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Canada ’17 – Welcome to Van.

So i made it to morning alive, which is a pretty good indication that i actually slept! Yay !

After getting a bit of shut eye, and on the advice of our lovely hosts we headed off just down the road to Trout Lake Farmers Market.

Apparently  the Saturday Trout Lake Farmers Market at John Hendry Park are one of the largest and most interesting weekly summer markets in the Lower Mainland, so we scored pretty well here. The fresh fruit was amazing and just what we needed after a couple of very long days!

After wondering the markets and picking up a few goodies, we wandered back towards the house, and happened, by total chance of course, a little cafe that did Gluten Free waffles Yay! So brunch it was.


On the way back to the house we came across this little place – fabulous idea.


With our goodies in the fridge, our bellies full and a glorious day outside, despite wanting to curl up on the lounge, we decided to head into the city. Given we were still without bags, we were hoping to find some cheap shirts to get us by until our bags arrived. Our hosts had kindly agreed to call us when the bags arrived so we didn’t have to hang around waiting – told you they were fab!

With our transit passes in hand, we walked to the bus stop – um the view is pretty decent for a bus stop, and the Van houses are pretty cute out here in this neighborhood.

We jumped the bus to Commercial and Broadway, where we would pick up the driverless, yes driverless train into the city. SkyTrain is the longest rapid transit system in Canada and the longest fully automated driverless system in the world.


The view from the train is, well much like Vancouver itself, spectacular

We jumped off in the shopping district and wandered through too many shops and managed to find a couple of shirts to get us out of stinky long haul ones that were pretty much standing up on their own by now!


Shopped out, we started to make our way towards the water … well that was the plan. It’s possible were walking by feel rather than by map, and after what felt like way too long (both time and distance) and the path started to go downhill, we realised maybe we weren’t quite where we thought we might have been. After checking a map and resetting the destination we ended up here – so really it wasn’t “lost” at all LOL


We followed the Seaside Greenway (Seawall) to Canada Place. Located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown harbour front, on the Burrard Inlet, Canada Place is an iconic national landmark welcoming local residents, visitors and ships to the West Coast. It was originally the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Pier B-C.. Built in 1927, its primary purpose was to serve CPR and other shipping lines trading across the Pacific Ocean. The main cruise ship terminal for the region is located here and it’s where Vancouver’s famous cruises to Alaska originate. The Olympic Cauldron is also located here.

The Seawall walk is just glorious and the weather was pretty decent too.

Separated pathways – most of the other gardens were in much better shape than these!
The seagulls are still huge!

From Canada Place we made our way slowly to Gas Town.

As tempting as these were, we decided to keep going on foot.

As we were walking i caught a glimpse of this gorgeous old building almost lost among the new. The Marine Building cost $2.9M in 1929 and was the height of opulence, unfortunately the Great Depression followed shortly after and resulted in the investors going belly up. It remains standing almost as an enduring warning or maybe a sign of hope.

The afternoon was setting in and it was time for a cold beverage. We stopped in at a little microbrewery – Steam Works Brewing Co for a coldie and a sit down. According to the Brewery’s, in 1995, when they first took hold of our historic Gastown brewpub location, they discovered that the building had a rare steam heat system. A remnant from forward thinkers of a century past. The brewmaster had only read of steam powered brewing, but had never seen a functional steam brewery. These are very rare indeed. They ventured forth, experimented, and created a one-of-a-kind steam generated brewery. The only one in Canada. Tash was able to sample the brews, I on the other hand was able to sample a Somersby Cider of all things!

Refreshed and hydrated we kept on wandering until we ended up in the gorgeous Gastown district.

Those lamp posts ensure you know you are in the Gastown District

Gastown is the original settlement that became the core of the creation of Vancouver. It is named for “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon.

“Gassy” Jack

The town soon prospered as the site of Hastings Mill sawmill, seaport, and quickly became a general centre of trade and commerce on Burrard Inlet as well as a rough-and-rowdy resort for off-work loggers and fishermen as well as the crews and captains of the many sailing ships which came to Gastown or Moodyville, on the north side of the inlet (which was a dry town) to load logs and timber. The Canadian Pacific Railway terminated on piles on the shore parallel to Water Street in 1886, from this the area became a hive of warehouses. It fell victim to the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886, losing all but two of its buildings, but the area was completely rebuilt and continued to thrive.


Gastown found new life as the centre of the city’s wholesale produce distribution until the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was also the centre of the city’s drinking life: there were 300 licensed establishments the twelve-block area of the former Granville. After the Depression Gastown was a largely forgotten neighbourhood of the larger city and fell into decline and disrepair as a continuation of the Skid Row area with cheap beer parlours, flophouse hotels, and loggers’ hiring halls.


In the 1960s, citizens became concerned with preserving Gastown’s distinctive and historic architecture, which like the nearby Chinatown and Strathcona was scheduled to be demolished to build a major freeway into the city’s downtown. A campaign led by businesspeople and property owners, as well as the counterculture and associated political protestors gained traction to save Gastown.

The famous steam-powered clock

Gastown’s most famous (though nowhere near oldest) landmark is the steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. It was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver’s distributed steam heating system, as a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather. Its original design was faulty and it had to be powered by electricity after a breakdown. The steam mechanism was completely restored with the financial support of local businesses as it had become a major tourist attraction, and is promoted as a heritage feature although it is of modern invention. Gastown was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2009.

I love the Flatiron building in NYC, possibly my favourite building, and there are quite a few ‘flatiron’ buildings around the Gastown district.


Although daylight was still well and truly upon us, the day was getting very long for us, so we stopped at a little Mexican on our way out of Gastown as we headed back towards the train and oh my the guacamole was to die for!


We also got the very good news from our hosts, that our bags had finally arrived. This was enough for us to head straight to the train and home for a shower, change of clothes and bed.




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