About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, August 25, 2014

G is for GASTOWN

Welcome to G week at ABC Wednesday.  This week, I'd like to show you a bit of Gastownthe historic and cultural heart of Vancouver and the city’s oldest neighbourhood.  As the birthplace of Vancouver, Gastown was initially a settlement that sprung up in 1867 around a tavern founded by sailor and gold prospector John "Gassy Jack" Deighton. This historic district's cobblestone streets are lined with Victorian buildings that today house everything from souvenir shops and First Nations galleries to stylish clothing boutiques. With informational plaques placed strategically along the street to tell the history behind various buildings and landmarks, Gastown is an excellent area for a walking tour.  Here is the statue commemorating "Gassy Jack."
The steam-powered clock is the most famous landmark of Gastown, although not the oldest.  Built to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver's distributed steam-heating system, the clock was built as a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather.  The steam powers the clock's sound as it whistles to tell the time.
A modern phenomenon in Gastown is the annual Gastown Grand Prix when cyclists from all over the world attend and vie for the highest one day prize purse for both the winning prize and total prize purse for a Canadian Criterium. The first race was held in 1973 and the tight course was "electrifying ... and ended in dramatic fashion with Bill Wild, one of the finest sprinters of the time, trading punches with transported Kiwi and three time Canadian National Road Champion Max Grace while battling it out in the final sprint. Wild won the race and took home first prize, which was a colour TV."  The 80's saw the emergence of professional cycling teams and the 90's brought youth teams to the forefront.  In 1994, the GGP could not find a sponsor, so it took a 9-year hiatus until it started up again in 2002.  There was a second hiatus between 2009 and 2012, but it's back on track now with men and women from all over the world competing in the GGP.
Photos this week are courtesy of Mr. Google.  Don't forget to give a high five to the gorgeous Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the gallant Roger, our administrator.  Also, don't forget the gang of helpers that give generously of their time by visiting about 10 contributions each week to help ease the load of the leaders.  Please be an angel and contact Roger and he will gladly put you on the roster for next week's visits. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

F is for FUN at the FAIR

This week, F is Fun at the FAIR!  It's actually the Pacific National Exhibition, but we all just refer to it as the "Fair."  It started on Saturday, August 16th and has been held at Hastings Park in Vancouver since 1910.  Every year it's a huge attraction from mid-August until Labour Day at the beginning of September.  I can remember going to the Fair as a small child with my parents, taking my two little nephews before I had children of my own, and taking my own children when they were small. 

There are several parts to the Fair.  Playland is a great draw for kids and adults of any age with its iconic wooden roller coaster and rides like Atmos-Fear, the Hellevator, the Corkscrew, the Scrambler, Westcoast Wheel, Pirate, etc.  Then there are the games like Whac-a-Mole, Pop Gun, Jump Shot, Ring Toss, Crossbow and more...Don't bother to bring a lunch or dinner because there is more food to try than you can imagine.  The always popular Hunky Bill's Perogies are fantastic, as are the C-Lovers Fish 'n Chips, Gourmet Burgers, the Rib Festival, hot dogs, fries, donuts and pizzas....and more...
Don't forget to visit the Big Red Barn that features all things agricultural where you can actually see a calf being born.  There's Safeway's Farm Country and the Pacific Spirit Horse Show with dressage and jumping and Cattle Penning  in the Agrodome Building.  Also, see 4H clubs in action.
Among the live shows being presented are Super Dogs (an absolute MUST SEE!), pig races, Toon City, Retro Dance Party, Bones and Scully (pirates!), and some new shows - Thunder Drums of China, Mystic India, and Timber! a stompin' lumberjack shindig!   Also, the stars come out in the evenings and this year the Fair is having (among others) Joan Jett, Chilliwack, Air Supply, LeeAnn Rimes, Trooper, Gipsy Kings, Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, the Pointer Sisters, and Glass Tiger!  A great lineup this year.  I even remember seeing Tom Jones one year when I was in my early 20s.  A couple of years ago, I saw Hall and Oates!  So exciting!  Here's a shot of Chilliwack who will be performing on August 19th (free with your admission to the fair).
Then there's the always popular Prize Home to wander through.  Ticket sellers are out in full force hawking tickets to win the house or any of a myriad of cars or vacations.  This year's house will be located in the Okanagan town of Kelowna and has had the interior design done by Jillian Harris (who was on the Bachelor a few seasons ago). 
So if you're planning a trip to Vancouver, be sure to come when the Fair is on because you just might want to spend more than one day there.  So much to see, so much to do, and not enough time for it all. There is so much more than I've put in here, so you just have to see it for yourselves.  Oh, I almost forgot about the special thing they have this year - the Game of Thrones Traveling Exhibition - and you can actually sit on the throne and view 100's of artifacts from the show!  Here's my daughter Jamie with husband Jason and their two children.
Finally, don't forget to throw out a thank you to the fascinating Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and to our favourite Roger, ABCW's administrator.  Also, we're still looking for fabulous volunteers to help visit a few blogs each week, so let Roger know if you're interested. Here's a little slide show of some of my own photos from when Lorne and I went in 2011 - enjoy.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

