April Showers, Public Art & the Spirit Trail

Photo: R. Weiss

April showers may bring spring flowers, but for many Vancouverites, this is the time of year when the dull, rainy days can sometimes feel endless. With bated breath, we wake up every morning and collectively watch the weather forecast, desperately wishing for sunshine and warmth. Although sensing our mood, Mother Nature teases us by painting the City with splashes of colour in the form of daffodils, tulips and our beloved, vibrant cherry blossoms. Her artwork is like an invitation to leave our winter hibernation dens and venture forth outside.

Photo: J. Pramchom

Accepting her colourful and well-intentioned invitation, I decided to embark on the Seabus and head to the North Shore for a leisurely spring walk. Although the day was overcast, I grabbed my raincoat and decided to make the most of it. Feeling a bit lazy, I decided to pop into the Lonsdale Quay Market for a quick coffee and treat. Fuelled up and energized, it was time to begin my adventure! Recently, I had learned that North Vancouver is home to over 150 public artworks. Each original piece is designed to reflect and express North Vancouver’s local heritage, culture and environment. With directions for my self-guided tour in hand, I set off to view art installations along the Spirit Trail.

Photo: R. Weiss

Winding along the waterfront, the Spirit Trail will eventually link Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay. Completed in 2017, the section of trail in the Lonsdale Quay area extends from the Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway, through Waterfront Park to the Quay. Dotted along the trail are numerous pieces of art waiting to be enjoyed. From the Gateway to Ancient Wisdom to the Fountain Mosiac, the works are unique, varied and thought-provoking.

Photo: R. Weiss

Stopping at Cathedral, designed by Douglas Senft, I gazed across the water towards downtown Vancouver. The steel beams of the sculpture are intended to outline our local mountains and reflect the spiritual quality of the landscape. Alone on the trail, I stood lost in thought. Out of the mist, a massive tanker came in to view and lumbered up the inlet. I smiled to myself as I thought of Joe Bustemente, who in 1900 blew his trumpet to direct harbour ferries through the fog to the North Vancouver Wharf. What would he think of today’s bustling Vancouver port?

Photo: R. Weiss

Getting There:

Lonsdale Quay is easily accessible from Vancouver via the Sea Bus. Once on the North Shore, visit the North Vancouver Public Art website for a list of self-guided public art walking tours.

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