1) the famous totem pole collection at Stanley Park in Vancouver
There is only one actual boat in this posting, and, in fact, it is a ship – the cruise liner Radiance of the Seas – which we noticed about 2 weeks ago pulling out of Canada Place Pier only to stop mid-way in the Burrard Inlet, deploy its tenders and limp into dry-dock in North Vancouver. It’s been there since getting fixed or cleaned or painted or whatever. On Monday past, as I was preparing to fly here to Winnipeg, it finally left the dry-dock and presumably out to sea for trials. I think it’s next voyage is supposed to leave Vancouver today.
2) there’s the Radiance in drydock taken from Stanley Park with my super zoom lens
The boat I’m speaking about is my metaphysical one related to the amount of travel I’m doing, and, in a manner of speaking, gosh, I need off this boat. I mean I know I travel a ton for work and pleasure sure but boy I’ll be happy to see Canada Day. Since my last post I’ve been to Whistler and back; Calgary (one of my most least favourite places on earth, where I was enconsed in a dreary hotel near the airport for two days while I presented on XXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX) and back; across to Nanaimo and Ladysmith (on Vancouver Island where I presented on XXXXXXXXX) and back. I actually had my annual performance review on the ferry going over which was good fun – last year D and I completed it on the floor in a meeting room at the Sheraton in Toronto, go figure. I’ve suggested to her Europe next year as I am speaking in Germany. Through the weekend I’m in beautiful Winnipeg before heading home for a bit only to fly east east east again through to Canada Day. Air Canada loves me and the woman at the Maple Leaf Lounge here actually knows me by name as do the hotel staff. But Winnipegers are good that way.
So, our friends Dr. Rob and Maria arrived in Vancouver on Saturday of the Victoria Day weekend. We met them at YVR, did a quick tour of the city and headed north to Whistler for the long weekend and a stay at the Westin Spa & Resort. The drive to Whistler – along the famously scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway usually takes about 2 hours, but due to an accident south of Whistler, it took us four! Wowza crazy!
3) more totem poles; 4) the Lions Gate Bridge taken from Crab Beach where G and I often run
5) detail of totem – the BC Anthropology Museum at UBC is probably the best place to visit to fully understand the richness of BC’s coastal people’s history; 6) a crane with downtown Vancouver in background
7) the flags at Brockton Point at Stanley Park; 8) a float plane heads out
9) here comes another; 10) loading sulphur piles at North Vancouver … the bulk of the sulfur heads to China
10) the Brockton Point Lighthouse with Lion’s Gate in the background
We had a great stay at the Westin as always. Weather on Saturday was brilliant; Sunday, less so. It didn’t matter as we went to chill and eat. Saturday we dined at the Westin’s own in-house restaurant – the Aubergine Grill, while on Sunday we ate at the famed Araxi, which was actually having a $35 prix fee dinner of 6 courses in honour of its 35th anniversary year. What a deal!
11) The Westin Whistler; 12) the view of a cloudy mountain
13 & 14) our suite at the Westin
15 & 16) more of the suite
17) pretty flower at Aubergine Grill table; 18) G’s appetizer – a seafood trio
19) black cod as a main; 20) Dr. Rob’s beef tartare
21) G’s quail main with truffled mac & cheese; 22) my oyster starter – I could eat oysters all day everyday and be completely happy
23) our complimentary breakfast was good; 24) folks were still lining up to by ski tickets … at the end of May!
25) many runs are still open; 26) and despite the weather loads of people headed up to ski or bord
27 & 28) lunch one day was Avalanche pizza sampler
29) Araxi in the Village; 30) BC Oysters ‘Five Ways’-chilled on the half shell with ponzu pearls, dungeness crab with chives and lemon
trout caviar and creme fraiche, raspberry mignonette and cucumber salsayes,
31) G opted for the Foie gras; 32) we all had an amuse of Smoked Roma Tomato Soup – goat cheese crostini, gem tomatoes, olive oil and baby basil
33) Green Asparagus Salad – grilled asparagus with crispy pork belly, shaved parmiggiano-reggiano grainy mustard and olive oil vinaigrette; 34) barley risotto
35) mains where all seafood based, of course – mine, crispy salmon with carrot sauce
36) Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bars – dark chocolate dipped with a chocolate brownie crust, salted caramel banana sauce
On Thursday night, Air Canada was kind enough to get me back to Vancouver from Calgary in time to join Dr. Rob, Maria and G for dinner at Blue Water Cafe & Raw Bar in Yaletown.
37) Maria at Blue Water; 38) our Dungeness Crab Roll – fresh crab meat and avocado in a egg roll
39) chef’s slection of sushi; 40) chef’s selection of sashimi
The next day found me lined up at Horseshoe Bay waiting the ferry to the island and a night in Nanaimo. D and I stayed at the Best Western Dorchester right on the water and I would recommend it. Saturday we presented and caught the dinner ferry back to the mainland as D was flying out early Sunday for Toronto.
41) hanging out at Horseshoe Bay; 42) on our way with Vancouver a wee speck in the background
43) D works on the iPad on route; 44) up top on the sun deck
45) beautiful … leaving the lower mainland behind
46) from the car deck; 47) arriving into Departure Bay and Nanaimo
48 & 49) the harbour at Nanaimo
50) a gift for G of course; 51) more waiting for the return ferry from Departure Bay
52) the Holland America Zuiderdam heads north to Alaska
53) a beautiful evening to be top deck
54) D enjoying the view heading in; 55) we’re car number two getting off the ferry
And then here I am in Winnipeg this week, taking my usual stroke around the Forks to see how construction is coming on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Despite the controversay that surrounded placing the museum in Winnipeg, this city is perfectly situated for the honour. Geographically Winnipeg and Manitoba are in the middle of the country, more or less equi-distance from the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, but more importantly, of all the provinces, Manitoba is the most progressive when it comes to human rights, caregiver support and recognition, minority, language and disability rights, and healthy aging. In fact, Portage-la-Prairie, MB is the recognized centre of age-friendly initiatives and supports in the world by the International Federation on Ageing, and policy makers and bureaucrats come from around the global to study its best practices. Who’d have thunk that?!
56) Canadian Museum for Human Rights
57) the Provencher Bridge that straddles the Red River and connects Winnipeg with St. Boniface; 58) the Red River Market
58) Red River Market; 59) the Inn on the Forks where I dined last night
60) amuse was prawn ceviche with watermelon; 61) a decent Bibb salad
62) house made bread with fabulous mango=curry butter; 63) Lamb two ways – croquette and loin wih “Manitoba risotto” (barley and oats and roasted veggies)
64) Brooklynn’s Bistro – tried this for dinner tonight (famous for its chef, Darryl Crumb, participated on Top Chef Canada); 65) the restaurant is in the Exchange District
66) I order a orange supremes and candied walnut salad for appetizer; 67) pulled duck rigatoni with 4 cheeses for the main – amazing!
68) G shared this great photo when I was in Calgary of a beautiful rainbow outside our Vancouver condo