Vancouver Walkabout

After dropping M&G at the Abbotsford airport we brave Hwy 1 and have a fast drive into Vancouver. We manage to find a FREE parking spot near the corner of Thurlow and Burnaby. Off we go for a long walk.

Our first destination is the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Alberta Art Gallery, which we are members of, has a reciprocal deal with the Vancouver Art Gallery so we do not have to pay admission. Ian Wallace has an exhibit in the gallery called At the Intersection of Painting and Photography.  He constructs collages of photography, other art and colour swatches. There were a few pieces that grab our attention, but considering it took up two floors, there are a good number of pieces that are not of interest to us.

The gallery does not have paintings from their permanent collection  on exhibit, which is odd. No pieces of historical significance.

The building was built in 1907 as the provincial courthouse and was redesigned by Arthur Erickson into the present day art gallery. It works fairly well as a gallery and it is good to see another building of historical significance reused.

On our way to Chinatown, we stroll by BC Place, the football stadium and Rogers arena, where the Canucks play.  Downtown Vancouver is crowded, even on a Sunday, and everything is open. Unlike Edmonton, but how do you get people downtown unless you open for business and how to you open for business if people do not come downtown. Murray remembers Chinatown as being smaller than it is today. There are shops and odors that are inherent with any Chinatown. The strong smells of spices and meats remind us both of places elsewhere in the world.

We circle around and walk back downtown on Hastings, skid row. Everyone is outside; the local residents are out on the street. There is even a flea market on Abbot Street where you could buy cds, suitcases, jackets or retail clothes racks. The city closes off two city blocks and whoever has a few things for sale lays out a tarp or blanket and becomes a merchant. With the goods that are on display it reminds us of a suburbia garage sale in the heart of the city.

Granville Street is reminiscent of Younge Street in Toronto. Shopping, cafes and lots of people out for the afternoon. Granville was a bit seedy when Murray lived here 30 years ago and it still holds a bit of that character today. We locate the car and head over to UBC.

Installing a new sign along Granville Street.

Murray went to UBC and spent most of his time in architecture school in the Lasserre Building up on the third floor studio space. We wrangle our way into the building and have a look around. Murray is amazed at how much it hasn’t changed and how much it has changed. The desk spaces and building security now allow for the onslaught of electronics. The tutorial spaces are still laid out in the same fashion but each student has a table-like desk to accommodate a computer. The students used to construct individual ‘space’ from whatever material that was laying around or what could be scrounged from elsewhere and installed in the studio. The ‘lounge’ area, called the Cappuccino Room still exists but is much less palatial than it was long ago. It used to be a proper construction with a mezzanine sleeping area above the bar and couch type seating. Today it has a coffee prep area and a few hard benches to sit on. I must say that that change is not one for the better.  It was comforting to know that the students are still exposed to generally the same rigorous learning environment Murray had to endure.

The trip to the airport is on busy streets, not as fast as this morning’s drive. Here we sit waiting for our speedy, long and now delayed flight to London.

As Murray says “See you on the other side.” Next post will be from Arusha, Tanzania.

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