A small format camera is the photographer’s sketchbook, the place where ideas can be quickly explored before paint is applied to that big, forever canvas of the final print. Over two decades, my coterie of Nikon cameras and lenses ably served as my sketchbooks.
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
If I were to choose a time to walk in the woods, this would not be it. But here I am, walking along Mosquito Creek, engulfed in the deep, dark shadows of a long winter night, straining to see two steps ahead through a hard rain.
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. Continue reading
Time on the Canadian is immaterial. Its measurement is by breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleeping, watching the world pass by from the observation deck. “What day is this?” is a common refrain. Continue reading