A Travellerspoint blog

Our First Visit to North America.

Vancouver, Canada.

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Daffodils near English Bay.

We were both really excited about going to Vancouver. Not only is Canada a new country for us, but North America is a new continent, too. Vancouver more than lived up to our expectations. It is a stunning city, located in an area of great natural beauty with its towering mountains and rugged coastline. Our visit was in March and April when Vancouver was covered in beautiful spring flowers: plum blossom, daffodils, bluebells, rhododendrons, tulips to name but a few. Also all the people we encountered were amazingly helpful and friendly. We could scarcely take out a map without someone coming up to help us find our way. The general atmosphere for our whole stay was amazingly relaxed. I loved Vancouver and really did not want to leave.

Vancouver was originally populated by first nations people from three main tribes: the Squamish, the Tsliel­waututh and the Musqueam. It is filled with first nations art work such as magnificent totem poles. The first European to explore the area that is now Vancouver was Spanish Captain José María Narváez in 1791. Later in 1792 British naval Captain George Vancouver came to the area. Obviously the city is named after him.

Europeans began to settle in the area about a hundred years later. The first ones worked as trappers and furriers for the Hudson Bay Company. In 1858 there was a huge influx of people because gold was discovered in the Frazer River. This prompted the governor of Vancouver Island, James Douglas, to claim the mainland for Britain thus creating British Columbia. Later some European settlers worked in lumber mills. A former river captain called John Deighton started a bar for the mill workers. He was a great talker so he was nicknamed Gassy Jack. After that Vancouver was chosen to be the site of the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. This caused the city to develop rapidly. Many Chinese workers were brought in to build the railway. Nowadays Vancouver is home to six million people from a wealth of different ethnic backgrounds.

Our holiday plans went like this. We arrived in the late afternoon and checked into our hotel in the Metrovan area. That evening we had a look at Canada Place and the areas nearby before having a very good meal washed down with lots of Canadian beer.

Canada Place by night. - Vancouver

Canada Place by night. - Vancouver


Canada place by night.

On our first full day we explored Chinatown, Gastown, Downtown and Yaletown where we had another great meal. On our second full day we explored Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, English Bay and Robson Road. On our third full day we visited the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Park and Steveson on the Frazer River. The day after that we travelled to Victoria on Vancouver Island and stayed there for two nights. We then returned to Vancouver and spent a day exploring Granville Island, Kitsilano and Hastings Mill Park. The day after that we went walking in Lighthouse Park in West Van, then walking in Lynn Canyon Park in North Van, then to Lonsdale Quay. On our final full day we visited Fort Langley. Then very reluctantly we flew back to Hong Kong having had a fantastic and very enjoyable holiday.

On our arrival day we checked in to our hotel the Days' Inn and then went out exploring. We looked at Canada Place which is close to Waterfront Station. It is an exhibition centre that looks like Vancouver's answer to the Sydney Opera House. Nothing too interesting was going on inside it as far as we could see when we visited, but the building itself is beautiful especially when lit up at night and its walkway has great views of the mountains, Stanley Park and the Vancouver skyline. I enjoyed watching the float planes take off and land from near Canada Place, too.

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View from Canada Place.

Near Canada Place there is an open square called Jack Poole Plaza. This square is home to the Olympic cauldron sculpture which is beautifully illuminated at night. It is also home to a large orca statue that looked to me like it was made of lego. I later read it is a 3­d digital image of an orca created by sculptor Douglas Coupland. There are good harbour views from here and good views over the float plane parking area. This square is named after Jack Poole who was a Canadian businessman. He was responsible for bringing the 2010 Winter Olympics to Canada, but unfortunately he died of pancreatic cancer just hours after the Olympic Flame was lit to mark the beginning of the 2010 Winter Olympics torch relay, in Olympia, Greece.

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Orca Statue.

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Olympic Cauldron by night.

On our first night we ate in Mahony and sons. This is a pub/restaurant situated on the waterfront not far from Canada Place. We were tired, jet­lagged, confused, not even sure whether we were hungry or not. We had a meat lover's pizza to share. We tried lots of the local beer. Each time we ordered we tried a new one. They were all good. Service was efficient and friendly. My husband got the waitress to explain all the ins and outs and social niceties of tipping in Canada. Our food was good: tasty and filling. This restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and looks out over the sea. Its location is convenient for transport and very pretty.

