These Boots Are Made For Walking: Coal Harbour

June 28, 2011 § 34 Comments

The Pacific Northwest region has a notorious reputation for inclement weather—here, rain could qualify as a fifth season. Vancouverites have accepted the cold and wet weather as a simple fact of life. You learn to deal with it by donning a raincoat and slipping on water-resistant boots. And you come to grips with the incessant water droplets by rationalizing that they are sustaining the largest temperate rainforest ecoregion on the planet—while sipping from your earth-friendly cup of fair trade coffee, no less.

After six years of living abroad, however, it seems that I need to acclimatize once again to Vancouver’s ‘enchanting’ grey skies. Mind you, I do think this is a lovely change from the tropical “I’ve-just-stepped-one-foot-out-the-door-and-I’m-already-breaking-into-a-sweat” humidity that is Singapore. So, with the temperature hovering around 20 degrees Celcius as of late, I decided it was time to head out into the city—with or without the sun!

Laced up in my oh-so-comfy hikers, I proceeded to (re)discover one of my favourite urban jaunts in Vancouver: the Coal Harbour waterfront walk.

Starting at Canada Place (the antecedent of the current Vancouver Convention Centre), I looped once around the building and filled my lungs with salty seabreeze before moseying on over a couple hundred metres  to the new extension wing.

This new wing was completed for the 2010 Winter Olympics and houses some rather interesting public art sculptures together with the outdoor Olympic Cauldron (albeit without the flames—a good measure considering the embarassing cacophony of incivility following a hockey game just two weeks ago).  

At one of the many rest stops available along the waterfront, I spent a moment watching as the water body before me transformed into a landing strip for seaplanes.

Ah, the seagull. I never thought I would ever find myself feeling so happy at the sight of these squawking birds. Singapore certainly has her own interesting share of avian species, but the seagull is just too goofy and comical not to fall in love with—that is, until they snatch the tuna sandwich straight out of your hands.


These boats remain anchored, waiting patiently for a sunny day to be let out and roam the waters.

With my urban trek almost coming to an end, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this little pupster romping around in the park by the waterfront. Sheema is the name of this sweet 1-year old Toy Poodle. Oh how she reminded me of Little Miss Maple! I think Maple and Sheema could easily become instant friends. *sigh* If only Maple had wings to fly.


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§ 34 Responses to These Boots Are Made For Walking: Coal Harbour

  • Anny says:

    For a moment there.. i thought it was Maple. Bet you are missing her like crazy.

    Thanks for sharing with us a wonderful insight on Vancouver 🙂

    • LOL, my eyes zoomed in on Sheema while failing to notice a few other dogsters there that day… so, yes, I think I’m missing Maple! The sun is finally peeking through today, so hopefully I’ll have nicer weather this week to tour another part of Vancouver and share with you all 😀

  • didiwright says:

    What a wonderful tour! Vancouver looks like a wonderful place, which I’ve heard it is from some of my friends who moved to Canada years ago. It’s worth putting up with the weather, isn’t it? It must have been a huge shock (weather and temperature wise) for you, coming from the opposite climate.
    I bet the hardest thing is not the weather, but missing Little Miss. I hope you had a good cuddle with her look-alike Sheema. How long until you’re going back home?

    • Yes, that is so true—your circadian rhythm and nerves can get thrown off balance when you’re travelling from across the globe from one end to the other. Sadly, I think I’m a little slower than others to adapt to change. Fortunately, however, I still have a few weeks of travelling time in Vancouver before heading back to Singapore. Hopefully summer will make an appearance in July! But, you’re right, the toughest challenge is not so much in having to bear with the weather but, rather, being such a long distance away from Miss Maple. MM tells me Maple is doing very well, so that’s comforting to know 😀

  • raisingdaisy says:

    What a wonderful tour of Vancouver you’ve given us! I enjoyed this post so much. Sheema certainly does remind me of Miss Maple, though your little Miss has a sweetness and charm that’s matchless – that little face just brings the “awww” factor to a whole new level. Thanks for such a lovely post on a place I’ll probably never be able to get to! 🙂

    • Aww, gee, thanks for your kind words! I would like to think that Miss Maple’s personality can’t be duplicated either, but Sheema sure did come very close. Sheema is a smart cookie, too—I couldn’t believe my eyes when she happily sat and stayed (briefly), but my reflexes were too slow with the camera so I missed out on some pretty good photos. Well, let me see if I can snap more pictures of Vancouver to share—that way you won’t miss out on much!

