In February I traded in the bitterly cold temperatures of a Saskatoon winter for a colder than normal four days in Vancouver. Colder than normal still meant it was the first time in months that I could walk around outside without gloves on. It’s really all about small victories in surviving winter on the prairies. And while for most of the trip I had to carry around an umbrella to stay dry, I did get one nice day to leave the raincoat at the hotel and breathe in the fresh west coast air along the seawall.
I took a bus from downtown to Kitsilano Beach to start a hike along the seawall. My one nice day in Vancouver was actually a perfect February day in Vancouver. Seeing blue skies and water made my coastal, now landlocked heart, very happy.
I’ve done other seawall hikes on previous trips to Vancouver, but hadn’t yet done this portion of the walk around the western and southern parts of the city.
Even as some clouds rolled in temporarily, it did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm to be outside. As my only winter escape this year, I wasn’t going to let a few clouds impact my cheery frame of mind. Stopping to watching dogs romp along the beach helped as well
I’ve always enjoyed wandering around Vancouver and coming across its public art. While many in the city are not terribly fond of “Gate to the Northwest Passage” in Vanier Park, I like it. Yes, it looks like an oversized paper clip or staple that’s been pulled out of its paper. But I like the symmetry of its straight sides mimicking the apartment and condo buildings in the background, while having a bit of “motion” where the sculpture touches the ground. I also think this looks a bit like the bottom half of a cartoon person’s legs while running, something I’m sure the artist never intended.
A couple of things made this morning hike perfect. The early morning weekday time meant I had the seawall mostly to myself, save for a few folks out walking their dogs (all of whom I stopped to pet, of course). Although I was in a large city, it was as if it was my own for a few hours.
It was also a very calm morning. The air was still, and from across the water, the city seemed quiet. Where for a few months in winter, walks always had a purpose in Saskatoon to avoid frost bite, this walk was leisurely and beautifully without purpose other than being outside. Pleasure for pleasure’s sake.
Very simply put – the morning felt indulgent and peaceful. Exactly the way a vacation day should feel. I spent much of the walk with my camera in hand, looking for interesting shots, like this one underneath the Cambie Street Bridge. Those blue stripes are actually a work of art called “A False Creek” by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky.
On the other side of the Cambie Street Bridge, the clouds started to melt away and move on, and the blue sky returned.
As the morning gave way to the noon hour, there was at least one brave soul who was out enjoying the water on what for Vancouverites would be a brisk and cool day.
As I was getting ready to make my way to grab a late lunch, Vancouver did something that it has done on every visit I make. It gives you a glimpse of itself in its almost perfect beauty. The clouds pulling just away from the mountain peaks to show you some snow caps. The bright blue skies, water and a modern cityscape. This is a city that knows how to make you feel good in its presence. A perfect cap to a much needed day away from winter.