Monday, October 11, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

I hope everyone had a good weekend and, for those readers in Canada, I would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Today I went to Canada Place among other places.

With its distinctive white sales -reminiscent of Sydney Australia's Opera House - Canada Place on the Burrard Inlet waterfront has become a Canadian Iconl and the sails are as much a part of the Vancouver tapestry as the Revolving Restaurant at nearby Harbour Centre.

Designed by Ebehard Zeidler, construction of this massive structure began in 1983 and was completed in 1985. It opened for Expo 86 as the Canada Pavillion and was the only venue connected with the fair that wasn't located on the north shore of False Creek, the main site for the expo.

It is fitting that cruise ships dock here because as I was walking along the promenade I felt almost as if I was on a ship. The upper level was mostly blocked off due to construction -  there is work being done on the sails. Actually it is part of a roof rehabilition program. The fabric of the sails is being replaced with a new fabric that mimics the original design.  This project is possible because of  Canada's Economic Action Plan. In particular the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. I would say that is a good investment since Canada Place apparently injects $1 billion annually into the local economy. (As my father would say 'some days I don't make that much!')

Even though it was a cloudy day - wet and cold too unfortunately - there were still sights to be seen.

This is truly a place not only representative of British Columbia and Vancouver but, true to the name, of all Canada. On the lower promenade there is a section that has inlays of each province's name and more of the major cities in that province.

Located within Canada Place is the luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel and the Vancouver Convention Center.

If you happen to be in this area around noon be sure to keep your ears open. You should hear the Heritage Horns sound the first four notes of our national anthem, O Canada. For the last fifteen years these horns have resided at Canada Place but their history goes back further than that.

Robert Swanson designed these horns as part of the BC Hydro Canadian Centennial project in 1967. For many years the horns sat atop the original BC Hydro building and notified downtown when it was noon. But when BC Hydro moved out in the 1990s the horns sounded no more. But they weren't forgotten and on November 8, 1994 the horns blasted again after being refurbished and given their new home at Canada Place.

These majestic sails are more than just a landscape thriller. Some nights they are alive with lights and stories being played on the surface. If you really want to see what I am talking about then I advise you visit Sails of Light page at the Canada Place website. There is a video of what was shown on the sails for Christmas last year.

From the promenade a person can see not only across the water to North Vancouver but also get a different look at this side of town.

While I was standing here looking at the rear of the buildings in Gastown that I had just passed not that long ago I started to wonder. Some of those buildings have been there since just after Vancouver was built. What did it look like then? Of course the skyscrapers we see now wouldn't have been there but the railway was. And the lower buildings may have seen like skyscrapers to the people of that era.

Here you can see the walkway that leads to the SeaBus terminal. The SeaBus, operated by BC Transit, runs from the Canadian Pacific Terminal in downtown Vancouver to the Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore in 8 minutes. But it isn't the first. In the 1900s ferries ran from shore to shore, transporting people and other items. West Vancouver services carried passengers until 1947 and the North Shore services until 1958. Then it was a twenty minute ride but apparently a friendly one.

And just to let you know. I gathered that piece of information from a sign placed on the promenade. There are a few of those around there with interesting tidbits of information. And the Canada Place website has little tidbits of interesting information as well.

Here are some more sights from the promenade.(I like that word. Makes me feel so regal, so entitled.)

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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