Vancouver: Terminal City

VancouverI walked out the hotel clsoe to seven thirty in the morning. It was Saturday. I love cities at this time of morning during the weekend, as you get to see them slowly wake.

It was a brisk fall day, a mere 11 degrees celcius, which, if you’re from the States, converts to (lessee here, multiply by 2…carry the reminder..add the average IQ of a Fox News Anchor…and then divide by the width of a pin head….) Fifty two degree Fahrenheit. Clouds surrounded the city like wolves circling their prey. We would wait to see if they would attack.

As I walked around, I decided that Vancouver is a city in the best definition of the term. And like a true great city, one goes there not necessarily to be a tourist. One goes there because it’s simply the place to go. They can be pardoned if they don’t seem to highlight their tourist activities. You see, Vancouver is a major port on the east side of the Pacific Ocean bringing billions in goods and services from througout the world, it’s a major financial center, it does a brisk business in the television and film industry, there’s quality shopping throughout, there’s a highly influential Asian community, it has over two million residents, and.. oh yeah, now that you mention it, they do have some tourist destinations. One goes to Victoria for Tourism…one goes to Vancouver because…well it’s Vancouver!

The places that the tourist bureau highlights aren’t necessarily the places I would go to. Gastown is nice, and has a great history to it, but is inundated with tourist shops and bistro restaurants (not that that’s a bad thing). Still, you have got to give a city its due when ot owes itself to a man called Gassy Jack. They say he got his name Gassy because he could talk up a storm and embellish with ease. I say it’s just as likely that he was called Gassy for his fondness of beer and the side effects that follow.But what do I know, I’m a simple out-of-towner.

I loved Chinatown, which had more food markets than I knew what to do with. And Sun Yat-Sen Park was a peaceful retreat deep within the very urban neighborhood.

Stanley Park was spectacular, and could easily compare with Central Park in New Yorck City as the place for a picnic, or a hike minutes from any major downtown. To give you some sizes for comparison, New York’s central Park is 843 acres, Stanley Park checks in at just over 1,000. And I’m willing to bet Stanley has better sunsets.

I did learn the city’s nickname. Vancouver: Terminal City. Which probably is why it didn’t take off. Who wants to admit that their city is terminal?