Posts by: WHG

Where the locals go

Vancouver has lots of, pardon the expression, tourist attractions.  For those who prefer to explore where the natives go, Yaletown, a neighborhood near downtown, has lots of possibilities.  What it also has is the potential for elasticizing its boundaries beyond what is, to begin with, a rather amorphous set of metes and bounds. Furthermore it has something for many different tastes: Walking.  The Sea Wall along False Creek that lies at the southern edge of Yaletown that itself lies on the southern edge of downtown. To the east this can lead to Edgewater Casino with slot machines, poker tables and […]

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Queen Elizabeth Park

Of Vancouver’s three horticultural gems, Queen Elizabeth Park west of downtown takes a different approach from the other two. VanDusen Botanical Garden is just that and so is the University of British Columbia’s. Queen Elizabeth Park is dedicated more to an overall aesthetic than to the grouping and identification of specific plant families. Furthermore, besides the gardens it has lawn space for games including golf, but just the miniature variety. Queen Elizabeth is a masterpiece of reclamation and transformation. What was once a big hole in the ground, a former basalt quarry, is now from the top of the hill […]

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University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology

A museum of anthropology doesn’t sound like a mass market kind of place. Yet the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology draws respectable and diverse crowds, if the tour we just took there in early July is any indication. The reason (my guess) is that it largely devoted to the cultures of what Canada politely calls the First Nations. This name is a straddle between historical accuracy and condescension, the latter embodied in the name of the American Indians or Native Americans. Like the First Nations peoples, there is not much to prove whether they originated in North America […]

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Vancouver’s Showplace Gardens

Vancouver’s climate is one that gardeners at the minimum envy. It’s cold enough so that fruits like apples or pears get the chill down they need to prosper. Summers are warm enough for an explosion of plants to grow and flower. Yet they are not hot enough to sear the profusion of greenery. Not only does Vancouver have lush and prolific home gardens, but it also has two very fine botanical gardens, Van Dusen and University of British Columbia’s, not to mention Queen Elizabeth Park, a naturalized park that could qualify as a third. Both botanical gardens are high on […]

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Sightseeing by Seaplane in Vancouver

Visitors walking around, driving around, or just sitting on a bench around Burrard Inlet, English Bay, False Creek, or Stanley Park find it hard to miss the seaplanes taking off at Coal Harbor, climbing out or letting down to land or just cruising overhead.   That’s because seaplanes are a denizen of Canada and Alaska and not many other places. These are more precisely called floatplanes because of the two pontoons mounted on struts below the fuselage instead of the conventional wheels.  For the most part residents seem either oblivious to them or annoyed with their engine exhausts perhaps but […]

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Canadian Museum of Flight and Fort Langley

Here’s a day trip from Vancouver — a two for one — that parents or grandparents can convince themselves is interesting, historical and educational for the kids, something they must sacrifice to do. Anyone who has raised any number of kids knows that is a delusion, especially in the summer when the kids want nothing more than to put “education” as far away as the North Pole. So the reality is that the adults will like it, maybe a lot, and the kids will tolerate it maybe for a while. What I mean is Fort Langley and the air museum, […]

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If you have a day to spend on Granville Island

From the building where we stay in Yaletown it’s just a block walk to the Sea Wall, bordering False Creek on the south, to a ramp, then a pier with a shelter that makes a small boat dock. Usually the wait is from nothing to sometimes as much as 15 minutes for the what must be the niftiest public transportation in any city in the world. For soon enough up chugs what can best be described as a semi-ugly duckling, a small canopied boat with wooden bench seats lining both gunwales and prime seats for the kids in the bow […]

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