EERIE HOTEL EUROPE

Welcome to E week at ABC Wednesday!  Are we having fun yet?  I am!  Continuing my series about the elegant city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, I give you the Hotel Europe.

Hotel Europe is a six-storey flatiron building that stands at the corner of Water, Alexander and Powell Streets in Gastown (near Chill Winston). The 100+ year old building was completed in 1909 and is home to one, possibly two, ghosts.

on the left is the building just finished in 1909 and on the right how it is today
The ground floor used to be a restaurant and is now Kimprints. Beneath the restaurant was an underground saloon accessible by stairs from a sidewalk entrance. The underground area, including the saloon, extended beneath the sidewalk on both sides of the Hotel Europe; this extension is commonly known as “areaways,” a typical feature of  buildings in Gastown. Areaways were used to load/unload freight through trap doors in the sidewalk. The Hotel Europe’s areaways were filled in, bricked-up and the underground saloon is now a storage cellar.

As for the supernatural experiences at The Hotel Europe, the first reported encounter with the paranormal was in the 80s by a contractor who was doing some repair work in the cellar, near the old areaway entrance. While working on the repairs, he left briefly and when he returned, his tools were scattered on the floor. Perhaps they fell on their own or perhaps it was one of the spirits that haunts this fantastic building. If that wasn’t eerie enough, he also heard scratching noises coming from behind the brick wall. The contractor refused to come to back to finish up the job. To this day, scratching noises have been reported by numerous people coming from the other side of the bricked-up areaway. It could be rodents, however; the areaways had been filled in a long time ago.

The second ghost is that of a man who occasionally appears in Kimprints. One evening, after closing time, a store clerk saw the ghost clearly reflected in the security mirror. When she went to check it out, nobody was there. The same employee also reported seeing the spirit of the man again on another occasion.  (from here)

The Hotel Europe was built in 1908-l909...and was among the first reinforced concrete buildings in the city and currently provides affordable housing.  One of the building's biggest cinematic claims to fame is its role as the Seattle Historical Society in the 1980 thriller "The Changeling, starring George C. Scott...  The hotel's Gastown neighbourhood ... is among Vancouver's busiest film locations.  Films shot [here] include Big Eyes, Fringe, Catwoman, the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Legends of the Fall, I Robot and 21 Jump Street - the 1980's TV series that launched Johnny Depp's career.  (from The Province Newspaper, Sunday, July 13, 2014)
photo credit - Tom Richards
The hotel certainly does look rather eerie in this photo!  Even so, I wish I could go inside to have a look around.  Instead, I will give thanks to the effervescent Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABCW, and to the efficient Roger, our administrator.  Also, exuberant thanks go out to Diane W. who has jumped on the bandwagon as part of the team that helps out by visiting the participants.  Don't be left out of the fun of meeting new friends here...it does happen!  So contact Roger and sign up, so the workload is lighter for everyone!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

D is for DOWNTOWN

This week ABC Wednesday is brought to you by the letter D.  I thought I'd give you a bit of an idea what Vancouver's DOWNTOWN looks like.  It's broken up into several districts like Chinatown, the financial district, English Bay and the West End, Gastown, the Granville entertainment center, and Robson Street. There are a few other districts, but smaller in comparison.