On our first full day we began by exploring Chinatown. Despite, or maybe even because of, the fact I live in Hong Kong I really like to visit Chinatowns in cities that have them. Vancouver's Chinatown was one of the best I have seen. It is the third biggest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco and New York. It is the biggest Chinatown in Canada. Chinatown grew up in the late 1800s to house the Chinese who came to Canada for work. Most of them were involved in building the Canada Pacific Railway, but some worked as miners. Nowadays many Chinese have left this area. Many now live in Richmond or other areas of the city. Historically Chinatown was sometimes the scene of violent prejudice. On 7th September 1907, members of the Asiatic Exclusion League marched into Chinatown and attacked many Chinese people. They also wrecked stores and smashed windows. It took several days to restore order. We got to Chinatown by taking the Expo Line to Stadium/Chinatown Station. We entered into Chinatown through its lovely Millenium Gate protected by its two stone lions. We had a look at the world's narrowest building - ­the Sam Kee Building near the gate. This building is just six feet wide. It was not at its best as the lower floor was being renovated. Shanghai Street next to this building leads to the West Han Dynasty Bell. This bell was a gift from the people of Guangzhou to Vancouver's Chinatown. All around the bell were old photos.

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The Millenium Gate.

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Stone Lion.

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Mural.

Next we walked to the Sun Yat Sen Gardens. Sun Yat Sen is the founding father of modern China. He helped overthrow the Qing Dynasty. He visited Vancouver to raise funds for revolution among the population of Vancouver's Chinatown. On Carrall Street there is a statue of Dr Sun Yat Sen in front of the park and gardens named after him. The gardens have an admission fee; the park is free entry. We only visited the park. It was beautiful with its pagodas, bridges, ponds and flowers. I liked the turtles and huge fish that frequented the pond, too.

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Sun Yat Sen Park.

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Sun Yat Sen Park.

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Sun Yat Sen Park.

Just outside the side entrance of Sun Yat Sen Park on Keefer and Columbia Streets is the monument to Canadian Chinese. This monument is dedicated to the achievements of the Canadian Chinese. There are two figures on the monument. One is a Chinese railway builder. Hundreds of Chinese died building the Canadian Pacific Railway. The other is a soldier. This celebrates the bravery of the Chinese who fought in the Second World War. Chinatown has the usual traditional Chinese stores selling herbs, medicines, dried fish, fruit, vegetables etc. There were also cheap souvenir shops here.

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Monument.

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Monument.

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Shopping.

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Shopping.

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Shopping.

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Chinatown.

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Chinatown.

After visiting Chinatown we then walked to Gastown. Gastown is a historic area around which Vancouver started. At this location there was once a logging mill. It was owned by a number of different companies, but the only one that has been preserved is Hastings Logging Mill. Near the mill were the houses belonging to the mill workers. One day a former river boat captain from Hull, England named John Deighton turned up at this settlement with his first nations wife and a barrel of whisky. He told the mill workers they could have the barrel of whisky if they helped him build a bar. His bar was completed within 24 hours. John Deighton liked to talk and to predict that a great city would develop in this area, so he was given the nickname Gassy Jack and later Gastown was called after him. Nowadays in Gastown you can see Gassy Jack's statue. He is standing on his whisky barrel. You can also see a steam powered clock, an old fish themed fountain and some old buildings. The steam clock is on the corner of Cambie and Water streets. It was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver's distributed steam­ heating system. The clock was recently taken away for repairs, but is now back and in working order again.

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Gassy Jack.

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Steam clock.

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Gassy Jack.

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Old Building.

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Hudson House.

The actual mill building is the oldest building in Vancouver, but years ago when Gastown was quite rundown it was floated out to a site past Kitsilano where it still stands today. We did go and see it later. One old building near the Gassy Jack statue used to be the Hotel Europe. It is a six story heritage building. It was commissioned by hotelier Angelo Calori and was built between 1908 and 1909 by Parr and Fee Architects. It is now used as affordable housing. It has quite a distinctive shape. Gastown has lots of souvenir shops though the shops in Chinatown were cheaper. We did not buy any souvenirs but did have a look around Hudson House a large souvenir shop with interesting window displays.

