Last week I was in North Vancouver to help out my mother as she underwent and then recovered from cataract surgery. On these long summer evenings, we try to get out for a walk as often as we can, and the night before her surgery I suggested that she might like me to drive her somewhere further afield than our usual walk from the front door to Princess Park. She chose Harbourview Park, a place she and my Dad visited for years.
Harbourview is unusual in that it’s a long, skinny slice of greenway sandwiched between the water, where Lynn Creek empties into Burred Inlet, and industrial land. There’s not much to it, just a gravel path shaded by trees, but I like its quirky nature and I love that it’s an off-leash dog park, meaning that there’s always something social going on.
The parking lot is right beside a set of train tracks, and this locomotive grumbled and roared, totally stationary, the entire time we were there.
A benevolent City of North Vancouver has installed benches and even some chairs in the places where one can glimpse the creek and ocean with the workings of the docks in the background. What you see here are the premises of Vancouver Pile Driving, which explains the cranes.
Oh, happy dogs.
The park narrows to just a path as it reaches its southern end, right up against the docks. If you look very closely at the photo below, you can see the observation tower in front of the Westwood Victoria, with its long ramp leading to the viewing decks.
The viewing decks aren’t very high, but they’re high enough for some good visuals.
In the photo above you can just see a bit of the Iron Workers’ Memorial bridge off in the distance.
And below you can just see the sails of Canada Place to the left of the freighter. That’s Stanley Park on the right.
If a person is patient, it’s sometimes possible to get a sense of the rhythm of life on these enormous ships. I took this photo because of the shot of orange offered by the worker’s overalls as he stands at the top of the gangway in the centre of the image. I tried but failed to imagine what it’s like to spend one’s working life on these container ships.
Turning 180 degrees, Mum and I saw this, a cormorant apparently having a bath. It may have been beating its wings on the water in order to rid itself of sea lice: I don’t know.
As we went down the stairs, the geometry of the structure caught my eye, as did the intense rust and blue and silver colour palette.
And I couldn’t resist these stairs. You can just make out the red metal chairs below.
As we made our way back to the parking lot, I was struck by the profusion of blossom and their heady perfume on many of the trees along the path. I have no idea what this is, so if someone can enlighten me, I’d be grateful.
The sun was even lower now, so the light was that much richer.
Even though the path is wider this close to the parking lot, gaps in the chain link fence reveal not just more industrial activity but art, in the form of graffiti on the railway cars.
So there you have it, forty-five minutes or so out of our evening in a tiny pocket of parkland that few seem to know about. My last shot was pure serendipity: a gull flew overhead, close enough to photograph, but as I tracked its flight with the camera, I lost sight of the bird when I ended up blinded because I was shooting directly into the sun. I pressed the shutter anyway, and am thrilled to have got this shot.
I hope you’ve been able to take yourself off for an evening amble recently. These walks in the last of the day's sun are one of the great joys of summer, in my opinion.
Oh, and my Mum? She’s doing just fine, thanks.