Other than a White Christmas

While I grew up I came to associate Christmas with snow and cold weather, warming beside a roaring fire place and sipping a hot mug of Cocoa. These days since I’ve traveled to warmer climates, I’ve come to discover that Christmas seems to be diminished without the criteria that I came to know so well.

I’ve come to appreciate other things instead. Lights and cheerful people for example.

ChristmasLights-2305Cypress-December11_2014_02D ChristmasLights-2305Cypress-December11_2014_03D ChristmasLights-2305Cypress-December11_2014_04D ChristmasLights-2305Cypress-December11_2014_05D Early morning scenes from a fantastic Christmas Light Display in Kitsilano at 2305 Cypress street (at West 7th Avenue)  Folks here have been working on the light and art objects in the front yard for more than a year.

1983BuildingLook01D The way this wall looks in 1983 when I first started documenting the Changes in Vancouver. This alley is between Richards and Seymour on the south side of Robson, 548 Robson Street.

BeardPapa-548Robson-December10_2014_01D The way the alley between Richards and Seymour looks today.

I thought it was interesting to find a photo I had made in November  23, 2001, of St Paul’s Hospital

StPaulsXMASlightsNov23_2001_02D You can see that the same idea was there way back then, but the wall of lights have changed somewhat.

Another major change is the York Theater, AKA Raja Theater – Rescued from demolition and fully restored, this 100-year-old historical jewel is The Cultch’s newest venue. The York runs primarily as a rental venue, accessible to artists and community groups. The York’s restoration, when combined with The Cultch’s Historic Theater, Vancity Culture Lab, and restaurants, studios and other amenities on Commercial Drive, has solidified the area as a major cultural district.

YorkTheater-639Commercial-December10_2014_01D YorkTheater-639Commercial-December10_2014_06D YorkTheater-639Commercial-December10_2014_08D YorkTheater-639Commercial-December10_2014_10D YorkTheater-639Commercial-December10_2014_03D

Clouds, rain and evening light cast on the front of the York Theater at 639 Commercial Drive. Not so long ago, this was the Raja Theater which I photographed after it’s hey day in 2007. Beside this theater is the NGE Commercial Convenience Store.


Back to Rain – Everything is still great.

CambieBridgeCityHall-December08_2014_01D CambieBridge-8thLookNorth-December08_2014_01D Crossing Cambie Street bridge – a shot from the north side looking south, and from the south side looking north

MahonyAndSons-601StampsLanding-December08_2014_01D From Cambie  Bridge looking along the seawall to Mahony & Sons, 601 Stamps Landing (Formerly Monks).

After visiting my favorite Thrift, and Book  Stores along Main at Broadway, I made a detour along False Creek and enjoyed the boat traffic along the seawall, despite the rain.

HumanStructures-Borofsky-December08_2014_01D HumanStructures-Borofsky-December08_2014_02D HumanStructures-Borofsky-December08_2014_03D This is Part of Vancouver’s Biennial Open Air Museum   public art displays – Located in the old Olympic Village – called “Human Structures 64 Figures Connected” by Jonathan Borofsky, USA.

Aquabus-Virgo-December08_2014_01D A pair of Aquabuses traveling to and from Science World dividing and detouring around a vintage wooden boat called “Virgo” anchored in False Creek near the shadows of Cambie Bridge.

MahonyAndSons-601StampsLanding-December08_2014_02D MahonyAndSons-601StampsLanding-December08_2014_03D The entrance of Mahony & Sons: A Stained Glass door and an electric Tick-tock.

Chris, Peter, Mike, Gerard, and Paddy Mahony make up the management team at Mahony & Sons. They are five of the eleven children of Peter and Leonie Mahony who moved to Vancouver in the early seventies. This large family has its roots in Cork, Ireland, from where their great great great grandfather Barney was transported to Australia in 1832 for pick-pockteting. It’s here that the Mahony family first documents its involvement in the pub business, evidence that hospitality runs in the Mahony clan blood. Shaped by their ancestry and strong family values, the Mahonys are proud to continue the family tradition and have created an exceptional dining and social experience inspired by traditional Irish public houses. (From – http://mahonyandsons.com)

SpiritOfCyBalfry-FalseCreek-December08_2014_01D The Spirit of Cy Balfry bobble boat and Aquabus in the background.

SpyglassDock-Painting-Knitted-December08_2014_01D Paintings on the cement in front of Spyglass dock, at the foot of Spyglass Place – note the knitted sock over the signpost – I saw a great display of this nature in Central Park, Burnaby last Summer.

Walk abouts on a sunny Day in Vancouver

 I like Vancouver. It is colorful, even when raining, but at it’s best during full-on sunshine. I like to walk across the bridges over False Creek from the city of Fairview Slope, looking down on the world of floating docks and boats of every description.