This is English Bay, one of the first views visitors have of Vancouver before cruising in under the Lions' Gate Bridge:
I can attest to it truly being a magnificent sight since I've cruised past here twice!  Stanley Park is also near here, but I'm saving that for our S week!  Here's a good shot of the skyscrapers that abound in downtown Vancouver.
Visitors from the cruise ships can walk up from the terminal into this area to find shopping, restaurants, the Art Gallery and museums, etc.  Also, you can meander down Robson Street (aka Robsonstrasse) to see all the high-end boutiques there.  This is Vancouver's version of "Rodeo Drive." Apparently, Nordstrom is opening up soon, too.
 
At Robson and Granville Streets, you'll find Vancouver's main entertainment district.  Here are movie theaters, the famous Orpheum Theater (saving for O week) more restaurants, bars, dance clubs, and nightclubs, along with the famous Rogers Arena (saving for R week). 
This last shot is of the dining room at the famous Vancouver Hotel.

In the Davie Street Village of Vancouver's downtown area, you will find the first rainbow sidewalks that were put in last summer to kick off Pride Week celebrations.  "Over its 35-year history, the Vancouver Pride Parade has grown to be the fifth largest in the world with over 650,000 people involved last year. More than 150 floats from every part of the community will cover three kilometres over three hours."  from the Vancouver Sun
At the other end of downtown Vancouver, you will find Gastown and Yaletown (which I'll save for Y week).  Gastown is a national historic site because it was Vancouver's original downtown core and is named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area's first saloon.  This area is a definite "must see!"
Finally, I'll show you a bit of Canada's largest Chinatown - another popular tourist attraction. 
When I was a little girl, my parents used to take us out for Chinese food here and we also went to the annual Chinese New Year's Parade to see the dragon.  This is a photo of the gates into Chinatown. 
These were our two favourite restaurants downtown when I was a kid:
That's all I'm going to show you about Vancouver's Downtown but there is so much more than this.  I hope some of you are beginning to think Vancouver is a great place to visit!  Bring lots of film because you won't want to forget anything!

I hope if you're a newbie here, you're enjoying taking part in ABC Wednesday.  Be sure to remember the darling Mrs. Nesbitt, the creator and founder of ABCW, and the debonair Roger, our administrator.  Also, remember that "many hands make light work," so if you're interested in becoming part of the dastardly team by visiting a few posters each week, do let Roger know.

Monday, July 28, 2014

C is for CANADA PLACE

"Welcome to Canada Place, Canada’s inspiring national landmark welcoming you to Canada's Pacific Gateway on the West Coast. Canada Place opened in 1986 to welcome the world as Canada's Pavilion for Expo '86, and continues to welcome locals and people from around the world for Inspirationally Canadian experiences." from here 

I boarded my first cruise ship here and headed under the Lions Gate Bridge on my way to Alaska.
"The Cruise Ship Terminal at Canada Place welcomes upwards of 900,000 passengers each year. The 3-berth terminal can service up to 4 luxury cruise ships. The terminal is owned and operated by Port Metro Vancouver.  Each cruise ship that docks in Vancouver contributes approximately $2 million to the local economy. In 2009, the shore power initiative was completed enabling ships to connect to the shore-based electrical grid while docked. This significant environmental initiative is the first installation of this type in Canada, and only the third in the world." from here

The Five Sails is a Canadian symbol known the world over, just as the Sydney Opera House is Australia's iconic symbol.  This is my photo of the sails, taken in March 2011 when I took my daughter to a wedding fair at the Convention Center here.
On Canada Day (July 1st) each year, many festivities take place here.  For example, there is a lumberjack show; a sports zone; a Canadian Forces zone; Canada Place Way where you can stroll through the convention center to see exhibits, sample goods, or play a game of street hockey; relax at Subway's Picnic Plaza; watch the annual Citizenship Celebration where new citizens become Canadians; and later watch the parade and fireworks show over the water.
Speaking of the Convention Center, did you know that it has a green roof?  I mean, literally, it's made of grass.  My husband Lorne works here from time to time and has actually walked on it!  Amazing!
When Vancouver held the Winter Olympics here in 2010, the Olympic cauldron was placed in the west plaza of the Convention Center at Canada Place.  In this photo, you can see the mountains to the north.
Because Vancouver is well known for its rain, (which, by the way, is a gentle rain as opposed to what I've experienced in other areas of the world!) a sculpture of a rain drop was installed along the sea walk at the Convention Center.  As well, Vancouver is known for its Orca Whales and a sculpture by Douglas Coupland was installed nearby in 2009.  It is known as the "Lego Whale" or the "Pixel Whale."

