Postcard from Vancouver – exploring Stanley Park

by DaniGirl on April 11, 2011 · 13 comments

in Away we go, Photography

Tuesday marked the second day of my trip to Vancouver, and also the whole reason I was there in the first place — to give a presentation at a conference about social media in government and how we use social media at Army News.

I was keen to give the presentation. So keen, in fact, that my body refused to acknowledge the time difference between Ottawa and Vancouver (something to which I never quite acclimatized) and I was wide awake for the day at a little bit before 4 am. Hey, I’d slept in by Ottawa time zone standards! So, I puttered about the hotel room playing with my umbilical cord (erm, I mean, my iPhone) and getting myself dressed, and as soon as the sun was up I set off to explore another corner of the city before the conference started.

I took some pictures but honestly, they weren’t even worth sharing with you. Although the rain had blessedly stopped, the light was still flat and uninteresting, and most of the shots I took never made it past mediocre.

My morning got considerably more bright when the conference started. The first presentation was excellent, and then I was up. I had a great time speaking, and got some fantastic feedback from fellow participants. Can I brag for just a minute? Here are a few of the tweets that greeted me after my presentation:

From @AndreaGulay: Listening to @DaniGirl – Example of Best Practices – So glad she is here! #smgov

From @shannonmcfadyen: A mobile site is cross platform vs apps that are proprietary. A great consideration – thnks @DaniGirl #smgov

and: Thanks @DaniGirl for an informative #smgov presentation. Your candor was refreshing

From @opportunityknck: @DaniGirl Great talk … well done and informative #smgov

From @chicken_scratch: A shout out to @Danigirl for an engaging presentation this morning at #smgov #yvr. Who knew the Canadian Army was so hip?! #pr #media

Isn’t that terrific? And during each break in the conference, people were coming up with me to chat, to know more about what we’re doing, and to talk a little bit more about the points I raised. One sweet woman even said mine was her favourite presentation and the most useful. Totally made the scary flight in with no coffee for five hours worthwhile!

We had 90 minutes for a lunch break and I was still twitchy with energy from my presentation, so I stepped out for a brisk walk and found the sun shining! I’d had it in my head that maybe I’d walk to the close edge of Stanley Park and poke around for a bit, and then wander back. I walked past a bike rental shop as I walked up Robson Avenue and popped in, thinking I’d find out what I needed to rent a bike and what it would cost to rent one after the conference was done for the afternoon. It was so inexpensive and so straightforward that, with more than an hour left in my lunch I just rented one on the spot and hopped on.

I tell you, while it was never on my life “to do” list to impulsively rent a bike to ride the sea wall at Stanley Park — but it should have been! First, after walking everywhere for two days, the sheer speed with which the blocks whizzed by as I rode was exhilarating. Then I hit the actual park, and started seeing things like this:

Totem Pole, Stanley Park

And this:

Stanley Park seawall

It was undoubtedly the most scenic bike ride ever, and a gift of a day because the forecast had once again been calling for rain.

I don’t know why, but one of the things I most wanted to see in Vancouver was the Lion’s Gate Bridge. And so when I came around the bend and could see it so clearly spanning the background, I had to hop off my bike and enjoy the moment.

My bike!

I poked around for a bit, and eventually hopped off the sea wall and wandered down to the boulders exposed by the low tide so I could take a few pictures like this one.

Lion's Gate Bridge at low tide

That’s when I made a discovery that made me gasp in surprised delight. You know what I found? SEA GLASS! Tonnes and tonnes of great big gorgeous pieces of sea glass.

Sea Glass!

Remember how excited we were to find it last summer in Nova Scotia? This put that bounty to shame. I quickly filled my pockets, but was precariously close to running out of lunch hour and had to move along more quickly than I would have liked.

In fact, rather than complete the full circle around Stanley Park, I decided to cut through the park along the causeway that leads to the Lion’s Gate Bridge and follow it back to downtown. By the way, I have never seen a park with so many rules for cyclists as this one — ride your bike here, don’t ride your bike here, walk your bike here, and god help you if you miss a rule because people will yell the rules out at you. Yeesh!

By the time I got back to the conference I was a little sweaty and well-exercised, but we had an afternoon of really interesting presentations.

All in all, it was a stellar day and I was totally forgetting to feel homesick — right up until the point just after the conference ended around dinner time that I got an e-mail from my daycare provider telling us she was quitting the business as of the end of the month. Sigh.

And that’s when things started to go really sideways. Cuz you know bad news always travels in threes.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous April 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

sigh. I love Stanley park. Great pics!

2 JoJo April 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

I love your pics of Vancouver and kudos to you for hopping on that bike right there!

But seriously, more daycare problems? It can’t be true, can it?

3 Rebecca April 11, 2011 at 8:21 am

and…anonymous is me lol

4 Coco April 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

More bad news?!

5 Valerie April 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

Yay for a great presentation! Yay for a great bike/Stanley Park experience (that’s where K & I rented a tandem for the first time and were forever after hooked)! But oh, no, not again! for the daycare. 🙁 And even more trouble? Oh, dear.

6 amanda April 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

does it ever *not* call for rain in YVR? 🙂 🙂

i adore stanley park. and the sea glass is soooo pretty. love.

7 andrea from the fishbowl April 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

This was a real good news/bad news kind of post, wasn’t it? Oy. I’m sorry to hear about your caregiver. What happened?

p.s. You tease! I need to know what else happened!

8 Josée April 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Congrats on the great presentation and the terrific feedback. Too bad about the daycare… and you really are a tease!

9 Paula April 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Glad that the weather is clearing up even though your day care provider has caused a cloud to hover over you. Beautiful pictures of your trek. Congratulations on a great and well-received presentation.

10 Sarah Stovold April 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm

The sea glass is gorgeous! RT @Dani_Girl Another postcard from Vancouver: biking, bridges, Stanley Park and sea glass! http://bit.ly/emEtTu

11 Mary @ Parenthood April 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm

A cliff hanger? Noooo… Hoping that you find a new daycare provider quickly!

12 Amber April 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I am likely biased, as a lifelong resident of the Vancouver area, but I do think Stanley Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s too bad you couldn’t see it on a really nice day. Which, yes, really do happen here on the “wet” coast. 😉

13 Tracey April 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

Hi Dani.

I know this is old news but can you email the LEGO guy’s information….I read your blog last summer and this year I would love to do a LEGO party for my boy(s).

Thanks.

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