Monday, August 12, 2013

Vancouver

Trip Dates: March 2011 & August 2012



Christine is currently attending the Canadian College of Osteopathy and, as such, is required to go to Vancouver once a month for five or six days for different courses.  What a perfect excuse for me to tag along and see the city of Vancouver.  As I am writing this she is just beginning year four of five and I have accompanied her to Vancouver on two separate occasions.  I typically spend the day sight-seeing, while she is in class and then we have the evenings together.  The following is a collection of photos and videos from my time spent in the Vancouver area.  


My first stop was the Vancouver Aquarium 
I explored the Amazon Gallery first and that's where I saw these Hyacinth Macaws...
...and this Yacare Caiman
I snapped a photo of this Bullfrog in the Frogs Forever? Gallery
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These Jellyfish were part of the Treasures of the B.C. Coast pavilion

A Pacific White-Sided Dolphin in The Wild Coast pavilion
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This video shows one of the Dolphins playing around in its tank

This Beluga Whale lives in the Canadian Arctic gallery
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A video of the Beluga Whale swimming in its tank

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This is Daisy, a Harbour Porpoise that was rescued and brought to the aquarium for rehabilitation

This is a rescued Harbour Seal that lives in The Wild Coast pavilion
First Nation representation of a salmon
Stanley Park National Historic Site is a 400 hectare urban park in downtown Vancouver.  The park officially opened in 1888 and was named in honour of Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada.
The Cherry Blossoms are in bloom
Looking towards Brockton Point
The Lions Gate Bridge spanning Burrard Inlet
Burrard Inlet separates Vancouver from West and North Vancouver
Brockton Point Lighthouse
There's a total of nine Totem Poles near Brockton Point in Stanley Park
Looking up at one of the Totem Poles
A trip to Vancouver wouldn't be complete with a visit to historic Gastown
Gastown's famous Steam Clock
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Cauldron
This piece of art, known as the Digital Orca, was erected in 2009 adjacent to the Vancouver Convention Centre
I wanted to get outside and do a little exploring so I headed to Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver
The park is home to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which sways 50m above the canyon floor
Lynn Creek flows beneath the bridge
The bridge was built in 1912 and this waterfall can be seen from nearby
This is one of the waterfalls that make up Twins Falls along Lynn Creek
Downstream from the falls
It was a foggy, rainy day, which made for some eerie photographs in the park
English Bay and English Bay Beach
This Inukshuk looks over English Bay and is another symbol from the Olympic Games
A piece of art I found while walking around downtown
I spent my last day in Vancouver further exploring Stanley Park.  This is Third Beach.
A pond in the park
A Mallard, a Swan, and two Lesser Scaups
This Raccoon was eagerly awaiting handouts
Female Mallard
Another Raccoon was just posing for me.  He looked cute, but he didn't get any food from me!
Lost Lagoon
This was quite the picturesque spot
The last thing I did before meeting Christine and heading to the airport was spend a little time in Granville Island
When I returned to Vancouver with Chris in 2012 I wanted to do a little hiking so I headed to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.  The park encompasses about 75 hectares of West Van's last standing first-growth Douglas Fir Trees, mixed with some Western Hemlock and Western Redcedar.  
This Slug was slowly trying to cross the trail as I came walking down it
Looking towards Howe Sound
Near the lighthouse there are a few preserved World War II buildings
The Phyl Munday Nature House is also located there
There is also a building named in honour of the First Nation People who were originally living in the area; Sk'iwitsut
The Point Atkinson Lighthouse
The original lighthouse was built in 1875.  The one standing there today was completed in 1912.  The area of Point Atkinson was named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792.
After getting our Open Water Certification while on our honeymoon in Tahiti (there will be a future post about that...stay tuned) I got the itch to get back underwater again.  I'd heard excellent things about cold water diving and even better things about diving along the Pacific Coast.  I set up a Dry-Suit Certification course with Ocean Quest Dive Centre in Burnaby.  I figured I might as well get another certification while I'm in the area, right?  We would be doing two dives at Porteau Cove Provincial Marine Park, which is about 38km north of Vancouver along Highway 99.  I was a bit nervous as I'd only done four previous dives and none of those were in cold water while wearing a dry suit.  I didn't really know what to expect.  


Porteau Cove Provincial Marine Park
Howe Sound and the mountains beyond
Porteau Cove has an artificial reef complex comprised of chains of tires, concrete pipes, massive concrete blocks, and steel H-beams.  There are three small ships that have been sunk as part of the man-made reef.  These ships include the 28m steel tug Grant Hall, the 11m steel dredge Centennial III, and a 15m sailboat hull.  This reef complex has enhanced the marine life present in the park as well as recreational diving opportunities.  Surveys have shown that more than 150 species of marine life now inhabit the reef.  The following video clips are from my dives in the cove.  I am using a GoPro Hero 2 camera, but this was before I got the dive housing and filters, so I apologize for the clarity and the overbearing green colour!

If you watch closely you'll be able to see Dungeness Crab, Ling Cod, Sea Stars, and Jellyfish

This video shows the Centennial III dredge that was sunk in 1991

This short clip shows the sailboat hull sitting on its starboard side.  This piece was also sunk in 1991.

I had an excellent time diving in Porteau Cove.  There was an abundance of life that I didn't expect at first.  When I think of SCUBA diving I think warm, tropical water with coral reefs and brightly colour fish.  The wild Pacific Coast is swarming with life below the surface and I look forward to diving it again in the future.

Downtown Vancouver as viewed from the Kitsilano Beach area
This Totem Pole is in Kitsilano, not far from the beach
This mural was painted for the 2010 Winter Olympics
Looking down at Granville Island
Chris and Lynnette enjoying a flight of beer at the Lennox Pub
I wasn't planning on visiting the aquarium this trip, but then I heard they now have Penguins!
Sea Otter
Sea Lion
Pacific White-Sided Dolphins performing for an audience
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Here's a video clip of the Dolphins doing some breaches in their tank

Lumberman's Arch.  The original arch was built in 1912 in honour of the visit by Duke of Connaught to Vancouver.  The arch you see today was erected in 1952 as a replacement for the original that had been dismantled.
BC Place, home of the CFL's Lions and the Roger's Arena, home of the NHL's Canucks
I ended my stay this time with a stroll through Chinatown
The entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park
Inside the park
Beautiful gardens
Chinese gazebo
The main entrance, and exit, for Chinatown
Vancouver is a beautiful city, with lots of history and you're never wanting for something to do.  I really do enjoying visiting, but I don't ever see myself living there.  For starters I don't think I could handle all of the rain!  I was very lucky weather-wise during both of my trips, but I've heard Christine's stories about how miserable it can be.  I also don't think I could handle the size.  The Greater Vancouver area has roughly 2.3 million people and Calgary's 1.1 million is already pushing it for me.  Vancouver is also the most densely populated Canadian city among those with at least 5,000 residents.  Lastly, it would be just too far away from the rest of our families, who mainly reside in Saskatchewan.    

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