Tag Archives: downtown east side

Day 23 – Vancouver

For some time I’ve been intrigued by Expo 86, when Vancouver hosted the World’s Fair. I decided to take a walk down to False Creek where it all happened.

For me it was of the very few downpoints of my trip. It was as if it was all but forgotten about. In fact, there seems to be three things left in the world that are from Expo 86 – the dome, which is now a science museum, the Pavilion, which is now a casino, and the monorail, which is now at Alton Towers (about an hour away from me).

It was so disappointing. Today was so warm and sunny, blue sky – much like the old photos I’ve seen of Expo 86. I was standing in the place where thousands of people had a great time 25 years ago. Now most of it is flattened.

Anyway, I walked to Gastown, passing the BC and Canucks stadiums, skirting East Hastings (as mentioned in a previous post, we drove through DTES at night which was scary. Though that said, I kind of regret not walking through in the day time). Went to a Chinese shop looking for cheap luggage, came out buying cheesy shit I don’t need. Went to a 7/11 for a Big Gulp and watched a lad hitting on a girl who I don’t think was really a girl…

Gastown’s an old neighbourhood that is now reinvented into this hip place. Named after ‘Gassy’ Jack, an English captain come Saloon landlord known for talking all the time about his tales, hence ‘gassing’ (which is quite an old English term for talking a lot). I admired his statue for a while, then checked out the steam clock, which sounded these cute, slightly flat chimes every quarter of an hour. The architecture is lovely in this part – brick streets, a flat iron building bringing two streets together, ornate detail, avenue feel with all the trees. Plenty of bars.

I then walked toward the waterfront. The skytrain station there is a beautiful, grandiose building with towering classical columns. Across the Harbour Centre with its 70s 360º observation tower.

I had a great look around the Canada Place, which is where the cruise liners dock. It has ten sails, which is a landmark of the west coast. Apparently one for each province? The paths have all the provinces, territories and main towns engraved in the lovely DIN typeface. Loads of info to read about Canada and Vancouver’s history, present and future.

The next day I visited again as they had a small exhibition on the 1812 war. A bit of a poor effort to be honest, let’s hope Ottawa made more of an effort on remembering this very important piece of history!