“Staycation” seems to have caught on. The idea of staying home for your vacation may be a new concept for those who have reason to get out of town, but, really, where better a place and time to be than Vancouver in the summer.

Comox and Jervis

The streets of the West End are blissful: quiet, green, uncrowded.   And there are discoveries to be made – like a transformed Nelson Park.

Nelson Park 1

It took years, and lots of consultation (hey, it’s right next to Mole Hill; you can imagine.)  The results are better than I expected.  The park is nicely divided into comfortable spaces by the desire lines – paths placed where people really want to go – each for different users, including of course dogs and their friends.

Overall, Nelson Park seems so much more European. 

Nelson Park 2

If there’s one thing I’m noticing this summer, it’s how European the centre of Vancouver is beginning to feel.  As more people walk and cycle, as the number of cars diminish, you can feel that the Downtown and the West End are not that far from being reapportioned, where more space is allocated to handle the disproportionate number of people not in cars.

Nothing made that clearer than Canada Place this afternoon.  Thousands of people were swarming towards the waterfront, filling up all the space on the sidewalk – but there was no place else to go. They weren’t allowed on the roadway – even though there lots of empty space there, given the few number of cars.

Canada Place 1

It was crazy.  The cops were keeping the road clear for literally a handful of vehicles and access to the parking, but at the expense of the crowd.

Canada Place 2

People were already spilling off the curbs, jaywalking, and generally doing what made common sense.  But the police were charged with their duty.  The priorities were all wrong.

Canada Place 3

My hunch: when Vancouverites get used to car-less streets during the Olympics, we’re not going back to this way of managing things.  Cars will not take priority over tens of thousands of feet.


  1. I know that this was not the point of your post, but I can’t help myself: If everyone stays home to have a ‘Staycation’ as you put it, then how would anyone see Europe in order to make the comparison that you are making. Given a choice, I’d rather travel, as you are apparently doing for the next month. But with more and more Vancouverites living house poor, a positive spin on not being able to afford to travel is a good thing i guess.

  2. With respect to your comments about all the pedestrians forced to stay on the sidewalks near Canada Place, I had a similar experience at Granville Island for Canada Day. Of course, Granville Island lacks sidewalks, so people naturally wonder onto the roadway, but the city should seriously close some roadways near major events during this time of year. We close the West End for the Fireworks. Why not close off Granville Island to auto traffic, but allow tour buses through. Why not close a couple of blocks around Canada Place and just leave one lane open to allow for service vehicles to get on to and off of the site.

    There’s my 2-cents. Enjoy the Adirondacks.

  3. I second the Granville Island comments. It always amazes me the people who try to drive onto Granville Island on Canada Day. There was a huge lineup of cars waiting to get on to the island, inching along in traffic, and then circling trying to find a spot. These are probably the same people who complain about gas prices and the carbon tax. I have no sympathy for them.

  4. We’re complaining about local car travel while telling Gordon to have a good time flying.

    An entire year of driving alone (12000km, 10L/100km): 2.8 tons of CO2.
    One single flight for two to New York: 3.5 tons of CO2


    A person who drives everyday (and thus cannot afford to fly anywhere on vacation) has a smaller carbon footprint than someone who walks everywhere but takes one flight.

    I’m not defending car use, but the entire footprint should be taken into account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *