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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Canada: Vancouver (Part 1)

We arrived in Vancouver to such rain fogged weather that it was only when we saw the lights on the runway that we caught our first glimpse of Canada. It took a few days for the weather to improve, but undeterred we set out for the University of British Columbia with the aim of visiting the Museum of Anthropology. The University itself is so vast it feels likes it own town, and no doubt has some gorgeous views of the North Shore mountains on clearer days.

The museum houses an impressive array of works by First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest. The Great Hall greets visitors and is a breathtaking space that feels light and spacious and is filled with huge totem poles (a misnomer, as our tour guide explained), feast dishes and canoes. We were lucky to end up on a guided tour of the galleries, which I would highly recommend to any visitor, and were shown how to identify some of the creatures featured in the objects. The whole museum is not exclusively such large objects however, other galleries are full of smaller treasures, and one is even dedicated to ceramics (which admittedly feels a tad out of place).

The temporary exhibition, The Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving showcases beautiful woven blankets from the 1800s and modern variations made by today’s weavers. It was a moving exhibition, reading about how important the finished article is and the amount of conscious love that goes into the creation. Truly inspiring.

A few days after this we experienced Pop-up Wedding’s Love in the Square – an incredible celebration of love which this year saw 151 couples tie the knot. Robson Square was transformed for the day with temporary altars set up and queues of brides and grooms waiting their turn. Some came dressed to the nines with large groups of loved ones to celebrate with, others kept it more low key and intimate, but everyone was having a great time. It was a wonderful event to be part of.

We stayed in an Airbnb just off East Hastings, which we’d been warned to be careful about, but we were far enough along not to worry. It proved an interesting place to be with an eclectic mix of shops. Of course, I couldn’t resist visiting the local yarn shop, Baaad Anna’s, which offered a range of luxury yarns and some helpful and friendly advice. Another highlight was Pacific Bread Company. Sandwiched between a 7eleven and a takeaway pizza place you may not expect much, but it is a treasure trove of beautiful patisserie (and offers delicious grilled cheese sandwiches if you need a break from the sugar). Scandilicious also also proved a great breakfast spot, and judging by how busy it was, I’d say we’re not alone in thinking this.

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