Vancouver’s East Village

I had no idea that Vancouver was into branding their neighborhoods one at a time, but it appears that is the case. In the past, they’ve gone from Gastown, Yaletown, Main Street, South Granville, Granville Island, Commercial Drive, (etc.) and now we have a new area, it’s called the East Village.

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Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Gardens

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Gardens is a beautiful place located in Downtown Vancouver’s China Town district.

Every month they host fetivities that seek to enrich the culture and the community by entertainment!

To see a list of events, head to their calendar. Continue Reading →

Vancouver: A Late Night Review

Vancouver is world known for being a beautiful city, next to the Pacific Ocean, Coastal Mountains, Whistler, and much much more. Sometimes it’s hard to get a great idea of what the city is like, without actually being here.

One of the things that attracted me to the city before I moved here was the night life. It could be midnight, and walking around you would still see people bustling about, going on as thought midnight wasn’t the hour to be sipping tea in front of the fireplace preparing for bed. This is a beautiful thing.

Here are some pictures that capture that feeling, just a little bit.

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Fort George Canyon Provincial Park – Prince George, BC.

During the break I had a few months ago before University started again for the fall semester I made a trip around the south west of BC, then up to Prince George to see the family. I was in super adventure mode, and also super photo mode, so one day my brother and I packed up the dog and some food and headed out for a nice hike.

It was only supposed to take us an hour or less to get to the place, but it ended up taking a few hours cause we went to far, and then found another lake, and then stopped for photos (yes, I’m a pain) etc. Finally, after I think two phone calls home to figure out where the Blackwater Rd. was, we found it, and our destination.

We had no idea, both growing up and active in sports, that there was a ‘Sons of Norway Ski Club’ in Prince George, or that they had their own cross-country ski club. But alas, they do, or did. Maybe its been long since disbanded. The trail looked a little run down, and not maintained. Especially the drive in, no way in the winter time in PG that anybody could get in their, unless they were riding in on their sleds.

We hiked in a km or two, and got to the trail head where we began the hike. As shown in the photo of the map, we started where approximately where the winter parking was, and headed along the road along the bottom of the map. As you can see, the dot right after the summer parking location has been scratched out to show where one is when their reading the map. I guess its along the ‘summer trail’ indicated by the solid line.

Our destination was the Fraser River, so we went all the way there, down the bank and to the river bed. It was beautiful and it was nice to have company, a dog and a brother, to share it with.


Have you ever done this hike? Did you drive all the way into the summer parking lot? The road was drive-able, but we didn’t do it. The weather was perfect though!

All along the way there were signs explaining the forests, and the history of the region. One such sign described how the bears would go up against the trees and dig their claws in them. You can see the marks in the photo below. 

I found the BX one the most interesting, we used to live by the BX Pub, which I think was partially made from the old BX after it was retired..

Spanish Banks, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Since the fall is upon us, I thought I’d take a minute to remind everybody of why we live in Vancouver, since were about to get a good 4-5 months of rain.

The place is Spanish Banks, just north of UBC land, and just west of Kitsilano Beach, a trendy hipster area of Vancouver. Spanish Banks are one of my favorite beaches in Vancouver for its not as popular of a spot as Kits is, so its less crowded and one can usually find a place to steak a claim easily.

Who else loves this area? I swim in this water!

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

A short while ago Groupon had a nifty deal goin on in Vancouver which gave you a year’s membership to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden for $17, I got two free passes which rolled at $9 a piece so it was paid off already. It was fairly magical in a few places, so I really enjoyed it. The time I had was good, followed up by a chinese lunch.

The gardens are located at 578 Carral St, in the heart of China Town, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Accompanying me was my friend and his girl; both very cool individuals.

Personally I was a little turned off by the size of the gardens. I had imagined it would be larger, where it would take me more than 30 minutes to circle the gardens, but it turned out to be able to finish in around 15 minutes, that was taking lots of photos. But really, how big can it get? It’s right in the middle of the heart of China Town after all. There were gardens outside that there was a wedding reception or some kinda photo shoot going on that was kinda festive.

We had already delayed by going into the Flee Market. The sun was already getting low the company I was with wasn’t as concerned as I was, so we explored the fleas.  There was a tonne of junk there. All a huge warehouse of junk. 2nd hand junk. Sometimes thats cool if your looking for junk.

The gardens had a tonne of fairly immaculately trimmed pieces of vegetation. There were turtles in the water, there were gazebos 20ft in the air, there were giant cranes, and tea for free. A golden tree next to the pond, and a crow that walked along the awning.

Outside there were some sort of boy scouts organization that would be out in the square and as soon as we came along they would all run inside the doors and hide. There was a lot of them. Perhaps 20-30 people.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was in that square with all of his astrological signs in front of him, in a circle. I suggest you go there, inspite the rather large entrance fees, just to see for yourself what history is like. These things enrich your culture, and heritage ties. I would love to know if you’ve ever been there? Did you enjoy it?

Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to head on over to Victoria to go see the Royal London Wax Museum right in the harbor. I gotta say, it was everything I thought it would be, and more.

First off, the sculptures were pretty damn life like. Sometimes I was caught wondering is this what they really looked like? I’ve always wondered.

It started off as a more royalty row, where there was a lot of royalty figures along the way, kings with their queens, prime ministers, presidents etc.

It soon moved along to influential figures of the past 100 years or so. Figures like Gandhi, Cleopatra (above), Buddha (above),  Shakespeare, Columbus and Clark, da Vinci, Babe Ruth, Confucius, The Pope, Gordie Howe, etc. Like I said, seeing them was just kind of cool. I’ve always read about them, knew of most of them, and to see them was interesting.

After that, I headed downstairs to the dungeon. Now that was the highlight of the whole trip. Made it worth admission. There were slaughters, hangings, burnings, guillotines, Hitler, and so on. Just gorific!

From here, the visitor was taken through the creative side of life, with the last supper re-enactment, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Alice in Wonderland, Clint Eastwood, and even the Ice Age exploration.

I suggest for you all to go check it out. Its fairly cheap, and its a pretty interesting way to spend a bit of time exploring.

South Western British Columbia Journey

I have just returned from about a 10 day journey all around the south western part of British Columbia (BC). In the start, I couldn’t decide before I started the journey where I wanted to go. I had four ideas, 1. South to the coast of Washington to surf, 2. Victoria to see my aging aunt and uncle, 3. north to see the family, 4. Up the sunshine coast to take photos. So, I decided to pack it all into one trip, except the Washington surfing, I fit it all in and then some! It seemed so right I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it earlier..

I started out at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, in one of the most south western points of Canada mainland you can get. I took the 10 o’clock ferry over to Swartz Bay ferry terminal, which is about an hour north of Victoria, BC; I spent my first day hanging around Victoria, taking photos of the beautiful city.

My first night I spent at the Goldstream Provincial Park campground, which was bloody cold. I had a big mixup with my sleeping bag, so I was left with a few sheets and a small throw to use as my blankets for the night, which was too cold. The next day I learnt my lesson and bought another blanket.

The next day, I hooked up with a buddy at the Oak Bay Marina, where I went out for the day fishing for salmon on his boat. We caught 2 keepers which was great. I got to haul in one at the very end of the day, but it was to small to keep. Looked bloody big to me! Oh well. The chase is most of the fun anyways, I really wouldn’t have had anywhere to keep it. As it turned out, my buddy gave me a half fillet of the ones we caught, and I gave it to my great aunt and uncle who I met up with right after that. Always great to see them, I felt a bit bad though, for I had to call to tell them I was going to be late. I hope the salmon made up for it!

After hanging with the relatives for an hour or so, I booked’er out of the city and up to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, where I got the closest spot next to the beach. I was a little worried because I rolled into there at about 2200hrs, and its a very popular campground, usually packed full, but I got a spot! It was pretty magical for it was a full moon, so I took my guitar and walked to the beach where I played for a few hours looking at the full moon lighting up the ocean and surrounding islands.

The next day I took the ferry from Comox to Powell River which was about an hour long. I got off, and headed north to Lund. It was another magical night, for I got to the end of the highway (Lund) and it was about 1700hrs, so I sat on the ‘Restaurant on the Dock’ where I sipped a few cold ones watching the sun go down and do amazing things on the marina.

From here, I rolled across to Desolation Sound where I camped in the Okeover Arm Provincial Park, which continued the magic. I saw a whale flap its tail in the inlet, as well I could hear seals or otters talking all night long. I watched as the sun set from the bench right next to where my tent was. I think I took the spot that was reserved for day use, for it was the only place with a bench, not a picnic table, and no fire pit. Oh well, it was the best spot in the campsite if you ask me. I got there late and didn’t have to pay for the nights stay!

The next morning, I woke fairly early to break camp before the campsite supervisor came to charge me, and enjoyed a nice cup of tea watching the inlet glitter with the morning sun. From here, I drove south, through Powell River again, and on to Saltery Bay ferry, which took me across to Earls Cove. I decided to avoid all the ferry traffic so I veered north to Egmont, a little village on the north tip of the island (technically not really an island). It was cool, and I hiked into a weird little lookout at Waugh Lake.

From here I  headed south along the Sunshine Coast, past all the little communities and artsy feeling stores. It was amazingly beautiful, we are so lucky here in BC to have these things right in our backyard, but in all honesty there are other parts of BC that I enjoy more. But, I had to document this part of BC so, I endured… er… smiled 🙂 .

I caught the ferry at Langdale, which is basically Gibsons. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t get on the ferry, cause I was waaaay up the road, waiting to get in through the gate into the waiting pen, which eventually started moving and I got on easily! This was the only ferry of the trip that I wasn’t into just sleeping in the back seat of the car, so I got to the top deck and sat in the sun reading my book the whole trip. It was beautiful going, although I’m used to it, its still an impressive piece of BC landscape. The ferry landed on home soil, in Horseshoe Bay, but I decided I wouldn’t go home, but head straight up north through Whistler and Pemberton, which is as far as I got before the sun was heading down and I had to setup camp.

