Friday, April 30, 2010

Wondering Where the Lions Are

I took this photo the other day as I was bicycling along the newly created bike lane on the Dunsmuir Viaduct (the westbound twin to the Georgia Viaduct I mentioned here). Though it's not an especially artful shot, it does include a couple of Vancouver icons. On the right is the double peaked mountain that is referred to as The Lions, due to the resemblance to a couple of resting lions. From this mountain's name we get the names of the Lions Gate Bridge and the BC Lions football team. On the left hand side of the photo is the large red "W" sign, a remnant from the old Woodwards building, since torn down and the site turned into a residential tower and shopping complex.

In the foreground is Andy Livingstone Park. The buildings you see are, from right to left, the western edge of Chinatown merging into the Gastown neighbourhood, with the towers on the left the beginning of the downtown core.

Post title from this Bruce Cockburn song.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't Feed the Animals

As I tweeted right after the fact, "Sometimes the exact right thing to do is stop everything and go for a walk with a good friend in the sunshine." Took this photo a couple of days ago during a walk in Stanley Park near Lost Lagoon with my friend Amanda. Just off-camera on the right was a little girl with her dad, and he was letting her try and pet a raccoon. In case you're wondering, that's not a good idea. At all. Wild animals do wild animal things, like bite little girls. Hope that story didn't end with rabies shots - we couldn't stand to see it and left in a hurry.

Title post from this song by The Service.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby

Another little oddity I found along the Adanac Bikeway, just on the outskirts of Chinatown - this abandoned, yet carefully placed, little doll in an empty shop window on Union Street. You know there's a story here - I wonder what it is!

Post title from this song by Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & Alison Strauss.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not a beautiful picture, but a pretty good representation of my day today. Business meetings over coffee in the downtown core for much of the day, my trusty battered reusable cup by my side and my office-in-a-phone for emails, twitter, and the like. This snapshot was taken at a Starbucks at the corner of Robson and Thurlow in downtown Vancouver's shopping district. Starbucks in Vancouver is, like everywhere else, ubiquitous. What you can't tell from this picture is that the brick building across the street also houses a Starbucks. And they're both full, all the time. We do like our mass-produced coffee, it seems.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Plenty of Fish

Playing tourist in your own town is fun - anytime I feel the need to get away but logistics or financial reality checks prevent, I head to one of the cultural or ethnic neighbourhoods here in Vancouver for a few hours. This picture was taken in Chinatown at a store that was offering (among other things) a variety of dried fish and seafood. I can't tell you what they all are (I definitely recognized scallops and shrimp) because none of the signs in this shop are in English - and although I can say hello and thank you in Mandarin, reading in Chinese is beyond me!

Title post from this Aaron Burton song.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Under the Bridge

Sitting on a bench on Granville Island (located underneath the Granville Street Bridge) in the sun enjoying a coffee is one of my favourite things to do. This is a shot taken at just such a moment, of the Burrard Street Bridge. In addition to being one of the three bridges connecting the downtown core with the west side of Vancouver, (the others are the Granville & the Cambie Street Bridges) Burrard has designated bicycle lanes, so I tend to use it a lot. You can also get to Granville Island via the two small ferry companies that ply the waters of False Creek: Aquabus and False Creek Ferries. Under the bridge is one of the False Creek Ferries making the crossing to Granville Island from the Vancouver Aquatic Centre on the downtown side. In the background are the residential towers of the West End - my neighbourhood. Behind the buildings is Stanley Park. In the deep background, directly under the centre of the bridge is Cypress Mountain - the ski hill that famously was short on snow as it played host to the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in February.

A quintessential Vancouver spring scene!

Post title from this Red Hot Chili Peppers song.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Find the Torch, Burn the Plans

A couple of days ago I mentioned remnants of the Olympics & Paralympics that were held here in February and March - here's a big one, the Olympic torch itself! It looks a little forlorn at the moment, but construction crews are hard at work on its permanent installation here in the recently named Jack Poole Plaza. According to the sign posted on the fencing around the project, it will eventually be surrounded by a pool of water, and part of its design will incorporate a map of Canada and the 106 day, 45000km route the flame took to finally arrive here and burn bright during the Games. It's meant to be completed and relit on the 1st of July this year. (The 1st of July is a holiday: Canada Day - the anniversary of Canadian Confederation.)