Next we explored Downtown Vancouver. I noticed the Canadian Pacific Railway War Memorial, a beautiful war memorial on Waterfront Station as we were leaving Gastown. It is called the Angel of Victory and it was created by Montreal sculptor, Coeur de Lion MacCarthy. The sculpture shows a winged angel lifting a young soldier to Heaven at the moment of his death. Sculptures just like this were put up in 1922 in Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg at Canadian Pacific Railway Stations. These statues pay tribute to the 1,115 Canadian Pacific Railway employees killed during the First World War.

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War Memorial.

Another interesting building is the Marine Building located at 355 Burrard Street in Downtown Vancouver. This building was designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners. It is famous for its Art Deco details. At 22 stories high, at one time it was the tallest building in the British Empire. This building was completed in 1930. It cost a staggering $2.3 million to build. This was $1.1 million over its intended budget. When it was complete, the Great Depression had begun and no-­one could buy it. Eventually it was sold to the Guinness family of Ireland for only $900,000. Nowadays it would be worth around $22 million. You can look at the front of the building which has many transport related carvings and marine life related carvings and enter its lobby which has a fancy marine life clock, stained glass windows, a zodiac floor and lifts inlaid with many different kinds of wood. It is quite interesting to visit.

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Marine Building.

There is a small Inukshuk sculpture close to Burrard Skytrain Station. Inukshuk are sculptures traditionally created by the Inuit people. They are made by placing uncarved stones on top of each other. Some are shaped like humans. The Inuit placed these in the Arctic wilderness to show others you are going the right way or there is something important here. The Inukshuk was used by Vancouver as its logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics. There is a large Inukshuk at English Bay which we saw later.
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Small Inukshuk.

Then we visited Christ Church Cathedral which is located at 690 Burrard Street. It is opposite The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This church belongs to the Anglican Church of Canada. The site of the church has been used as a place of worship since 1888. During our visit the exterior of the church was covered in scaffolding and was a bit of a mess. However the interior with its wooden beams and floors and stain glass windows was very attractive.

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Christ Church Cathedral.

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Christ Church Cathedral.

Vancouver Art Gallery is in Downtown Vancouver near the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The building that houses the gallery was not always an art gallery, it was originally built by Francis Rattenbury as Vancouver's Court House. Francis Rattenbury is an architect responsible for many buildings in British Columbia. He led an interesting but tragic life. He was born in Leeds, England in 1867. In British Columbia he designed several buildings for the Canadian Pacific Railway. His first wife was called Florence Nunn and together they had two children, but then in 1923 Rattenbury left her for 27 year old Alma Pakenham. They left British Columbia and settled in Bournemouth, England. After a while Alma began having an affair with George Percy Stoner, their 18 year old chauffeur. On the 23rd of March 1935 Rattenbury was found on the floor of his sitting-­room with severe head injuries. He died four days later. Alma and George were accused of his murder. Alma was later acquitted, but committed suicide.

The Vancouver Art Gallery contains several permanent exhibitions and some temporary ones. One of its permanent exhibitions displays the work of Victoria's famous artist, Emily Carr. We did not go in the gallery. We just looked at the building it is housed in. The building has stairs on Robson Street and West Georgia Street where many protests are often staged. There are sculptures around the building.

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The Vancouver Art Gallery.

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The Vancouver Art Gallery.

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The Vancouver Art Gallery.

Near the Vancouver Art Gallery stands the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel. This is one of many hotels that were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel took eleven years to build and cost $12 million. It opened in 1939, on the eve of the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. We had a look inside but there did not seem to be many places we could go unless of course we just missed them.

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Fairmont Vancouver Hotel.

Vancouver Public Library is a beautiful building which looks like the Colosseum . There are several cafes inside before you enter the library itself. The building was designed by Moshe Safdie. Construction of the library was completed in 1995. Vancouver Public Library is located at 350 West Georgia Street. We sat inside this building for a bit of a rest after a long day of sightseeing. It is well worth a visit.

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Vancouver Public Library.

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Vancouver Public Library.

