Vancouver Mini Escapes: Half-Day Trip to Bowen Island

BowenIsland-8Summer’s almost over … but not quite yet.

If you’re looking for one last getaway from the city but are short on time, consider the little island that’s practically in Vancouver’s backyard: Bowen Island.  You get a taste of Gulf Island living, beautiful forests, a small town and pristine beaches – and you can be back home in time for dinner.

I checked out Bowen over a recent weekend and was amazed at how much there is to do. Getting there is relatively easy.  Ferries leave regularly from the Horseshoe Bay Terminal in West Vancouver.  The quick, 20-minute trip will set you back $11.65 for a roundtrip ticket (add an extra $32.90 if you bring a car).  I drove on this time, but I’ve biked on in the past. (Bowen’s mountainous topography makes for dramatic – if somewhat exhausting – cycling.)

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Vancouver Mini Escapes: Half-Day Trip to Bowen Island

Compost City: Vancouver to Ban All Food From Trash

Photo credit: Alfred Hermida | Flickr

Photo credit: Alfred Hermida | Flickr

Vancouver’s trash is about to get a little greener.

City council has just approved a new composting policy that changes the way the city’s condo dwellers throw out their trash, as reported by the Vancouver Sun. Starting in January 2015, all compostable materials from privately-serviced residential buildings – not to mention restaurants, hotels and other commercial operations – have to be separated for trash collection.

Currently, food scraps recycling programs are already in place for single-family homes and city-serviced buildings.  Special green bins are the final resting place for everything from egg shells and banana peels to cooked foods, coffee filters and lawn clippings.  After pick-up, the scraps are taken to central facilities and composted into soil for use across the region.

The overall goal is to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills.   Continue reading:
Compost City: Vancouver to Ban All Food From Trash

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”