Post title from this song by Paul Weller.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Running to Stand Still

On the Stanley Park section of the seawall yesterday, I came across this statue honouring Harry Winston Gerome, an accomplished Canadian track and field athlete who grew up in North Vancouver. I've walked or biked past it many times but never stopped to look. I always assumed it was a statue of Roger Bannister, commemorating the "Miracle Mile" race in 1954 in which Bannister won against the only other man (at that time) to have run the mile in less than four minutes. Again, this project of posting a photo a day has increased my curiosity and knowledge about my own city. I love it!

Across Coal Harbour in the background you can see downtown Vancouver, including the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Marine Building, and one of the five sails of Canada Place.

Post title from this U2 song.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Hockey Song

Although they're long over, little remnants of the Olympics remain, like this temporary sign on the right designating GM Place as an official venue for Olympic hockey. Not the prettiest picture I've ever taken, although you can see reflection of the North Shore mountains in the windows of GM Place here. Vancouver is a hockey-mad town in a hockey-mad country. Click here for a short video that captures everything you need to know about Vancouver's reaction to Canada's Olympic hockey gold medal winning moment. (Make sure your volume is on. It starts off slowly, but stick around until the 1:20 mark and you'll see what I mean!). At the moment, the Canucks, (the Vancouver NHL franchise) are in the middle of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last night we tied the LA Kings 2-2 in a best of seven series. Even when I don't watch the game on tv, I can always tell when the Canucks score because of the mayhem and merriment that erupt from the apartments all around me in downtown Vancouver.

Although I'd love to see the Canucks go all the way this year, I'm a little nervous at the prospect - the last time the Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1994, there were riots in the streets of Vancouver when they lost!

Post title from this iconic Stompin' Tom Connors song.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Vancouver has over 400km of designated bicycle routes. This one recently opened on Dunsmuir Street, one of the main routes into the downtown core from the east side. I took this picture on Saturday morning when there wasn't much traffic, and blocking the bike lane didn't risk the ire of bicycle commuters. I get around a lot on my bicycle, especially as the weather is getting nicer with the arrival of spring - evidenced by the cherry tree in bloom on the right hand side of the street here. The Catholic church on the left is the Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Post title from this song by the Shout Out Louds.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cherry Blossom

Was bicycling along East 10th Avenue (a designated cycling route) near St. Catherines Street yesterday while running errands on the east side of the city and stopped dead in the middle of the intersection, dug out my camera from my shoulder bag, and grabbed this quick shot of the cherry trees gloriously in bloom, forming a canopy over the entire street, fallen blossoms littering the street like pink snow drifts. Lovely.

Post title from this Vanity in Mind song.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ceramic Forms

Another Vancouver Biennale piece, called "Ceramic Forms" by Yee Soo-Kyung of Korea. On the placard describing the installation it says, "This young artist transforms traditional Korean objects and concepts into new contemporary forms by recycling fragments from the works of master Korean ceramicists." Taken next to the sea wall, close to this statue, and looking the opposite direction from this shot of Coal Harbour (but on a different day).

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Coal Harbour, from the seawall, not far from this sculpture. This marina contains private yachts, boats for hire, and right in the centre, a couple of small houseboats. Not to be confused with these houseboats! Behind and just to the left of the houseboats is the new Vancouver Convention Centre, and you can just see two of the five large white sails of Canada Place - an iconic part of downtown Vancouver's skyline.

Post title from this song by the Travelling Gypsies.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ship Out on the Sea

Recently in Vancouver we endured two fierce wind storms (winds over 100km/hr) within a couple of days of each other. I had heard on the news that a couple of boats were flung up on Kits Beach, but was surprised to see this one still there a week later as I was bicycling past. I don't even know how you would get a boat with its keel dug into the sand off the beach, now that I think about it. What a headache for the owners!

Post title from this song by Be Good Tanyas.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Send Your Love

Today while bicycling through Strathcona again on my way to meet some friends for coffee in East Vancouver, I passed this bit of graffiti/poster stuck to the side of the on-ramp to the Georgia Street Viaduct, adjacent to the Adanac bicycle route. I have no idea who put it up or why, but it got my attention and made me stop to fish out my camera from my bag. It wasn't until I pointed my lens at the wall that I really noticed the "ghost" of an old vine that must at some point have been torn down by city maintenance crews.

Post title from this song by Sting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Raise the Red Lantern

The same day I stumbled across this Jimi Hendrix shrine in Strathcona, I noticed for the first time the red light posts in nearby Chinatown. Vancouver's traditional Chinatown is losing some of its lustre as rival Richmond (a suburb south of Vancouver with a large Chinese community) grows in popularity. However, it is still a visually fascinating place to visit. There was something about the straight lines of the red lamp post here, combined with the almost spider-web effect of the tree branches behind it that made this photo stand out for me.

