Urban Landscapes

I purchased a new wide angle lens and, of course, immediately had to try it out on some of my favorite places in downtown Vancouver.

Riding around the city on my bicycle, I snapped some pictures of this beauty, the creek-side Time Top sculpture by Jerry Pethick,

and this Equestrian Monument by David Robinson, installed at the Yaletown Skytrain Station. I like this bronze sculpture of a bound man on his wild-eyed horse, the horse’s body much too small for its enormous head. A bit further away, the 1912 Sun Tower on Beatty Street is framed by the ubiquitous construction cranes.

Here’s some information about this building from Pacificmetropolis.com: Vancouverites might be interested to know that it was originally called the World Tower, as it had been built by Louis Denison Taylor, publisher of the World newspaper, and Vancouver’s longest serving mayor.

Apparently the building’s nine barebreasted maidens caused quite the scandal when it was first unveiled to the public in 1912.


In 1924, the Vancouver Sun bought the struggling World, but did not move into the World Building until 1937, when the Sun’s offices burned down. At that point, the building was renamed the Sun Tower – a name that it has retained ever since, despite the fact that the Vancouver Sun has since moved on to another building itself.

For more information on the Sun Tower and additional pictures, link here to Vancouverhistory.ca‘s website. Wikipedia has a brief entry on the Sun Tower as well – link here.

The so-called International Village, a transitional neighbourhood inbetween Yaletown and Chinatown, has a somewhat Parisian-inspired plaza which is home to the T&T Supermarket and little else.

The International Village Shopping Centre is a vast wasteland of space with a few seldom-visited shops, an interesting art gallery and the Tinseltown Cinema. Reviews of this shopping space refer to it as something that could be straight out of a Dawn of the Dead movie set. I was kicked out by an officious security guard for taking pictures, even though it had no sign posted indicating that picture-taking was off-limits.

The Vancouver Library proved to be a more congenial photographic model, its colosseum-like structure making interesting shapes against the sky. Finished in 1995 and designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, this building’s design is one of Vancouver’s most popular. Perhaps the Roman colosseum quotation is a reference to the power of words …

The Woodward’s redevelopment project in the Downtown Eastside is gentrifying an old “skid row”  niehgbourhood into something more palatable for the wealthy upwardly-mobile urbanites  moving into the “W Tower” flat-iron building at the site of the former department store shuttered for the past several years.

This downtown alleyway is one of my favorites. It boasts some fantastic graffiti and visual social commentary.

See more pictures here.

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