hacker emblem
jaegerfesting
Search | Tags | Photos | Flights | Gas Mileage | Log in

YVR

Started: 2019-07-23 19:40:16

Submitted: 2019-07-23 22:37:39

Visibility: World-readable

29 June 2019: In which the intrepid narrator visits the Vancouver in British Columbia

When Captain George Vancouver explored northwestern North America at the end of the eighteenth century, he had no way of knowing that three geographically-distinct places would end up named after him: Vancouver Island, the city of Vancouver (now in British Columbia), and the city of Vancouver (now in Washington). This is less confusing than it could be, because it's usually easy to distinguish these places by context.

For most of my adult life, the obvious contextual meaning for me for "Vancouver" was the city in Washington. Kiesa grew up in Longview, and her parents lived there, so when we visited them we'd fly into Portland, drive across the Columbia River, drive through Vancouver, and onward to Longview. I rarely stopped in Vancouver, but it was always there, a waypoint on my journey elsewhere.

(As a footnote, I want you to know that the dream of the suburbs is alive in Vancouver. And that's about all I have to say about the city in Washington.)

Then I moved to Seattle, and my obvious contextual meaning of "Vancouver" began to shift back to the obvious contextual meaning used by most other people not within sight of the Columbia River. (During my period of contextual transition I reserve the right to refer to the Vancouver in British Columbia by its airport code, YVR.) I finally had the opportunity to visit Vancouver at the end of June, immediately after Calvin finished an extra week of school to make up for the five days he missed during the winter snowpocalypse.

We drove to Bellingham on Friday, 28 June and stayed with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Tristan and Jessica, and their preschooler Caleb. On Saturday morning we continued northward to the border. At the Peace Arch Border Crossing, the westernmost border crossing between Canada and the lower 48, we drove into the NEXUS lane, taking advantage of our new trusted traveler program membership, and breezed across the border; the only question the Canadian border agent asked was whether we had anything to declare.

Within a kilometer of the border, Google Maps on my phone switched its distance display from miles to kilometers.

We drove towards Vancouver, past the airport (and under the flight path of approaching planes), and parked in South Vancouver at Winona Park, a couple of blocks from the Marine Drive transit station.

Calvin rides a scooter in Winona Park
Calvin rides a scooter in Winona Park

We walked to the transit station, bought a pair of stored-value cards for Kiesa and Calvin, and boarded the next northbound train for the city centre. (I used my contactless credit card to pay my transit fare -- this being one of the few times I've been able to show up in a new city and be able to use an artifact I already had to pay my transit fare. Unlike Portland and London, though, Vancouver charges a premium for contactless credit cards.)

Canada Line trains at Marine Drive Station in Vancouver
Canada Line trains at Marine Drive Station in Vancouver

We disembarked at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station in downtown Vancouver and caught a bus to English Bay.

Caleb and Julian riding the bus in Vancouver
Caleb and Julian riding the bus in Vancouver

The first thing we saw after disembarking from the bus was a weird sculpture called A-maze-ing Laughter, featuring larger-than-life-size metal reproductions of the artist laughing, in various poses. Kiesa thought it was weird (and maybe a tiny bit creepy); I thought it was fun, and the people taking pictures (and, later, climbing on the statues for better pictures) seemed to agree with me.

A-maze-ing Laughter
A-maze-ing Laughter

We walked along the Stanley Park Seawall Path dividing English Bay from the city. The sky was overcast and the bay was calm.

Walking along English Bay in Vancouver
Walking along English Bay in Vancouver

We reached our destination, the Second Beach Swimming Pool, perched on the edge of Stanley Park jutting out into the bay. Caleb is a precocious swimmer; he can swim circles around his older cousin Calvin. Julian is still not totally comfortable in the water; we stayed near him in the shallow part of the pool, near the zero-depth-entry edge; and didn't take him into the deeper part of the pool.

Second Beach Swimming Pool
Second Beach Swimming Pool

After a couple of hours of swimming, the kids were ready to get out of the pool and head to the adjacent playground. I wandered around the park; the sun had come out, and the afternoon sun shined on the water of the bay.

Second Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Second Beach in Stanley Park, Vancouver

In a corner of the park I found a small monument to Air India Flight 182 in 1985, placed in Vancouver because the flight was brought down by a terrorist bombing via luggage originating in Vancouver.

Walking along English Bay in Vancouver
Walking along English Bay in Vancouver

We walked back along the seawall, this time in the bright late afternoon sun, past a swim beach full of people and A-maze-ing Laughter with people hanging off the figures. We ate supper at a small taco shop Kiesa found, then caught the bus and train back to where we parked the cars.

Kiesa, Julian, and Uncle Tristan on the sidewalk in Vancouver
Kiesa, Julian, and Uncle Tristan on the sidewalk in Vancouver

Tristan, Jessica, and Caleb headed back to Bellingham. Kiesa, Calvin, Julian, and I drove on a circuitous route to the suburb of Burnaby, where we checked into a hotel for the night ahead of seeing more of Vancouver the next day.

I have a few more pictures of Vancouver at Photos on 2019-06-29.

Most of what I've told you is an absolute fact.
- Doug Logan, 22 December 1999