“Dwell On The Beauty Of Life” – Marcus Aurelius
Living here in our changing city requires a fierce grace, once quiet areas are frequently overwhelmed with the noise of destruction and within moments it seems, the sound of construction. There are new faces daily to gaze upon as towers rise, making it harder to find respite, the amenities we take for granted (our local community centre, library and favourite coffee bars) slow to catch up. I do love it when the tourists arrive, they bring new energy and colourful maps into our world, enlivening mundane spaces, making those of us who live here appreciate them all the more.
A few weeks ago, I became a tourist of sorts myself, catching a bus downtown to meet a dear friend at Lonsdale Quay. As I entered the busy train station to catch the SeaBus for a 15 minute ride across the water, the excited voices of tourists taking pictures of the North Shore mountains, a massive container ship from Mumbai, and the verdant green of Stanley Park, filtered through the air. Lonsdale Quay is a bustling spot brimming with market stalls, eateries filled with delicious aromas, tea cups and baked goods as well as boutique-style shops. Our plans were to walk up a San Francisco-like hill to wander through a second-hand bookstore stuffed to the rafters before sitting down somewhere quirky for lunch. We ended up at an organic/vegan bakery that reminded me of the very cool Bliss Bakery upcountry in Peachland that Terry and I enjoyed last year on our road trip to the Okanagan. Afterwards, we explored some sweet gift stores, making sure to peek into the new Polygon Art Gallery’s eclectic gift store before stretching out on the adjoining dock on smooth metal sculpted loungers facing the iconic glass city of Vancouver, its mesmerizing vista reminding me how lucky I am to live here.
A walk up to our local farmer’s market this past weekend revealed new builds, the architecture and design catching our eye, the city’s vision of combining market and social housing unfolding on streets not walked upon often enough. Fierce grace resulting in a more culturally diverse and vibrant city, providing inspiration for my pages if I’m willing to look and accept these inevitable changes to a city that finds itself on the world stage. So here I sit in the shade, overlooking a sparkling English Bay on this summer-like day, taking a sweet pause before immersing myself in one of the first free festivals of the season (the West End Car-Free Festival), holding close both the old and the new as our city by the sea continues on its journey to becoming a butterfly (we hope!).