Showing Suzie Townsend around Vancouver

This week, I met up with my agent Suzie Townsend who was in town for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference.   Unfortunately, George W. and Bill Clinton were speaking at an economic summit at the same Surrey hotel. So many streets were closed off, and with RCMP officers redirecting traffic away from the hotel, I ended up quite lost.  Fortunately, one very kind officer sent me to a parking lot which wasn’t too far away so I walked over to pick up Suzie.  I wasn’t able to get closer than a block to the hotel, even on foot!  Wow, talk about tight security!

Once we got out of Surrey though, all was well.  Traffic into town was surprisingly light so it didn’t take as long as I feared it might. We wondered around Granville Island Market,  which was bustling as usual.  The local produce, fish, meats and flowers are as fresh as they are and colorful.  We saw some absolutely stunning artwork by Michelle Vulama who paints intricate faces on stone.  Her work is so complex and delicate that you’ll want to see it up close and personal if you get a chance.  After resisting the temptations of the fudge and candy shop we grabbed some lunch and it was even warm enough to eat outside.   One of Vancouver’s fine street buskers entertained us with classical guitar while we ate.  The starlings and pigeons did their best to lighten our plates while miniature ferry boats chugged between the nearby dock and the downtown shores of False Creek, adding to the ambiance.

Next we headed headed across the Burrard St. Bridge, along English Bay, down Denman St. to Stanley Park and The Vancouver Aquarium. We stopped to take pictures of some of the tall trees as well as Bill Reid’s gorgeous killer whale sculpture done in the Haida style.  It was the perfect temperature for the aquarium and beyond prime tourist season, so not too crowded.  We had a good look at the west coast tanks and by the time we were ready to go outside to the mammal pools, the sun had poked through the clouds. The sea otters were adorable, the Pacific white-sided dolphins astoundingly agile, and the belugas striking.  I had hoped to see the recently born beluga calves, but sadly, neither survived. We didn’t have time to stay for the sea lion or seal shows, but we did manage to spot them lounging on the rocks.


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After the aquarium, we finished the drive around Stanley Park, stopping for a few pictures of the Lions Gate Bridge and the North Shore, although The Lions (two famous local peaks)  themselves were hidden from view.

Next we headed back across the bridge, through Kitsalano and up to to The University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.  We didn’t manage to get there before closing, but we were able to pop around the back for a peek at  two outdoor Haida Long Houses, two carved house-posts and a Welcome Figure.  We were also able to see ancient poles through the floor to ceiling glass galleries of the museum built to house  totem poles that are several stories high.  Then it was back to Kitsalano for tea and a visit to Vancouver Kids’ Books.  We got there just at closing though, so I couldn’t show Suzie the wonders of the best bookstore ever…she’ll just have to take my word for it I guess!  We finished the day off with a lovely sunset at Kitsalano Beach and delicious sushi at Hapa Izakaya. By then, Suzie was starting to feel the three hour time difference so I drove her back to her hotel and wished her well.

What a treat to show someone a place you love, and what a treat to have such a gracious agent.


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