Yaletown is a great place to find good restaurants and bars. We ate there twice. Yaletown is on False Creek and you can catch ferries there. It is also home to Yaletown Roundhouse. This originally belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway and was where they turned round trains. The round house is now a community centre but it houses one of CPR's old engines beautifully preserved. This engine known as engine 374 pulled the first trans continental train carrying 150 passengers into Vancouver on May 23rd 1887. The railway now linked Canada from coast to coast. When we visited the community centre had already closed but we could still view the locomotive through the glass.

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Yaletown.

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Yaletown.

We ate in Phat Sports bar and restaurant on our second night. We arrived in Yaletown with our usual rubbish timing, just in time for happy hour to be over everywhere ­ except here. This had all day happy hour, and thus they reeled us in. Service here was efficient and friendly. We shared a club sandwich and a chicken schnitzel sandwich. Both were good and large and filling. The beer here was good and the overall price very reasonable. My only moan about this place is that with lots of TVs covering sporting events, it could be rather noisy.

On our second full day we decided to explore Stanley Park. We could have gone there by bus but instead walked from Burrard Station because we wanted to see Coal Harbour on the way. Coal Harbour takes its name from the fact coal was discovered here in 1862. It is now an upmarket residential area with a beautiful marina and well worth a visit. On the way there we spent some time watching the float planes taking off and landing.

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Coal Harbour.

We then walked to Stanley Park. Stanley Park is a huge park, around 1000 acres. It was originally home to the Squamish First Nations people, but they were forcibly removed and resettled in 1888. The park is called after Lord Stanley who had just been appointed governor general of British Columbia when the park opened in 1886. The interior of the park is covered with rain forest. The coastal part of the park is surrounded by seawall. We walked all the way round this as well as visiting some of the sights the park has to offer. Even though we spent the whole day here, we could not see everything. It is just too big. The park is home to Vancouver Aquarium which we did not visit.

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Harry Jerome statue.

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Towards Downtown Vancouver.

Stanley Park is home to some wonderful First Nations totem poles. One of the highlights of the park for me. The totem poles are located at Brockton Point. Three gateways created by Coast Salish artist Susan Point lead to the totem poles. These beautiful gateways took three years to make and were installed in 2008. There are nine totem poles at Brockton Point. The first of these was purchased in 1920. Four of the totem poles are from Alert Bay on Vancouver Island; others are from the Queen Charlotte Islands and Rivers Inlet.

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Brockton Point.

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Totem Poles.

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Totem Pole.

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Totem Pole.

Another thing well worth seeing in­ Stanley Park is the girl in a wetsuit statue. This lovely sculpture sits on its rock gazing out to sea. It was designed by Elek Imredy. It is very like the little mermaid, Copenhagen. I thought it was truly beautiful. The statue dates from 1972. Walking around the seawall of Stanley Park there are some wonderful views back towards downtown, towards North Vancouver and towards English Bay.

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Girl in a wetsuit statue

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Girl in a wetsuit statue

We came off the sea wall for a while to walk to Beaver Lake via a forest trail. The lake is small enough to walk around easily. I hoped we might see beavers but we did not. Instead as I walked around I was passing a little bridge when a little squirrel leapt out at me. As I tried to take its photo another squirrel leapt out. As I tried to photo it, a small bird tried to land on my hand. The squirrels were so tame they came right up to me. All around the lake there were lovely yellow water flowers. The lake was home to many species of ducks including some I had never seen before. All the animals I seemed to meet came right up to me. Some of my photos are blurry because they were too close.

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Beaver Lake.

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Beaver Lake.

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Flowers, Beaver Lake.

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Friendly Squirrel, Beaver Lake.

Stanley park is all about the trees. It is 1000 acres of natural rain forest. The park has many walking trails. We spent more time walking round the edges than in the centre. To see it all you need more than one day.

At the north end of the park there is a good view of the Lions Gate Bridge. It crosses over the narrows of Burrard Inlet. We passed under it on the sea wall. This bridge connects Vancouver to North and West Vancouver. The Lions Gate Bridge first opened in 1938. Lions actually refers to two mountains in North Vancouver, but a pair of concrete lions, designed by sculptor Charles Marega, also guard the entrance to the bridge.

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Lions Gate Bridge.

