A Queensborough-Annacis Island walking loop

Rosedale reduced

Annacis Island, an all-industrial zone located in the Fraser River, is noted (if at all) for its large wastewater treatment plant and worsening traffic congestion.

The five-kilometre long island is a less-than-obvious place to walk; co-tourist Robert Smarz and I went to find out if it is at all tolerable for humans. We were lucky to arrive on a Friday morning before a long weekend, when traffic was light, but we had to stay alert nonetheless, as the trucks are large and there are no sidewalks. Continue reading

Touring B.C.’s Southern Interior

Hedley

Hedley

A recent four-day trip through the South Okanagan, Central Kootenays and the Shuswap Valley reminded me of the benefits of slowing down. I would have liked to really get to know these landscapes and villages — what you see here are only glimpses. Thanks to co-tourist Dominic Kotarski for bringing his global perspective, and to the excellent Hume Hotel for a welcome in Nelson.

Many of these towns — Princeton, Hedley, Midway, Greenwood, Kaslo, New Denver — were at their peak in 1900 or before that, riding a boom in silver. Our guide at the volunteer-run historical centre at Sandon said the now-abandoned town was “the Fort McMurray of its age,” the place where young men came to make their fortune. Continue reading

Rain and a parking crisis in Deep Cove

Deep Cove

Deep Cove, a part of North Vancouver lying next to the wilderness, offers access to hiking, cycling, water sports and civilized cafes. It draws visitors in large numbers from other cities in Greater Vancouver, across Canada and beyond.

Gallant StreetWhen co-tourist Bob Smarz and I visited on a rainy Saturday in February, Honey’s Doughnuts on Gallant Avenue was packed, but traffic on the footpaths and bridges was sparse. We didn’t linger over taking photos in the downpour, but Deep Cove looked to be a fine place for a day out, with stunning ocean views, parks and trails in every direction, and a cute row of cafes and galleries. It sits at the base of Mount Seymour, and even at sea level it has an alpine feel, albeit with a strong dose of 1960s suburbia. Continue reading

From village to town

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Friesenheim

Vicki and I recently enjoyed the hospitality of friends in Friesenheim, a village of 7,000 people set in the wine hills of southwest Germany near the French border.

Rathaus historyOur hosts Alexander and Ingeborg live in the house that Ingeborg’s father built, where I first visited them in 1975. Friesenheim’s central area has hardly changed since those days, and the village council apparently sees this as a problem. The council has approved a controversial   development plan for the main street — to make it more like Kitsilano, let’s say, or Burnaby Heights — with a four-story mixed-use complex, apartments upstairs, commercial space at grade, across from the 400-year-old municipal hall. Continue reading