Yet another sunny day and the nicest yet. Linda made omelets for breakfast and we left to pick up Cathy about 11 or so. The drive in to the city to the museum, which is in Vanier Park, was the better part of an hour on the highway. Vancouver is quite large and all of the surrounding cities that add to the Greater Vancouver area go on for miles out. Maple Ridge is a good 40 km from Vancouver proper.
The Vancouver museum is all about the history of Vancouver and the lower BC area. We were lured by the special exhibits at the time, one on the history of underwear, one about Vancouver in the 1950’s and one all about the opium trade, popularly advertised as "Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll". There was also a room showing the elaborate kimonos of a famous geisha-turned-singer Ichimaru.
We also lucked into a walking tour/discussion about women in Vancouver’s early history, including First Nation, Asian and prostitutes as well. We had an hour before that was due to start, so we had time to look through the exhibit that explained the opium trade first. It was fascinating to see how it started as medicinal (and continues to this day in some forms) to an accepted recreation for the wealthier to an illegal substance of addiction for the masses. It showed how the stereotypes in portraying opium use evolved and how the trade was a huge contribution to may countries’ economy.
We had time to see the evolution of underwear, focusing mainly on women’s garments, stays, corsets and bustles, veritable instruments of torture! They had a washable rubber girdle and an inflatable bra as well, complete with built in plastic straws!
We enjoyed the talk on the roles of various groups of women. It wasn’t easy to research because women were usually omitted from history records or only very briefly mentioned. Much of the information comes from oral history, letters and journals, photographs and things like that.
At the end of that, we were ready for a break but there is no coffee shop in the museum anymore, just vending machines. We had a bag of chips and went back to see more of the Vancouver history permanent collections and had a peek into the 50’s gallery. That was great! Lots of artifacts, photos and newspapers. Also some interactive displays. We could have spent hours in there. I couldn’t take too many photos because you can’t use flash but a few of the neon and better lit ones did come out ok.
I had a good browse through the gift shop and came out $100 poorer! Got a new canvas tote bag and a lot of souvenirs and small items for Christmas presents too. We left about 4 and thought we should find a place for a snack. I figured I should actually have supper even if they didn’t because was checking into a hotel, not going back to Linda’s, ready for some time on my own in the City.
Not far from the museum we saw a café and a bagel place but there was also a White Spot which is a famous local chain known for it’s burgers. It was the local drive in fast food in the 50’s. Sold! We had cheeseburgers, big fat French fries and I had a lovely strawberry shake. We found the hotel all right, the Holiday Inn Express near the airport and behold! The place where we’re having the Coronation Street get together, the Abercorn Inn, is right across the street! Excellent!
Hugs goodbye and got settled in and put on the heat. Touched base by phone with a few local pals, had a bubble bath , organized my packing and settled down with a book. Going to do a little shopping downtown tomorrow I think.