Saturday, December 19, 2009

Granville Street and a ride

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 . . .


  1. Dear Bobskoot:

    Thank you for the lovely tour of the Granville section of old Vancouver. Peep shows lost their appeal for me when I started to earn a regular salary... But I supposed I will again have to consider them in light of current financial circumstances. I had to pefform endless hous just to earn the price of a latte at Starbucks.

    The restoration and presetvation of old theatres says a lot about the vision of a community.

    My riding season may be over until April. While the snow is light, it is deep. Leslie measured an average height of 14 inches in the yard, which was not subject to drifting. While I do not object to the salting the state and local municiplities will give the roads, it is the sanding that renders curves unusable until they are swept in April.

    They are predicting another storm for the end of the week, but that is rumored to be rain. Rain will dissolve the salt, but do nothing for the sand. Too bad. I heard I was getting heated riding gear for Christmas.

    Fondest regards,
    Jck • reep • Toad

  2. Great vid bob very clear but: whats the bit at the end with the feet and shoes in a seperate box..didn't get that bit :s

  3. Our own Orpheum theater is a block away from my office. Built in the 1920's I think, it has incredible acoustics and concerts are the rage there. It was built at a time when craftsmanship was considered important and the woodwork and attention to small details make it a truly wonderful place.
    And despite cold temperatures, there is no ice right now, and a chance exists for a white Christmas later this week. But that is later and I am planning on 2 days of riding this week.
    I am thinking that Jack got a whole lot of snow this weekend. A whole lot! Conch, I fear, will be merciless and impossible to deal with.
    I now have a CRPC picture for you, went shopping for pink ones today, but alas, was not successful. I will persevere.

  4. Jack "r":

    Sorry to hear about the snow storm that attacked the whole east coast that buried you.

    It would be nice to have snow pictures to see what is was like for you. I don't think we will see much more snow around here, I just installed my snow tires last week


    I think Dave would really appreciate that PREL can do "Picture in Picture". For the Pink Croc explanation you have to go back to my post of September 28, 2008


    And what is wrong with PINK ? It's only a colo(u)r and if it's good enough for Mr Conchscooter, then it's good enough for me. There is a rumour going around that cpa3485 is trying to join this exclusive club


    There must be a pink one for you somewhere. Mr Conch posted up a photo of his recently, but I pretended to ignore him

  5. Thanks for putting the peepshow first. I got an earful from my wife about what websites was I looking at. She's at the gym now so it's safe to check out Vancouver. I am looking forward to cruising Vancouver on a white Kymco and in pink crocs.
    I was walking across a parking lot last might and a friend called out. " I saw the crocs and I knew it was you!" she said. My wife said I will have to get another pair as mine are dilapidated. This thing is out of hand, especially as I would probably get lynched in Kansas.

  6. The local Target store did have some pink crocs with a white fur lining. Very attractive, but only in kid sizes unfortunately. I'll keep looking.

  7. Bobskoot--I left like I went on a little vacation! Thanks!

    BTW--just curious-- is the Granville section also becoming residential? Is there a community/family feel for the downtown area?

    Nice documentary feel--nice work!

  8. Hey Bob,

    Thanks for the wonderful tour of Vancouver. I have seen parts of Granville Street as well as Granville Island (which I loved). However, most of my visits to Vancouver were on my way from the airport to Whistler. I'm glad they took us through town. Is that still the way?

  9. Mr Conchscooter:

    I agree. Your Pink Crocs are badly faded, probably due to your great weather that we keep hearing about.
    Now Layne knows what you do on your day off, looking at all those internet Peep shows . . .
    You'll have to turn your computer screen around


    Jimbo, if you know your size you could order on-line and have them shipped in, that is . . . If they ship PINK things into Kansas. You may have to go out of state

    Sharon, My BFF:

    The area was dilapidated but with progress comes new development. The street people have moved out and residential city complexes are nearby with new retail infrastructure being established. You are now able to live and work downtown. It is much safer than before. Most of the pawn shops have closed. You will see for yourself when you visit


    I was pleasantly surprised just how much better this area has become. There are apartment residences just one block over and most of the undesirables have moved elsewhere. New stores are popping up along this section, and many older heritage buildings are being refurbished.

    With Christmas Turkey on the horizon, I'm still salivating over that picture you posted during Thanksgiving (of your turkey). You have made me hungry again . . . you are such a good chef

  10. If you get snow, you get a Ural sidecar and enjoy it! Riding on snow is just as fun as riding in the dirt.