Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a peek...and a peak

Vancouver is a big city...and is North America's second largest port. It is also one of the biggest cruise ship terminals in the world.

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!

And so ended the first sixty years...on September 11, 2009...

...on a mountain top overlooking Vancouver. It's a picture we will all remember for some time.
Have a wonderful day...


  1. Judy .. . what a wonderful first 60 years post. I love your tours. Even for the "locals" you still provide tidbits that we haven't yet seen nor heard about.
    You really did have the perfect day with a view. . .

  2. That must have been a memorable day - the weather couldn't have been better and the views are worth the drive. Is there a more beautiful place in the world than British Columbia?
    I can't wait to see that cruise ship terminal for real - so I really enjoyed this sneak peek today!

  3. I think that was definitely worth the drive. What a lovely day to be in Vancouver. Love that night time view of the city! My sister's SIL lives in Kelowna.

  4. I agree...you are an amazing tour guide! I have always loved the view from Grouse Mountain. What a wonderful way to end the day.

  5. What a perfect day! It was beautiful and clear and I thought loads about your perfect idea...maybe not for the kids...but this was about that country boy of yours...to cherish and keep for another 60 years.
    Have a wonderful day.
    The views from Vancouver are so spectacular and I can feel all those strolls that you took, just revisited a few weeks ago.

  6. Happy 60th! When does retirement happen up there...65 like here?

    Hey...I was on one of those cruise ship in the harbor a few years back. We went to Alaska (duh!) and then spent three days in Vancouver, which really wasn't long enough. It is a super great city, and beats the pants off of Toronto, which thinks it is "the" uber cool Canada city.

    Give me the Big V any day!

  7. In my book, this seems like the perfect way to celebrate such an important event. The pictures you shared are so facinating to me, and I continually learn from you about your part of the world. I think the one of you and your husband is so good!

    I must tell you, I would have been so intriqued with those massive cruise ships. What a sight!

  8. Oh I love that you took the country boy to the city for his 60th. Cause...as Lovella says, even for the locals we don't get to know these interesting places until you take us there through your pictures. I lvoe that you went...that the weather was fine and that you took a peek from the peak. A great post...thanks!

  9. Do you do any tour guiding on the side? I just look at the buildings and think they are nice, but don't necesarily find out what they are called etc. You do make it interesting. You had a beautiful, perfect day to celebrate!

  10. Hi Judy

    You and Elmer have hardly changed from your wedding photo -- and it looks like birthday # 60 was a wonderful and memorable one!

    Vancouver looks like a wonderful city to visit. We hope to go on an Alaskan cruise one day so I think we will see it one day.

    3 hours of driving to go 60 or so miles? I thought NYC traffic was horrible! We live 11 miles away from Manhattan and it often takes us an hour to drive in, so I know how you feel. Thank goodness we have public transportation --it isn't any faster but there is less stress than driving.

    The new convention centre looks so gorgeous! I am very excited about the upcoming Olympics being held there, Judy.

    We did not visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell ...I knew about it but we had to go the other direction. Hopefully there will be a "next time" for both of us! :-)


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson