Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vancouver Grows Greater Every Day


Vancouver  grows.  I look up and see all the cranes and that’s the sign of a successful city. There’s space for business here. There’s a wild west feel. What I don’t like is petty. It’s hard to provide excellence in health care at the bargain basement rates while paying top drawer costs for all services in the city.  But that doesn’t detract from the growth of the city.  Cranes everywhere.  Vancouver despite the mayor cutting down trees for bike lanes and all manner of other oddities is really expanding. There’s fuel lines flowing through the city bringing riches to all. There’s work for construction industry and tech is expanding. Vancouver is really attracting brilliant people. Our cancer research facilities are the best. I’m bitching and whining and complaining but UBC is magnificent in it’s achievements.  I’m loving the rapid transport advances made in the city. Of course it’s always been one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It’s a rich person dream destination. The police protect the rich here, not the moderate rich, but the very rich. it’s a place where the million dollar homes are worth a million dollars and the million dollar cars are worth a million dollars. It’s a rich city. It’s a place with the finest restaurants and all manner of toys and places to play really close by. There’s drugs and alcohol and nightclubs and shootings in the street.  There’s gangs, public and private. There’s a fast crowd. There’s an uptown wheeling dealing with outlandish markets and stock exchanges and back alley drug deals.  It’s got the street whores galore and the uptown underage girl and boy prosttitues going for thousands a night.  It’s Sin City.  New York and LA are clean towns compared to Vancouver. Hong Kong has nothing on this city. Surrey is infamous.  It’s that kind of rapid growth places. It brings a fast crowd. 

But then there’s the cranes.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.  Wood and mines and fisheries are still fantastic sources of abundance. We’re blessed with the riches here from land and sea. There’s cattle ranching in the interior but there’s also a hub where ships meet the land where railways and trucks unload. It’s everything. This increadible place.  

I’ve lived in the west end where parties went all night every night. I’m in Burnaby now. A suburb like Richmond, Kits, Westvan, and North Vanc. One of the inner suburbs as Cloverdale and Sqaumish become the new commuter suburbs of the ever expanding city.  It’s built on a peninsula and we live in fear of earthquakes and tsunamis.  But there’s no success without risk.  If you want to feel peace you vacation in Merrit or Oosooyos or Kelowna.  There’s tranquility there. But here is buzz. It’s big city in a beautiful location. it’s San Francisco with a whole lot more.  It’s 10 years ago and 20 years a head. it’s Vancouver.  City of cities.  Everyone from all over the world is coming here.  Our friends are every colour and every religion and they or their parents came from different conteninest or the furthest reaches of this once great nation Canada.  Now Vancouver is great and Canada is floundering like a fat gutted beast waiting to surface again when it’s re invented itself to somehow be with the times. Vancouver has the energy. Vancouver has the people. Vancouver has it all.  The corruption is it’s fertilizer.  

We manage here.  The rain washes away the tears.  The summers are fast. The beaches are packed and in winter we strap boards on our feet and laugh skiing and snowboarding down the pristine slopes of Grouse and Whistler. There’s hiking and sailing and swimming pools outdoors and in. A whole lot of people actually bicycle no matter how much we like to make fun of our mayor whose vision is to have the city a kind of Amsterdam on the west coast. There’s ideas galore here. Ted talks comes here. It’s Hollywood of the North.  There’s opportunities. The Chinese say, ‘may you live in interesting times’ Interesting times are times of great opportunity and great disaster. It’s that way here. Business go boom or bust. The downtown east side with itis’ drugs and disease are the dregs of thousands of once bright dreams.  The city is a hard city for those who are trusting and don’t recognize the thieves and killers in their midst. It’s not just the fentanyl but the drug dealers who know the poison gives a profit.  There’s risk here.  It’s with risk there’s potential for high finance.  People are coming from all over the globe for that risk and venture.  

Vancouver is a new city state.  Our airport is a wonder of modern fast technology and ancient West Coast aboriginal art.  The planes bring the businessmen to the conferences along with the writers and scientists. It’s a hub city. It’s a great city. It’s amazing. Really truly amazing.  The Aquarium is a wonder in the city’s huge park with the magnificent seawall and grand protected English Bay harbour.  It’s hard to believe that one day men in canoes looked on this pristine wonder and knowing that know that someday soon space ships will land where today planes do.  Intergallactic travel is years or decades hence and men and wearing redwood bark clothing could not know that in a mere century the sky rises would be coming to their land.  

It’s out of Vancouver flights go north and south to Alaska and the Yukon. The fishing boats to the northern pacific harbour here. The roads to Fort St.John and Fort McMurray depart from here. Vancouver is still the gold rush city of before but now the wealth is in everything, in people, and products and communication and transport and energy and commodities and people power and raw material. It’s a centre of centres. And everywhere there are cranes and this present government has helped business grow and prosperity arise.  

The life expectancy here gets longer and longer.  

The intensity gets more and more.

It’s a place where fireworks happen annually alongside the Shakespearean Bard on the Beach and Vancouver Folk Festival.  The BC Ballet Performs and the Vancouver Opera is world renown. And we all love our Canucks Hockey Team dearly. But there’s all the unsung sports and the Fringe Theatre and the cubby holes like Banyan Books that make Vancouver so unique and appealing. It’s got such character and charm with Granville Island and Londsale Key and Orcas sometimes sited in the harbour. There’s always Eagles and Seagulls.  Coyotes walk through the city.  Sometimes a bear or a moose even gets lost in the suburbs. it’s high tech and rural wilderness juxtapose in clashes and comfort. Harrison Lake so near and yet so far with hot springs and nearer still Chilliwack Tulip Festival taking off on the over the border Mount Verno Tulip festivals. We ride our Harley Motorcycles and sports cars down the seaside roads to Seattle and Portland and get a rush in another land and another country. Our near by Gulf Islands with all their charm are just across from the San Juan Islands with all that Yankee and southern spirit. We’re surrounded everywhere with specialness and precious adventures. 

Vancouver is fabulous.  Poetry readings and Soccer games and even cricket and lacrosse. And in the pubs they shoot billiards and darts and dance the night away.  Gay Davie street and earthy Commercial and uptown Robson and the Art Gallery and funky Granville and movie theatre complex and karaoke and everything the heart desires.  And less and less Ottawa and more and more Hong Kong and Washington. It’s a world city . It’s a great city.  It’s LA in the north. It’s Tokyo east. It’s Manilla in Canada. It’s Mumbai and St. Petersburg. it’s still italian and Greek and all the British are here as well. But it’s so much more.

Even now there are daffodils and crocuses hearkening a new spring.  Vancouver is always known for it’s early spring.  The winters are dark and wet and dreary and even cold sometimes but the spring comes soon and the cyclists and motorcycles come out and then the walkers and the hikers and the city that cocooned for a few short months becomes the outside city it really is.  The streets fill and the outdoor restaurant and cafe’s blossomed with conversation and laughter.  

Vancouver is a great city.  A really really great city becoming greater every day.

IMG 4452Bill and Gilbert

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