Catching Up in Vancouver

Monday 27 July to Saturday 1 August

We booked 2 nights in Vancouver but as it turned out the hotel was comfortable, internet was fast and we had plenty of room to work on our computers, with a nice view overlooking the city, so we made this our catch up stop.

We caught up on bookkeeping – time to pay the BAS, and photos – before we forgot too much of our first tour.

And this is the advantage of slow travel, if we want to extend our time in one place, we can.

Our exploration started at Canada Place, built as the Canadian Government’s pavilion for the 1986 World’s Fair, overlooking the port and Victoria Island. Here we saw another public piano and very proud parents photographing their young daughter’s skill.

We took the hop on/hop off bus on the city line and through Stanley Park.   In fact the bus is a motorised trolley bus, and the driver is the commentator.

The oldest part of Vancouver is Gastown, where John Deighton from Hull, England (aka Gassy Jack) established a pub to serve the loggers of the area. His knickname is derived from his many “gassy” monologues as a saloonkeeper of the Deighton House Hotel.

The tiny Granville Island is a popular tourist attraction. It is essentially a lot of craft and food stalls squashed under a bridge.

There are some beautiful buildings within Vancouver. The Marine Building stood out for its beautiful Art Deco façade and internal decoration. It was once the tallest building in the British Empire.

There is more interesting architecture in Vancouver, including the Waterfront Station, the Public Library and Science World, formerly the Expo Centre for the 1986 World’s Fair.

We spent an afternoon at the Chinese Sun-yat Sen gardens. Canada, like Australia had a lot of immigrants during the mid-19th century. They came for gold and stayed to help build railways and roads. The work place death rate amongst Chinese was horrific – the work was dangerous and too heavy for their small build.

The China Gate in Chinatown was originally erected at False Creek for the 1986 World’s Fair.

Vancouver, like Melbourne, is rated one of the most liveable cities, but to my mind the life style is very different. Vancouver is one of the most heavily populated cities in Northern America, high rise office buildings and apartments are crammed into a very small area around the centre of town. wherever we went in the city.  The tour guides happile reel off a heap of movies made here, including Pretty Woman, where the Waterfront Station facade was used as the hotel scene.

The film industry likes Vancouver as a setting – the weather is mild and labour costs are less than in the USA. We seemed to be tripping over heavy cables and walking past those massive trucks traditionally used by film crews

Traffic is heavy, as the main thoroughfare to cross the Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park to North Vancouver, runs through the centre of the city. Plans to put a road underground to ease the congestion have been abandoned due to public protests.

There are a lot of cyclists – it is one way to ease the congestion. We understood why when we saw so many people cycling to Whistler & beyond.

There are hundreds of street people, mostly in very poor shape, usually under the influence of something. We were warned to stay clear of a couple of areas near the city. Drugs are easily obtained in Canada.

The city was cleaned up but the street people keep drifting in from the cold eastern states. Winter in Vancouver is mild, with very little snow.

As we had discovered on the west coast of the USA, there are more and more craft breweries popping up, serving food. This really became an easy option for us to find a good meal, and Bruce’s list of the beers he drank increased by the day. In general the food was more interesting and servings are smaller, more to our liking.