Post title from this collection of traditional Chinese erhu music.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Another Vancouver Biennale piece. Engagement by Dennis Oppenheim of the USA, which is on the strip of grass and trees that runs between Beach Avenue and the water. This photo was taken just a few hundred meters down the street from another Biennale sculpture. The lights in the background are on the shoreline of Kitsilano, on Vancouver's West Side.

This is the first time I've tried to take a picture of it at night - next time I must remember to bring a tripod with me! To keep the camera steady enough for the slow shutter speed I had to sit in the damp grass with my elbows supported on my knees, hold my breath, and keep the camera absolutely still. I was so still I could even feel the beating of my heart causing my body to gently move!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Mountains Win Again

Took this photo a few days ago, on a calm, bright morning that followed a couple of really stormy days. There is actually more snow on the North Shore mountains in this picture taken on the 9th of April than there was during the Olympics in February. In the last four days it's all melted again, but a clear winter day in Vancouver is a thing of beauty. This picture was taken from my balcony, looking north. In the foreground are the trees of Stanley Park. Peeking out above the trees on the left are the arches of the Lions Gate Bridge, and of course the mountains in the background. The peak on the far right is Grouse Mountain, worth the gondola ride up the mountain to visit if you're in Vancouver on a clear day, or for the hale and hearty, there is a hike from the parking lot to the top called the Grouse Grind. The view from the top is worth the climb! You can't see it well in this photo, but at the top of Grouse is a wind turbine that started operating recently which includes an elevator and viewing area at the top. I think I'll have to do the Grind again this summer and take some photos to share with you all!

Post title from this Blues Travelers song.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I was lucky enough to get a spur-of-the-moment invitation yesterday from my friend Tracey to a front row seat at the afternoon shows of the last day of Vancouver Fashion Week. We saw the children's show, which included a Vancouver-based favourite of mine, Redfish Kids, and then saw both Brandy Candy and Jen Cameron's shows, also Vancouver designers. This photo is from Brandy Candy's show. It's not technically the best photo I've ever taken, but I liked the sense of movement in it.

Title post of course if from this David Bowie song.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are You Experienced?

A Vancouver Jimi Hendrix connection? Although Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1942, his father, Al Hendrix, grew up in Vancouver, and Jimi's grandmother, Nora Hendrix, continued to live here when Al moved to Seattle in 1940. As I was bicycling from the West End to the Winter Farmers' Market in East Vancouver yesterday (a return trip of about 15 km) I passed this odd little shrine to Jimi in the Strathcona neighbourhood, which was once home to Hogan's Alley, Vancouver's black neighbourhood and entertainment district before it was razed to make way for the Georgia St Viaduct. Although I haven't found anything definitive on the web, it seems that this building (or one next door which has since been torn down, depending who you're talking to) was once where Hendrix's grandmother either owned and operated a restaurant (Vie's Chicken and Steak House) or was simply a cook who worked there. Either way, it seems that young Jimi spent a lot of time with his grandmother, living with her some of the time, and used to practice guitar on the premises.

The building is not open to the public, although apparently you can call the owner for a tour by appointment. By the looks of the encroaching "urban renewal" in the background, this odd little building may soon be facing some pressure from real estate developers.

Title for this post taken from the Jimi Hendrix song of that name. Also, leaning against the fence is my trusty bicycle.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If I Had a Boat

Met a friend for lunch today at Granville Island (one of my favourite places in Vancouver and definite go-to market when I'm entertaining guests for dinner) and we took a stroll around after we ate. There was something about this scene that was so quintessentially Vancouver to me that I couldn't resist taking a quick snap of it. The green glass & concrete towers of downtown, the Granville Street Bridge, and this collection of house boats moored at Granville Island. The long narrow boats are dragon boats. When I got closer I saw that they have False Creek Racing Canoe Club stenciled on the side. And look, sunshine!

Title for today's post taken from this Lyle Lovett song.

Friday, April 9, 2010

You Can Never Hold Back Spring

If you're wondering why I've taken so many photos in and around Stanley Park, it's because I live downtown, near the park, so it's easy for me to get there! Here's another one. This tree-lined path is near the tennis courts, and borders the Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club. This morning on my daily bicycle ride I noticed definite signs of spring: the daffodils and early cherry trees are almost done, the tulips are in bloom, and the rhododendrons are starting to bud. In this photo you can see more evidence of warmer weather to come: leaves are really starting to appear on the trees.

