After living for a year in Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island's rugged outer shore, we decided to fulfill another dream and move to the downtown area of Vancouver. These are the adventures, in words and images, of a couple of retirees now based in Lower Lonsdale.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Inspiration 101

This past week was an amazing one for Marcelle and me as we were fortunate enough to attend two remarkable events that were truly inspirational. First, we were at the Heart Mind Summit, at which His Holiness, the Dali Lama challenged British Columbians to "be the village".

The summit brought together a stellar panel of leaders from the business, community, education and arts sectors that discussed the progress of teaching youth the power of love and compassion. I have to admit that I had no idea as to the truly remarkable achievements that have been made already in introducing these concepts through concrete and measureable methods into the majority of B.C. schools.

The Dali Lama displayed the staggering humilty that he is known for as well as a playful wit and the charming ability to laugh at himself. At one point, a disciple brought him a towel to mop the perspiration from his brow, which he did, and then folded it and perched it atop his head, exclaiming that it was an admirable hat. He left it there for the remainder of the conference, using it to shade his eyes from the glare of the overhead lights.

His messages were profound, his replies to questions well-thought out and very meaningful, and overall it was both a treat and an honour to be in his presence.

Wednesday, we attended We Day Vancouver at Rogers Stadium, along with 20,000 public and high school kids from all over the province. WOW! This affair ran from 8AM until 2:30PM and was essentially a non-stop extravaganza of presentations by leaders of the global compassionate community, celebrities and musical acts.

Hosted by Selena Gomez, a hip and very together 22-year old actress, the day was a collage of short presentations about what remarkable progress has been made over the past year by the students attending the event such as building schools in third world countries, enabling women in Africa to start businesses that literally change their world, and so on.

Interspersed between the presentations were numerous performers who came out to do one, or in some cases, two songs, and the kids quite obviously adored them as the level of screaming was ear-splitting. Here are pictures of some of the acts.




When a short break was required to dress the set or to move the hosts, there were "crowd pumpers" who lead the kids in the We dance.

When Orlando Bloom came out to convey his personal story of how he became socially conscious, all the girls in the arena simply wilted (while simultaneously screeching). :)

Many of the stories being reported included people from the actual locations, such as these girls from Africa who told of their delight in being able to go to a newly-built school and learn a vocation rather than being married at fourteen. It was both remarkable and poignent.

As we came to the finale, everyone was in awe that the surprise special guest was none other than Jennifer Lopez!

J-Lo and band were simply incredible, and even though they only did two numbers, and the kids were an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.



It is truly remarkable that these young people have so much to offer and are so willing to make a difference in this world. With the widespread advent of social media and personal electronics, the global community is within reach of all of us, and seeing the incredible difference these youngsters, and most importantly, their teachers, who have enabled much of these ideas and thinking, it gives the theme of "Changing Me to We" a solid and profound resonance.

The energy all throughout the day was palpable and genuine and for those of us honoured to be guests there, it was an experience we'll never forget.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014


It's been a few days since my last post, but I have been busy, honest. There's been a couple on interesting (for me) opportunities that have begun to come to fruition.

The first, which I have mentioned on the blog already, "Workin' on the Workshop", is my photography workshop that I teach and offer to schools, charities, and communities. I have an upcoming meeting next week with the North Vancouver Community Arts Council to talk specifics to schedule presentation of the course. As such, I've spent quite a bit of my time in fine-tuning the Keynote presentation that is the cornerstone of the workshop.

Secondly, I am now a contributing photographer and writer to a local website, This existing website has been acquired by a new marketing firm and is undergoing some serious renovations. The new site will offer much more content and feature Lower Lonsdale as a gateway to the north shore. My photographs will be featured in the website, and in addition, I will write articles as well.


In the meantime, here are some iPhone images that I've managed to take over the last while. Enjoy!








If you haven't had the opportunity to contribute and give back to your community, I urge you to try it. I highly recommend it... There's little more satisfying then to see that you can make a difference to others.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Doors Open Vancouver

Today, the City of Vancouver had a number of building open to the public to tour. Marcelle and I had had the pleasure of this type of event once when we were in Paris, and today, we elected to tour the Carnegie Building at East Hastings and Main. I can't count the number of times we have driven past this edifice and always wondered as to its origins and past and this was a factor in our visit today.

Well, interestingly enough, we learned almost nothing about the building's history, other than it was originally endowed by Andrew Carnegie (who knew?), and that over the years, it had been used for a number of purposes. The tour director did, however, eloquently and passionately educate us as to the important role the building now plays in assisting the less fortunate citizens of the lower eastside.

The building has some lovely architectural details, such as the circular staircase, and the beautiful stained glass windows.

On the way from the SeaBus, we had walked by some beautifully colourful and expressive graffiti, an interesting juxtaposition to the surrounding urban decay.

Sitting having a cup of coffee to pass some time before our tour, I snapped an image of a passerby with some remarkably colourful sneakers. I remarked to my wife that when we were of that age, we simply wouldn't have seen shoes like this, let alone been caught dead in shoes of that colour. How times have changed! And how liberating.

Vancouver has a few 'gridiron' buildings, and I find them irresistible as photographic subjects.

Tour finished, we headed over toward Robson Square, and did a quick detour into the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens. These gorgeous and tranquil oriental gardens always give me a peaceful feeling as I stroll through them, reminding me of similar gardens that I have visited in Japan and China.


A little further on, we came across a symbolic abacus sculpture outside a condo.

Having a spot of lunch opposite the Art Gallery, we were surprised to hear chanting and looked around to see a mini demonstration in progress.

Within Robson Square, a couple of people were practicing dance steps and I caught a moment of introspection.

Finally, we headed back to get the SkyTrain to Waterfront Terminal, and passed a storefront with unique and very attractive, almost Art Deco features.


Feet sore and muscles weary, we headed home, another satisfying day in this wonderful city!


Friday, 3 October 2014

Doughnuts in Deep Cove

The day dawned bright and clear, a deep azure sky sporting high, wispy clouds, and Marcelle and I decided to try our luck at Deep Cove. We had attempted to explore this area last Sunday, but so, apparently, had the entire population of North Vancouver, and we were completely stymied at finding a parking space. This morning, we had no similar issues, and spent some time exploring this lovely area.

We parked and decided to eat some lunch before commencing out perambulations, and chose to nosh at Honey's Doughnuts, where we shared a chicken melt sandwich with delicious carrot coconut soup. Naturally, we also tried their marvelous doughnuts, Marcelle having a honey-glazed, while I tried a chocolate coated one. Yummy!

Tummies full, we waddled off to wander the walk along the water, through the park there. The water was calm with just enough movement to provide some lovely reflections. As you will already know, Dear Reader, I am a sucker for reflections and eagerly snap them up, often turning the resulting image 180-degrees to make it appear upright.



Out in the harbour, kayakers cut through the water, their alternating left-right strokes a symmetric ballet of movement that was hypnotic to watch.

As we marched along, we came upon an industrious crow, jealously guarding and efficiently devouring a discarded apple. As we slowly approached, he cocked his head sideways and eyed us hesitantly. Then, with a flurry of jet-black wings shot with iridescence, he effortlessly took to the air to land a few feet away. As soon as we had passed, he shot back to his prize before a usurper, skulking in the wings, could take possession. What astonishingly marvellous creatures crows and ravens are. We never tire of observing them.

Diverting out on the pier, I switched to my 18mm ultra-wide lens to get the "big picture", and as I composed, a seagull obligingly posed against the background sky. (I tried to explain the 'rule of thirds' to him, and that he should have been more to the left of right, but it was in vain, and the bloodly creature simply kept repeating "mine, mine, mine...".)

Before we left, we sat on one of the many benches overlooking this tranquil scene, basking in the sun's warmth, and simply enjoyed the day and the surroundings. Close to us, another couple was doing the same thing, and I stole a candid portrait as they conversed.


The north shore has so much to offer, and it's all so close to us. How lucky we are to be here!


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Downtown Sojourn

Headed over this morning on the SeaBus to downtown to do a bit of a walkabout with my son Cameron, who had come in from Langley for a visit. We'd gotten together to catch up and had the time to watch a couple of movies, which is a favorite pastime.

One of the films we watched was Edge of Tomorrow, a Sci-Fi thriller with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, and was one of the best new films I've seen in the last few months. It's smart, taut, and a spectacle for the eye. The aliens are very original and come off much better than almost anything else in years.

This morning, Cam was headed back to Langley, so we just kind of spooked around downtown before he journeyed home. We did a bit of a circle and ended up over by BC Place, where he embarked on the Skytrain, and I wandered on towards Chinatown, then over to Gastown and finally to Waterfront Station.


One of the things I'm always on the lookout for is street art, whether it is monuments, specific street art pieces, or just graffiti. When I find some interesting graffiti, I like to crop in close on specific areas within the overall piece, concentrating on the texture and colours of the paint.


Walking along Water Street, in Gastown, I spotted in interesting moment between a young woman and a security guard at the exit of a parking garage.

Further on, this fascinating bicycle - sidecar combo appeared.

Across the street, a blonde woman strode purposefully along, latte in hand, and I processed it as black & white and then used Photoshop's Art History brush to "paint" back the colour of her hair. I like doing spot colour on a B&W image for the interesting effect it can offer.

As I crossed the walkway over the railway lines, on my way to board the SeaBus, I couldn't help capturing the lines of the sidings as they split and then concatenate again, all marvelous leading lines for the eye to travel.

Reminds me of the elaborate HO-gauge train set my father made for me (and I suspect, partially for himself too) when I was a child. Good memories.