Saturday was spent touring Vancouver proper with Duane and family, the Landon tour bus pulled up in front of our marina and we hopped in for a drive around beautiful Stanley Park named after Lord Stanley, a British politician and governor general in the late 1800’s. The Park is surrounded by Vancouver Harbour and English Bay, offering bicycle paths, play areas, beaches, a teahouse, and an outdoor swimming pool. Circling back into town, we drove past the impressive cauldron at the Jack Poole Plaza which was lit for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Next stop was Gastown, which is similar to our Pioneer Square with pretty tree-lined streets, historic buildings, and lovely ornate lamps. Gastown was Vancouver’s first downtown core and is named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain who arrived in 1867 and opened the area’s first saloon. We stopped for some souvenir shopping and to have lunch at the Steam Works Brewery, we had such a nice time bonding with family and helping Porter celebrate his upcoming 12th birthday.
While in Gastown we visited the steam-powered clock, a must see. Although not built until 1977, the Steam Clock is styled to appear as a 19th century antique. The clock is powered by a small one-inch piston engine supplied with low pressure steam from the centralized steam heating system that serves a portion of downtown Vancouver. The engine drives a gear train, which drives an ascending chain lift to lift ball weights. The ball weights travel to a top track and load onto a drive chain providing the driving force to the clock while the ball weights descend. Five steam whistles are mounted on top the clock case, the large central whistle counts off the full hours and the four auxiliary whistles produce the Westminster “chime” every 15 minutes.
Soon it was time to plug the parking meter
with additional coins and hike a few blocks to the Police Museum which proved
to be another interesting stop. The
museum is housed in a historic building that once served as the coroner’s
court, the city’s morgue and autopsy facilities, and the city crime laboratory. The museum houses numerous artifacts,
including Thompson sub-machine guns and other confiscated weapons as well as
photos and documents of crime scenes.
The room which served as the morgue is also open to the public. A bullet hole can still be seen in the window
of the morgue where a would-be assassin attempted to kill the pathologist who
was getting ready to examine a body.
Someone was in the back alley waiting for the pathologist to wash his
hands near the window and fire upon the one person who could find the secrets
the body would divulge. Fortunately the
bullet missed its mark and the autopsy was completed. A short walk southeast of Gastown lead us
into Chinatown where we strolled through several markets displaying dried fish,
shrimp, and other items that we couldn’t identify. The area, obviously less fortunate, stands in
stark contrast to cosmopolitan Vancouver; the boundary line is quite abrupt and
is clearly obvious.
In the early years,
social, economic, and political restrictions hindered the development of the
Chinese, mostly from Hong Kong, live throughout the various districts in
greater Vancouver, including the suburb of Richmond where fifty percent of the
population is Chinese. As a result,
Chinatown has declined over the years. Nevertheless,
it’s an interesting area to visit and there have been recent efforts to
revitalize historic Chinatown. Our day
out with the family was coming to an end but we reminded ourselves that quality
is better than quantity. We
said our goodbyes and walked back to our marina while Duane and family departed
southwest for Granville Island before heading home to Seattle. We will miss their company and adventuresome spirit.
|Gastown District, Vancouver B.C.|
|The Steam Clock in Gastown, Vancouver|
|The Police Museum|
|Morgue at the Police Museum|
|A Murder Attempt|
|Market in Chinatown|