Monday, May 11, 2009

Canucks head home - Musings on a city in love with hockey

It was a hard fight, but now the Canucks are in shock, most likely trying to make sense of an intense series that is now over in their books. Ironically enough, they were the first to finish in the first round, with a squeaky-clean sweep against St. Louis. Those days seem like an eternity now.

I missed the game due to class. It would have been nice to have left SFU's downtown campus with a cheering crowd and honking cars going mad in the streets, and fans in blue jerseys waving enormous Vancouver flags. This activity, seen less than a week ago, is distant memory as well. From the recap on Sportsnet, the team banded together in support of Luongo's efforts, even though he felt he let his team down this week.

It's hard to tell whether or not the Canucks would have advanced had they the power they possessed during the St. Louis run. Many have commented on their long break working against them. With all the wrongful referee calls, injuries, what-ifs, it's all over now for this season.

Vancouver, time to get out and vote! Good timing too, an election is just the kind of diversion to make people get over their misery. And may I recommend a(nother) very intense series to watch, while I'm at it? Detroit takes on Anaheim at the Duck Pond tomorrow, puck drop @ 6PM PST.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour, The Junos and the Freestyle Ski Moguls Championships

A typical Vancouver weekend in the city is chock full of events and activity, but this weekend was exceptional. For those into the Earth, we celebrated Earth Hour at 8.30 PM on Saturday. The Juno Music Fest and Awards were held in Vancouver over the past several days and included a block party, several showcase concerts around town and the Red Carpet leading to the Awards show on Sunday. In the local mountains, Cypress ski resort hosted the Canadian National Freestyle Ski competition, starting on Friday, and lasting three days. Skiers from all over Canada participated and the weather cooperated, adding full sunshine to Sunday's culmination of the mens and womens Dual Moguls finals.

I was amazed at the (small) size of the crowd, considering this was a lead event to the 2010 Winter Games! A free event right in our own backyard, and most of the audience consisted of family and fellow skiers coming out to show their support. I was able to get close to some of the top skiers in the world, including Jennifer Heil (who took the Gold medal), the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Eddie Hicks, Vincent Marquis (Gold medal winner in the Men's division), Alexandre Bilodea, and Maxime Gingras.

Here's a few of many photos to remember the day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Only in Vancouver

Kitsilano, to be precise! On my walk through the neighbourhood today, I spotted a garden with ski poles serving as stakes for the plants! Quite a funny scene; here's a photo.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mayne Island getaway

A couple of weeks back we had the chance to escape for a long weekend to Mayne Island, a sweet little Gulf Island just one stop past much larger cousin Galiano Island. We found an old Victorian B&B to stay in (Fairview Farm B&B) situated on a cliff an on a private non-through road. It was just the ticket for great view of Mt. Baker, a small inlet of water just below, and great stargazing.

We got our kayak fix on our last day, as the weather was just glorious for late September. As we've discovered, much of the BC coastal islands are dotted with sandstone formations, and Mayne Island was no exception to the beautiful patterns created by the sea. Along the coast, I was lucky to spot a river otter heading into the water, as well as numerous harbour seals and Blue Herons. That morning, we took what we could consider a mini-Grouse Grind-like hike up to Halliday Ridge, with a beautiful view out to Salt Spring Island, as well as a good portion of Western Washington's coastal mountain ranges.

The island also formerly housed several Japanese families, who farmed and caught salmon at water's edge up until their forced evacuation during World War II. The Japanese Garden is quite beautiful and commemorative of their stay during those years, located on former Japanese-owned land.

The island is very accessible with a car, a bit less so with a bike, due to hilly conditions and hazardous blind spots on the roadways. We really needed to slow down around dusk, as deer are the main residents on the road, and we saw our fair share! Late into one night, we were up in our room looking out to make out the form of a deer right very close to our door! It was as surprised to find us as we were to see it, so quickly it ran off into the nearby nature.

Another bonus was all the different bird sounds we were treated to in the garden right outside our door. Frogs as well, in varying intervals during the early hours and again close to sundown.

View out to Salt Spring Island and Washington's coastal mountains in the distance.

Out on the water near Piggott Bay.

Mt. Baker at sunrise.

Sandstone formations, typical of the Gulf Islands on the BC Coast.

Fairview Farm B&B, near Campbell Bay.

A lazy sea star on a sunbathing expedition.

Many a jellyfish on shore, at the end of their life cycle.

Japanese Garden

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Home for Coast Mountain

Well, looks like Coast Mountain on 4th/Yew will be leaving in September and has recently acquired the former home of Canadian Tire on 1st and Burrard. When I asked at the store recently, the manager mentioned their 15 year lease having expired and the rent going up 300%! It was definitely time to find new digs, and the new location will be a Vancouver flagship store for Coast. Only question remains, what will fill the space at the prime location of 4th and Yew?

I haven't blogged too much lately on this space; as you can imagine, Facebook has all but sucked any free time I have these days! It is quite an addictive little pastime, one of the few online activities that I allow myself. Weather is too gorgeous and there are too many things pulling me away from my iMac these days. Oh yeah, I just won an electric scooter, I'll post my experiences with that one soon! Summer just keeps getting better!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back From the Interior

Well, a lot can be said about British Columbia: its nature, wildlife, mountains, lakes and coastline. After having spent 10 days touring from Vancouver to Banff, Alberta, I can honestly say that there's no town quite like Vancouver that comes close in comparison. The Kootenay town of Nelson was lovely and compares a bit to Santa Cruz, California. Most towns, with the exception of Kamloops, are much smaller in size.

There were two advantages to travelling in early May: no crowds, and snow on the Rockies. The downside was finding many national parks close to the mountains still closed due to snow cover! Personal favourite was Revelstoke, with its tiny downtown core, wonderful café (Modern Bakeshop and Café) and proximity to some great skiing at Revelstoke Mountain!

I for one am happy to be in Vancouver, getting ready to enjoy the summer that a (small yet active) city of this size can offer…and am definitely going to explore the new False Creek bridge just open this week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Playoff Race

It just keeps getting tighter and tighter. After tonight's heavy 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, it's anyone's guess as to whether or not the Canucks will make it in. Tomorrow there's another road game against Phoenix Coyotes, the team that beat the Ducks in overtime last night. Ooh, and then there's the Dallas Stars game to get through on Saturday. Makes you wonder if the Canucks are really wanting this playoff thing to happen. Fingers crossed all around for a stronger outcome tomorrow night at the Great One's arena.

Go 'nucks Go!