Saturday, August 9, 2014

happiness is a red

happiness is a red 
headband, sailor school uniform,
and a big stuffed bear

Our hosts from Van Arts take us on a field trip to Gastown, the Victorian area of Vancouver, a favorite hangout for both tourists and locals.

Brick sidewalks, brick streets, brick buildings, ornate wrought iron everywhere.

Strangely shaped narrow buildings between angled streets and red trolleys.

And, of course, round white "gaslights" clustered on iron lamp posts. It looks like the dragons are blowing bubbles!

A statue of the man for whom Gastown is named, "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain from Yorkshire, who opened the first saloon in the Vancouver area in 1867, which he called the Globe Saloon (perhaps an allusion to Shakespeare's Globe Theater back in England?). As a barkeeper, he was known to be quite talkative and a storyteller, hence the nickname, "Gassy." If you look closely, there's a bit of torn banner over his heart.

An iron gas cover in a carefully cut of bricks in the curved pattern of the brick street. I notice that all of these bricks are nameless, none bear the name of the brick company.

And the manhole covers are decorated with Victorian filigree.

A cyclist and a Smart car zip across a pedestrian crosswalk marked by alternating bands of cobblestones and brick. On the other side of the street, For Lease signs are plastered on every double-decker bay window. I am told that rents are almost as high or even higher than mortgage payments in this rapidly growing city.

Cobblestones provide a stronger foundation for the lamp post and a swag iron chain fence separates the brick sidewalk from the wide curbstones.

Many restaurants, including the original Spaghetti Factory with its Gastown trolley.

At the Smart Mouth Cafe, a woman takes a selfie.

The window of an interior furnishing store blends the modern striped furniture with a passerby wearing a striped top.

"Hip" fashion boutiques abound. This black skirt really is hippy!

Gastown provides an outlet Native American Artists in the numerous art galleries, everything from totem poles to original prints and paintings, stone carvings, drums, ceremonial masks, dream catchers, jewelry, native-inspired clothing and blankets. One gallery that looks particularly appealing, Hill's Native Art, features more than 1200 artists from every known Tribe and Nation of the Northwest Coast. I return the next day to buy a pair of handmade silver earrings with a whale motif and a pair of moosehide moccasins.

Something for everyone: a collection of old license plates.

And those essential phone cards, especially when you're traveling outside your server area.

Because it's a big city, grilles and locks on doors are standard.

At the end of a rainy evening in Gastown, globe lights and sparkling tree lights highlight the wet brick patterns on the sidewalk, while the red maple on the Canadian flag seems to cling tightly to its "branch."

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