The best way to enjoy the sunshine in Vancouver – an early morning run along the seawall and an afternoon picnic in Van Dusen Botanical Garden.
More pictures on Flickr.
On Monday, Emily celebrated Family Day walking to Granville Island and doing some shopping. We picked up some vegetables in the market and a cute onesie at Parade. We’ve already received a lot of hand-me-down baby clothing, but this was our first purchase.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and there were hundreds of people out walking and cycling. The seawall between Olympic Village and Cambie Bridge has been recently upgraded to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists. It’s still not the most scenic stretch, but it is a lot better and less congested than it used to be.
The section between Cambie Bridge and Granville Island needs some love now, and the City of Vancouver and Park Board are looking to upgrade it. A lot of sections are narrow and the cobblestones are annoying for any wheeled users (bikes, rollerbladers, and strollers).
I’m lucky to live in close proximity to so many great running routes. I’m minutes away from Vancouver’s Seawall, where I can run for hours without having to stop for a single traffic light. Vancouver’s greenways and bike routes are also great, traffic-calmed running routes.
My favourite places to run
– Seawall, around False Creek, Kitsilano Beach, and Stanley Park
– Central Valley Greenway, occasionally as far as New Westminster
– Point Grey Road, a joy with the new traffic calming
– Ontario and Heather bikeways up to Queen Elizabeth Park
One of the things I like about Toronto, is all the cool neighbourhoods to explore. On our most recent trip, we stayed in the Beaches, a funky neighbourhood east of downtown. It had a relaxed vibe that reminded me a lot of Vancouver – with funky shops, a beach packed with volleyball courts, and a busy seawall with walkers, joggers, and cyclists.
Only in Vancouver would cycling slowly along a recreational bike path be illegal. It’s ridiculous. I run faster than most seawall cyclists, and yet they’re required by law to wear safety gear. The City of Vancouver has its own by-law (60D) that extends the provincial helmet law (part of the Motor Vehicle Act) to the city’s car-free paths and parks.
It’s possible that skateboarders and rollerbladers have it worse than cyclists. They can’t legally use the city’s side streets unless bubble-wrapped.
A person must not ride or coast on non-motorized skates, skateboard, or push-scooter on any minor street unless (a) that person wears a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and front and rear reflective equipment, and, in the case of skates or a skateboard, wrist guards; and (b) the skates, skateboard, or push-scooter has a braking mechanism.
Wrist guards are so important they were mentioned twice!
I realize these by-laws are rarely enforced, but if the city wants to show it’s serious about active transportation then it should scrap them. I think most people can decide for themselves if the risks of rollerblading without wrist guards is acceptible.
In related news, Vancouver’s bike share system has been delayed, yet again – now estimated to launch in 2015 (after being proposed in 2008 and approved by council in 2012). Dealing with the mandatory helmet law continues to be a stumbling block. Apparently they’ve worked out a vending machine solution. Seattle is set to launch its bike share program this fall with the same helmet vending machines, so we’ll see if they actually work or cause a logistical nightmare.
Vancouver really comes alive when it is sunny out. There is so much going on in the city and in my neighbourhood. Within 5 minutes of my front door there is outdoor sports setup by my local community centre; thousands of cyclists cruising on the seawall, and musicians cranking out tunes on a public piano provided by Keys to the Streets.
Our garden is also thriving. The long hot days have caused our plants to explode. We picked the last of the arugula, which went to seed, but the lettuce, kale, carrots, green onions, beets, tomatoes, and cucumbers are thriving.