Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Vancouver Canada

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded more than 603,000 people in the city, making it the eighth largest among Canadian cities. The metropolitan area, with more than 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. With 5,249 people per square kilometre (13,590 per sq mile), the City of Vancouver is the most densely populated Canadian municipality among those with 5,000 residents or more. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada, with 52% for whom English is not their first language.

The original settlement, named Gastown, grew around the Hastings Mill logging sawmill and a nearby tavern, both established in 1867. Enlarging to become the town site of Granville, with the announcement that the rail head would reach the site it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated as a city in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada, and London.  As of 2009, Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest and largest port in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America.

While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Metro Vancouver into the third-largest film production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York City, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North.  Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide "liveable city" rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments and it was also acknowledged by Economist Intelligence Unit as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five straight years.

While neither Fred nor Sigred grew up in Vancouver, it played a large part in both of their lives.  Sigred lived there for something like 33 years and Fred spent two sessions in the city, one when he was in his late 20's for 5 years and another when he was in his late 50's until Fred & Sigred left for Ecuador when Fred was 67.

It's a beautiful city and often in Ecuador people will comment on that to Fred & Sigred.  Sigred's first response is usually, "Yes.  It's very green.  That's because it rains there 300 days a year."  She means it to be funny and usually people see the humour and laugh along with her, although some will try and tell her that actually it doesn't rain "that" much and certainly not with the intensity of some other places on the planet.  Sigred often wanders away at this point.  

Sigred had tried to get some friends in Vancouver to send her snaps of "iconic" pictures of Vancouver.  While one snap came from her daughter that she had taken from her office window, busy lives precluded Sigred's request and her daughter's snap ended up being the only one forthcoming.  A search in Flicker asking for "Creative Commons" pictures and searching Vancouver, brought up a plethora of snaps and Sigred found herself with her requisite number quite easily. She however did note that she'd managed to pick an awful lot on the waterfront and hastens to advise people there are lovely parks, huge shopping centres, public art everywhere, nice museums, great restaurants and everything else a City should have.

As their last 13 years in Canada were spent on the water it's not surprising that Sigred would feel a great kinship for the Pacific Ocean.

In any case, the whole idea behind writing this blog was to reflect on the "home" Sigred & Fred left behind now that several years have gone by.  Fred's been back to Canada once during the last  4+ years, while Sigred hasn't been back at all.

Looking at the pictures, Sigred was struck by just how beautiful the City is.  Living in all that grandeur, one forgets and sees it as an "every day" thing.  Being away from it for a while, points out quite clearly both the good & bad left behind.

The children are missed, of course, but at this point they've developed strong lives without the day-to-day presence of Fred & Sigred.  Skype & GoogleTalk provide an easy way to stay in touch and they do. 

They'd often go for walks around False Creek, down past Granville Island Market, through the garden area surrounding the market, along the creek and down to Science World.  Walking down that groomed path there was a good possibility one would hear the babble of maybe 5 or 6 different languages as the people passing by were from all over the world.  All colours and all ages, from oldsters walking slowly to young people zipping by on skate boards or bicycles.   It was one of the very best places in the City to show off it's blended diversity.  By contrast, Ecuador is essentially of two cultures, Indigenous and Spanish. 

People & places, certain iconic sights, that particular sound of the Skytrain zipping overhead, like the clinking of the halyards on the boat ~ these things are missed, not with a heavy heart but with pleasant memories.

Fred & Sigred have managed to find for themselves a very satisfying life in Ecuador.  They're building memories of people & places and new iconic sights & sounds that are imprinting themselves and will ultimately remind them of their home in Ecuador where ever they may be in the future.   

Somehow one wonders if time spent in Thailand, Paris or Fiji could create the same effect? 

It probably would....What a wonderful planet!