Smart planning, soothing water
make downtown a special place
The skyline of downtown Vancouver recedes into the distance as one rides the Seabus towards Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
CENTRAL CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD are marked by high density, crowded sidewalks, roaring traffic and rude people.
Not Vancouver, British Columbia.
Perhaps it is the soothing effect of all the water – downtown is surrounded by it – or the fact that Manhattan is 3,000 miles away. Of, course it is also Canada, which is so much more civilized – in every sense of the word.
Around 12:30 on Thursday, there was definitely a bustle, but there was also a young man in a Lotus position meditating in a city park. It was remarkably quiet, for being in mid city during lunchtime.
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A rooftop garden is perhaps 20 stories above a city park is an example of the imagination and serenity a visitor finds in the bustling city center of Vancouver, B.C. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
FOR A FIRST-TIME VISITOR, I was well advised to start in Robson Square, the heart of the central business district, fronted on the north by the Vancouver Art Gallery, a neo-classic edifice.
It was there a wise lady, Lorraine Green, a volunteer with the Grater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau, counseled me that the best view of the cityscape could be obtained from the Seabus, the enclosed ferry that plies between downtown Vancouver and the city of North Vancouver every seven minutes during on weekdays.
I hurried down Howe Street to the Waterfront Transit Terminus, purchased a day pass and climbed aboard.
I sat facing backwards (south), the six-foot tall and perhaps 10-feet wide glass panes affording a panoramic view of Vancouver’s impressive skyline as it receded into the distance.
About half way across, the frame of the glass pane suddenly seemed to me like a giant television screen. I grabbed ProCamera, and went into overdrive.
As I panned clockwise for a cutaway shot of the passengers, my lens alighted on Francois Denysschen and his three friends. They were all carrying camera gear, about which I asked them as we chatted before boarding. They were film school students on their way to a shoot in a park in North Vancouver.
Alighting on the charming Lonsdale Quay, my nose tickled with the smells wafting down from the farmers market and several boutique eateries in the small mall in front of it. I tried a gourmet ice cream (delicious!) and a little later a banana coffee cake.
The neo-classic Vancouver Art Gallery flanks Robson Square in the heart of downtown Vancouver on the north side. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Seabus crosses Burrard Inlet in about 10 minutes. On the way back, one is afforded a spectacular view including the cruise ship terminal, flanked by Harbor Centre with its revolving restaurant atop.
During my pan towards the passenger compartment, my camera alighted up Oksana Wengryniuk, a dance student at the Arts Umbrella on Granville Island. She was fun, and a good sport.
For less than $10, I purchased a transit day pass, so I could do all the ferry trips and, later, a bus ride and a train ride to the airport on that ticket. A bargain.
Not many downtowns can offer the same combination of attractions, ambiance and elegance as Vancouver. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
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