Looking down at colorful art work at the foot of Spyglass Place in front of the Spyglass ferry dock – as seen from Cambie Bridge.


CambieBridge-Aquabus-December03_2014_01D A Bobble Boat and colorful reflections in False Creek water,

CambieBridge-PhocaVitula-December03_2014_01D  Moments before the arrival of the Aquabus into the shade of the Cambie Street shadow, I looked down to notice Phoca Vitulina (Harbor Seal) going about its business of hunting for lunch in False Creek but looking my way to see if the coast is clear.

This breed of seal are usually found in Coastal waters, mouths of rivers – sometimes permanently populated inland in freshwater lakes. They feed (mostly fish and small aquatic creatures) when tide comes in, sometimes swimming upstream with the tide, then scoot out when the tide recedes.

Bright Lights, Big City

At this time of the year the long nights and cold weather can wear me down to the point of a quivering mess. However, when I stop to think about it, this is the best time of the year for night photography. Of course, it takes a little bit of fortitude to get out on the streets in the dark, in the city, but the venture in my mind is well worth the cold feet and hands. Dress warmly!

CommunityGarden-Davie-Burrard-December01_2014_01D Christmas Lights at the Davie Street Community Garden, Burrard at Davie.

TreeLights-Burrard-December01_2014_01D Burrard street, west side of the street in the block south of St Paul’s Hospital.

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_01D St Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope. The main entrance tunnel of groovy red stars.

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_02D Standing next to the huge wall of scaffolding is difficult to get the whole arrangement in the view finder, so I like to do sections.

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_03D The south end of St Paul’s Lights of Hope wall – St Paul’s Hospital have been exercising the fund raising idea – for a 17th year from November 27, 2014 to January 12, 2015. 

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_04D Looking south west from the east side of Burrard Street near Comox street crossing.

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_05D LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_06D The wall of lights changes little from year to year, except that this year the major, annual donors have a special star lit from the inside and surrounded by LED lamps.

LightsOfHope-StPaul-Burrard-December01_2014_07D Looking east from the inside of St Paul’s Hospital entrance toward Burrard Inn (as it was in 2011) on the corner, across Burrard Street.

SheratonWall-Nelson-Burrard-December01_2014_01D SheratonWall-Nelson-Burrard-December01_2014_02D If you get bored with lights, there is always the juxtaposition of nature and buildings. In this case, it is the Sheraton Wall building, corner of Nelson and Hornby. That’s the moon shining brightly in one, and the willing, posing subject of bare branches on Nelson Street in the other.

967GranvilleStreet-November26_2014_02D 967GranvilleStreet-November26_2014_01D Away from Christmas lights for a moment – this is Granville Street along Theater row. I do love Neon lights.

So what happens when you go further south along Granville and hit Granville Street Bridge?

FalseCreek-PacificAve-November26_2014_01D False Creek north side, looking west from Granville Street Bridge to Burrard Street Bridge.

GranvilleIsland-November26_2014_01D GranvilleIsland-November26_2014_02D GranvilleIsland-November26_2014_03D There are more City lights to look and picture. Granville Island Market and Emily Carr University. The yellow building with all the lights is Bridges Café.


Cold, ice, snow

With the recent cold weather in Vancouver lower mainland many folks neglect to think about how difficult it is to get around without slipping. It is one thing to have four wheels on the ground, rolling with a heater in the vehicle and blocking out the world as it goes by in sparkling splendor, safe and warm.

My vehicle is pedal powered. I don’t get a lot of respect form the average motorist, and one out of every five motorists do not even see me struggling up a hill or peeling along a bike path away from traffic (if I can be away from traffic). Sometimes I think that one out of every 10 motorists are out to get me. Or at least it seems that way.

One fellow, on Friday evening was such. He pulled off Hornby into the alley beside the Royal Bank (in Nelson Square) cutting across the bike path right in front of me, forcing confrontation of nasty words. When I knocked on his window, he threw open the door to attempt smashing me with it.  Fortunately diplomacy reigned and we went our separate ways.

If the path and the roads had been frozen  like last night, with the slippery bike path, I would not have been able to stop, and yours truly would be in the hospital recovering. Please, motorists, watch for cyclists….

On the lighter side, The snow is beautiful in the bright sunshine.

Snow-ChristmasOrna-3533West8th-November29_2014_01D Snow-ChristmasOrna-3533West8th-November29_2014_02D Snow-ChristmasOrna-3533West8th-November29_2014_03D Snow-ChristmasOrna-3533West8th-November29_2014_04D Snow-ChristmasOrna-3533West8th-November29_2014_05D I found a lovely setting along West 8th Avenue in Kitsilano (in front of 3533 West 8th) where someone had dangled very large, blown glass balls from the Ornamental Cherry tree in front of the yard. It reminds me a little of What Norman Rockwell would try to find for one of his paintings.

