Ten Things I Love About Vancouver

What a difference a day makes!


Left: Vancouver, Mar 22 Right: Ottawa, Mar 23

Left: Vancouver, Mar 22
Right: Ottawa, Mar 23


We have just returned from a delightful trip to Vancouver. We were there for a week and apart from the weather, there are a host of things I love about that city.

The evening we arrived, it was foggy and raining, but we went for a walk anyway. It was rain. Not snow!

  1. Queen Elizabeth Park. Our eldest daughter told us that we had to visit this park and I’m so glad she did. It is spectacularly beautiful. There were amazing views of the snow-capped mountains with the city laid out below.  The Spring flowers were blooming, ducks were swimming on the pond, and everywhere were paths and trails through the wooded areas.
    The view from one of the lookouts in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    The view from one of the lookouts in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    Rhododendrons in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    Rhododendrons in Queen Elizabeth Park.

  2. Simon Fraser University Campus. The university is set on top of Burnaby Mountain, and is designed with walking/cycling trails throughout. Paths flow into buildings which have large covered open areas. Our grandson, who is 9, knows the campus well, since he lives there, and was our guide for the week. When it isn’t foggy, the view from the mountain is stunning, and there are large windows everywhere to allow one to enjoy it.

    In front of Emil's school.

    In front of Emil’s school.

  3. Vancouver Public Library Downtown Branch. The building is difficult to explain. It is rectangular but surrounded by a free-standing round wall. There are glass sky-lights and it has a roof-top garden. It looks like the Colosseum in Rome.

    Near the library. A tree full of red umbrellas.

    Near the library. A tree full of red umbrellas.

  4. The Science Centre. This centre was made for kids and the day we went there I would say half the kids in Vancouver were enjoying all the interactive displays. We liked the geology section and the section on trees and plants.

    One of the Lego displays from the Science Centre.

    One of the Lego displays from the Science Centre.

  5. Metroland Centre. This is a very large shopping mall, which is apparently the second largest in Canada. It had every store you could imagine and we enjoyed a couple of hours going from store to store with Emil, our grandson, who bought himself a book on projects using the Rainbow Loom. It seems that craze is as popular in Vancouver as it is in Ottawa.
  6. The Sky Train/Buses. Every one of the bus drivers we had were friendly, welcoming, and smiling! No wonder. They live in Vancouver! They helped us find our way around and made suggestions about our route. The Sky Train is a raised rail system and apart from almost squishing me in its doors, was a great way to get around quickly and enjoy the mountain views.
  7. La Casa Gelato. This ice cream store has 218 flavours. 218! The wildest I saw was chili and bacon. I stuck to double chocolate but Emil had a combination of bubble gum and something pink! Shudder! We took our cones out to the adjacent patio and sat in the sun soaking up the feeling of spring.
  8. Hastings Skateboarding Park. This park is really an all-purpose park, located next to a public library and senior centre. The skateboarding facility is located at the other end of a large outdoor sports facility. There is a baseball field, tennis courts, soccer field, bocce ball area, children’s play area, a splash pool, and a walking/running track. We watched Emil perform on the skateboard and I am happy to say it wasn’t too scary.
  9.  The Mountains/Ocean Views. From the top of Burnaby Mountain, where we were staying, there was a view of the Fraser River Valley and on clear days we could see Mt. Baker in Washington State. I just couldn’t stop staring at the mountains. Beautiful. Magnificent. Stunning.

    Mountain view from our condo.

    Mountain view from our condo.

  10. Family. While in Vancouver I was able to see three of my brothers, one of whom I hadn’t seen for many years. We crossed the Fraser River on the new bridge which is very impressive. Emil was able to play with many cousins he didn’t know he had. Our daughter, Lindi, our son-in-law, Jim, and Emil, our precious grandson were very hospitable and fed us very well indeed. The condo where we stayed was immaculate and had everything we needed to make our stay enjoyable. Thanks Leena and Elyot.

    This is me with our Vancouver family.

    This is me with our Vancouver family.

Now we are back in Ottawa, a city I also love. But there are no flowers. No green grass. No robins. No mountains. No Emil. Just snow!



Need I say more?

Need I say more?

I hope you get a chance to visit Vancouver sometime. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day. – Maureen




It’s My Move – Part 3

Every morning for the past month, I’ve woken up with a feeling that something good is happening.  Then I remember – we’re moving to Ottawa, to be closer to 3 of our 4 daughters.  One lives in Vancouver, but I figure with all the money I’ll save NOT visiting these three, I’ll be able to fly out to Vancouver more often.

We also have eight grandchildren and we’ll be living near seven of them.  It will be very different for us, and we are looking forward to the adventure.

Here’s what we’ve been doing for the last week.  We have made numerous visits to the Dump, where the guys who work there now greet us and we exchange pleasantries.  Did I tell you my husband owns/owned a gazillion books?  He has told the moving company he will be taking only 1,000 books with him and we have been donating the excess to the library and to local charities.

Today we drove by Value Village and he wanted to stop in for a quick look around.  I think he feels like he has visitation rights to those books and he wants to check up on them.  I let him go in by himself.  I think he’d like to be alone with them.

We went to The Moving Store and bought cardboard boxes and packing tape.  They have a showroom with displays set up of all the different boxes and what they are used for.  Book boxes, dishes, lamps, mirrors, paintings, clothing, and wardrobe boxes to name a few. 

Took them home, put them together, and started filling them.  Needless to say, tomorrow we have to go back to get some more boxes.  We have more magazines, etc. for recycling tomorrow and we are preparing for next week’s Large Garbage Pickup #2. 

Daughter #4 is coming next weekend to give us a hand and I’d like to have most of the house packed and ready to go.  Moving Day is only 10 days away and there’s still a lot to be done.

I’ve made a list of all the items still in the freezer and posted it on the fridge door.  As I use them, I check them off the list. I’m also cleaning as I go, so there’s not as much to do on the last day.

Hydro, water, gas have been notified of our moving date, and we’ve set up the same to be started at the other end.  On|December 16, Daughter #2 is driving up from Montreal to Ottawa to give us a hand with the unpacking.  She’ll arrive the day after we do.  It’s only a two-hour drive and we are looking forward to seeing her.  Her help will be welcome.

On Wednesday evening a couple of friends are hosting a dinner party for Hubby and me to say good-bye to all the friends we’ve made in our twenty years in Oshawa.  I know I’ll be crying but a few of us are already planning visits.

The weather is still holding out.  No snow yet and we are praying for good weather for the whole move.  After December 15, it would be nice to have a little snow!

Another busy week ahead, with so much to do.  I am so excited!!!




10 Things I Love About Canada

I have lived in Canada for all of my life except for two years in Zambia as a newlywed and two years in the Chicago area in my mid forties.  People who criticize their country are all around us but I think it is time for a little praise.

  1. Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia is my home and will always be in my heart.  Life is slower there and people take time to get to know you.  There is nowhere in Nova Scotia that is more than 50 miles from the ocean.  This is where I swam when I was a child.  Not very busy, is it? 
    Grandpa”s Beach near Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
  2. Quebec.  I love that we have a province where French is the main language.  My Dad was French Canadian but he never taught us to speak French.  All four of our daughters speak French and are very much at home in Quebec.  Our grandchildren are learning it as well and seem very comfortable giving a presentation in French at school.
  3. My daughter Carla took this photo last spring while walking in the Bois Franc in Montreal.

     3.  Manitoba.  We lived in Winnipeg for six years and we loved our time there.  It is “big sky country” and is so beautiful.  There are a lot of wheat farms in Manitoba and it is a treat to see huge fields of it waving in the wind.  We discovered one of the most beautiful beaches on Lake Winnipeg while we lived  there and we visited often.  Now my nephew and his family live in Manitoba.  This photo came from him.

    Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg. Around 10:30 p.m.

  4.  Alberta.  I met my husband in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta.  Many of his brothers and sisters still live in the province.  There are flat, fertile farms and high, majestic mountains. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful and the two national parks, Jasper and Banff are known around the world for the wildlife and the scenery.
  5. British Columbia.  Vancouver held the recent Winter Olympics and is an amazing city with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.  It also has my grandson, Emil, who lives on Burnaby Mountain.  I have three brothers and a sister who live in BC.  as well. Vancouver Island is full of natural beauty, lakes, mountains, and wildlife.  Watch for bears!
  6. The North.  My hubby is from the Northwest Territories, which lies north of  the 60th parallel.  When I first visited there, it was -50F and the sun rose around 10:00 a.m. and set around 2:30 p.m.  In the summer it is the opposite.  It never really gets dark at all for a few weeks. The Wood Buffalo Park is there and I even saw a couple of those huge animals when I was visiting there. 

    Spectacular scenery in the Northwest Territories. Courtesy our niece, Sue.


  7.  I love our health care system.  My grandson, who is hearing impaired, has had eight surgeries.  His family had to pay nothing for any of them.  He has two cochlear implants.  Each surgery costs between $45,000 and $125,000.  Cost to the family – zero!  There are sometimes waiting periods but it is really nothing.  My friend’s husband recently had a heart attack.  Within hours he had an MRI,Cat Scan, Echo Cardiogram and any test he needed.  Cost to the family – nothing.  The peace of mind it brings is priceless.
  8. I love our winter sports and activities (and the summer ones as well).  There is nowhere that is far from the countryside and all towns have a hockey or ice skating rink.  There is skiing, downhill and cross-country.  Skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

    My granddaughter, Brynn, skiing last winter, in Ottawa.

  9. Ontario.  Niagara Falls.  Canada’s Wonderland.  Ontario Place.  Rideau Canal.  Algonquin Park.  Sandbanks.  Houses of Parliament.  Queen’s Park.  The Blue Jays.  The Senators.  The Maple Leafs.  The Tiger Cats.  The Argonauts.  Lake Ontario.  Lake Huron.  Lake Superior.  Lake of the Woods.  I could go on and on.
  10. We are a country that is welcoming and supportive of people in need.  Refugees have always been able to find a home here.  We are quick to offer assistance to the victims of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, and other natural and man-made disasters.  We are tolerant and allow others to be themselves and teach our children acceptance. 

Canada is a great place to live.  I am sure those of my readers who live in other countries could write about their particular homeland.  I’d like to hear from you about what you love about your country.  Maybe I’ll visit your part of the world one day.