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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

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The Birks Building, at West Hastings & Granville Street, built in 1908, was originally a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Vancouver, a modern and growing city, is home to an increasing number of stark-looking concrete and glass structures which, it seems to me, are lacking in beauty. With this in mind, I decided to embark on yet another “Urban Trekking” mission, in order to discover some of our oldest, most imposing buildings in the downtown core.

At the south east corner of West Hastings & Granville Street, I spotted what is now called The Birks Building, housing Vancouver’s venerable jewellery store, which we’ve always called simply “Birks”. This store was formerly at the corner of Granville and Georgia Street, in a lovely old building which has since been demolished.

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The Birks Clock, on Granville Street at West Hastings.

The famous “Birks Clock” was moved to its present location in front of the store when Birks  moved north a few blocks. Many Vancouverites, (myself included!) were relieved that this iconic clock was saved. For years, it had been a special place for friends to meet each other downtown. “I’ll meet you under the Birks clock”, we’d say, when planning a get-together.

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The Sinclair Centre, on West Hastings, at the North West corner of  Granville & Hastings.

The Sinclair Centre is actually four historical buildings which were joined and renovated in 1986. One of them is the Winch Building, built from 1908 to 1911. There is a bright and welcoming atrium in the middle of the complex.

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Sinclair Centre (please note: Canadian spelling of “Centre”. Merci beaucoup!)

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The Permanent Building, 330 West Pender Street. Gorgeous doorway. They don’t make doors like this any more!

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This was a delightful find! Especially on the grey, worn streets of downtown, it’s always a treat to discover something beautiful. Someone cared enough to use their imagination in creating this small but lovely “tableau” of living plants and a wrought iron gate. I think this is on the south side of West Pender Street, near Granville. (Note the padlocks!)

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The Dominion Building, (terracotta colour), at 207 West Hastings Street, as seen from the corner of Hastings & Homer. Built in 1910, this was Vancouver’s first steel-framed high-rise.

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Ceiling lights and decoration on the outside entrance of the Dominion Building.

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Pink Alleyway!! between Granville & Seymour Streets, just to the south of Hastings.

On the day I took this photo, there was a lively “Public Disco” event taking place.

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Inside the amazing Paper Hound Bookshop, on West Pender Street. Not just any old second hand bookstore, this one has a great selection of carefully chosen and  nicely displayed books. Notice the original brick wall, which was uncovered during restoration.

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Vintage sign discovered underneath the plaster on a Gastown store wall.

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Another original brick wall in Gastown, in The Old Faithful Shop, on West Cordova Street, decorated with a vintage Canadian canoe!

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Waterfront Station on West Cordova Street, in Gastown. Northern terminus of the Canada Line, dock and station of the Sea Bus to North Vancouver, and as you can see, a cruise ship is in port! Also the terminus for The Expo Line and the West Coast Express train.

Originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as the Pacific terminus for their transcontinental passenger trains from Toronto and Montreal, the station was opened in 1914.

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Angel of Victory”, statue of a fallen soldier and angel, at Waterfront Station in Gastown.

Created by Montreal sculptor Coeur deLion McCarthy, this bronze copy of the original dates from 1921.

Just to the right of the building in this photograph, you’ll see two lovely trees. Yes, we have Palm trees in Vancouver. This is the mild and temperate Pacific Coast, after all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Sailing Boat with Two Passengers”  (La Barque), 1900, Odilon Redon

Whoever said, “Old age is not for sissies” was certainly right! It struck me recently that living each day, especially during one’s senior years, is like sailing on an uncharted sea. This state of affairs makes life challenging, to say the least. And there’s nothing wrong with facing challenges!

I’ve decided to create a navigational story for myself, and am happy to share it with any of you (no matter what age you are) who are interested. This will be an ongoing project, appearing on my blog from time to time. The navigational entries will always be titled Beautiful Elders: Sailing on an Uncharted Sea.

“As we advance in life, it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”

—Vincent van Gogh

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“Vincent van Gogh–Self Portrait with Grey Felt Hat”, 1887

Each blog post will contain encouraging, sometimes humorous, and always positive ideas for those of us who are sailing on occasionally stormy seas, occasionally calm ones, and mostly uncharted waters.

For the past few years I have noticed that older people like me are seldom to be seen in much of the media, or even on the streets of my city. Many retirees, (including five of my friends!) have moved away from the city and over to Vancouver Island or to the Sunshine Coast. Living in those places is more peaceful and less expensive than it is in Vancouver.

As for the media, it is full of young stories, young faces, and young bodies. Is this what we are meant to aspire to? Or must we, as elders, become invisible? Must we try to appear younger than our actual years? So it appears!  Of course, keeping fit and healthy, and having good muscle tone is great. But, grey hair is beautiful. Accepting our ageing bodies with grace is wise and positive. And hopefully, our graceful acceptance sends a reassuring message to younger generations.

NOTE TO SELF: KEEP MOVING!

AND: “DON’T LET YESTERDAY OR TOMORROW TAKE UP TOO MUCH OF TODAY”. In other words, try to LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. Easy to say, more difficult to practice!

“There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment.”

—Tasha Tudor

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Tasha Tudor canoeing

In our present-day North American culture, whatever has happened to the concept of respecting the elders? In some cultures (bless them!), such as those of North and South American indigenous people, elders are revered even to this day. It used to be the norm to learn from the wisdom of older people, but in present day Western society, this idea seems to be rare.

However, there is hope! Here’s a quotation from a thirteen-year-old girl I know:

“In another time, being an elder would mean that you had survived. This society has become obsessed with a misconception of beauty that doesn’t include what is real.”

