The Fraser Valley

I usually think of the Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver, as a string of bedroom communities interspersed with factory farms. On a trip to the Chilliwack area recently, though, I was reminded that this is not necessarily the case. Maybe the towns aren’t very exciting but this valley in the Coast Mountains is brilliantly green, with a moody climate, and is absolutely striking visually.

Coal Harbour

This is where I live and it’s too easy to take it for granted sometimes. Coal Harbour, when it was named, was indeed a port where coal was loaded onto ships with destinations such as San Francisco. In time it became and industrial area where trains were loaded onto ships bound for Vancouver Island, and where ship builders, engine manufacturers, welders and all sorts of services for the marine industry were located. In recent years it has become home to multi-million dollar condominiums but in the planning stage the city got one thing right. The entire length of the waterfront is public. There is a seawall for pedestrians and bikes and numerous park areas for all to enjoy. Here are a few pictures.

Bloedel Conservatory

The Bloedel Conservatory is an indoor tropical garden located in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. What better way to escape a cold, dreary, January afternoon and get a sense of the exotic than to take a $5.00 trip to the tropics. This geodesic dome is home to numerous birds and countless plants but today, it’s future is in doubt as the city is considering closing it to save money. I mean, we have to pay for last winter’s Olympics after all. Here are a few photos that I hope do not become historical pieces.

Classic Americana

A couple of months ago, Sue and I were invited on a fam trip to a “new” hotel in Port Townsend, Washington. The hotel was a converted, 100-year-old cannery on the waterfront that had great attention to detail in the various fittings. Our host was a very gracious man and we thoroughly enjoyed the stay. While we were there we went for a drive around Jefferson County and stumbled upon “Fat Smitty’s Hamburgers,” which had a big banner on the front that read, “We Support Our Troops. Wake Up America.” The whole exterior of the place symbolized everything that is wrong with the US — militarism, obesity, and even excessive consumption as Smitty’s derelict car was a 1970s Lincoln land yacht. On close inspection the car had a faded bumper sticker that read, “Ross Perot in ’92,” and in the back window had a sticker for the American Rifle Association. The whole scene was classic Americana. But, I bet if I were to meet Smitty, and he didn’t talk about his politics, I’d like the guy. Go figure.