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Posts Tagged ‘hidden treasures’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttp://www.vancouverchinesegarden.com/

Being a port city on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver is blessed with many cultures, and many people from all over the world. We have a close connection with other countries whose shores are also on the “Pacific Rim”, including China.

If you want to “escape” the rush and bustle of the city while still remaining in it, a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden will make you feel, at least briefly, that you have entered a little paradise. This glorious Asian garden is what I like to call one of the “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver”. Situated right in the middle of Vancouver’s original “Chinatown”, the garden is a true gem. See the link above, under the first photograph, to read more about the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which is located at 578 Carrall Street.

On the day I took these photographs, my camera played a wonderful trick on me, and turned everything a beautiful shade of blue! Sometime in the future, I’ll do a blog post about how I acquired my camera, an older Olympus, as a gift from a friend. The gift came with no instructions, so I just learn as I go along with it, which is fun and challenging at the same time. I decided to post my blue pictures, and hope you enjoy them. Blue is such a soothing, peaceful, calming colour!

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Next week, February 16th will be Chinese New Year, celebrating the Year of the Dog.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nāma=Sanskrit for Name

These photos were taken on two different days at the Naam restaurant on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver’s Kitsilano district. Opened in the late 1960’s, the Naam is Vancouver’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, and is my absolute favourite.

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Wholesome food, a comfortable rustic patio and outdoor deck, open 24 hours, 7 days a week!

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The Naam is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, and hasn’t really changed much since we began to go there when it first opened in 1968.

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Those were the days when 4th Avenue was sometimes called “Rainbow Road”, and was a hippie haven. Times have changed, but somehow the Naam has stayed magical, retaining some of the old character of the 1960’s.

Everything changes, everything stays the same.

–Buddhist saying

Be prepared for large servings of delicious vegetarian food, and possible lineups at the door during lunch and dinner hours and all day on weekends. For me, it’s well worth the wait. The Naam burger plate, with salad and Naam fries, is my favourite.

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Meanwhile, my husband tucks into his Naam Dragon Bowl, brimming with rice and vegetables, sprouts and a special sauce.

I’ve noticed that the Naam’s present-day clientele is for the most part quite young. People in their 20’s and 30’s seem to love going there. But every age group is welcome!

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The original art work on the walls is always changing, and is usually for sale. Every evening of the week there is live music, and the Naam is licensed.

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http://www.thenaam.com

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Everything old is new again. (even the Naam!)

…an old saying…

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Before launching into my Railtown photos, I’d like to re-state my main reasons for creating this blog: to “share the beauty”, and to “accentuate the positive”.

A few years ago, I experienced an unsettling health issue, as everyone does, sooner or later! In order to cope with tests and treatments, some of which are ongoing, I decided to aim for a positive attitude and positive thoughts.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

–William James

I found that the practice of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), combined with Mindfulness Meditation, leads to increased calmness and acceptance of even difficult situations. (see my previous blog post, “Happy Talk”, March 13, 2014.)

CBT’s “Re-frame that thought” is a simple but valuable concept which means to change negative thoughts to positive ones. It’s not easy, but is possible with practice.

Having a blog helps to keep me on track, and at the same time is a good way to share with others the beauty I see everywhere. My blog stats show “views” from people in many different parts of the world, probably because they want to learn about Vancouver. We live in such a lovely city, in spite of its problems and growing pains, and there are “HIDDEN TREASURES” everywhere. Here’s one that we discovered recently, in a most unlikely spot:

RAILTOWN: a district in the oldest part of Vancouver, formerly housing mainly light industry, factories, warehouses and access to shipping docks and railroad lines.

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Above is a map of the Railtown area in Vancouver, B.C.

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Formerly the American Can Company building, now housing offices.

The area now called “Railtown” is located next to the shoreline of Burrard Inlet and the railway tracks of the original CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). Because Vancouver is the largest working port on the West Coast of Canada, its harbour, docks, and railyards have always been central to the evolution of the city.