And remember:

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”

—Albert Einstein

Until next time, Pleasant Sailing!

 

 

 

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Today’s quotations:

More than anything, I must have flowers, always, always.

–Claude Monet

 

You mustn’t rely on flowers to make your garden attractive. A good bone structure must come first, with an intelligent use of evergreen plants so that the garden is always clothed no matter what time of year. Flowers are an added delight, but a good garden is the garden you enjoy looking at even in the depth of winter.

–Margery Fish

 

 

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Now that we’re in the midst of summer, Southlands Nursery is much quieter than it was in late May, when I posted the first half of this entry. But it is still just as beautiful!

Surrounded by greenery, close to many riding stables, within walking distance of the Fraser River’s North Arm, and a neighbour to the Musqueam Nation, Southlands Nursery is in a very special location.

As always, this nursery is a work of art. It is obvious that the owners care very much about what they are doing, and it involves more than simply making money, important as that may be!

 

 

 

 

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Tucked in between the North Arm of the Fraser River and Marine Drive in South Vancouver sits an area called “Southlands”. Stretching for a few miles, it is a wonderfully “country-like” district, and is home to numerous horse stables, lovely homes, several golf courses, and best of all, Southlands Nursery, which is located at 6550 Balaclava St.

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to be invited to share in a few riding lessons in the Southlands area with my best friend Pat and her three sisters. Even way back then, going down to “The Flats”, as we called Southlands, was always a special experience. A part of the city of Vancouver, at the same time it is removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s peaceful there.

And that’s why I love going to visit Southlands Nursery, a magical, other-worldly place of exceptional beauty. Not simply a place which sells plants, this gorgeous nursery is a work of art, a little piece of Paradise within the city. Around each corner appears another stunningly beautiful display of plants, pots, garden statuary, supplies and greenhouses.

Southlands Nursery is the ongoing creation of its owners: Thomas Hobbs and Brent Beattie, who opened it in 1991.

See their website for more details.

I always feel rejuvenated, peaceful and inspired after visiting Southlands Nursery. (And no, I don’t work for them! I just want to share another of my favourite Vancouver Treasures with you readers and fellow bloggers.)

To be continued…

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Today’s Quotations:

If you would like to be happy your whole life long, become a gardener.

–Old Chinese Proverb

When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.

–Minnie Aumonier

 

 

 

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“We are what we think, having become what we thought.”

–Buddha

As the Buddha taught, our thoughts create who we are. I’ve discovered that it is possible to change one’s thoughts, although it’s sometimes not easy! There will be challenges for all of us throughout life, but focussing on the light, the beauty, and the good things in life really helps.

In keeping with Joie du Soleil’s main aim, which is to focus on the positive rather than the negative, I’m posting another upbeat song: “Happy Talk”, from the movie “South Pacific”. Even a tiny dream, even looking forward to some small excitement or pleasure each day can be a way to live more peacefully, more contentedly.

Related links for you to peruse are here as well. One for CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and one for MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The CBT teaches ways to change our thoughts, and the MBSR is Mindfulness Meditation, which helps us to simply focus on the present moment.

“The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”

–Pete Seeger, American songwriter and folksinger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral-therapy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_stress_reduction

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Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

Gates mark both an entrance and an exit, a coming and a going, an invitation to enter and a signal to stay out.

Keeping some things out, other things in, opening and closing, gates can be both practical and beautiful. Some gates are imposing, others whimsical, while some are simply utilitarian.

A “gateway” is an opening or structure framing a gate, also called an entrance or an exit. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

A “gate” is a hinged moveable barrier in a wall or fence etc. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

And from the Highroad Dictionary: “gate” is an opening with a road through; that which closes the opening.

Once I started to notice gates and take photos of them, I was hooked, and began to really look carefully at their structure and beauty. Even ramshackle gates interest me. “Who built this gate, and when, and how is it constructed?” I wonder. The sheer number of varying gate designs is wonderful. No two seem to be identical! Only one problem: now whenever I go for walks in and around Vancouver, I am constantly stopping to admire yet another lovely gate!

First in a series of “Gates of Vancouver”, here are a dozen which I’ve discovered on the west side of our fair city.

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Third and final (for now) in my series of “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver”, this is an eclectic selection from my ramblings about town. As a person who walks a fair bit, and slowly, at that, I tend to stop and really look at things. And having a camera in hand is all the better!

Magical Green "Tunnel" on Wall Street. (Photo by PEB)

Magical Green “Tunnel” on Wall Street. (Photo by PEB)

Dunbar Street Village, at West 18th Avenue

Dunbar Street Village, at West 18th Avenue

Pocket Garden, near Granville Island

Pocket Garden, near Granville Island

Love these concrete containers!

Love these concrete containers!

One of my long-time favourite spots: Banyen Books, now on W. 4th Ave. at Dunbar St.

One of my long-time favourite spots: Banyen Books, now on W. 4th Ave. at Dunbar St.

Banyen's beautiful front entrance.

Banyen’s beautiful front entrance.

Banyen Bookstore's secret side garden, on Dunbar St.

Banyen Bookstore’s secret side garden, on Dunbar St.

Another of Vancouver's saved secret treasures: Jericho Lands. This almost got paved over!

Another of Vancouver’s saved secret treasures: Jericho Lands. This almost got paved over!

"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."  -Joyce Kilmer

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”
-Joyce Kilmer

At the Jericho Lands pond...Mallard Ducks.

At the Jericho Lands pond…Mallard Ducks.

Today’s Quotation:

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.

-Elizabeth Lawrence

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