vancouver

Grinding the Grouse

Grind indeed.

The Grouse Grind lies outside any conventional notion of walking. This is no promenade. Want to commune with nature? Find another trail.

This is sheer exercise, a cocktail of pure adrenaline spiked with a shot of danger.

The Grind rises from the residential edge of North Vancouver and steadily, steeply rises up the slope of Grouse Mountain to its end point at the ski lodge near the crest of the mountain. In distance, it is a mere 2.9 kilometres. But it climbs 853 metres over 2,830 steps at an average grade of 30º. It was designed to be a physical challenge. Mission accomplished. (more…)

A Remembrance Day Walk

For Gail and me, Remembrance Day in Winnipeg always includes a walk down Valour Road for a service at a small park on Sargent Avenue.

This year, I am in North Vancouver, on my way to their Remembrance Day service. It’s a one-hour walk to Victoria Park, an eastward trek that leapfrogs suburban neighbourhoods and the Trans-Canada Highway and follows the banks of south-flowing streams. (more…)

Walking the Water in North Vancouver: Baden-Powell

In this snowless domestic landscape, Christmas lights glow, framing the distant mass of Grouse Mountain. Green, treed slopes rise above the roofs until capped by a dusting of snow. It’s one of those rare straight lines drawn by nature, separating a ribbon of temperate green from a broad band of white above. As I start today’s walk, looking up at the mountain, I can imagine that line as roughly demarcating today’s walk on the Baden-Powell trail as it traverses the mountain. (more…)

Walking the Water in North Vancouver: The Green Necklace

The urban overlay of North Vancouver, the city, can come across as an amorphous mass without any sense of centre.  Industry and commerce line the harbour front in a continuous stream of innocuous buildings. Inland is the repetitive grid of streets, for the most part small-scale residential houses with the occasional high rise apartment punching through the low slung skyline.

In the middle of that domestic streetscape, there is something interesting. A little jewel of a town plan first dreamt up in 1907. It’s called the Green Necklace, a fitting moniker for a string of parks that wraps itself around the neck of a modest city centre. (more…)

Walking the Water in North Vancouver: Capilano

If you look at a map of North Vancouver, three geographical elements appear to define its character: the mountains that line its northern edge, Vancouver Harbour to the south and, in between these two natural barriers, Highway One as it rips through on its transcontinental journey across Canada. All are east-west lines, effectively squeezing the district into a long, narrow box.

The walker sees North Vancouver differently, from a perspective only available to those on foot. The walker sees the city as a network of paths following the course of rivers and streams as they run north-to-south down the slope of North Vancouver. Shoelaces that naturally tie together mountain and sea. Forces of nature cutting across the otherwise impenetrable barrier of The Highway and breaking down the organized grid of streets.

What follows is a remapping of North Vancouver based on several walks that trace the north-south flow of its waterways.

The Capilano River is a good place to start.  (more…)