Monday, February 21, 2011

Vancouver - Jan 22 to Feb 21 2011

Ray and I continue to enjoy ourselves here in Vancouver. I got my exam over with on Jan 31 and am still waiting for the results. I got my essay in a week before the exam and according to the mark I got, did OK. Now I am free to plan outings without the guilt of feeling I should be studying. On the other hand, what do I do in those moments when we are not out exploring the BC lower mainland….beginning to sound like a regular Vancouverite!! Alanna has submitted the first draft of her Capstone project, has received feed back from her advisor, and is closing in on the second draft which gets sent to the reviewers in preparation for her defence on March 11. She is looking forward to starting full time work in May. Ray and I have done an edit of the first draft of the paper (100 pages) and one of the Appendices (40 pages). Ray has been golfing several times on various public courses, has re-connected with the gang of people he worked with here in BC, and has generally been plotting and planning the economies of reality living in BC.

Overlooking Fraser River from Marine Drive

We have continued our visits to different parts in and close to Vancouver. One day we drove down to Crescent Beach and White Rock then all around Lower Surrey and back through Richmond, Westminster, and Burnaby. Crescent Beach is a small seaside town which must be a tourist trap in summer. White Rock is bigger, has an interesting main street with the railway separating the restaurants from the Ocean. We also checked out a few town house complexes on the way. White Rock is not far from the American border, and certainly the weather is much warmer down there. It is about an hour’s drive from the City of Vancouver. Apart from the White Rock and Crescent Beach area, the other parts we travelled through were mainly residential burbs. We also took a drive south on Granville, and west along Marine Drive to UBC. Marine Drive is like the Post Road Area of Toronto with the added feature of the large homes on extensive properties having ocean views.

Sunset on the Fraser River from Marine Drice
  Another day we drove across the Lion’s Gate Bridge and along Marine Drive to Horseshoe Bay, then on to the Sea to Sky Highway and up to Squamish. Now this was a much more interesting trip. The scenery was absolutely stunning as you can see from some of the photos. The cove at Horseshoe Bay was delightful, and the communities along the way at Lion’s Bay, and Furry Creek just gorgeous. This is an area where the mountains drop steeply into the ocean, and the mountain faces are overgrown with fir trees. Turning up a fiord like fingerling in the Salish Sea to Squamish, continued to offer magnificent scenery. Squamish itself was a bit of a mixture; a nice-enough town controlled by the Chief – ( Sawamus Chieftain) a massive rock face that is popular with climbers. We experienced local life in a small cafĂ© which provided Ray with insight into “just every day life” and me to a determination never to be in the position of saying to my friends: “So, what did you do today to pass your time?”
The Chief, from Squamish

Horseshoe Bay

Salish Sea from Sea to Sky Highway

Both Alanna and Ray have celebrated birthdays. Alanna (Jan 26) held a small get together at her place with her SFU friends….and her parents. This was our first glass of wine in about a month, and it slid down very nicely!! Have to admit I enjoyed the weight loss as much as the not drinking. Alas, I can’t say that has continued!! Alanna and I then took Ray out for dinner in a small restaurant here in Kerrisdale (Feb 12). We had a lovely evening together and after dinner, and wine, we rolled back down the street, enjoying the walk in the fresh air. I think it is in SuperFreakanomics where someone says it is more dangerous to walk drunk then drive drunk!! We managed to make it safely!! Alanna, Ray and I also had a lovely dinner out last Thursday night with Christine and Tom who are moving to West Van in May.

Alanna on her Birthday

Alanna's Birthday Party

Ray's Birthday - Ray, Alanna and Liz
I selected a Taiwanese hair salon to have a cut and colour on my hair, with even better results than in China; spent an afternoon shopping with Alanna for “office” clothes downtown Vancouver; spent a day “window shopping” with my friend Cindy, and lunch out - it is a treat to spend time “chatting” with good friends, don’t you think?; and another day I went for coffee with my co-author and poured over the latest volume of federal corporate legal procedures that is just being published. Thursday evening we had some friends over for dinner; and Saturday evening we went out for dinner to Cindy and Murray’s in North Vancouver.

Ray and I also run: Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings, Friday mornings, and Sunday mornings. This weekend (we did Saturday not Sunday because we were out Saturday night) we ran 11.5 km. And, we love to go on walks and explore.

We are living in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. So, how much do you know about Vancouver? Situated with the Burrard Inlet to the North, the mouth of the Fraser River to the South, the Strait of Georgia to the west shielded from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. Travelling up the north coast with islands and fjords, and the high North Shore Mountains flanking the coast, the views are magnificent. The economy is supported by the lumber industry, tourism, and the film industry. It has a compact urban core that has gained international recognition for its "high amenity and 'livable' development." Not only is Vancouver aesthetically attractive, but Canada provides a safety net of security from both a personal security aspect, a health aspect, and security from wars and to a degree terrorism. The population is about 642,843 (2010) in Vancouver itself and 2,328,000 (2009) in Greater Vancouver. Immigration occurs from around the world and the city has a rich multi-cultural population from all over the globe. A love affair with Vancouver, and BC may break down when it comes to crime. Listening to the News,it seems that there are many more gun shot deaths than in Toronto, and when I check out the statistics, this is correct. It has the highest rate of gun related violent crime in any major metropolitan region in Canada and its property crime rates are among the highest in North America.

So, I think I have contributed a little to all the questions I get asked: (i) how do you pass your time on a daily basis; (ii) what are the social problems Vancouver faces; and (iii) are you enjoying yourselves. If you have any other questions, just leave me a comment on the blog. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to live here?

PS - Sorry for the mis-placement of the photos - I can't seem to get them in the right place!!