Pat Quinn – A fond farewell

Pat Quinn Pauses for a photograph with yours truly during an Old Timers Game at the Agrodome, put on by the United Way as a fund raiser in East Vancouver – November 27, 1991.

Pat Quinn Coaching the Vancouver Canucks Team at the Agrodome during the United Way Old Timers Game.

My own memories of Pat Quinn are are of him coaching the Canucks, behind the bench during game time, and on the ice with the team during practices. He ruled with an iron fish inside a hockey glove… a player’s coach. A coach that everyone respected, either liked or hated, but always respected. I remember how he acted after a three or four game loosing streak. One afternoon during a practice, he bellowed at the team for not working together, and to punctuate his wrath, he broke his hockey stick on the boards beside the player’s bench. You could hear a pin dropping on the ice. Total silence. Everyone on the team practiced with renewed vigor, and by god, that night the team won the game. Quinn was seen with a wide smile after the game, proud of his team.

I will always remember Quinn as a Class Act.

My first thought when I heard the news, was denial: The gymn where I work out early mornings always has a sportschannel tuned. The news of Quinn’s passing, stories, film clips of him during his enforcer days as a defenseman for the Maple Leafs… his coaching of the Canucks, Pavel Bure - His Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach: The first came in 1979-80, his first full season on the job, after the Flyers fashioned a record 35-game unbeaten streak that is unlikely to be broken now that shootouts are used to settle tied games. The Flyers also reached the Stanley Cup final that year.

His second coach of the year award came after the 1991-92 season with Vancouver. Two years later he guided the Canucks to within one victory of the Stanley Cup before they fell to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the final.


The Hockey Hall of Fame and the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants on Monday confirmed that Quinn passed away Sunday night (November 23) at Vancouver General Hospital after a long illness.

Quinn was a co-owner of the Giants. He was the Hall of Fame’s chairman of the board as well as a longtime member of its selection committee, but was unable to attend the annual induction ceremony earlier this month.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Quinn”, said Jim Gregory, vice-chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, in a statement. “Pat is one of hockey’s most respected individuals whose lifetime involvement as a player, coach and executive has made an indelible mark on the game, and our thoughts and prayers are with [Quinn’s wife] Sandra and all of Pat’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.” (an excerpt from – http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/pat-quinn-dead-at-71-1.2846984)

A bit of sunshine breaking through the rainy day weekend.

When this glass, pot metal and plastic Gum Ball machine first came into the store I put it aside, wracking my brain about how much I wanted to photograph it, but there were no contents. Low and behold, the coin dropped by late afternoon sunshine in the form of a small candy box full of old marbles. I must have a thing for marbles because as soon as \I saw them, the idea peculated toward clear glass jars and the gum ball machine. The Gum Ball machine is made in China.

GumBallMachine-Marbles-November22_2014_01D GumBallMachine-Marbles-November22_2014_02D GumBallMachine-Marbles-November22_2014_03D

North America’s Largest Cuckoo Clock

Happening today at 401 Georgia Street in front of the BMO (Georgia at Homer)

Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_01D Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_03D The largest Cuckoo Clock in front of the Bank of Montreal in downtown Vancouver. The clock has mostly wooden gears and time movement within a metal frame. Created by the Nicholas Gros (La Fabrique Studio – Portland Oregon, USA)  Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_04D Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_05D Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_06D Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_07D

For almost 18 years, Nicolas Gros has worked for the entertainment industry in his native homeland of France and, for the past two years, in the United States. Gros started La Fabrique to offer a wide range of set and prop design/fabrication to the entertainment, advertising, and apparel industries.
Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_08D Portlan-SantaSasquatch-401GeorgiaSt-November17_2014_08DD One of our local Letter Carriers from the downtown Post Office gets talked into sitting for a photo on Santa-Sasquatch’s knee.  Scary!

La Fabrique LLC
Office: 5500 SE Belmont st 97215 Portland, OR

Studio: 2546C NW Wilson St 97210 Portland, OR

November 11th – Least We Forget!

Remembrance day started early for me, as I cycled along 10th avenue at Arbutus Street, Motorcycle Police were blocking traffic to let three C3-105mm Field Howitzer Canons pulled by M1vw trucks pass, along their way from Bessborough Armory (2035 West 11th) to the Vancouver Harbor Waterfront for the sound effects part of the Remembrance Day ceremonies.

C3-105mmFieldHowitzer-10thArbutus-November11_2014_02D C3-105mmFieldHowitzer-10thArbutus-November11_2014_04D

C3-105mmFieldHowitzer-10thArbutus-November11_2014_03D C3-105mmFieldHowitzer-10thArbutus-November11_2014_01D

Later on, I was able to grab my camera gear and head down to the Cenotaph at Victory Square, Cambie and Hastings Street to partake of the Remembrance.

Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_01D Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_02D Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_03D Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_04D Most years, I get to the Cenotaph early. This time, I arrived at about  10:30, as the Recessional poured into the street in front of the memorial at Victory Square. I don’t think I’ve seen this many people at a Remembrance Day!

I tried to get closer, at least within 400mm camera lens distance, but it was a lot of work threading through  bodies unwilling to let me pass. I would up under the columns of the Dominion Building to snap a few shots from this vantage point. I am able to see a little bit of the podium between heads in the way.

Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_08D Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_10D Soon, I realized that it wouldn’t get any better. I headed back to the west along Hastings street until I was out of the wave of poppy bearing people. I decided to stick around here at this point, before the Fly By, just to see what I could see…

Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_05D Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_06D Sharing a moment of joy during the ceremony.

Cenotaph-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_07D  A youngster bearing  poppy and Official Remembrance Day Service Program. The future will also remember!

HarpersFlag-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_01D And this I noticed towering over Hastings street. A beat up, torn flag fluttering in the cold wind. Several others noticed what I was doing, and nick-named it, “Harper’s Flag” while other’s called it an embarrassment to Vancouver. What a nerve, a beat up flag residing over our veteran’s day,  The 90th Service since the first which honored our First World War Glorious Dead.

By this time, it is past a moment of silence and the roar of vintage aircraft roared overhead.
CP140Aurora-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_01D Near as I can tell, this is a CP-140 Aurora from the 407th Squadron. This huge, four-engine prop plane has been seen on other fly overs.

BeechExpeditor-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_01D Flypast-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_02D BeechExpeditor-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_03D Other planes, such as this Beech Expeditor have also been seen overhead during November 11th Remembrance.

Flypast-Hastings-Cambie-November11_2014_01D Plus some training aircraft, wrapping up this year’s Remembrance.



Sunshine – Things to do in Vancouver on a sunny day

What a glorious day it has been today. I started off along Granville Street photographing street people and colorful this-and-that’s, then walked west along Robson, To Denman, then down to Coal Harbor and along the waterfront to Canada Place.

OverWerk-GranvilleStreet-November10_2014_01D Overwerk? Skateboarder on Granville Street.

Tourists-CanadaPlace-November10_2014_01D People Watching at Canada Place.

JesusBike-SeabusTerm-November10_2014_01D A Jesus Bike in front of the Seabus Terminal.

Drummer-RobsonStreet-November10_2014_02D Drummer-RobsonStreet-November10_2014_01D A Drummer on Robson Street in front of the Art Gallery Steps where artists sell their work.

PasserDomesticus-CanadaPlace-November10_2014_01D Passer Domesticus (House Sparrow) looking for crumbs on the tables outside of Starbucks at Canada Place. This variety of sparrow has been introduced from Eurasia and has now naturalized through most of North America. The House Sparrow is sooty looking, probably the most familiar and common sparrow in the Pacific Northwest. The Male has rusty wings, a black throat, white cheeks, and a chestnut nape. The females have no black throat, have dingy gray-brown breast, brown cap and rusty wings – look for a thin brown eyestripe without the grayish eye ring to distinguish this sparrow from a field sparrow.

LarusGlaucescens-November10_2014_01D A Young Laurus Glaucecsens  about two years old – The Glaucous-winged gull is recognized by it’s pink feet, pale gray mantle, and gray pattern on the primary feathers.

MapleLeaves-StanleyPk-Denman-November10_2014_02D Acer Macrophyllum (Big leaf Maple) at the entrance to Stanley Park, off Denman Street, downtown Vancouver, West End.  Large Leaf Maple trees like dry to moist sites, often growing soon after forest fire sweeps area – low to middle elevations. In areas where these trees haven’t been disturbed for many years, they are often decorated with Cat-tail Moss or lichens (carries mush larger amounts of mosses than any other plant in our region). Several tribes of the Pacific Northwest peoples used leaves and sap for internal and external medicines (sap can be used to make maple syrup). Many tribes used the wood to make paddles, spindles or other implements for cooking or farming. The sprouted seeds were also eaten as a vegetable.

MapleLeaves-StanleyPk-Denman-November10_2014_01D Beautiful red leaves of Acer Platanoides (Norway Maple) is a species of maple native to eastern and central Europe and southwest Asia, from France east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southeast to northern Iran. GranvilleSquare-Pay-November10_2014_01D Another Acer Macrophyllum (Big leaf Maple) at the Seabus Terminal Entrance, foot of Granville Street… We have to pay for sunny weather…

MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_09D MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_07DMV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_06D MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_05D MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_04D MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_02D MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_01B

MV-Beldis-WestinDock-November10_2014_08D Views and details of the MV Beldis, moored at The Westin Bayshore docks – The Beldis was built at the Denman Shipyard in Vancouver in 1923.