Monday, June 7, 2010

Vancouver Day 3

When I woke up today, the clouds were greyer than usual and had decided to drop their water harder and more copiously than usual. My two major attractions left that I had planned to see were Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Since Grouse Mountain is, well, on top of a mountain, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge is in a rain forest with massive Douglas Firs creating a literal umbrella to block the rain, I chose the latter to visit today.

As a giant cheap-o, I of course walked six blocks out of my way to catch the free shuttle bus to the entrance of the bridge. This was a great improvement over what the Capilano "Tramps" had to face back in the 1890s, when it was the first tourist attraction in the Vancouver area.

(The inside of the shuttle bus was outfitted to look like a 1920s street car.)

In those '90s, only wealthy people could visit the bridge, because it required the freedom to take an entire day off from work while you took a slow ferry across the river to North Vancouver, and then take part in a 10 km hike to the bridge. Today it requires $30 to see, so in a sense you still have to be pretty wealthy.

Often the ladies in the group would shed and stash their large hats and frilly dresses, that they had to wear to ride the ferry, in the trees once they reached the other side. Unfortunately for them, the expensive dresses were often pilfered from their hiding places when the women returned.

You might not be able to read the signs, but they say the bridge is nearly as wide as two Boeing 747 planes, and as tall as the Statue of Liberty's shoulders.

(The 747 Statue of Liberty bridge.)

Before I crossed the bridge I visited the totem pole park, and met Ben Spencer a First Nations artist working on a ceremonial paddle that would be sold and used in a dance of some kind later.

(Crossing the rapids, 200 metres up.)

Once I crossed the bridge I joined a forest floor nature walk, semi-safe from the rain by the massive Firs looming over head.

After the tour, I ascended the trees to experience one of the best parts of the Capilano Bridge adventure park, the Tree Top Adventure, the first of its kind in North America.

Swaying on wooden bridges, 30 metres up in the Douglas Firs - even above some of the other trees as you can see in the above picture - the Tree Top Adventure is almost worth the trip to Vancouver alone.

Or, you could come to Capilano Bridge for the amazing feeling of being above the mist and the trees.

When I returned to the totem park, Ben had finished his paddle. He told me it took him 2 weeks to make, but that other, more elaborate carvings like masks could take up to 6 months.

As if you needed more reasons to come to Vancouver, how about boulevards like this?

Or, maybe you have cancer? I suspect there will soon be no KFCs in Vancouver (don't worry if you didn't get the joke, it was a South Park reference).

I prefer the big buildings though. This building would probably earn about a hundred fines in Grande Prairie for being too tall; you know it has to be good.

(Korea Exchange Bank? I haven't seen one o' them in... five months?)

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