  • Anna says:

    I don’t know which I dislike more, cold wet weather or humidity… guess it depends on my mood, least you can do something about the cold, not so much the humidity. Looks like an interesting place. We are headed to the Ontario area in August to see family, I can’t wait. What the heck are the chance of seeing a dog like Maple there! What a treat! Granted i do know one myself that weighs in at just about 2.5 lbs. You can see her christmas shoot under the dog section of my portfolio.

    • August would be a lovely time to visit Ontario—summer will have arrived by then! Depending on where you, it can get pretty hot and slightly humid in cities like Toronto and Ottawa. But, I agree, it all comes down to the mood I’m in, as well. I took a peek of Chloe’s Christmas shoot and she is so cute in her Mrs Claus outfit (LOL)! Chloe looks very much the same size as Maple, but with an uncanny resemblance to Sheema’s clip. Thanks for sharing 😀

  • totomameee says:

    Enjoying the weather there?

    My turn to report from Singapore …
    Singapore is ‘LOVELY’, HOT and humid.
    I have been sweating like a PIG!

    I can just ‘SEE’ the nice weather in canada!
    And when I scroll further down, I was LIKE,’YOU BROUGHT MAPLE?’!!
    On 2nd look Maple is tinier …
    When u see sheena, you must miss Maple like mad!

    But still hope u are enjoying your trip so far, I am snacking like crazy here! Mangosteen, Buah Luku, Hongkong Mee etc etc etc kekeke ~

    • Wow, good eye! You’re right, Maple is about half the size of Sheema. I think those two would have a blast as playmates, if given the chance. Glad to hear you’re ‘soaking’ up the weather in Singapore. LOL, think of all the sweating you’re doing as a means of detoxing… that’s how I console myself when I’m taking the third shower of the day 😐 Enjoy all the local dishes and tropical fruits while you’re there (if you need recommendations, let me know)—I bet your hubby is getting jealous!

      P.s. If you’re a laksa fan, like me, try the stall at the Food Republic in ION! That’s where I get my laska fix on a monthly basis 😉

  • Thanks for the mini-vacation. Loved the tour. And I think Miss Maple has found her twin. : )

  • Kas says:

    I also thought that that was Miss Maple for a second there!! Looks like a beautiful place, and glad to hear that you are having a good time. Great photos 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m certainly enjoying my vacation, but I’m just hoping for a little more steady sunshine. It’s been tough motivating myself to head outdoors when the sky looks like it’s about to pour a heavy bucket of water down on us. And the flash on my camera keeps wanting to pop open because there’s not enough light (LOL)! O Summer, where art thou?

  • i’ve been hearing so much lately about the wet pacific northwest. makes me wonder why people live there at all [apart from the fact that it also looks pretty damn gorgeous and seems to have a thriving community feel]!

    sounds like you’re having a good time. those metallic fish are awesome :0

    • LOL, yes, it’s a mystery why people choose to tolerate the cold wet weather! Well, I think it could be due to the combination of the sea and mountains—they have some kind of magnetic appeal. Speaking of fish, I’m having my fill of wild salmon during this trip. Yum 😀

  • bonnie says:

    vancouver has the best weather in canda, i don’t think i’ts cold there. I love the weather, I wish HK & Singapore are like that, muhaha

    • I agree, in Canada, it’s tough to beat Vancouver’s relatively mild weather. I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was cold and sunny. But, this whole month of June has been quite unpredictable. I’m hoping for better summer weather come July!

  • yuki the dog says:

    sheema looks a lot like maple, but from the pictures it seems little miss maple is smaller? i know exactly what you mean about having to adapt to different weather extremes.

    i went from living in the desert, where it’s literally 0% humidty and can be 110F…to living in subtropical Okinawa, Japan for over 3 years. eventually i got used to the humidity, even though at first 80F at that humidity level was tough to deal with. to me, when it’s 80F with 90% humidity, it does feel hotter than 110F w/no humidity. when i came back to living in the desert, i realized i was so used to the humidity-the lack of humidity was really bothersome!

    now one climate i could never get used to was germany in the winter. i lived in germany for 3 years, and since we’re lucky if we even get a light snow every few years out here in the desert, i was not prepared for geman winters. i would wear soooo many layers of thermal clothing under my ski jacket thick coats. i could never get the chill out from my bones. i tried so hard, i’d buy coffee from street vendors to try and warm up. germany’s markets are the best during the holiday season, and i so wanted to be able to shop and eat outdoors like everyone else. but, i had to go run inside a department store or cut our outing short because i just couldn’t adapt. 🙂

    • Absolutely right! Maple is a tiny gal and Sheema is quite possibly twice Maple’s size 😀

      I’m amazed by how you’ve managed your transition through various extreme climates—not an easy feat! I find hot temperatures bearable, but add into the mix a high humidity index and suddenly it just becomes too unbearable for me 😦 This trip to Vancouver has been a great escape! The chill from the incessant rain, however, is a whole different story. But, after reading your experiences of braving the winters in Germany, it helped to put things into perspective 😉

      Thanks for sharing your stories. I hope to hear more of your time overseas, especially in Okinawa. I’ve only ever been to Tokyo, but would love for the opportunity to explore more of Japan one day!

