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Old September 9th, 2009, 06:57 AM   #1
Jan
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The Vancouver Experience

For as long as ever I have heard good stories about the place so I figured it was about time to go and check it out myself. Thanks to whoever for tossing in four days or glorious sunshine as it seems the place gets a lot of rain.

But the best thing of course is the whole setting. You really can't screw up a city that is part of a landscape shaped by mountains, an ocean, rivers, creeks, hills and forests, even if you would give it a proper try.

01. Downtown seen from St. Elizabethspark (click the image for the large version)


As soon as I got there I rented a bike to explore the place. First thing notice is that the city is green. I mean, they seriously like trees over there. All streets have at least one row of trees.

02. Seen from Robson Street


03.


The one street which didn't have 'm is Granville, on old shopping street with a certain character (in a cheeze way), but that was only because they we're wrapping up the new Canada Line metro rail which runs underneath it. You could see that the street had taken a bit of beating from it as shops looks a bit run down. On the other hand it was first time for Vancouverites that they could actually see the whole street profile and neon lights without trees bloking it.

04. Granville Street


(tip for the local public transport authority: might as well want to replace the 'Canada Line' signs over at the airport into 'Trains to Downtown' as the first one makes you wonder if you're going to end up in Halifax when you board it. Very smooth ride though!)

One the town planning blessings (next to situating the down town area on a peninsula) is the little forest right next to it in Stanley Park (map). What and excellent bike ride it makes!

05. Path around the island


06. Downtown views from the Park. (click the image for the large version)


07. Lions Gate Bridge, connecting the city with North- and West Vancouver.

08. The bridge must be high to allow the cruise ships to enter the harbour.


09. Made famous by the Vancouver Olympic logo, people like to make their own little Inukshuk's on the shores of the park.


10. Although they don't really resemble humans, people sure like to give it a try.


11. It's great that you can bike all around the shore line of the down town area. All along the southern shores of the park and the city are urban beaches.


The cruise terminal and convention center are or the North shore, next to the Central Business District of Vancouver.

12. Convention Center (naturally) comes with a green roof.


13. Old fellow city mate


To the East of the Central Business District lies the old town, also known as Gastown. Pretty old looking place which I guess has underwent some thorough beatification.

14. Baby Flatiron?


Even here Vancouver dares to erect a couple of tall building, which you cleverly only see from a distance, not while walking the district.

15. This reminded me of the Strijkijzer building in The Hague.


One of the things the city is really good at is being small. The place is full with nicely detailed public spaces and little specks of green. It really feels like someone designed it while being in the area itself, not from a drawing board.

16. Nice corner area at the entrance of Gastown.


It's the detail that makes the rest of the city center look very agreeable and pleasant to be in. The city was obviously designed as a place to be, not a place to pass through (which is sadly the case in many cities), as there are no real main traffic arteries in the city center. This city doesn't want to impress you by size or through icons, it's impressive because the lack of it.

17. It's an eye opener to experience a city where there's green everywhere. Even ugly concrete building blocks become more agreeable because of it.


When it comes to tall buildings, Vancouver understands that good high-rise can only happen through good low rise. The level of detail which people experience when passing a tall building is a different level of detail when you watch the building from a distance.

18. Nice examples that show the built-up of a high-rise project.


To create an urban feel, small scale commercial units have been created on street level. Storefront width is often capped. This results in a pleasant absence of large chain stores (except for one ugly Sears) and many local owned specialty stores.

19. Example showing the mixture between different urban scales working together.


20. One thing though, does a city really needs to Starbucks' across from each other at the intersection of Robson and Thurlow street (click the image for the large version)


Podium rooftops offer great spaces for shared amenities...

21. Taken from the pool on the hotel podium. Reminds me of the Hoge Erasmus tower in Rotterdam.


22... and of course podiums are good to put trees on!


To preserve the dramatic mountains back drop, buildings are capped at a maximum height of around 500 feet, producing a skyline in which no singular buildings really stand out. There has been some discussion to allow a couple of building with a more iconic height (600 ft) to create some variance in the skyline.

23. View from Cambie Street Bridge (click the image for the large version)


Especially recent residential towers all seem to have shaded glass, large balconies, setback, around 20/30 floors and a proper finishing of the top. Much of this is the result of the discretionary zoning system, in which an Urban Design Panel can be quite prescriptive. It leaves a result in which none of the buildings stand out individually, but making the city center stand out as a whole.

