Exploring Vancouver

When we go to Vancouver, we almost always visit Van Dusen Gardens. And so we did this time.  We spent an afternoon wandering around, looking at the changes they’d made since the last time.  We’ve been there so often I only took a few photos this time; click here to see the whole gallery.  I’ll share a couple of examples.  This is their swamp garden:

And this is the fountain in the lake, which is kind of their signature view:

Feel free to go look at the whole gallery, and also to check the gallery I shot when we visited in 2011 – click here for that link.

The second day we were there, though, we did something new.  We’ve found Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare company to be very rewarding, so we had bought tickets to their production of the Merry Wives of Windsor.  Instead of just going out there for the play, however, we decided to spend the entire day in Kitsilano, which is a charming district in Vancouver fronting on English Bay.  We’d stayed in Kitsilano before, but had never just hung out on the beach. 

Vanier Park, in the beachfront area, has several museums, including two which share the same area:  the Museum of Vancouver, and the H. R. McMillan Space Center.  Here’s the front view for both of them:

The crab sculpture is even more amazing front on:

It was installed in 1968 and is based on a First Nation legend that a crab guards the harbor.

We toured the Museum of Vancouver and found it very interesting, with historical displays on various eras, some of which I lived through in California.  I only took one photo there, this stern fellow:

The Space Center was also interesting but not very photogenic.  We spent most of the afternoon wandering around the park that borders on English Bay, eating lunch in a restaurant on the beach and watching the birds, people, and ships anchored in the bay.  Here are some of the photos.  You’ll find the entire gallery at this link.

This sculpture really dominates the area; as you can see, we’re right across a not very large inlet from downtown Vancouver.

In English Bay, ships and boats anchor out, rather than tying up at a pier or marina.  As you can see, the size range is considerable.

We dropped into the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which we’ve visited before. It’s primary exhibit is the St. Roch, the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east (1940-1942), the first to complete the passage in one season (1944), and the first to circumnavigate North America.  It was a patrol vessel for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), covering Canada’s more exposed and separated northern possessions.  It’s a fascinating story.  It’s also hard to get a decent photo, because the ship is inside a building not much larger than it is! Here’s the best I could do.

Other exhibits in the Maritime Museum ranged from a hide kayak

to the submersible Ben Franklin, built and used for oceanographic research in the 1960s.

Otherwise we wandered around looking at the bay and the people playing on it.

This kayaker is actually on False Creek (see below), not English Bay.

The stubby little boat below on the left is one of the False Creek Ferries.  False Creek is the inlet that bisects Vancouver from English Bay inland to Creekside Park; these little ferries chug back and forth on it all day.  You can buy a day pass for C$16 (C$13 for seniors and children) and ride all over the area.

When we finally got to Bard on the Beach, we were charmed to find that they’d set the Merry Wives of Windsor in a 1960s bar.  Here’s the stage on which the two wives opened the show by singing These Boots are Made for Walkin’!

This was the second time we’d been to a Bard on the Beach production, and they were very different, but they were both very good.  If you visit Vancouver, I recommend them.

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