Posted by: norstarnewengland | September 8, 2009

Two Trips North of the Border: Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, Canada

Two business trips were to three metropolitan locations in Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. I have been to Vancouver before, only seen Toronto from the airport and in the air, and never saw Winnipeg. Here are a few notes and impressions:

Toronto – Well I was technically within the city limits of Toronto, but I was in an area called Scarborough. Where I was staying was in a mixed use area, but you could basically consider it a wide expanse of commercial space smattered with dense high-rise and townhouse residential spaces. It looks like most of the buildings were fairly new. New residences were being built north of the highway. But there are also indications that there were earlier settlements here. For instance, the Armenian Church here, though the present structure was built in 1986, it replaced an earlier church built in the 50s, where there was a high concentration of Armenians at the time. Today, it seemed that the majority of people were of (Asian) Indian heritage. In fact, I went -twice- to an Indian restaurant serving buffet style. The Yellow Pages Tower caught my eye because it was the tallest building the in area, and it had the appearance of a giant lug-nut. The other was The Keg Restaurant neon sign. I also attempted a geocache. There was a lovely park behind the community college that was mostly a ravine for a stream. My bet is that the vast erosion seen here was largely caused by runoff from urban development. I followed the arrow on the GPS and ended up going through tough areas and crossing the river when I really didn’t need to. When I closed in, the woods caused the GPS to skip around and darkness fell before I made the claim. Strike one. Weatherwise, it was rather grey out, but not rainy, about 70 degrees, F.

Church among office buildings

Church among office buildings

Vancouver – I traveled first east of Vancouver to the city of Port Coquitlam, then, later I was able to go north of of the bay to West Vancouver. At Port Coquitlam, I noted the progress that they were making on the overpass, extending Coast Meridian Road over the railroad yard. The Tim Horton’s/Wendy’s there stayed untouched, but the sign was moved and they lost some parking, while the bridge was being built on one side and the road rerouted the other side. I stayed at the PoCo Inn and Suites, which was a Best Western Hotel when I was there previously. It was pretty much the same – the soap wrapper still had “Best Western” on it. I noted a couple changes on visits. I noted how much development was creeping into the old Pickton Pig Farm, the location of a series of gruesome murders. I also logged my first report of a waymark that was no longer around – an A&W restaurant that closed just weeks before I came by. Going north, Polaris and I were going to the suspension bridge, but when we learned that it was part of a whole ‘live village,’ we decided to go to Lighthouse Park, instead. This turned out to be a much better choice. What views of the ocean, and the Point Atkinson Lighthouse! Weatherwise, it was HOT for Vancouver. The temperatures were about 85 degrees F. There was a thunderstorm that just missed one night. I attempted to find a geocache in Port Coquitlam. The spot was nice, but it was in an area well used by people walking, jogging, riding bikes, or walking dogs, so I abandoned the search – didn’t want to explain my lurkings in brush to the police.

Shore along Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, BC

Shore along Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, BC

Winnipeg – I was in an area near Weston, where there are railroad yards. The area had a lot of variety – from modest housing to industrial areas to a casino. My wanderings included the Arlington Street Bridge, which is a prominent truss bridge over the eastern railroad yard; and the mural that featured two steam locomotives. I also was able to go to Kildonan Park, which featured the gingerbread house of the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Winnipeg was HOT, too, about 90 degrees and mostly sunny. Again, thunderstorms threatened but never made it. However, the trip back was another story. In Chicago, I was delayed four hours in the plane because of waves of thunderstorms at O’Hare. I found a geocache there.

Elm Tree in Kildonan Park in Winnipeg

Elm Tree in Kildonan Park in Winnipeg

Waymarking Footprint Changes and a Personal New Extreme: Winnipeg is the furthest north that I have traveled in my life, taking the record from the entrance to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, N49.3424 and W 123.1337, to the flower garden in Kildonan Park in Winnipeg at N 49.44975 and W 97.10057 (Derived from Google Earth).

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