Today I had to do a favour for a friend which involved getting a ride downtown to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Ticket Centre in Robson Square. As it is difficult to obtain parking downtown and Vancouver is NOT motorcycle friendly, and this is the last weekend for shopping before Christmas I decided to ask a friend to drop me off and I would walk back to Kitsilano, where I parked my car.
While technically, this photo is out of order I needed something to grab your attention. (Jack . . . are you listening?)
Lower Granville Street used to be our Duval Avenue (of Key West). It was a seedy part of town where you would not venture after dark. Now it is in a state of reconstruction with new and old side by side
This was an area of $1. pizza joints, run down greasy spoons and pawn shops. I used to do the pawn shop circuit and have spent many weekends poking around the insides of these shops in the past. Now they are vacant due to police crackdown with stolen goods and there is little evidence of the questionable folk that used to hang around these streets.
I started out in fashionable Robson Square/Art Gallery area
Eatons Centre used to be the foremost department store in Vancouver, until they went bankrupt a few years ago and replaced by Sears. There are two levels of underground shopping below, not that we get a lot of ice nor snow, but because we need to be protected from the heat of the sun and need air conditioned comfort. Just as they do in southern Key West, we are able to wear shorts, sandals and other flimsy attire while doing our shopping.
Granville is a street of contrasts, of old and new as evidenced by this old Commodore dancehall with the new construction behind.
Even the walls of this old theatre undergoing reconstruction has figures pressed into their walls
Back in the 60's Granville was a street bustling with excitment. All the theatres had line-ups and we used to drive our cars up and down the strip to show off our loud mufflers with our reverb radios blasting out music in HI FI mono AM . It was a place to see and be seen, until the city thought it wise to turn the street into a pedestrian mall and prohibit cars. The drug trade and undesirables/street people moved in and took over. The area went into decay until now . . .
The Orpheum Theatre was the best in town. While they did play some movies, this was were you came to hear the Vancouver Symphony orchestra or other live performances. Do to a lot of lobbying, the Orpheum has undergone major renovation and is back to its original glory.
As a local I do notice the transformation and it is getting better with new tenants moving in
There are not many adult shops operating so you had better hurry up and come down here if that is your desire
This looks a little displaced. With the name Two Parrots it would seem better located in a more southern environment somewhere near Ramrod Key.
The Yale is renoun for its excellent Jazz musicians
This is the view you see as you enter the main downtown area from the Granville Street Bridge, an area that will be vigrant and exciting again, given time
Vancouver is not quite an island but it is surrounded by water on 3 sides and most often you have to cross a bridge to access the main business district. The Granville Bridge is one of three bridges which span False creek.
You are not allowed to stop on any of our bridges and the sidewalk is elevated from the roadway making it impossible to lift a 550 lb bike over a height of over 12" .
It is a long bridge by Vancouver standards and elevated with several exit ramps
From the bridge, you have an excellent vantage point overlooking Granville Island below
and some of our marinas
That's the Burrard Bridge in the background
Where have all the tourists gone ? That is the main Granville island area below, usually bustling with crowds on a weekend Saturday. I suppose they have all gone Christmas shopping on the last shopping weekend before Christmas
I went home to get my bike and visited my friendly insurance agent who also rides a Kawasaki Concours
(Wee & Connie, making eyes at each other)
It felt nice to be able to enjoy the freedom of a ride without ice and snow. I don't know what I would do if I lived in Calgary, or West Chester, PA, or Witchita, KS, or Chicago or anywhere else that had severe winters that dragged on for months. And thankfully we don't have to put up with Hurricanes nor live in stilted houses
I hope many of you also had a chance to get out for a ride.
Enjoy the video . . .