  • Kristine says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos! It’s been so long since I’ve been in Vancouver. I think the last time was 2005 so at least six years. It’s just as lovely as I remember. I am glad you are having a great time, it’s just too bad Maple can’t explore with you.

    I hope you find a great way to celebrate Canada Day!

    • Thank you! I hope the weather was kind to you when you last visited Vancouver in 2005. I always feel so bad for out-of-town visitors when I see them juggling with their backpacks, cameras, and rain gear 😦 Where’s the sun when you’re on vacation, right?

      Happy Canada Day to you, Shiva, and your PH!

  • Is that whale statue made entirely of Legos (LOL)?

    I was a little girl when we planned a family trip to Vancouver, so I really didn’t get to appreciate its natural beauty. Your pictures make me want to return to Canada and enjoy the sights with a older and wiser pair of eyes.

    Watching Sheema prancing around the park must make you miss Maple more than you already do. I know how you feel—I miss Oscar in the midst of grocery shopping (LOL).

    • Hey, that’s a good way of describing the pixelated killer whale! I didn’t get up close enough to check, but Legos sure would be fun.

      Yes, so true—the world is seen quite differently through the eyes of a child than those of an adult. For me, I think I would want to visit Disneyland all over again!

      LOL, you made me laugh with your comment about missing Oscar while grocery shopping. It sounds like you have fallen hard and fast for this little guy, and understandably so 😉

  • May says:

    Vancouver looks like a wonderful place. I have only been to nearer asian countries like Hong Kong and Thailand. Someday, I hope I will have the opportunity to expand my geography and explore places I have never been to. Someday. For now I will content my senses with your beautiful pictures. 🙂

    And I thought I saw Miss Maple! lol. For a moment, I thought she had flown over to be with you. You must be missing her loads, ya.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and hoping to see more. 😉

    • Hi May! Hmm, I would like to consider Vancouver as part of my travels, but seeing that I grew up here I’m not sure if that counts (LOL). I’m trying to play a tourist in my own backyard albeit without much success, thanks to the intimidating weather… Sheema, the Maple look-a-like, sure did make my day though!

  • This is just so great to read. I lived in Vancouver 30 (yes) 30 years ago and lived in Kitslano. I miss the place so much and I know what you mean about the rain. I kinda think that’s what drove me back to Nova Scotia. I visited a couple of times since and couldn’t believe the construction that was going on. Now since the Olympics seeing posts like yours makes me get all “verklempt”….just wandering around the different neighbourhoods and taking in the ambiance….aaah! See you were meant to come back so all your followers can see this wonderful city. So, right now…Sophie is sending good, happy vibes to Miss Maple~~~~~~~Cheers!

    • Hi there fellow Vancouverite! Kits is one of the best urban neighbourhoods in Vancouver—I can see why you would have enjoyed your time there. Now, Nova Scotia is a whole other part of Canada that I’ve yet to see. I hear it’s beautiful, and I hope to visit Canada’s east coast one of these days. Hope you all had a fabulous Canada Day 😀

  • charlywalker says:

    I love your brings back great memories.. I am from the PNW!

  • lepawsvoyage says:

    Wow, everything at vancouver looks so amazing. I thought you mosiac the killer whale until i guess it’s make out of lego. Guess it must be hard on you with maple on your mind especially when you met sheema. Have a joyful vacation!!!

  • SandySays1 says:

    Don’t you wish you had Miss Red Maple along? I finally guilted my humans into taking me along on the Geezer’s book signings. I had to look three times to be sure you hadn’t snuck LMRM on the trip. Sheema does look like her!

  • Novroz says:

    I love this post, your description along with the pictures make me feel like I am walking along with you 🙂

    I have never been to a place with 20 degree celcius, I might freeze in that temperature.

    Wow….Miss Maple has a twin, but I think she is chubbier than Maple. I bet you miss Maple.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Vancouver is a gorgeous place – grey skies and all. But the rain – I can see that being problematic. Hope this week has warmed up a bit for you, at least.

    In Central Virginia we’re experiencing tropical air masses and massive thunderstorms. Pretty soon, I’ll be glancing longingly at my winter coat. 🙂

    So cool that you got to see a red poodle (who does look like a great big Maple) during your visit! I know you must miss her a lot. I have a hard time leaving JF and Dewi for an afternoon.

    Enjoy the rest of you visit with family!

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