On Location: Vancouver – An Urban City Surrounded by Nature Part 1
Vancouver, Canada is my kind of city. It fills my urban needs with swanky high rises, busy streets, and hip cultural spots but also satisfies my outdoorsy passions with wooded trails, miles of shoreline and majestic mountains as a backdrop. When sorting through my pictures from my last trip to Vancouver, I realized, the only way to give this city the credit it’s due is to break up my writing into two posts: one on Vancouver’s urban side and one for Vancouver’s nature side. Each aspect is a very distinct part of what makes this city so wonderful!
While walking the streets of downtown Vancouver, I saw many of the typical urban features I come to expect. The Vancouver Art Gallery has it’s majestic steps and lion guarding the entrance, and the classic Fairmont Hotel sports gothic gargoyles. But, low and behold, I spot a crest flanked by moose– decorative ironwork I’d only imagine in Canada!
Vancouver also has the urban grit you’d also expect in a city. Although some forms of graffiti may be seen as defacement, the small amount that I saw I felt gave the city a little color. Torn up bills posted on walls, graffiti in some side alleys and embellished signage make the city more youthful and lived in than sketchy and dirty.
Then there’s Gastown… a wonderful neighborhood to poke in and out of shops and grab a cup of coffee. Although this area does cater to tourists, there are some real gems here too– namely Salmagundi West – a must stop shop for the curious shopper!
But where I really saw the youthful aspect of the city was while walking down Granville Street. In search of a replacement camera lens cap, I sought out the one camera store in town which happened to be on this street. Granville Street is by no means a tourist area– it’s honestly not all that quaint or charming either… but for a Thursday afternoon, I was amazed at all the young folks milling about– in and out of bars, restaurants, shops, and more. I enjoyed the walk not for the sites I was seeing, but more for the people watching and energy on the streets. This gave Vancouver that wonderful urban vibe I love.