We may live only sixty miles away...but in reality we are far removed from the city and go there only occasionally...and usually for a good reason. What once was an hour's drive (that was in my childhood)...now takes ninety minutes...and sometimes three hours. Traffic congestion has created more than a few problems for commuters...and so we think twice before we drive to the city. This past weekend...we thought twice...and still decided a day in the city might be the perfect way to commemorate a country boy's 60th birthday. The sun was shining...the skies were crystal clear...and we set out for Vancouver.
There's nothing quite like the waterfront on a beautiful day!
We strolled Canada Place (the convention centre which is the legacy of Expo '86)...
...but found our views were somewhat blocked by the three massive cruise ships docked alongside.
The Pan Pacific Hotel is part of the original convention centre...and is a hubbub of activity as tourists from around the globe arrive and depart.
Next to Canada Place...is our fabulous new convention centre...which will be known as the west building.
It was slated to be ready for the 2010 Olympics...and we were pleasantly surprised to see it was close to completion...and open to the public to take a peek. And so we did!
It seemed most people were unaware that the doors were open...and so we had us a quiet and lonely tour.
The interior walls are made from renewable Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast hemlock...and resemble stacks of B.C. lumber. The floors were carpeted in shades of blue and green...reflecting the hues of the oceans and the mountains of British Columbia.
Sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows provide for lots of light...and spectacular views.
Forty percent of the building juts out over the ocean...and I'm guessing that this large plaza where the birthday boy was lounging...will be a busy place during the winter games. One other thing that sets this building apart from most...is the six acre living roof...complete with beehives, a beekeeper and 400,000 plants. There was no roof access just yet...therefore, no pictures.
We had a fine time touring our convention centre...both the old and the new portion. Together these two buildings cover four city blocks...and will serve as the international media and broadcast centre for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are about set to welcome the world to Vancouver...
... with the official Olympic clock counting down the days...the minutes...and the seconds to the opening of the 2010 winter games. You soon catch the enthusiasm when you spend a little time in the city!
As for the birthday dinner...commemorating hubby's first sixty years...
...we took a gondola to the 'Peak of Vancouver'. It was a beautiful, summer evening...with temperatures in the mid-twenties Celsius. We enjoyed panoramic views of the entire city...
...and watched the sun set over the mountain ranges of Vancouver Island in the distance. The kids drove out to join us...and informed us that we could have had dinner in Kelowna just as easily (it took them over three hours in Friday afternoon traffic to arrive at Grouse Mountain.) I like Kelowna, the centre of B.C.'s interior...we have family there...but I'm thinking the view we enjoyed was worth the aggravation of the commute!