Vancouver: Art, History and Nature

On my own today, so I walked along the seawall down to Canada Place along Coal Harbour where the Harbour Air Seaplanes are based with stunning views across Burrard Inlet. Vancouver is filled with hundreds of pieces of public art; everywhere you go you find odd sculptures or examples of Chinook phrases, and since 1998 they have the International Sculpture Biennale with temporary exhibits from all over the world.

At Harbour Green Park you will see the “Light Shed” which imitates the simple boat-sheds that stood along the harbour over a century ago. Poised on log stilts, this aluminium-coated shed is particularly lustrous after dark when a dim, moving light shines from within. The park itself is a lovely shady area which seems to float at the edge of the harbour and it has plenty of benches from where you look at the appealing views and watch the float planes arrive and take off. It contains a variety of European Beech, Northern Red Oak and London Plane trees. This was going to be a long, slow walk….

Further along I came to the Vancouver Convention Centre West. A fascinating building as it appears to lean out over the harbour and resembles the prow of a ship. It has huge glass windows that reflect the view (on this day lovely clouds over the North Vancouver Mountains). Also along the seawall are railings similar to those you find on a ship and there are lots of interesting information plaques telling you the stories of different people who came to BC and what they did. What a wonderful way to learn history. All the photos come from the BC Museum in Victoria. (Another must-see museum).

Finally you come to an impressive blue bulbous sculpture “The Drop” by Inges Idee. The west building has a 6 acre living roof with 400, 000 indigenous plants and 4 beehives and 40% of the building juts out over the water. An impressive building. You then arrive at the distinctive Canada Place with the five sails that dominate the Vancouver Downtown skyline and which is home to the Vancouver Convention Centre East and the cruise ships terminal, and if you look up West Hastings Street you will see an impressive example of art deco, the Marine Building, which was built during the great Depression and was the tallest building in the British Empire in 1930.

As it was a lovely day I decided to catch the #17 bus from Granville to the Van Dusen Gardens (Oak and W 27th) which is one of my favourite gardens. Transport in Vancouver is easy to use and buses are frequent on most major routes and a single journey costs $2.75 and is valid for 90 minutes so if you need to transfer you have plenty of time to do so. I love gardens and am very happy to wander around on my own for hours, which I did.

To my delight there was also a sculpture exhibition “Zimsculpt” in the gardens by Zimbabwean sculptors so that was an added pleasure. Had lunch in the Shaughnessy Restaurant (a bit posh but the Garden Café had closed for the season). I had a vegetarian Panini – goat’s cheese, olives, artichokes, spinach, cherry tomatoes with a mixed leaf salad and a large glass of Merlot. Well a girl has to have energy for a walk around 55 acres.

Back in Downtown, dinner was at The Crime Lab Restaurant on the seawall at Devonian Harbour Park next to the hotel where I had a great veggie burger with yam chips, and my OH had a trio of fish and chips in tempura batter, the trio being prawn, cod and salmon. Oh and the Singapore Slings weren’t half bad either.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

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