Sticks & Stones & Bees & Crows — and a Unicorn, a Shady Cat & Destination Fish (& 24,000 Km)

26 March 2022 – And even more than all that. The fish is indeed my destination — the Go Fish! seafood shack just off Granville Island that (dammit) owes me a salmon burger — but, as always, once you choose a direction, all sorts of other discoveries pile on.

Errands bring me to Burrard & West 6th, close enough to False Creek to make Go Fish! my walk magnet for the day. But first I detour west, because here I am crossing the Arbutus Greenway, and why would I resist?

There’s a whole long tangled history about the Greenway, involving land from False Creek to the Fraser River, which the City bought from the CPR in 2016. Final green space development yet to be determined let alone implemented, community garden rights unclear — but meanwhile, let’s enjoy the approx. 9 km of asphalt pathway, the community gardens (including Cypress, where I join the Greenway), the benches, the sheer delight of this green ribbon running right through the city.

I pass Mason Bee hotels …

and City-provided “benchlets”…

and, along with hikers & joggers & walkers, scavenging crows. Of course.

I cross Cypress Street, with this hydro-pole reminder that some epidemics are to be encouraged, not fought.

Garden plots are still at the tidy-up stage, making even more apparent their underlying hardscape. Jean (doyenne of Jean’s Garden), like her allotment colleagues, favours lots of natural elements — sticks & stones, of varying sizes and shaped either for art or functionality. Here a small bowl containing pretty pebbles sits beside the sweep of a driftwood bench. I love benches in general; I love this bench in very particular.

Other side of the pathway, a garden with beehives. This doesn’t look like one of the community-based allotments, it may instead belong to a home just to the north — a reminder of how narrow the Greenway ribbon is, in this part of town.

And then there’s City Farmer.

This archway of repurposed metal implements leads into their quarter-acre site, where they demonstrate the mandate that has guided their work since 1978: to show people how to grow food in the city, compost waste & care for their home landscape.

The gate’s vines and flowers are still barely visible this early in the season, making it all the easier to spot the folk-art jokes in the metalwork.

Like this unicorn.

Enough detour, I decide: time to leave the Greenway, head north and zig-zag my way to Fisherman’s Wharf just west of Granville Island. It is home to the public fish market — and the Go Fish! metal shack.

I may already be thinking salmon burger but first, as I turn onto Maple Street, I discover a shady cat.

Talk about security: this home has it three-deep. A dog, a shady cat, and even — check that Orca Security signage in the lawn behind — a “killer whale.”

Please note those quote marks. Because when I search the phrase, I discover the Orca is something else entirely. Not even a whale, let alone a killer whale. It is instead a dolphin, and a whale killer. The descriptive phrase somehow got turned around over the centuries, and the Orca family should sue. (I bet lots of you already knew all that Orca lore, but I didn’t.)

Another block or so down Maple, and I meet a ghost barber. The saga of a ghost barber.

Or something like that. I have no idea. I shake my head and let my mind return to thoughts of salmon burgers.

Another 10 minutes or so, and here I am. About to join the line-up for Go Fish! — which today is open for business, unlike the day I brought a trusting friend here in an act of pilgrimage, our mouths already gently salivating.

Founded in 2004 by local chef Gord Martin, devoted to local & sustainably harvested seafood, all of it freshly prepared, Go Fish! is a Vancouver landmark with an international reputation. You are guaranteed really good food. After a really long wait.

So I have time, while in line, to empathize with the little boy killing time, peering over the wharf rail.

And I have time, while waiting for my order, to notice and wonder about the Spanish slogan on each staff T-shirt. (Later I discover that Martin was, maybe still is, exec chef & cofounder of a restaurant in Carmen del Playa, Mexico.)

Full of salmon (plus shrimp mayo & Japanese style pickled cucumber), I walk the perimeter of Granville Island — a kind of bonus loop, before continuing east along the Seawall toward home. The loop takes me past floating homes & busy ferries & busy shops & kiddies on swings & even the sight of two large seals repeatedly arching out of the water to grab scraps thrown their way by the fisherman gutting his catch overhead.

And then, just where Sutcliffe Park is about to lead me back over to the Seawall, I see a Trans Canada Trail pavilion on the point of land. I step within its embrace.

More than 24,000 km of trail, the signage tells me; “the world’s largest network of multi-use recreational trails,” the website later tells me. I think, with pleasure, of bits of Trail that I have walked here & there in the country. I can imagine sections of the Trail; I cannot imagine all 24,000 km.

The map does it for me:

So I look at that for a moment, and then turn east, to add a few more klicks to my very own, my cumulative, my life-long “Penny Trail.” Seriously??? I laugh at the sheer pretentiousness of the concept, but then decide to forgive myself. If birders can have their Life Lists, why can’t we walkers?

Comforted, reassured, and vastly amused, I walk on.

Outgoing, Incoming, & Just Plain Here

7 May 2021 – Well, here’s a near-generic urban redevelopment photo for you: detail-specific, in this case False Creek South, east end, but a common tide of events.

Out (R) with remnants of the Industrial Old, and in (L) with the Condo New.

I happen particularly to love that clapped-out, rusty old warehouse, or whatever it once was. I anthropomorphize it like crazy — yahh! you hang in there! love yer attitude!! — and I feel no shame.

I mean… just look. Despite weeds & chain-link fence, it really is somehow still hanging in, not yet knocked down (though a big wind might do the trick).

Yet I can’t be completely grumpy.

Because right next to it sit row upon row of neatly planted gardening boxes, all lined up behind that same chain-link fence and with a sign on the fence to make you pause, read, and puff out a happy little sigh.

Sole Food Street Farms — founded 2009, still active, here they are.

And here we all are, a poster on the utility pole next to the fence reminds me, here we all are, all us human beings …

messy, imperfect, and sometimes quite glorious. It’s just who we are.

So I walk on down to the Creek …

and enjoy myself.

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

  • Recent Posts

  • Walk, Talk, Rock… B.C.-style

  • Post Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 113,993 hits
  • Since 14 August 2014

    Flag Counter
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,984 other followers
%d bloggers like this: