Another early start to the day, where I changed hotels for the rest of the week. I was quite pleased with the room and location of the new hotel, and was lucky that the hotel union strike occurring at the time did not affect either of the hotels I stayed at during my trip.
The day dawned much the same as the previous day, with clouds and cool temperatures. I decided to stay in West Vancouver for the day as I had a lot left to explore. I began with a walk to the closest Tim Hortons along the harbour with a few photo opportunities along the way.
The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and the ceremonial torch was relocated to the waterfront. I should have gone back at night for some more pictures, alas…
I made my way towards Stanley Park, taking in the quiet of the morning and the calm waters in the harbour with dozens of sailboats sitting idle.
Stanley Park was dedicated by Lord Stanley in 1889. It covers more than 1,000 acres and is primarily unpaved trails and old growth forest.
While most municipal parks I have seen are manicured and deadwood dragged out, Stanley Park seems to maintain a more natural approach. Two large, long-dead, tree stumps were left in place and new trees had grown from them. The deadwood offers rich soil conditions and a sharp contrast to the new trees.
As I wandered through the park towards the aquarium, I was stunned by the size of some of the trees. Cedar trees in Ontario rarely get more than eighteen inches thick; here I was seeing cedars more than three feet in diameter. I didn’t realize what was in store when I entered the more wild expanse of the park. As I neared my destination, I came across two abandoned animal enclosures. Nature had taken over, with small trees growing from bottoms of the pits and vines growing over the top of the shelters. There was something both sad and beautiful about these.
Before my trip, I spoke to a few people about what I should do with only two days of free time. There were lots of suggestions, but the two that came up regularly were Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium. As it was a Sunday, the aquarium was moderately busy.
I should have known better than to walk from a cool exterior to a warm and moist interior. My lenses fogged up as soon as I took the cover off. Luckily, I had a few spare cloths and cleaned them off while they climatized.
I love shooting wildlife, even if it’s within enclosures. It gave me a chance to work on my manual settings and trying to hold the camera still, long enough to get a clean shot with enough light.
There were seals, otters, and dolphins within the aquarium. Much of the area was accessible outdoors with low walls to give an unimpeded view into the enclosures.
I spent some time wandering around the building and looking at the various other forms of underwater sea life. This included fish, octopus blooms, frogs, and snakes. As these were all behind glass, the glare from lighting made taking pictures difficult, so I mostly just enjoyed walking around.
I left the aquarium and ventured into the interior of Stanley Park. The old growth environment is similar to the interior of Algonquin Park, with limited interference in the natural order.
The trees in Stanley Park were upwards of five feet in diameter and towered above me, making me almost forget that I was mere steps away from major roadways and the city.
I rounded out my trek through Stanley Park by passing by the Lost Lagoon. I can see this being a hotspot for wildlife photography in the spring or summer, but today it was quiet along the shore.
This was my last full day of playing tourist in Vancouver and I was ready to put my feet up after putting in more than 20,000 steps.