Saving Vancouver’s Secret Railway: The Arbutus Corridor Controversy

Photo credit: donkeycart | Flickr

Photo credit: donkeycart | Flickr

Do you know about Vancouver’s hidden railway?

It’s actually not much of a secret.  The Arbutus Corridor is an 11-kilometre-long unused rail line that stretches due south from False Creek, cutting across neighbourhoods from Fairview to Kerrisdale before ending at the Fraser River.

While officially owned by CP rail, the line has not been used since 2001.  During that time, the tracks and the 50-foot-t0-65-foot strip of land they sit on have become one of Vancouver’s more distinguishing features.

Community gardens have proliferated along the idle land, as well as informal walking and biking paths that run its length.  Elsewhere, brambles and vegetation have reclaimed the old industrial space.  In short, the old railroad has become a giant strip of green slicing right through the heart of Vancouver.

ArbutusCorridor-map

Image sourced from germainekoh.com

And – at least for the moment – it looks like the unique greenway on the Arbutus Corridor is here to stay.   Continue reading:
Saving Vancouver’s Secret Railway: The Arbutus Corridor Controversy

The Yard You Can Eat: Edible Lawns Cropping up in Vancouver

Photo credit: Transition US | Flickr

Photo credit: Transition US | Flickr

Have you heard of edible yards? I hadn’t, until I read a great article in the Vancouver Sun by Randy Shore.  Now I’m seeing edible yards everywhere in Vancouver.

Edible yards are, in essence, lawns that have been transformed into vegetable gardens. They’re a part of the larger urban agriculture movement, which sees vacant lots, rooftops and other idle spaces in and around cities used as land for small-scale farms.

The appeal of an edible yard is obvious.  For starters, no more mowing and watering the lawn.  And as a bonus, you get a bumper crop of fresh veggies right at your doorstep (literally).

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The Yard You Can Eat: Edible Lawns Cropping up in Vancouver

Inside Vancouver’s Tiniest Parks: A guide to the city’s “parklets”

Photo credit: Paul Krueger | Flickr

Photo credit: Paul Krueger | Flickr

Chances are you’ve walked by some of Vancouver’s tiniest parks without even noticing.

Over the past years, the city’s Viva Vancouver organization has helped quietly transform spare parking spaces on busy city streets into petite “parklets.”  These miniature oases, which often measure no more than 30 square metres, functions as mini public plazas, with benches, tables and landscaping.

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Inside Vancouver’s Tiniest Parks: A guide to the city’s “parklets”

PHOTO ESSAY: Whale Watching (with a twist) in Vancouver

WhaleWatchingBlog (4 of 28)The seas around Vancouver are home to 81 resident killer whales (or orcas) and hundreds of transient killer whales that prowl the waters at various times of the year.  In fact, it’s not uncommon to see orcas from the decks of the BC Ferries vessels that criss-cross the Georgia Strait or even from land.

But to get an up-close view, there’s really only one option: whale watching tours. During the March-October season, multiple tour companies based in Coal Harbour, Granville Island and Steveston specialize in tracking down pods of orcas and other types of whales and giving wildlife lovers a chance to view them from a safe distance.  Options range from speedy zodiac boats that zip over the waves to larger covered cruisers for whale watching in style.

I recently rode along on a Prince of Whales boat for what they call the Ultimate Day Tour, which combines whale watching with sightseeing on Vancouver Island.  Spoiler alert: We didn’t see any orcas.  But we did see another member of the whale family, one that makes the killer whale look almost puny by comparison. Continue reading:
PHOTO ESSAY: Whale Watching (with a twist) in Vancouver

PHOTO ESSAY: Vancouver Daytrip to the “Gates of Hell”

HellsGateEssay (1 of 13)In 1808, explorer Simon Fraser – while canoeing the river that now bears his name in interior British Columbia – came upon a terrifying sight.  At one point, the massive river narrows to just 34 metres and churns through a ferocious set of rapids.  He wrote, “This was a place where no human being should venture, for surely we have encountered the gates of hell.”

Despite Fraser’s warning, I decided to venture to Hell’s Gate over the weekend.  Located about 2.5 hours northeast of Vancouver along Highway 1, the site is now home to the ever popular Hell’s Gate Airtram, which whisks passengers safely across the rapids without even having to get their feet wet.

Here are a few photos from my descent into the infernal depths of Hell’s Gate:  Continue reading:
PHOTO ESSAY: Vancouver Daytrip to the “Gates of Hell”