Places to Go

Riverboat Cruise…

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” (Marcus Aurelius)

Not far from our home in the “suburbs” of Vancouver is a city with a rich history of its’ own and a personal connection too; New Westminster, the “royal city” and (sadly) the deposed provincial capital of British Columbia has the distinction of being the birthplace of two consecutive generations of our family on both sides.  This is remarkable in a country of immigrants and in a family that, on both sides, has had wanderers for many generations.  Although the family has all moved on (wanderers…) the history of the city still makes a great impression on us and we feel a great connection to it (even G.Jr. who “loves the pointy houses” for their unique character, and is always up for a visit to the park…)

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This summer we had the chance to see the city from a different angle – the river front.  On a gorgeous sunny Saturday we headed out on the Fraser River via vintage paddlewheel boat and had an amazing time…

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We took some amazing photos of the many bridges that make up daily life here…

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“I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests. ” (Pablo Neruda)

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“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” (Hal Boyle)

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…and were reminded of many of the things that made New Westminster an important city in the first place: the Fraser River is a working river – the log booms and rail yards that take up real estate along the banks were the beginning of industry that brought the (eventually) 3 million people to use its’ bridges daily…

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“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” (Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha)

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This tiny little red building was new to me – I have seen it from the other side but never realized its purpose.  This building housed the fuel for the New Westminster penitentiary, and served as a transit point for prisoners moving in and out.

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This is the last remnant of the original prison structure… the rest of the property (the legendary haunted house of my childhood) has been overrun in true Vancouver style with townhouses and condominiums…

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Purple loosestrife – wildly invasive – grows happily along the riverbanks in front of log booms waiting for a lift…

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A day out on a river boat is just the thing to inspire… What farfetched stories is Miss G. dreaming up this time?

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The river is as timeless and romantic today as it was to my childhood imagination all those years ago.  I love that we were born just steps away from it – its’ ribbon of industry connects us in space and imagination.

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“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

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