We then walked to Siwash Rock A first nations legend tells the story of a young chief who was brave, strong and upright in his traditions. He married a young girl from the north and they longed for a child. At last the girl got pregnant. When the child was due, they went swimming in order to purify their bodies in preparation for parenthood. The young girl returned to the shore to give birth, but the chief kept swimming. Four giants in a canoes approached him and demanded that he left the water and got out of their way, because they had magical powers and they would lose them if they came into too close contact with a human. The chief refused explaining that he was swimming for the purity of his coming child, so the giants turned him into a stone. The stone stands in the water at the top of Stanley park and represents clean fatherhood.

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Siwash Rock.

Not far past Siwash Rock there is a pretty sandy beach called Third Beach. There are toilets available here. This is where I annoyed my husband because I insisted we doubled back into the park's interior to find the hollow tree after we left Third Beach. Yet more walking. I must admit our feet were getting a little sore by this point. Hollow tree is around 700 to 800 year old. It is a Western Red Cedar tree stump. Around the bottom of it there are old photos showing people posing inside it, a car inside it and even an elephant inside it. Hollow tree was badly damaged by the severe windstorm in December 2006 and was to be removed but a campaign to preserve it prevented it being destroyed.

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Third Beach.

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Hollow Tree.

Second Beach was a welcome sight because it meant we had almost finished walking right round the park. Like Third Beach, Second Beach is sandy. It is easier to get to than Third Beach so no doubt gets more crowded in summer. There is a large outdoor heated pool here, but it was not in operation when we visited. It was too cold. There are also toilets.

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Second Beach.

We could not leave Stanley Park without visiting The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden as it was April and the rhododendrons were in full bloom. This Garden was named after two of British Columbia's most renowned rhododendron hybridizers ­ Ted and Mary Greig. When they retired in the 1960s, they donated thousands of plants to Stanley Park from their nursery on Vancouver Island. These gardens were absolutely stunning. A blaze of colour.

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The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden.

We also visited the Lost Lagoon which was originally part of Coal Harbour. At low tide it would turn into mud flats. The first nations people gathered seafood here. With the construction of the Stanley Park causeway in 1916 Lost Lagoon became permanently detached from the sea. The name Lost Lagoon comes from a poem written by Canadian writer Pauline Johnson. She had a Mohawk father and an English mother. She liked to sit lost in contemplation by this lagoon hence its name. The lagoon has a fountain in the middle. It is home to many species of birds. As we sat next to it we suddenly heard a soft but clear farting sound. I looked at my husband. He looked at me. The sound came again. To our surprise we realised it was the call of a strange little duck. We had to move away as there were people approaching and we did not want them to think the embarrassing sounds were us.

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Lost Lagoon.

We then went to English Bay is also known as First Beach. It has a lovely sandy beach. The Vancouver sea wall continues past here. English Bay had some great sculptures. One of these is called A­maz­ing Laughter. This was designed by Chinese sculptor Yue Minjun. It was placed at English Bay in 2009. The sculpture consists of 14 statues each about three metres high showing the artist in a state of hysterical laughter. You can have good fun trying to copy the poses. The other sculpture is a huge Inukshuk. This is an Inuit statue made from placing rocks on top of each other to depict a person. Inuit's used them to mark boundaries, important places or show people they were on the correct trail. The Inukshuk was Vancouver's logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Sadly right at the end of our holiday there was an oil spill just off English Bay. English Bay has many pubs and restaurants. We ate here twice. You can get here by bus 5 from downtown Robson Street. English Bay is a good place to watch the sun set. I abandoned my dinner temporarily to come out and get some photos of it.

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Amazing Laughter.

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Inukshuk, English Bay.

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Sunset.

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Sunset.

We went to Shamrock Alley right round Stanley Park. Our feet were sore by the time we got there, so it was a welcome sight. This pub is in English Bay on Denman Street. During our visit all food items on the menu were $6 with no added tax. This makes it pretty cheap. Portions were as you would expect for that price not huge and side dishes were extra. I had chicken and leek pie. My husband had pork schnitzel and we shared a bowl of chips. The food was good and tasty. We tried the house Shamrock lager which was good and good value. It was here we first tried Kokanee lager which became one of our firm favourites. Service was friendly here.

