Taking the environment extremely seriously the Canadians have a flair for life. Nature, for one is a treasured asset, and being very sensitive to the natural surrounds comes quite naturally for them Vancouverites too! The architecture of glass and steel is lodged with wood, materials that lend a stylish character to the city. Sparkly clean and well maintained parks, generous side-walks and brightly-lit streets, urban plazas and well-behaved traffic are just a few key points that define the city of Vancouver, it is no wonder then that the city tops the charts for it’s liveability index and is often rated as the best place to live in, because technically it’s a city that takes the term, living in sync with nature quite literally!
Giving the glitzy steel buildings a miss the first few days, one does better to head to the Capilano bridge, the Grouse mountain and the Stanley Park. And when satiated with a full course of natural splendour downtown Vancouver is an equally wonderful delight, all with its own Chinatown and all! South Indian, Chinese, Korean and French, if food is a measure of cosmopolitan-nature of a city, then Vancouver totally nails it!
Heading down to Capilano bridge and walking over the precariously strung tree-walks guarantees spectacular views of Elms and the oh-so-sweet smelling maples, and much lighter wild animals, no bears grizzly or not. The privately owned property boasts of some real fancy tensile suspension construction. Armed by notes chiding the defaulters or promoting sustainable living if not pointing out some really startling facts, the park is also equipped with a staying facility. A wonderful initiative over-looking a gurgling Capilano river. On display are also the very north American-significant totem pole collection.
While on the nature and wildlife trail, the cater-pillars, squirrels and more traditionally ground beavers make their presence felt, chipping away at the sturdy huge trees in the property. The greenery is immense with eco-love notes stapled onto barks of trees! A trend seen almost in all the parks of Vancouver including the near-by Grouse mountain. Also a very popular hiking trail for locals who walk about as a past-time. For the not-so adventurous there also is a cable-car lapping up equally stunning views. The Grouse Grind trail as it is called takes one through lonely quarters and literally puts one out in the jungle, technically! The absence of snow is missed though in the non-winter months, as the white peaks do add an element of wonder and beguile. The time taken to scale the Grouse mountain is a challenge, and the lungs are literally delighted for the rather large supply of oxygen!
The other park within the precincts of the city, the Stanley park is very affable, especially for children, with train rides, a zoo, an aquarium, certain cherishable monuments, or must I say perishable monuments, for example a hollowed out tree and an 8.8 km long sea-wall. Most of the houses in Vancouver, have boats parked alongside cars, just proof for the popularity of sailing in the cool shimmering waters. While a punjabi radio channel belts out desi numbers the expat population of Canada is quite remarkable. A Punjabi-origin Prime Minister may really not be that far away!
The sheer walkability and convenience of public transport aside, the succinent buildings and art galleries apart, the city of Vancouver’s close tryst with nature, the salubrious air and boon of an outdoorsy populace makes for one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The very thought of Vancouver, makes me want to pull out those running shoes and take a hike right away, the love for nature and fitness is mighty contagious I say!
Though I’d have to quote Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. – Albert Einstein
I’d rather quote an Angelo, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine”. – Anthony J. D’Angelo
The Vancouverites seem to apply both quite non-chalantly!