24. View on the city riding inbound on Cambie.


Recently some peaks were allowed into the city. These are carefully located based on characteristic viewing cones, distance towards other buildings and backdrop.

25. Twin Peaks: One Wall Center and Shangri-La (city's tallest at 201 meter)


26. Actually at an individual level, some building can be quite bland as in this case.


Most of the bland ones can be found on the west end, mostly residential ones which were built during the 60's and the 70's to house the white collar office workers. After quite a radical change in local government the city started to adopt a more careful planning policy in the mid 80's which was based on community shaping and architecture.

27. Here's is an example showing that a building really doesn't need to be tall to serve a proper urban purpose.


28. And as ever, even roof tops are being considered as great places to stick up trees. (hey, they are!)


29.A more famous example of greening a roof top by a locally renowned architect Richard Henriquez.


30. Almost next to it (near the park en beach at Beach and Morton) the same architect came up with this potpourri of architecture.


The 1990's was the time of the mega projects on the waterfront. Residential towers sprung up by the dozens. Some of these have quite some Asian (Chinese) investments in it.

31. Development at False Creek north side


32.Towers along the waterfront were situated as such a way that height increases when being further away from the shoreline. This results in a view with a depth, which looks more urban then a flat view of a wall of tall buildings.


33. Adding some of the these guidelines results in pleasant looking images.


One nice redevelopment of an industrial area is the Granville Island, located in False Creek underneath the Granville Bridge. It's a happy combination between a bit of industry, an art college, tourist shops, a fresh food market, restaurants and floating homes.

34. View from Granville Island (click the image for the large version)


35. Must be real nice to have a place here


36. ... or here.


37. Food market with many food stands. Nice!


38. Luckily it was also a good opportunity to meet up with the Leblanc siblings, the lovely Jada and legendary Dylan, especially since I've known them for some 13 years. Here's the three of us in the Cloud 9 Revolving restaurant.


Jada was able to hang out a bit on an afternoon to check out some of the nice spots on the Southern side of the city, and there's plenty of them

39. Skyscrapers 'n Trees


40. Walking down towards the shore you pass areas like these. Mind this is right into town.


41. Views from the shore line, where, of course, there's lots of trails and bike paths. Splendid! (click the image for the large version)


42. Bloke contemplating


43. One of the many pleasant places in the city.


44. False Creek has a nice system of water taxis (at tourist speed) that picks you up from several places.


That pretty much wraps it up. Thanks for reading!
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:28 AM   #2
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No wonder why Vancouver is always ranked as one of the Cities with the best quality of living. Great pictures; your comments also made the tour more interessting.

My only complaint would be the lack of a real network of Metro.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:41 AM   #3
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Great photos! I'm actually in Vancouver now and I'm loving it!
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #4
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WOW great shots
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #5
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Excellent photos and captioning I drove from Halifax to Vancouver with some friends over the past few weeks and spent 3 days there. I'd visited before, but it was only a rushed trip downtown during a stopover. I actually like the "bland" apartment buildings in the west end...classy modernism in a quiet but dense neighbourhood close to downtown. My friends, who are moving to the city, found an apartment in Kitsilano. It's a low-key, residential, leafy area that reminded us a lot of Halifax.

I believe the Canada Line naming was related to a federal funding requirement. I think "Olympic Line" would've been neat, as well as in keeping with the major event nomenclature of the previous two lines -- Expo and Millennium.

I liked your commentary on the lack of landmarks in the city. The first time I visited I was a bit unimpressed -- the city struck me as a bit bland for this reason. I think I had high expectations, but Vancouver didn't seem to offer a whole lot I couldn't get elsewhere. Downtown reminded me of other NA cities. I think I was rushing a bit too much, and didn't manage to take in the subtle experiences you did. The city grew on me quite a bit the second time 'round, and I wouldn't mind working there for a time in the future to take in more..

Thanks for the shots!!
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Old September 9th, 2009, 04:24 PM   #6
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Vancouver is usually very sunny and comfortably cool during the summer. Winters are just dreadful ... with plenty of rain for weeks with no end in sight. But then, the rest of Canada would probably dig underneath a metre of snow while it is a balmy rainy day on the West Coast.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #7
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its definately is my kinda town, I loved walking around stanley park and grouse mountains, I feel I can be happy there.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #8
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Vancouver city its not only nice, its really very nice; really excellent photos
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:32 PM   #9
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And it will only get better folks...








