, among others, the 67-year-old lawyer across the street. He repeatedly returns to what he views as the problem with the city’s parking system, and how the city has lost its character.

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Interview with Wilson Spider