Title for this post taken from this song.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Moon Jelly

The weather has been decidedly un-photogenic the last little while, so I retreated indoors to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Here's a shot of the moon jelly fish tank. It's supposed to brighten up out there in the next few days, so with any luck I'll actually get some shots that have eluded me so far: Vancouver in sunshine!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We, 2008

Another Vancouver Biennale piece, called "We, 2008" by Jaume Plensa of Spain. In its entirety, it's a figure of a person, sitting with knees drawn up to chest. The whole thing is made up of aluminum cut-outs of the word "we" in various languages. Since there are plenty of photos out there of wider views of this sculpture, I wanted to get a different perspective. So I walked inside it and looked out toward the seawall, Sunset Beach, and English Bay. Click here for a view of the whole installation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Dreaming Tree

I have passed by this fallen tree countless times - I must have as it's right next to the seawall, an 8.8 km paved path that skirts around the edge of Stanley Park, and a frequent bicycle route for me. But I honestly never noticed it until yesterday morning. Funny how committing to posting a photo a day has really opened my eyes to my surroundings! I don't know anything about this tree, what kind it is, when it fell, and why the Park Board decided to let it sit in place. Just a couple hundred metres further down the path there was a tree that had been damaged in a big wind storm two days before and already city employees were cutting off branches and making it safe. Anyway, on this grey day I thought it looked a little otherwordly, springing out of the ground like that.

This photo was taken very close to the park entrance. On the left is the Stanley Park Causeway, which leads to the Lions Gate Bridge, one of the major vehicle crossings from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore - and certainly the most picturesque. On the right is the seawall itself, bordered by a railing to keep careless people from falling into the waters of Coal Harbour.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Come Rain or Come Shine

Continuing on our rainy days theme here: I've seen this three-wheeled covered motorcycle/scooter vehicle parked around the West End of Vancouver a whole bunch in the last few weeks, but I've never seen anyone actually using it. It would be interesting to know how well the rain cover actually works - with the open sides I'd think you'd still get a bit wet around the edges. Not sure if they're for rent or to buy, but this is where you can get more information if you'd like to try one!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Anyone for tennis?

There were a few sunny breaks today, but for the next week we're forecast rain again. Here's a shot of the Stanley Park tennis courts, just waiting for the dry sunny days to begin. These courts play host to the Stanley Park Open, one of the biggest amateur tennis tournaments in North America in number of entries. Hopefully I will have some sunny day photos to post soon - I grow weary of the rain!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Skyscraper National Park

This is the view from my bedroom, looking east over Vancouver's West End and downtown. There was something about the dramatic sky and hard contrast of the sun on the buildings that asked for black and white on this shot. (I promise not every photo I post here will be an iPhone/Hipstamatic project, but I have been having a lot of fun with it!)

The highest structure near the centre of the photo is the recently opened Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver's tallest building at 61 floors, and home to Market by Jean-Georges, an excellent (but not inexpensive) restaurant. (I recommend the sablefish.) Most of the buildings in the foreground are residential, changing to office towers and hotels the further you get from my vantage point.

*Title of this post is from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slapstick, and also from Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden's album of the same name.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

Out and about on my bicycle a couple of mornings ago I realized too late that I'd forgotten my "good" camera at home. So I fished my iPhone out of my pocket, opened the Hipstamatic app, and had some fun with it. I love the idea of using cutting edge technology to replicate the look and feel of the past.

This photo was taken along the seawall in Coal Harbour, not far from where this photo was taken. Put a few coins into the slot and gaze out at the North Shore Mountains (shrouded in cloud in this shot), watch float planes take off and land,  and while they're still there, check out the Olympic rings that shone bright gold every time Canada won a gold medal during February's Winter Olympics.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Theme Day - Red

I've just registered Vancouver Daily Photo with the City Daily Photo Portal, where there are over 1000 blogs listed of cities all over the world. Every month, the first of the month is a theme photo day. Today's is "red", and here is my entry for it!

This is another Vancouver Biennale piece. It's called The Stop and is by Michael Zheng. For a change I wasn't taking photos in the city centre - although you can see some of the downtown buildings in the background here. This is in Charleson Park, on the south bank of False Creek - which isn't a creek at all, but a narrow inlet of the ocean. This installation is along the seawall, about halfway between Granville Island and the Olympic Athlete's Village site.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants