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Published: June 27th 2019
Wednesday 26th June 2019
After the diversity of our two-month journey through Canada, to end our trip in a beautiful city like Vancouver really is a Grand Finale! If one wanted to stay in a prime downtown location, with communal swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and gym, as well as private underground parking, one would need to dish out the dollars, unless that is, one has a second-cousin called Jake Veasey, who just happens to live in such a great place! How lucky are we!
Jake and Julie have made our trip finale very special and it has been thrilling to stay in such a great place. Location! Location! Location! We have been able to park up and forget the car all together and walk to all of the interesting tourist sites around Downtown. Fabulous!
We left Victoria on Monday morning and drove to the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsular to get the 11 a.m. ferry to Tsawwassen, just south of Vancouver. It was a smooth one-and-a-half-hour crossing and we had lunch when we reached the other side. Driving in to the city was easier than expected despite fairly heavy traffic. We stopped just south of Downtown
on an inlet called False Creek and a small park named the George Wainborn Park, opposite Granville Island. From here we were able to stroll along the water-side promenade and enjoy the afternoon sunshine. We got to Jake and Julie’s around 6 p.m. and then went out for the evening, with a lovely friend of theirs also, to a seafood restaurant just five minutes away on Coal Harbour Quay, a lovely spot full of fabulous yachts (“Sunseekers” and so forth) belonging to the wealthy. It was a great evening. I had a delicious hot spicy squid wok and John enjoyed hot and spicy Thai prawns.
On Tuesday we walked back down to Coal Harbour Quay and then took a long bay-side walk past Harbour Green Park to Canada Place and then on down to Gastown. On the way we stopped to admire Waterfront Station, a magnificent building which was built in grand style, to mark the end of the Canadian-Pacific Railway. Great architecture.
Gastown is fabulous, thanks to a successful rejuvenation programme. The old warehouses have all been renovated and put to good use. This area, once the industrial end of town, fell into disrepair and became known
in the 1960s as “Skid Road” until the renovations began in 1971. Now it is a glorious cosmopolitan mix of high-end shops like Versace, bistros, cheap tourist gift shops and some good pubs. We had lunch in a great little pub called “The Black Frog”, down by the railway sidings and near to the Steam Clock.
The Steam Clock is located at the western boundary of the old Granville Townsite, known as Gastown. In the early 1900s it was the commercial centre of Vancouver. It was the world’s first steam-powered clock. Live steam winds the weights and blows the whistles. It blows the “Westminster” chimes every quarter hour and the large whistle blows on the hours.
In the late afternoon we visited English Beach at the west end of the city before returning back to Jake and Julie’s place. After eight hours of walking Vancouver, we enjoyed a lazy evening on their terrace with a lovely meal and some good wine. Perfect day!
Today, Wednesday, we had a lay in and a late start, but still got out and about. We walked north this time to Stanley Park, which is where Jake works (check out Dr Jake
Veasey, zoologist and Vice President of Ocean Wise conservation project and Managing Director of Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park). How great to be able to walk to work, as he does, around such a beautiful waterfront, where harbour seals live, just about a twenty-minute stroll from home. Julie is also able to stroll to work; they really do live in a great location!
We enjoyed strolling around Stanley. First Nation indigenous people have lived there for over 8,000 years. There are still forests of tall Cedar, such an important tree to indigenous aboriginal tribes, as well as lakes, beaches, little inlets and grassy banks; all within this vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis; quite a city! Apart from using the cedar to make dug-out canoes, the pliable inner bark was used to make baskets, mats and waterproof clothing and the tall straight trunks were carved as totem poles. In the park there is a glorious collection of totem poles from the three local indigenous tribes, the Squamish (North Shore), the Musqueam (Downtown) and the Tsleil-Waututh (East end).
This evening, we enjoyed a last meal out with Jake and Julie over on the North Shore, from where we had a splendid view
of the city; lovely restaurant called the “Salmon House”. Tomorrow we say our “Farewells” and then on Friday we start our journey home. We shall take a little part of Vancouver with us, by way of some special memories!
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