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Rear View Mirror: Richmond farmhouse T-shirts stirred it up

Richmond graphic designer Dan MacClure poked fun at the whole farmhouse size debate, but not everyone saw the funny side of it

Just a few years ago this weekend, a Richmond-based graphic designer caused a bit of a stir when he released a T-shirt lampooning the controversy over house size limits on the city’s farmland.

On May 31, 2018, the Richmond News published a front-page story telling how Dan MacClure, of Creative Apparatus, played with the universal sign that warns drivers to beware of slow-moving farm traffic.

Instead of a tractor, MacClure switched it up for a luxury sports car.

He said the satirical take jived with some Richmond residents’ views that the near-12,000 square feet mansions being built on farmland by non-farmers were the home of Lamborghinis and Ferraris, as opposed to tractors and plows.

The issue had been a hot topic in Richmond for years, with city council chambers being packed to the hilt on many occasions by people from both sides of the argument.

“We see the fun in things, even when things are political, tense or divisive,” said MacClure at the time.

“We side with the real farmers here and we realize there’s a lot of working parts to it; we just thought it was funny.”

The $20 T-shirts sold out fast, although only 150 were made in a first run.

However, Gunraj Gill, of the Richmond Farmland Owners Association, said at the time that his organization didn’t see the humour in it and condemned the stunt.

“This is just another example of the amount of public misinformation out there about farmers,” he said three years ago.

“It doesn’t really help at all. But rather than pointing fingers, we are working on a plan to get out there and educate people about what we really do.”

MacClure was also behind a T-shirt in 2017 with “Steveston Sealion Rides” as its message, after the now infamous video of a little girl being dragged into Steveston Harbour by a sea lion.