I found a landing to camp just at the Lillooet Lake, which was kind of sketchy because it was traditional fishing grounds with a sign saying: “No Trespassing. Band members and relatives only.” I was scared about 1. a bear comign to play with me, and 2. a angry band member coming to get rough with me.. Needless to say, I broke camp at the break of dawn, but I waited to leave to explore down into the traditional fishing grounds. Maybe a stupid move on my part, but I walked down and didn’t really see much except a bunch of what looked like a giant mess. It was right at the foot of a creek that came into the lake, so I walked up that creek to my car, where I dunked my head under the fresh ice cold water to wake up! I found a loon feather too.

From here I drove continually north, it was amazingly beautiful, surreal as I drove through the alpine next to glaciers and watching the sun touch the peaks of the mountains. Stopping basically every km at amazing lookouts to take photographs.

I decided to try and head a bit south after Lillooet, see if I could take backroads up to Prince George, but I got to Gold Bridge, and went into the visitor information there and the lady kind of laughed at me and said no honey, you have to go back to Lillooet.

The good news about this was that it wouldn’t take me nearly as long, because on the way back I didn’t take nearly as many photographs as coming up, so a 2hr drive was only 1hr. So, 3hrs later, I was back to Lillooet, and headed north to Cache Creek along the mighty Fraser River. In all the that day, the multiple canyons I went in, Fraser Canyon is by far the most impressive. The rock formations and scenic awe inspiring beauty is unparalleled by any of the others. But, by this time I was starting to get tired, and the end of the drive was a warm bed and home cooking, so I didn’t stop as much as I would have liked to to take photos. To justify this, I had originally planned on doing what I already had done, and take photographs. I wanted to do the sunshine coast, and Lillooet: check and check.

So, I cruised onward and upward to Prince George, stopping whenever I could to snap a few national geographic worth shots, and enjoy the scenery. This concluded my journey, for the most part. Left was a day worth of driving down from Prince George to Vancouver, but this trip I wouldn’t be stopping for many photos for time and tiredness. I will make this another journey in itself.

How do you like the scenery? Have any of you done this trip? Whats your favorite part?

Richmond Night Market, BC

The Richmond Night Market is completely what one would expect from a chinese market, except its catered to those folks who go out at night. So, one should expect a slightly more carnival feel to the market.

Upon entering into the market, one feels like they may have just snuck in the back door, but no, its really the entrance. There is no glorious sign exclaiming: “Welcome to the Infamous Richmond Night Market” in bold letters. Instead, you are greeted with the steady glow of excessive lighting, plastic filled stands, and people ever where.

It is very similar to a flea market, except there is no flea’ing. At the flea markets there are usually a few tables with new gadgets, each individually wrapped in their clear plastic shells; stuff you really don’t need, but are oohhh so cool. For instance, they had these tripods, that were mini tripods. Probably no bigger than a foot tall, fully extended. Something like that could really come in handy at times…

The real reason why people go to the market is the food, and let me tell you, it was splendid. I basically turned off all instinct to be thrifty and bought as much as I wanted. I ate squid, octopus tentacles, chicken, and duck neck to name a few. Before I knew it my cash reserves were nearly depleted, and we had to run to the bank machine to get some flow.

Parking was an interesting thing. If you drive right into the market, you can park for 5$ in their parking lots, or you can park before you turn onto the main road where the market is and park for free, but this comes with a walk that some aren’t willing to make. If you arrive after midnight, you can park right along the main street for free. One should be weary though, for this parking is known, and starts to fill up right as the clock strikes 12.

I’m glad that I finally made it to the night market. Although, I must say, I expected something similar to  china town during the new years celebration, but instead, I was greeted with an expensive taste testing event, with random tables filled with random things that I really didn’t need.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly suggest that you do, so that you can say you were at the world renowned Richmond Night Market, and this way you can judge for yourself how much you enjoy it. I would be really interested to hear how all of you find the experience!

Journey Down the Oregon Coast: Highway 101

The Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful drives my car wheels have ever rolled me to. Coming down from Canada, I passed through the border cross with actually pleasure. The border crossing guard recommended to me to head to the coast at Kelso-Longview exit, and that is exactly what I did. It seems to me, now that I’ve looked at a map, that that was the best route to take. This way, I was able to drive along the inlet, and go through Astoria, which were both very scenic.

I was lucky that I had nice clear skies for most the route, which allowed me to stop and take pictures at almost every pullout! So many beautiful views of the scenic coastline that made one just want to stop and breathe in to understand the true severity of life on this planet, if that can even be comprehended.

The first night was spent in a little hotel with a stunning view right on the ocean, in Lincoln City. I was mesmerized by the sunset I got.

The next night I rolled into San Francisco late at night, and had booked a hotel with price line, which concluded my trip along the Oregon Coast.