Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vancouver Winter

I'm probably restless by nature. Life's an adventure and I so often think it would be fun to encounter a whole new terrain and city by moving elsewhere in Canada.  I love Toronto for it's genius and sophistication.  It's all the best of London and New York. I've never not enjoyed being in Toronto, truly one of my all time favourite cities.

With my Dad in Ottawa I'm even beginning to appreciate that despite being the nation's capital it's not as stuffy a town as I thought. There's Hull across the river too and that place is fun.

I miss Winnipeg where I grew up on a regular basis. It's the city of people.  I always think of Winnipeg as creativity and intellectual energy.  Another Winnipeg expatriat says the same but insists 'it's because they're inside all year because of the cold or the mosquitoes that they have to get along and have so much time for conversation and creativity.'  Saskatoon and Regina are really warm and friendly and high minded towns.  I've loved my stays and love the fishing that's even better in Saskatchewan than Manitoba and Ontario.  Calgary and Edmonton are great cities.  I loved my times at the Calgary Rodeo and think if I was there I could get back to weekend horseback riding. It's such an upbeat town. I've actually enjoyed skiing at Banf and Lake Louise more than I've enjoyed skiing at Whistler. But Cypress and Grouse Mountain are unsurpassed being practically in the heart of Vancouver.

Further east, there's Halifax of course.  That's New England with a heart. I love the city. Dalhousie University makes it what it is. A little city with all the genius of any university town but this one is a major port.  Fredericktown I don't know. It's really no reflection on the city.  I loved the New Brunswich countryside.  Prince Edward Island is a jewel and Charlottetown has elegance and grace. But it's a tiny island and  as much as I love Victoria and Nanaimo I don't like the constantly increasing ferry rates and the delays in travel that go with island living.  I felt cut off a bit when I lived on Vancouver Island but maybe if I didn't have to make so many trips to the mainland it would be better. Certainly island living without the travel is terrific.

Montreal was a favourite city until the French conflict turned it into a war zone.  The only city in Canada to have tanks on the streets and terrorism. Despite the fashion hub and vive of the city I just can't forget that it's a city where my speaking English got me attacked.  I don't think I can feel safe in Montreal though I loved Quebec City and the people of Quebec have always been the finest.

I loved Watson Lake in the Yukon. Northern people are the most competent and unique in the world.  It makes me think Nunuvut would be the place to be at times.

Maybe Brandon Manitoba. I sure loved that surprisingly modern town in the outskirts of Manitoba where the farming and riding are the best.

Yet when I think of all the merits of the other cities and towns of Canada and know I'd love to live there so I could explore more the wondrous land of Canada, with it's wilderness and outbacks and extraordinary terrains ,I keep coming back to Vancouver.  Mostly because of the mild weather. The rain is awful. It's probably the most depressing place to be in winter with it's dark misery and constant rain but the temperature is always mild. All year round I can have a coffee outside.

All winter I've walked my dog and at lunch had a sandwich or burger at one of the covered outdoor cafe's.  He's on a leash beside me. I'm sitting with my jacket open.  We're doing the street cafe thing all year round. And I love it.

Also I love my motorcycle. For another year I've ridden all year. The Vancouver drivers are stoned and insane and drive worse than anywhere but Montreal but nowhere else in Canada can you drive a motorcycle year round.  Winnipeg would be so much nicer if they let you drive ski doos to work. It would definitely improve living in Winnipeg or Edmonton for that matter.

Then there's my sailboat.  The lakes are frozen half the year in the rest of Canada.  I can sail year round here and do enjoying winter sailing in the Strait of Georgia even if others think I'm crazy.  I don't know I'd like the North Atlantic as much off Halifax.  Gordon Light's Edmund Fitzgerald is a poignant reminder of the winter winds on the Great Lakes.  Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba are pretty much frozen.

So despite the charm and warmth and welcome of the rest of Canada, despite the corruption and cold heartedness at times in Vancouver, the climate here is hard to beat especially for sailors and motorcyclists.  I'm thankful for another day in Vancouver.



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