We have landed in Vancouver, it was early, a little after 7 am and most places were still shut. Like the US nothing much seems to open till 10 am. Found our way into town on the train and then walked to the hotel. It was about half a dozen blocks down Granville Street, more or less in the centre of the city area, but heading away from the more ‘with it’ area of the waterfront. We seem to be in the night club type area with what might be the odd one or two ‘speakeasies’ and like establishments as neighbours. All good though, hotel is comfortable. It seems to have been recently renovated, probably for the 4 th time in its history!
We were surprised by the amount of smoke in the air from the wild fires that have been burning up in the mountains for some weeks. It has been a very dry summer. Couldn’t see the mountains across the harbour it was so thick. Rain is forecast and the wind is to pick up in the next day or so and the locals are expecting things to clear up.
We were not able to check in until 4 in the afternoon. Should have expected this of course. Despite being a bit worn out and fragile after the flight we left our bags and set off for the Hop on Hop off bus around town. There are two routes, red takes you around the city sights and the green out to Stanley Park. Hour and half each without getting off, except for a lunch break in between. The driver was full of information/jokes as usual, some of which has subsequently proved inaccurate, confused the Anglican Cathedral with the Catholics; as well as the age of the church. But hey who cares, on the buses you take it as it comes. Allthego got a bit sleepy as the afternoon dragged on and had a short snooze through parts of Stanley Park. Returned to the hotel and after an early dinner it was off to bed and didn’t stir until 10 the next morning.
Granville Island was the destination in the morning. The route took us on foot over the Granville Road Bridge. This is a fairly high bridge, initially over roadways and between and around high-rise apartments and then over an arm of the harbour. Homealone not entirely comfortable crossing over the harbour part with cars whipping along beside us. Some great photos from up here though.
Granville Island is an old industrial area that has undergone one of those urban renewal projects. The old factories and warehouses have been renovated and now house trendy shops and abodes for the arty types to inhabit and contribute to society and the greater good. There is quite a large food hall full of fresh produce, meats , cheeses etc and fast food outlets. We had breakfast rather late before leaving the hotel so we were not in the hunt for anything substantial. Allthego spotted an outlet selling Poutine. He had read about this delicacy and was keen to try it early in the trip in case of missing out. Hot fat chips covered in gravy and some sticky type cheese. This is the traditional offering, more elaborate versions are available eg some are topped off with pulled pork. A fellow diner pointed out that Poutine actually originated from Quebec and was an ‘import’ out here in the west. A french gift if you like. We are not rushing back for more Poutine, beware of the French (as well as the Greeks) bearing gifts.
We stopped in our wanderings around the markets at the local Liberty Distillery, makers of ‘hand crafted’ vodka, whisky and gin. Our purpose was to sample some of the offerings and to rest the legs. Rather pleasant drop these Canadian rye whiskies.
The evening saw us settle down to watch a free open air stage performance of Romeo & Juliet. We had stumbled over this in our meanderings around Granville. It was put on by the Carousel Theatre for Young People, a summer holiday break program for aspiring young actors (13-18). They work for over a month all day and into the night rehearsing and being coached by a team of professionals. It is the 27 th year of the program which focuses on Shakespeare’s plays. It was very entertaining and energetic performance. About 200 people watched. Next year they are doing A Mid Summer Nights Dream.
We headed back to the hotel around 10 pm, after some fish n chips, in a small ferry across the harbour. A long day!