On our third full day we went to Queen Elizabeth Park then Steveston. Queen Elizabeth Park was one of the highlights of my entire trip. It was stunning. It is easy to get here by public transport. Take the Canada line to King Edward Station, exit the station and turn right. Walk straight for about ten minutes, the park will be on your left. Queen Elizabeth Park covers 52 ­hectares. It is home to the Bloedel Conservatory, but we did not visit this. Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in downtown Vancouver and has great views. Its summit is 152m above sea level and this area used to be called Little Mountain. During our visit it was very cloudy and rained briefly, so we did not see the views at their best. Part of the gardens in Queen Elizabeth Park occupy two abandoned quarries. These were quarried for rock to build Vancouver's first roadways. In 1930 the BC Tulip Association suggested transforming the quarries into sunken gardens. Thankfully this idea was accepted and now the park is a floral masterpiece. As well as all the colourful flowers Queen Elizabeth Park has a waterfall, duck pond, fountains, interesting sculptures and a restaurant.

Queen Elizabeth park has an interesting restaurant called Seasons in the Park. We did not eat here. As well as having spectacular views this restaurant has other claims to fame. It once hosted a dinner for Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton during the 1993 Vancouver Summit meetings. It was also the venue for the wedding reception of Vancouver singer Sarah McLachlan. Additionally it hosted a surprise dinner for the International Olympic Committee as part of the 2010 Olympic bid, won by Vancouver.

Queen Elizabeth Park has some lovely sculptures. One called knife edge ­ two piece is by Henry Moore. It is located next to the park's fountain. The other is called Photo Session and it's a lot more fun. It is by J. Seward Johnson Junior. It shows a photographer taking a picture of three friends and the sculptures are wonderfully detailed.

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Queen Elizabeth Park .

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Photo Session.

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Photo Session.

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Queen Elizabeth Park.

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Queen Elizabeth Park.

We then left the park and went to Steveston. Steveston is very easy to get to by public transport. First take the Canada Line train to Richmond Brighouse. Then get on the 401, 402, 407 or 410 bus. The bus journey will take around 20 minutes. We took the 407 and the last stop was very close to the Georgia Cannery Museum. We got the same number of bus back. If you check the excellent Translink site, it will tell you the exact departing bay of the next bus. The bus bays were right next to Richmond Brighouse Station.

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Steveston.

Steveston was a lovely, peaceful place with an interesting industrial past. Steveston was called after Manoah Steves, who arrived here with his family around 1877 or 1878. His second cousin William Henry Steeves settled here and founded the town in 1880. Steveston is located on the Frazer River. It became the location of several salmon fish canneries. The canneries attracted large numbers of First Nations, Japanese, Chinese and European workers who helped the town to grow in size.

Steveston was also once home to a thriving boat building industry. There is still an old boat building yard here which is interesting to visit. A large number of Steveston's workers were Japanese. Most of these workers were interned during the Second World War causing huge damage to Steveston's industry.

After the war some but not all returned to Steveston. Nowadays Steveston is a fishing village, historical site and tourist attraction. It is also home to several restaurants which apparently do excellent fish and chips. On Canada Day, Steveston hosts the Steveston Salmon Festival. This festival includes a parade and a barbecued salmon sale.

We started our exploration of Steveston at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery as it was near where our bus dropped us. The cannery is now a museum. Outside the cannery there was a sculpture showing some of the former cannery workers. The cannery was built in 1894. Inside nowadays you will find a gift shop, toilets and the museum itself. I paid $7.80 to go in and my husband, who is over 65, got in for $6.55. The person who sold us the ticket asked if we would later visit the museum at Fort Langley. We told him we would and he stamped the back of our ticket so we could get in there for half price. The cannery museum is open daily from 10AM to 5PM. To get into the museum you are given a clock in card so you can pretend you are a cannery worker going to work.

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Gulf of Georgia Cannery.

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Gulf of Georgia Cannery.

The exhibits in the museum began with a display showing a fishing boat and several different types of fish. It continued by showing the process of preparing the salmon, getting it in the cans, sealing the cans etc. There were some fun exhibits like a scales you could sit on which would tell you your weight in fish, a model of the inside of a fishing boat, complete with fisherman sitting on the toilet reading the newspaper. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was the largest cannery in BC until 1902. In 1897 more than two and a half million tins of salmon were packed here. Workers at the cannery were a mixture of First Nations people, Japanese, Chinese and European people.

Over time as machines began to replace manual packing, the cannery went into decline. With the outbreak of the Second World War the industry picked up again. This time it was packing herring in tomato sauce for the soldiers at the front. The cannery closed in 1979 and was later turned into a museum.

Garry Point Park is a waterfront park on the Frazer River which covers around 75 acres. There are some lovely river views here and lots of wide open space as well as little beaches covered in drift wood. When we visited, the park had many beautiful flowering cherry trees ­ a gift from the people of Wakayama, Japan in memory of all the Japanese workers who came here. The park also has a Japanese style memorial garden ­ Kuno Garden and a memorial to fishermen.

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Garry Point Park.

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Garry Point Park.

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Garry Point Park.

As we walked from the Georgia Cannery Museum towards the centre of the town we passed a mother and baby orca statue entitled First Breath. It is quite an imaginative sculpture and certainly worth a look.

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Orca and baby.

Fisherman's Wharf which is in the centre of Steveston town is home to a number of restaurants and bars and a company that run whale watching tours. This is not a bad place to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

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Fisherman's Wharf.

After Fisherman's Wharf as we continued towards the shipyards we passed a small memorial to Steveston's Japanese fishermen. There were a huge number of Japanese in Steveston's fishing industry. During World War II they were placed in internment camps. Most never returned to Steveston.

Past the Japanese Fisherman's Memorial there were several historical buildings related to boatyards and canneries. When we got there everything was closed but it was still interesting to walk around and there was plenty to see. Some of the buildings stand in the water on stilts. One of the boatyards was the Britannia Boatyards, another was owned by the Murakami Family. The Britannia Shipyards building was built in 1889 and was originally used as a cannery. Around 1917 the Britannia Cannery was converted into a shipyard and maritime repair shop for fishing boats. This was in operation until 1969. It is now a museum.

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Fisherman's Memorial.

Murakami house was once the home of a Japanese family who owned a boat building yard here. The house was built in 1885. The Murakami family lived there from early 1929 to 1942. The family consisted of mum, dad and ten children. The family's boat yard was next to the house. The Murakamis fished in the summer and built boats in the winter. Mrs Murakami kept a beautiful garden which was her pride and joy. During World War 11 the Murakamis were placed in an internment camp. After the war they left Steveston. Murakami House is now a museum. Descendants of the Murakamis donated many artefacts to it. Beyond the shipyards there are four colourful wooden houses on stilts. These were built in the 1800s as fisherman's dwellings. Past that there are workers' bunkhouses such as the large white Chinese workers bunkhouse and the First Nations bunkhouse.

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Murakami House and Boatyard.

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Boatyards and canneries.

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Workers' Bunkhouses.

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Workers' Bunkhouses.

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Boatyards and canneries.

Just as we were leaving Steveston we came across quite an attractive old wooden building which used to be the Steveston Courthouse. I don't know anything about it. I just liked the look of it, so took a photo.

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Steveston Courthouse.

Fishing is still really important here and there are still many sights related to the fishing industry be it fishing boats, fish and chip shops or nets. I rather like the atmosphere of little fishing towns.

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Fishing.

Posted by irenevt 01:40 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver

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Comments

Your photo of the workers' bunkhouses is spectacular. I love the reflections.

The steam clock was fascinating. I didn't know such a thing existed. You find the most amazing things!

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, thank you for visiting. It is hard work putting all past vt pages up, or at least it is if they are detailed, but it seems sad that they should just disappear. All the best. Irene.

by irenevt

Such an interesting read! We spent less than 24 hours in Vancouver on the end of our road trip around British Columbia. I loved our time in the Rockies and on Vancouver Island, but it seems we should have tried to fit in at least a couple of days here - there is so much to see and do! I love the orca sculpture, First Breath, and the Inuit works and totem poles :)

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, Happy New Year. I'd like to go back to Canada and visit more cities such as Montreal and Toronto and do a train trip through the Rockies. Vancouver was wonderful with lots to see. We loved it. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

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