Wednesday, March 6, 2013

HOMETOWN TOURIST: Day two

Walking in Vancouver early in the morning my nose was filled with the aroma of roasting coffee. Its flavour changed each time I walked another block and passed another coffee shop. Tantalizing, but I wasn't looking for my fix just then, I was headed west down the last two blocks of Robson.



Times Square Suites are on the edge of the residential part of the West End of Vancouver that butts up against Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park. Quiet, treelined streets with older apartment blocks. Residents were out walking their pint-sized dogs and jogging before work; several dads were walking their toddlers. A man was sweeping a walkway and another was hoeing around miniature daffodils in bloom. Everyone said good morning to me with a smile. I felt as if I was a local, not a guest in a lovely hotel.

I was on a quest to find the Nature House run by the Stanley Park Ecology Society because in the summer months they run programs for kids and families. They take them on walks in the west coast rainforest to see the wildlife. Sadly the House was closed, but it may be open on weekends according to the sign on the door.



Above the Nature House, I met a grey-haired lady with the fattest pug I'd ever seen riding in a basket on her walker. She loves the neighbourhood she's lived in for over fifteen years and walks to Lost Lagoon every day it's not raining. We talked for a long while—Vancouverites are SO friendly.


Visitors can rent bikes to cycle round the park at a number of locations in this neighbourhood. I visited Ezee Bike and Snowboard Rentals, a shop tucked below Times Square Suites. It's owned by Andy Kuo, who also operates another by the Vancouver Convention Centre. His claim to fame are his power-assisted, electric bikes for $40 a day. No other bike rental has them and Andy told me they are his most popular model. He rents all kinds of bikes for adults and kids, from road racing bikes to mountain bikes and old-fashioned bikes with baskets. Helmets are provided. It's the cheapest bike rental in the city and cyclists can rent by the hour too. Andy also rents snowboards and boots for winter tourists who want to try out the city ski areas of Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour.

I was offered a bike for the day, but it wasn't the right time as I had to make a beeline for the acclaimed Vancouver Aquarium, which I had not visited in much too long. I'll save that adventure for the next post.

IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos 2013. All rights reserved