I hope you enjoyed the photos, mostly from Mr. Google, this week.  If you're planning on visiting Vancouver any time, Canada Place is an absolute must.  From there, you can cross the water to see Stanley Park or stay on the same side and walk along Robson Street to see all the famous shops.

Be sure to think of and thank the charismatic Mrs. Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday and our conscientious Roger, our administrator.  Also, remember there is a team of contributors who regularly visit each and every post to leave courteous comments.  Please consider being a part of this team by contacting Roger.  Thanks!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

B is for BURRARD INLET, BRIDGES, BEACHES

Welcome to the 2nd installment of ABC Wednesday's Round 15.  This week, we will look at Burrard Inlet, two bridges that cross it and some beaches in Vancouver.  First, Burrard Inlet is a shallow coastal fjord located in southwestern British Columbia that was formed during the last Ice Age.  It separates the city of Vancouver from the slopes of the North Shore Mountains where you will find the communities of West and North Vancouver.  Two major bridges span the inlet - the Lions Gate Bridge and the Second Narrows (or Ironworkers Bridge).  Please note that all the photos this week are courtesy of Google.  None are my photos.
 
Under the Burrard Bridge is Granville Island, a wonderful place to poke around at the public market, view arts and culture, and perhaps purchase a unique gift. You also might like to stop in at a wonderful restaurant called "Bridges," where you can sit outside on the patio under bright yellow umbrellas to shield you from the hot sun.  While you enjoy your repast, watch the boats - lots of yachts to see here.
Since Vancouver is on the west coast of British Columbia, beaches abound.  On the north side of Burrard Inlet is Ambleside and Dundarave Beaches.  From this vantage point, you can watch cruise ships pass under the Lions Gate Bridge on their way to Alaska and, on windy days, watch surfers.
Coming to the southern side of Burrard Inlet, you'll find downtown Vancouver and English Bay beach.  Palm trees line the beautiful lawns and flower beds along the street and lead to sandy expanses with views across the bay.  Notice the tree growing out of the roof of the condominium to the right.  After swimming or sunbathing, simply cross the street for a sumptuous meal at the Boathouse Restaurant.

Continuing south over the Granville Street Bridge, we come to Kitsilano Beach where you'll find an actual salt water pool (the longest pool in Canada) alongside a beautiful sandy beach.  This is one of the most popular beaches in Vancouver with its spectacular views.
We continue west along the seaside of Burrard Inlet to find another beach - Jericho Beach - with its views to the east of downtown Vancouver and to the north to West Vancouver.  Beach volleyball is popular here.
Next in line is Locarno Beach, which is designated a "quiet beach" with no amplified sound allowed.  It is named after a Peace Conference held in Locarno, Switzerland in 1925 and there are concessions, volleyball courts, picnic tables and a swimming raft complete with couch.  It also has a view of downtown Vancouver and West Vancouver across the water. 
Finally, we come to Spanish Banks, so named "in commemoration of the meeting of the English under George Vancouver and the Spanish under Galiano and Valdés in June 1792." (Wikipedia)  There are three sections to this great expanse of beach:  the east section, the west section, and the expanded section.  Barbecues are permitted everywhere, there are volleyball courts in the east and west sections and a kite-boarding launch zone in the expanded section, which also allows dogs to be off leash.  Also, the west section is designated as a "quiet zone."  At low tide, the water is a kilometer off shore. It is at Spanish Banks where, when I was 5-years-old, let loose a blood-curdling scream when I knelt on a broken beer bottle at the edge of the water.  Stitches were needed and to this day, I sport a scar that runs 2 1/2 inches down from my right knee!
 
We come to the end of the city beaches, but let me tell you that there are lots more beaches in the area.  I live just south of the city and we have our own Centennial Beach that borders on Boundary Bay, so called because it borders the USA.  There are also fresh-water beaches at lakes, like Burnaby Lake right within the city limits.  To read more about this lake just click here.

I hope you'll pardon me if I boast a bit that we had 72 posters for the letter A in Round 15.  Here's hoping that even more people will join in and enjoy the camaraderie we have here.  Please remember the bright and beautiful Mrs. Nesbitt, our creator, and the brilliant and boundlessly blessed Roger, our administrator.  Don't forget that anyone can be on the team, if you don't mind visiting and commenting on about 10 posts per week.  So let Roger know you're a believer in ABCW and ready to begin!