Last Updated: August 28, 2009





Vancouver, Canada

Canada's most beautiful city has more in common with San Francisco than Toronto. Despite it being very wet it's a prime location for Hollywood film shoots -the setting is spectacular. Ocean and mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the gleaming commercial towers of downtown where you'll find spectacular restaurants and cafe's after a 'swim-in-the-morning', 'ski-in-the-afternoon' day. Trace the city's history in Gastown and Chinatown, savour the wilderness only blocks from the city centre in Stanley Park and dine on superb ethnic or Pacific Northwest cuisine before sampling those clubs and bars.

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Projects: Under Construction





Private Residences at Georgia
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Under Construction
Height: 517 ft






Atelier
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 300 ft






Three Harbour Green
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Under Construction
Height: 380 ft






Patina
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Under Construction
Height: 418 ft
]





Capitol Residences
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Under Construction
Height: 414 ft






Coast Hotel
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 235 ft






Symphony Place
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 295 ft, 348 ft






Erickson
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 200 ft






Fairmont Pacific Rim
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 458 ft






Woodwards Building
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 315 ft, 398 ft






The Beasley
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Under Construction
Height: 298 ft






Alto Life
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Under Construction
Height: 165 ft






West Pender Place
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Under Construction
Height: 160ft, 341 ft






Jameson House
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Under Construction
Height: 381 ft






Projects: Approved & Proposed





Ritz Carlton Vancouver
Estimated Completion: 2012
Status: Proposed
Height: 600 ft






401 Helmcken
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: 253 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





999 Seymour
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Proposed
Height: 206ft






Creekside Park
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





1235 West Pender
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Approved
Height: 282 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





1157 Burrard
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





1304 Howe
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Proposed
Height: 286 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





728 Pacific Blvd.
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





10 Terry Fox Way
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





The Yale
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Proposed
Height: 220 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





480 Broughton
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





431 Beach Crescent
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





1120 Alberni
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Proposed
Height: 306 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





Cosmo
Estimated Completion: 2012
Status: Approved
Height: N/A






Bentall 6
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: 300 ft






Concord Pacific Colours
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Approved
Height: N/A






The Harwood
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: 180 ft
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable





Hilton Hotel
Estimated Completion: 2009
Status: Proposed
Height: 201 ft






Richards Living
Estimated Completion: 2011
Status: Approved
Height: 166 ft






1215 Bidwell
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: 210 ft







1372 Seymour
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: 336 ft






1155 Hornby
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: 292 ft
Rendering Currently Unavailable





The Rolston
Estimated Completion: 2010
Status: Approved
Height: 249 ft






1134 Burrard
Estimated Completion: N/A
Status: Proposed
Height: N/A
Rendering Currently Unavailable
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Old September 9th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #10
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Vancouver natural setting is astonishing . I'm sure it's a fantastic city to visit.

I disagree that it's Canada's most beautiful city though.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 12:25 AM   #11
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Very nice pics!
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Old September 10th, 2009, 06:33 AM   #12
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Great pics. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in NA, IMO.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #13
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They sure do things right. GOD I love Vancouver.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 09:26 AM   #14
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One of my all time favorite cities. Lovely pics. Thanks for the show.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #15
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Went to Granville Island over the summer, was an awesome place to hangout. We took one of the water taxis back and the view of the skyline was incredible. Nice city
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #16
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Great pictures of a beautiful city.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #17
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Lets move to Vancouver!
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #18
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Gotta find a way to visit before I die.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 01:20 AM   #19
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Vancouver looks really wonderful in these photos! It's fun to see that you met Dylan Leblanc too.

In some threads we have seen earlier Vancouver seem to have some really rough sides as well.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 01:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PortoNuts View Post
Vancouver natural setting is astonishing . I'm sure it's a fantastic city to visit.

I disagree that it's Canada's most beautiful city though.
I don't know, this could be a contender for one of the world's most beautiful cities! Garsh, Vancouver is absolutely gorgeous, be it natural or cityscape. One of my best friends is from BC originally. After seeing these pics I definitely need to visit ASAP!
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