I thought I'd take you along on a little walk around the neighbourhood. I walk the same route to school with the girls and by myself everyday - today it was FOUR times! It's a good little stroll, so I don't really mind.
We live in an area in North Burnaby referred to as "The Heights". It's a pretty busy area of commercial shops and restaurants along Hastings Street that has a strong Italian influence. There are a lot of Italian deli's and bakeries along that stretch.
In this picture, we've just walked from our house on Georgia and turned the corner onto Gamma heading towards Hastings. The North Shore mountains are in the background. I love the bands of cloud that wrap around the mountains most mornings. I swear that every time I see the mountains towering around Vancouver I am amazed.
One thing that shocked me about Vancouver are the palm trees. Palm Trees! In Canada! I am still known to exclaim to the girls on a regular basis, "Can you believe that we live where Palm Trees grow?".
Here we are approaching the 6 lanes of traffic on Hastings which we need to cross to get to school. In the morning and at dismissal time there is a crossing guard on duty to help kids cross safely. The girls really want a chance to walk to school by themselves. I'm not quite ready for that yet.
This house is on Gamma just before we turn onto Pandora Street and see our school. It always makes me feel like I'm in California!
Here's the girl's school, "Confederation Park Elementary School". This is a really old school that up until four years ago was suffering from declining enrolment and the threat of being shut down by the Burnaby School District. When the school became a "Performing Arts School" enrolment rose steadily every year to where there are now three portables on the school yard and waiting lists to get in. They have an amazing program - attracting staff who are passionate about integrating the arts into the curriculum. The school houses a dance studio, a visual art studio, and large spaces for drama and music.
After we pick up Sasha, we'll take a stroll to the Library across the park. The Library and the large rec complex with an amazing indoor swimming pool and the gym that I go to are all accessible from the neighbourhood park.
Here's our walking companion and very big school-girl Sasha in front of the flower garden at the Library.
There are a lot of differences between Winnipeg and Metro Vancouver. One of them is the glaring paradox of wealth and famine in neighbourhoods. In Winnipeg, if you live in River Heights it's expected that you live in a nice home of a certain stature. Likewise, if you tell someone you live in Point Douglas, your expectations would be lower and it would be expected that you'd live in a small house that needs some work. That's just not the case here. Every neighbourhood is home to such extremes on the socio-economic scale. Beside a 3 million dollar infill home in our neighbourhood streets can sit a house that looks like it belongs on a street like Furby in Winnipeg's West End.
Land and space are at a premium here. I am always amazed at the creative ways people make use of the land that they have. People make use of their small front yards because quite often, there is no back yard! They think nothing of filling their front yard with a garden - creatively staking up all of their plants to make the most of their small space. These zucchini are all staked up and create an arbour over the walk-way into the yard.
Another sign of a Vancouver neighbourhood - you see this parked in front of a house on one side of Gamma....
....and this parked in front of a house on the other side.