Because of the very changeable weather that has constituted our spring and summer this year, I was a bit doubtful that we’d be able to get out on the road for a Friday Night Skate and Bike this week but, lo and behold, in the mid-afternoon the cloudy Vancouver skies cleared and we converged on the appointed below-Burrard-Bridge meeting spot for our first night roll of the season.
The seawall wasn’t as crowded as it might have been and we rolled quickly past the Pirate Pub,
past the boats docked beneath the Granville Bridge,
past George Wainborn Park,
past the marina where Jimmy Pattison parks his enormous yacht the After Eight,
past BC Place with its new, and ridiculously expensive, roof,
and along the seawall towards Science World.
As we rolled up to the Chinatown Night Market on Keefer, the security guard eyed us suspiciously, on edge lest we dare to skate on the street where inline skating is expressly prohibited. We did not, choosing instead to roll up the sidewalk behind the food stands where the red bean buns attracted the attention of Barb.
Skating through Strathcona is a beautiful thing; the pavement here is old and as smooth as marble. Located just east of downtown Vancouver, Strathcona is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods and one of its most culturally and economically diverse; many artists and craftspeople make Strathcona their home, as does the Asian community. Every Fall the great, and enormous, Eastside Cultural Crawl takes place in this neighbourhood. Here’s a link for more info on that art extravaganza. Read about last year’s Crawl here.
No Friday Night Skate would be complete without ice-cream and a stop at the bright pink Casa de Gelato, with its 270 flavours, is a must.
This place is always packed and, even though it has so many flavours on offer, I always pick one of the same few varieties: variations on a theme of chocolate, butterscotch, and/or French vanilla.
Barb chatted up the musician outside, hoping for some tips on playing the steel drums.
Thus fuelled by ice-cream, we zoomed down through the east side close to the docks,
and up and over the Main Street Viaduct, taking us down onto the road past the cruise ship docks and Canada Place.
We love this downhill stretch; with one of the cyclists stationed on the road below to ward off cars, we let ‘er rip down the long sweeping downhill past Crab Park.
We paused for a moment to marvel at the mannequins in the window of the old Swift’s factory beside the train tracks.
The Swift building was erected in 1910 – 1912 as a four storey meat warehouse and packing plant, with two storeys added in 1925. See more information about this heritage building here. Apparently the place is haunted, according to this site; maybe the ghost enjoys hanging out with the mannequins and takes them out for a spin when no-one’s watching …
Although it is the cruise season, no cruise ship was docked at Canada Place this night – the ships to Alaska usually leave the harbour at 5 pm to catch the sunset and so one must have left earlier in the evening.
Our route took us under Canada Place and up the ramp to the waterfront Convention Centre.
From our wooden seats, we had a lovely view of the sea planes and Coal Harbour.
Back down on the seawall, we decided to head around Stanley Park; at close to sunset, the wall was almost deserted, a very rare occurrence and wonderful for skating.
The city looked beautiful in the fading sunlight casting a pastel blue glow over everything.
In the rapidly dimming light it was hard to get a picture that wasn’t blurred; here Barb’s racing down the seawall towards Lumberman’s Arch.
We finished our skate/bike three hours later with a cider and some nibbles at the Pirate Pub – grand!
See more pictures here.