A beautiful city spoilt by the many undesirables wandering the streets harassing passers-by. We made our base at Days Inn Downtown – an ideal location being just near Canada Place and the harbour with the large cruise liners berthed alongside. Around the corner at the junction of Burrard Street and W. Hastings filming of the Fantastic Four was taking place which added interest to a stroll to Canada Place. The Steamtown Brewery at the approach to Gastown provided ample refreshment pleasantly served while further along the crab cakes and chowder went down a treat at the Water Street café situated right by the famous steam-driven Gastown clock. As is our custom in a city we took the tour bus as a means of orientating ourselves. Driving down Robson Street we entered the jexel in Vancouver’s crown – Stanley Park.
From the drop-off at the Rose Garden we spent the rest of the day wandering around the vast acres – although we did take a shuttle tour to save our legs for a while. Blessed with glorious weather, we lost ourselves in the interior wooded areas until eventually we found Beaver Lake and then strolled on to the Totem Poll park Nearby, what should be taking place but a game of cricket – just right for a rest for an Englishman while my wife dived into the souvenir shop. Back near the entrance to the Park is the Lost Lagoon with the fountain which plays periodically for about 10 seconds. Flocks of birds of various species fly in and out or just laze around the edge and along the path we encountered several raccoons.
Having spent the day around the Park, we reckoned we would have been better just using the local bus to get there and back. The second day we made more use of the tour bus and were fortunate to have a real character by the name of Phil driving and giving the commentary. His accent seemed to indicate Australian ancestry, but it turns out he was from Southend in the good old UK. As he said when he first came to Vancouver nobody could understand his Essex twang so he changed it! His sense of humour added to the enjoyment of the tour – e.g. commiserating with a fellow stood outside a fashion store on Robson St. while his wife was inside – with the credit cards! We stopped off at English Bay and wished we had booked our stop-over there. Glorious sunshine again, blue sea, busy beach, boats in the Bay, altogether a great setting.
An amble through Granville Market took us to the False Creek Ferries for a sail to the large golf ball that signifies the Science World museum. We headed the short distance to Union Station to book on Greyhound to Whistler for the next day and had one of those experiences that you always remember about a holiday. A beautiful Sunday afternoon, many people about including families and then – the drug fuelled menaces. One made a lunge at my wife before diverting his attention to a family with young children – a totally unpleasant event and one that has tinged our memory of Vancouver along with further hassle experienced downtown with beggars and scroungers. Many homeless could be seen at all hours pushing shopping trolleys laden with their belongings – whilst not causing problems, it is not the sort of sight one expects in such a beautiful city.