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A view down an alley, looking North, towards the railway tracks, the docks on Burrard Inlet, and the North Shore mountains.

The port of Vancouver is ideally situated, lying in a protected inlet, miles from the open Pacific Ocean. Every ship that enters our inner harbour has to pass underneath Lions Gate Bridge, which connects Vancouver to the North Shore. Grains, lumber, sulphur, and hundreds of other products are transported worldwide, some arriving by rail, and most leaving the port via freighters. Vancouver is in the midst of an ongoing fight over whether an existing oil pipeline will be given the go-ahead to double its capacity. Oil from the Alberta tar sands is loaded into freighters in our harbour, then shipped around the world. Many people are concerned about possible oil spills in Vancouver’s fairly pristine waters,  and also about climate change, resulting partly from the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Time will tell what decision is made. I know where I stand!

Today, the area now called Railtown is changing into an interesting mix of housing, restaurants, offices, some light industry, artists’ lofts and the ongoing port and rail activities.

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We had great panini here for lunch, (note: Italian: “panini” is plural, “panino” is singular!) at the Railtown Cafe. It’s very popular with young office workers in the area.

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The old “Empire Stevedoring” building, which once housed the Longshoremens’ Hall, where longshoremen were dispatched to various work sites on the docks. Now home to the Railtown Cafe and other offices.

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Nifty elevator for people who work in or visit the building which used to be the American Can Company.

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“DON’T”….Vancouver graffiti at its best. 🙂

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Old red brick building…not so great if an earthquake hits! Let’s hope it never does.

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The Japanese Hall, built in 1928.

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One of Vancouver’s famous “food trucks”.

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An unusual, dark “grotto” of some sort, in a parking lot! Kind of lovely, in its own way.

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The old B.C. Sugar Refining Company, by the railway tracks.

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Imperial Rice Milling Company Building.

One of the reasons I like this area is that the old buildings are being saved, not demolished, at least so far. This is very unusual for Vancouver, which is undergoing massive change, with demolitions everywhere. Construction cranes dot our skyline, and tall new buildings are popping up at an alarming rate. To see some of these lovely old, art-deco buildings from the 20’s and 30’s being given new life in Railtown is gratifying!

Photos by PEB

 

 

 

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Passing through the gateway, from the street into the garden, we are invited to enter into another world.

As well as being a barrier, a gate can mark a welcoming passageway, a link to what lies beyond.

I discovered all of these wonderful gates on one single block of our fair city! Fronting on a one block-long, hidden street in Kitsilano, each gate seems to beckon the walker to enter the garden. Not wanting to be trespassers, at least we can stop and look beyond the gate, and maybe even take a photo!

The bonus to this block is that it backs onto Kits Beach, with a rustic pathway boasting many “back gates”.

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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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Second in the series “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver”, is a lovely but not too well-known spot called the Jericho Sailing Centre. Situated between Locarno Beach on the west and Jericho Beach on the east, this delightful centre offers memberships to owners of non-motorized boats. Not only does it have proper launching ramps and safe storage, but also an enclosed space to work on your boat. The caretaker’s cottage is a gem, and can be seen in the first two photos here. But best of all, there’s great beer on tap in the Jericho Galley Cafe, not to mention the delicious sweet potato fries and salmon burgers. And the view! Fantastic sunsets, and a great way to end a day of sailing, paddling or rowing. Hard to believe this is right in Vancouver. It’s a great escape!

Jericho Sailing Centre Caretaker's Cottage

Jericho Sailing Centre Caretaker’s Cottage

One-of-a-kind garden decor!

One-of-a-kind garden decor!

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View from the boat shed

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“Skip”, a work in progress

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Sailboats at Jericho and Vancouver skyline

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Brisk Westerly blowing the B.C. flag. “Sleeping Beauty” mountains in background.

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Looking West, toward the Strait of Georgia, also known as the Salish Sea.

Ready to set sail!

Today’s quotation:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely seas and the sky.

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

-from: “Sea Fever”, by John Masefield

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