Thursday, 13 August 2015

Bad Tourist in Vancouver

Vancouver

I went to Vancouver...

and all you're going to get are these nice pics and a few superficial observations. But hey, I call myself a Bad Tourist for a reason...

So, what's Vancouver like? Clean, green (have you seen the size of Stanley Park?) and liveable (not just by the limited Nordic standards I swear by: Vancouver is usually ranked quite high in the Mercer Quality of Living survey so you don't have to take my word for it).

Vancouver

And my superficial observations?

Vancouver has a lot of excellent restaurants, with plenty of choice as far as healthy food is concerned. Seriously, it is probably one of the few places on earth where you can find such a selection of guilt-free treats. And even vegetarians have several options to choose from. And, if you have a chance, you simply must try the fish tacos! However, lactose-free milk/dairy products is still something that seems relatively unknown (well, it usually is, outside the Nordic countries, at least).

The atmosphere is calm and relaxed: everybody is friendly, no one seems to be in a hurry... I guess that's what they mean by 'quality of living'... There are people walking, jogging, sailing etc everywhere: fitness, outdoor sports and healthy living seem to be the norm here. So, something else Vancouver has in common with the Nordic lifestyle, then...

BUT...

What the hell has happened, Canada??? I know, my last visit to Canada (Toronto) was well over 20 years ago, and the economy has been on a slippery slope to hell just about everywhere... But I have trouble reconciling my idea of Canada as a prosperous welfare state with all the (mainly very young) homeless people I saw sleeping rough...

Vancouver

And of course it was raining a lot... 

But that didn't stop me and Professor M from sightseeing (= walking around aimlessly and snapping photographs of this and that and nothing in particular). 

And when the sun came out we had a nice walk in the harbour. 

Vancouver

It's always so nice to watch boats... or planes. I've never seen a seaplane up close. They seem so... tiny, somehow. I would be scared to get on one. Maybe next time...

Bad Tourist
Vancouver

And this time we decided to be good little tourists and took a harbour cruise.

vancouver

Aren't these houseboats cute?

houseboat

And whatever these are (some sort of silos?), they're quite impressive seen from the boat.

Vancouver

But nothing tops the spectacular scenery, especially at sunset...

sunset at sea

And I want to leave you with this parting look at Vancouver:

Vancouver

I hope you enjoyed the tour

Tiina
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PS: Have you seen my new self-portraits yet? Check out the latest Dilettante Artist post and tell me which portrait you prefer. 


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18 comments

  1. Vancouver looks like a beautiful city, is a pending matter. Precious photos.

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  2. A timely post, Tiina, my eldest son and his fiance are in Vancouver at the moment. We visited Vancouver way back in 1983 , so many changes , but I remember its beauty.

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    1. It was a really beautiful city, and the nature around is magnificent. I'm sure your son will love it.

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  3. Wow, look at that sunset! That makes the gist worth while alone

    Dan
    Www.thehostelhopper.co.uk

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the sunset was fantastic, especially seen from a boat.

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  4. You're right about Stanley Park; it's actually bigger than NYC's Central Park. Right after I passed you on your walk in the Harbor, I hiked into Stanley Park and walked its outer edge. Beautiful. Beaches, even! Your other observations about the city ring true, too. Nobody seemed in a rush. So unlike NYC in that respect.

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    1. For me, Vancouver had a very similar vibe to a lot of places in Finland (= emphasis on a healthy lifestyle, the sea, the parks, the nature...)

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  5. Sadly your observations about young people on the street is a massive issue and one that isn't easily dealt with. 90% of the people you see on the street have either a mental illness, or a drug problem. Vancouver is a bit of a druggie haven, it is after all, the warmest city in Canada, so the winters on the streets are easier to take. There is no doubt the Canadian system for helping and dealing with mental illness needs help, and money. In a country the massive size of Canada, with such a small population it isn't easy to keep infrastructure up to date.

    Also, Vancouver is known as a "granola cruncher crowd". That means, hemp (everything), exercise, and often a better life balance than the rest of the country. Toronto for example isn't like Vancouver at all. People are busy and always in a rush. If I could move back to BC I'd be there in an instant, but Toronto has always been the financial heart of Canada, and where most of the money (and hubby's job) is.

    Since the country is so vast each region truly does have a distinctive vibe and sometimes accent. You would find each province so different from the next.

    Also, the province dictate how your medical is handled and what kind of aid they offer to the homeless. In Alberta for example they have no provincial sales tax, however you do still have to pay for medical care (to a certain degree). In Ontario, there is a large sales tax but we don't pay for medical care.

    We have our share of problems to be certain, and there is always room for improvement, but I can say my heart belongs to Canada.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I guess it's the same problem with the welfare state, all over the world: money... And Canada is still one of the best examples of a welfare state (along with Nordic/Scandinavian countries), in terms of access to medical care and education. So, in that sense it shocked me a bit, to see homeless people, because if that happens in Canada, it could just as well happen in Finland... and yet, homeless people are a quite ordinary sight in London... What does it say about me that it doesn't shock me as much to see druggies and homeless people there?

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  6. As a fellow Canadian, I echo Suzanne's comment - she put it well. In the eighties in Vancouver there were very few people living on the streets. It's a shock now how many there are. And a shame.
    As for lifestyle, Vancouver is becoming a city for the wealthy, especially with so many offshore buyers, so it's getting hard for people who grew up here to afford to stay here. I suppose many cities in the world are experiencing this phenomenon.
    Overall, though, this is a great place to live. I'm glad you had a good time in my hometown.

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    1. Yes, it's a shock... a shame? Well, as someone who also lives in a modern welfare state (with a very similar social system as in Canada), I find it scary. We may not have homeless people on the streets (which doesn't mean there wouldn't be any; just that social problems are very well hidden in Scandinavia...) yet, but the welfare state is definitely struggling, and access to some of the public services (medical care, education etc) is under threat here, too...

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  7. Growing up near Seattle, I was really surprised about the growing homeless population in Vancouver too. Now, the city looks just like Seattle. It's a shame.

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  8. You captured Vancouver beautifully in these photos Tiina! The silos are part of Ocean Concrete, link below.

    Granville Island Silo Transformation

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    1. Thanks for the link, Sue! I was wondering about the silos... They're really impressive, and I love graffiti art.

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  9. Thanks Tiina... I am even a worse tourist. I didn't see any of this haha. So I can see it now through your photos. Also read the comments of Suzanne and Melanie. I agree, it is a shame but money makes the world go round.
    Greetje

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    1. Well, we were there only for a short while... I had maybe 2-3 days more than you, so I had a chance to go snap a few photos.

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