The forecast called for a hot mostly sunny day to celebrate Canada’s national holiday on the 1st of July. It’s another invitation to continue exploring my birthplace here in Vancouver, British Columbia. Spanning a period of 16-plus hours including sunrise and sunset, I’ve collected 20 photographs among 100 kilometres (60 miles) of travel throughout the region. This year’s marathon follows last year’s debut effort.
1. 542am, 1st light from Vancouver Convention Centre
I knew from last year’s experience first light occurs to the northeast. Aside from early risers and joggers, there are few others around. There’s something magical about the harbour with the serenity found at sunrise. The “sail” roof from Canada Place and the cranes at the CenTerm port facility appear to reach up into the sky, clearing the sky of wispy cirrus for the morning sun.
2 and 3. 601-700am, Coal Harbour
Condominium towers and commercial high rises hug and hover over the southern shoreline of Burrard Inlet. In the summer, this entire area including Coal Harbour is illuminated by the morning sun. Reach up and seek out the opportunity to make the ever-present selfie … click.
4. 701-800am, Coal Harbour
Early morning also brings out the rowers from the Rowing Club: the singles, pairs, fours, and sixes. There’s very little traffic on the water, except for the occasional tugboat and pleasure craft. Clearly evident are the light breeze, still waters, soaring peaks, and big skies for company. The description “morning row, uncontested” seems appropriate.
5. 801-900am, Stanley Park
This area began as intertidal mud flats connected with the waters of Burrard Inlet via Coal Harbour. The 1916 construction of the causeway through Stanley Park cut off the “lost lagoon” (Pauline Johnson), and became a freshwater lake supplied by runoff from neighbouring creeks in the park. The Jubilee Fountain was constructed in 1936 to celebrate Vancouver’s 50th anniversary. Important to visitors and residents, Lost Lagoon is essential for wildlife diversity.
6. 901-1000am, West Vancouver
In rediscovering West Vancouver, I knew I had to photograph this beautiful structure, a smartly constructed glass and concrete building with optimized minimal footprint and whose heating and cooling system draws upon the underlying geothermal mass. It can be no accident that the smooth rooflines mirror the shape of the mountain ridge in the background. Beauty, form, and function in harmony …
7. 1001-1100am: Dundarave, West Vancouver
Dundarave Village is a short walk west along Marine Drive from the Community Centre. Having been here before, local favourite Delany’s Coffee is my choice for morning coffee in the area: great coffee, friendly folks at the counter. These folks are clearly prepared for Canada Day. What’s even better? Suspended from the ceiling is a miniature railway to delight kids of all ages.
8 and 9. 1101am-1200pm: Ambleside, West Vancouver
Designated as West Vancouver’s first designated heritage building, the former ferry building reopened as an art gallery in 1990. But at the beginning of the 20th-century, the small village of West Vancouver was once a cottage and summer getaway from the commotion that was young Vancouver. Until 1947, ferry service to Vancouver began and ended here at Ambleside Landing.
10. 1201-100pm, Ambleside Park
The Welcome Figure is a landmark for West Vancouver, honouring the people, creatures, and land upon which people now inhabit. Made with old growth cedar from nearby Hollyburn Mountain, the figure is a gift from the Squamish Nation and dedicated to the city in 2001. “With open arms to all who pass our shores, this Welcoming Figure was raised at the first K’aya’chtn (gathering of ocean canoes).”
11. 101-200pm, downtown Vancouver
I’m waiting for a crosstown bus across from the Vancouver Club in downtown Vancouver. I see a woman in red on the other side of the street, and her path takes her across the front entrance from left to right. She seems to be in a hurry. Where is she going? Is she meeting friends to have fun today? What does Canada Day represent to her? The end of a four-day weekend? Or something more?
12. 201-300pm, Port Moody
A callback to history: “Occupy the Trench”. Built in time for Canada Day, a small trench named the McKnight Trench was built next to the Port Moody Station Museum to honour the memory of Port Moody engineer Augustus McKnight who was killed in Belgium at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. These beautiful folks are a part of the present commemoration activity.
13. 301-400pm, Port Moody
Port Moody Station Museum marks an important historical element in Canada and British Columbia. The province of BC joined Canadian confederation upon the promise and construction of a national railway. Constructed in 1908, the building housed the second rail station in Port Moody, until passenger rail service stopped in 1976. The building was moved to its present location in 1978, and reopened as Port Moody’s historical museum in 1983.
14. 401-500pm, Port Moody
15. 501-600pm, Waterfront Station
This building and area marks the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), a vital transportation link in the late-19th and early-20th century contributing to the growth of the city of Vancouver and the economic development of the young Canadian nation. Constructed in 1914, the building housed the third CPR station in Vancouver. The building is now home to Waterfront Station, a major intermodal public transport hub for city and suburbs. With proximity to Canada Place, holiday crowds in downtown Vancouver stream in and out of the building.
16. 601-700pm, YVR Airport
At Vancouver’s international airport (YVR), this sign greets travelers as they enter the airport from the Skytrain station. That is, if they’re paying any attention and looking up at the sign, and beyond to the figures and shapes suspended from above. But the sign represents something more with its message in the nation’s two official languages (English, French) and the Chinese language representing the largest ethnic minority in the region. “Welcome to the airport; you all have a good trip …”
17. 701-800pm, YVR Airport
Many companies offer virtual or call-in “help desks” for customers to call for help and ask questions. This “help desk” is on the departures level of the international terminal at YVR Airport. It’s by accident you see here in this photo two “faceless” staff; the only faces visible are of passengers.
18. 801-900pm, YVR Airport: international arrivals
I’ve made this photo at the arrivals level in the international terminal at YVR Airport. One flight from London and another from China have just landed. It’s poignant, at least to me, to see streams of people arriving in Vancouver on Canada Day. No doubt some are going to see Vancouver and Canada in entirely new light; no doubt some will want to stay. “Welcome to Canada, and welcome to Vancouver …”
19. 915pm, final rays from Kitsilano
Overcast skies make beautiful sunsets, but subsequent overnight skies are awful for any kind of observing. But that’s of little importance to the crowds gathered here at Kitsilano Beach; all they’d like is a beautiful colourful end to a very hot summer day. Those emerging rays are actually parallel, and they’re called “crepuscular (twilight) rays” which by a trick of optics appear to radiate outward from the location of the sun in the sky.
20. 901-1000pm, Kitsilano Beach
With this final photograph, I bear witness to the final light of the day, and witness to others who are also observers of the very same thing. Happy Canada Day!
Every photo above is marked with a location pin in the first map below. All trips with TransLink public transport are indicated in the second map below. I traveled to all of the locations with a $9.75 DayPass, and covered 100 kilometres (62 miles) in a total of 10 trips with bus and SkyTrain.