Vancouver Wildlife

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 22, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For the last few days I've been staying at a lovely Bed and Breakfast in the University of British Columbia area of Vancouver.  This is a beautiful neighbourhood of old homes with established gardens.  There is a very large Provincial Park called Pacific Spirit at the end of the street.  This is not a garden park, it's more like a small national park, with second growth forest and an ancient bog.  There are Grey Squirrels (although a lot of them are actually black) running around the footpaths and last night a family of raccoons came up on the back porch to investigate some soft drink bottles waiting to be recycled.  I didn't see the raccoons, my room is at the front of the house so I only heard about it this morning.

On Saturday, I went to Granville Island markets on a little bathtub ferry.  I'm not really big on markets but this one was ok and they had all sorts of interesting food there if you had cooking facilities.  There were some nice little shops too.  I didn't do any shopping on Saturday but may go back there when I get back from Churchill.

After that, I went back to Stanley Park and walked for hours.  I saw some Raccoons, they were so cute.  The raccoons live under a bridge and unfortunately, despite the signs, people feed them and the swans and ducks.  One of the raccoons had a discussion with a swan over some bread - the swan was quicker eating the bread so that finished the fight.  There were Grey Squirrels all over the park, they are very busy at this time of year getting themselves organised for winter, collecting pine cones and storing them.  I walked around the Lost Lagoon which I didn't have time for last time.  A lot of the birds have left but there were swans and mallard ducks.  I also saw some of the biggest seagulls I've seen in my life.  After much searching and getting lost at least twice I found the Stanley Park Totem Poles - these poles represent some of the major tribal groups in British Columbia.

On Sunday I took a bus up to the University to visit the British Columbia Museum of Anthropology which was amazing.  There were lots of really old totem poles, canoes and other First Nations artifacts.  Again though I was disappointed not to see more weaving etc.  I think the reason may be that a lot of First Nations culture was discouraged by white men and the art of weaving almost died out.  Younger people are starting to learn it again now so maybe there will be more information and examples of weaving, basket making, etc in the next few years.  Its a shame because I've seen pictures of some beautiful blankets and blankets were highly prized once.

After the Museum I went to the UBC Botanical Garden which unfortunately was all the way down the other end of the UBC campus which is huge.  I was too tired by then to look at everything but they had a very nice Canadian native garden which I enjoyed.

Those two days of walking didn't do the arthritis any good so I had to rest yesterday and today I've just walked around the local area and in the Pacific Spirit Provincial Park.  I also went to a second hand shop my host told me about and bought a very good ski jacket to take to Churchill with me for less than it would have cost to hire one.  I don't know whether I'll bring this home with me or give it to charity here.  It was such a good buy, I may hang on to it in case I go to other freezing places.

The last few days have been very quiet which I needed - I was very tired after all the moving around.  I've stayed in all sorts of places over the last four weeks, hostels, cheap hotels, classy hotels, lodges and this B&B and they've all been interesting and different.  This place is lovely; they only have two rooms and the hosts are very nice people.  My room has a small en suite with a tiny but very fancy shower and the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in.  It's a very homey place and I'm glad I decided to stay here rather than in the downtown area of Vancouver.  It's given me a little more insight into another side of Vancouver.

One more adventure and then I will be happy to come home.  So the next update will be in a few days from Winnipeg following my Polar Bear trip - I don't think they will have internet access at the Tundra Buggy Lodge.
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