August 20, 1998
At the breakfast table we met a young girl from Singapore, who was to return the following day. A little later a jewish couple appeared. They were visiting friends in Vancouver, and had to go back to Haifa a few days later. They had come by plane to Edmonton, then by bus to Jasper, and then by train to Vancouver. This had been rather stressful. We talked about Israel, and we mentioned, that we knew some Danes, who had been working in the kibbutz. The man said, that he felt, that the kibbutzs had accompliched a great job in the past, but that their time was over (he drew a parallel to the fall of Communism), and said, that they could only survive due to support from the Government.
For breakfast we first had a large plate with fresh fruit: orange, blueberries, grapes, apples, raspberries etc. The following days we realized, that this fresh fruit was going to be daily routine. Wonderful! Then we got french toast with Canadian maple syrup. And of course juce, coffee and tea. After breakfast we were picked up by Janet and Claus, who took us to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is named after Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley. It is located at the west end of Vancouver on a peninsula, and is one of the city's most notable landmarks. Covering an area of more than 1,000 acres, Stanley Park is larger than Central Park in New York!! - and much prettier! It has many offers to it's visitors: beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, a water park for kids, a farmyard, a tennis court, the Vancouver Aquarium, a miniature railway, three beaches, and many cycling paths. Along it's perimeter is a 8.85-kilometer pedestrian seawall for strollers, joggers and cyclists.
We took a guided your for about an hour in a horse-drawn carriage around the park. There is a free shuttle serevice, which will bring you to the 10 most popular attractions in the park, but we did not try this. One of the first things we noticed, were some totem poles on the left. Janet told us, that we would se much better totem poles on UBC the nest day. But we found even these impressive.
To the right we spotted a small island, named Deadman's Island. Today this island contains a large white building, which houses HMCS DISCOVERY, a Naval Reserve Division - so you will not be allowed to enter, unless you volounteer to the Navy. Back in 1792 Captain Vancouver mentioned a small island off the shore of what is now Stanly Park. In 1862, when John Morton, Vancouver's first white settler, visited the island, it was the tree burial grounds of the Squamish Indians, and he saw hundreds of cedar boxes in the upper boughs of trees. Some of the funeral chests were so fragile, that they crumbled when touched, raining bones on those below. Nevertheless Morton attempted to acquire the island. However his mind was changed, when pointed out, that the island was "dead ground" and had been a scene of a bloody battle between rival Indian tribes in which some two hundred warriors were killed. The early white settlers used the island as a cemetery. During the 1880s, it was the site of "pest houses" constructed to quarantine smallpox victims. Later, sick prostitutes were banished there, so you might think, that the place has 'deserved' it's name 'Deadman's Island'. In 1930 the island was offered to the city by the federal government to be used as a park. The park never materialized. So in 1944 HMCS DISCOVERY was allowed to turn the island into a naval reserve, which Deadman's Island has remained ever since.
The Little Mermaid?
Later on we saw a statue on a rock, looking very much like like "the Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen's harbor - remember that, Janet? When we got closer, we could see, that she was a real girl. Everybody calls her the mermaid, but her real name is "Girl in Wetsuit". When the tide comes in, she will be sitting with her feet in water. The guide told us, that they had asked Copenhagen for permission to make a copy of "the Little Mermaid", but had been denied (I'm not too proud of that, but nobody asked me). Unfortunately it did not manage to get af photo of the "Girl in Wetsuit" - so here I show you the model from Copenhagen.
Prospect Point offered the most spectacular view of the mountains and Lions Gate Bridge. This famous bridge was built in 1937 by the Guiness family - you know, the beer folks. This 1,476-foot structure was the longest suspension bridge in the world during the first few years of its life. More than 60,000 drivers go across the three-lane bridge every day.
Stanley Park is a favorite site for Vancouverites and visitors alike. A couple of great places to visit in the park are the Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park Zoo and Vancouver Aquarium. The Lost Lagoon is a bird watcher's haven. A feeding program has been in place since 1938 and thousands of birds of different species gather in their designated home. The Stanley Park Zoo is a great place for a family to spend a day at. It 's home to polar bears, penguins, river otters, seals and monkeys. The zoo has an aviary which contains several exotic bird species. The Vancouver Aquarium is a fascinating underwater experience. Featuring 8,000 animals and 600 species, the Aquarium is a plays host to thousands of visitors every day.
The Vancouver Aquarium
We bought tickets for the aquarium at the booth, where we had bought tickets for the horse ride. It saved us for some time standing in the line at the aquarium. Talking of tickets - almost every time, we wanted to buy a ticket, there were special prices for students and seniors. This is not so common in Denmark. The aquarium, which is the largest in Canada, offers more than 8,000 aquatic animals representing 600 species. It is a private, non-profit institution and it has more than 55,000 supporting members. Members are on hand to tell visitors about the animals and their behaviors. The Pacific Coral Reef is a replica of a shallow South Pacific lagoon. Sharks and coral reef fish swim about in the display. The Amazon Gallery is home to Amazon jungle animals, you know, snakes and spiders.
The killer whale is the largest of dolphins; a shiny, black creature with white patches above and behind each eye, on the chin and throat extending along the belly. The body is robust and powerful with a blunt, round head and slight beak. The male averages 27 feet and weighs up to 11 tons; the female 23 feet, 8 tons.
It is an extremely fast swimmer, exceeding speeds of 30 mph, it breaches often, making it a wonder for whale watchers. Its blow is up to 10 feet high and often has a loud, explosive sound. This intelligent creature remains in a family pod of 5 to 20 for all of its life. They will eat anything that swims or floats (except humans) including seabirds, turtles, other cetaceans (including great whales), seals, sea lions, all types of fish and squid. The female has a gestation period of 15 months and calves at intervals of 3 years. A population of 260 killer whales frequent the waters off of B.C.; they are listed as not threatened, but reduced salmon stocks may be affecting the growth of northwest populations.
Then we had lunch on a bench in the park. Janet and Claus had brought picnic for us. While eating we studied the Canadian animal life: peacocks, Canadian geese, squirrels etc. The Canadian Goose is the most common of geese in Canada. The size decreases northward with the smallest living in the high Arctic coastal tundra. A brownish body with a black head, long black neck and white chin strap characterize the colouring of this goose. A rich, musical honking is the call of the larger species and a high pitched cackling is that of the smaller. This goose lives throughout most of North America in lakes, bays, rivers and marshes. They have become a semi-domesticated bird in city parks and on reservoirs. A splendid bird., in my opinion.
Then we drove to Janet's and Claus' appartment, where we had coffee. After that we strolled about in the neighbourhood and admired the beautiful sorroundings and the impressive houses there. Then back to dinner, where Claus had made Danish meatballs. Aase was particularly fond of the Danish schnaps. She takes one (at least) every day for the circulation. If you ask me, I think she likes it.