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Thursday, March 20, 2008

THE DEATH OF A TREE: Memorial to Stanley Park's Forest

In 1886 a 1000 acre forested peninsula was leased from the Federal government by the City of Vancouver and in Sept 27,1887 was officially named Stanley Park, after Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada, as the largest green space within a Canadian city.
Originally the area was home to the Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations People but has become one of the most popular parks in Canada and especially with the people of Vancouver. A seawall circumvents the whole area popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters. There are playgrounds, swimming pools, pavilions, restaurants, an aquarium and once upon a time there was a zoo.

On December 14, 2006 a terrible storm with winds of 115 kms devastated the park, bringing down over 3,000 trees. Many of these trees were hundreds of years old. They were uprooted, snapped off, and in falling brought other trees down. It was an epic tragedy witness by the people of Vancouver who have grieved over the park and especially the trees that fell, as the trees were like old close friends.

Over 60% of the west end of the park, open to the Georgia Straights, was destroyed. The photo above shows some of the damage.

This tree, which stood on the pathway leading into the park, was a magnificent shade tree with a thick sturdy trunk. Who would have thought that it would be completely uprooted by the wind. For some weeks it lay, a sad corpse, over the path, until the limbs were sawed away and this twisted reminder is all that is left as a memorial.

All through the park you can see the devastation. The park has changed forever, though plans are underway to redevelop the damage and the new cleared spaces. For months the sea-wall was closed because of the damage caused from the storms and fallen trees. Now it's open again for the enjoyment of the walkers and joggers. We will eventually witness the rebirth of th epark. The estimated cost of restoration? $9 million.

Check out this link for a news item about the blessing of the trees that were given to the students of Britannia High School and will be used for First Nations carvings.
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Sunday, March 09, 2008


Yes, we have our Central Park too, located in Burnaby B.C. just past Boundary Road, the dividing line between the municipality of Burnaby and Vancouver city. I used to live nearby and often took my dogs for walks in this park. There's also a very nice children's playground where I've supervised daycare groups on outings. And just to take a stroll in the woods on a mild, sunny afternoon, it's a handy park to get to by public transport, car or foot.

There is a fitness track around the outside perimeter of the park where you can stop during your jog or walk and do chin-ups or sit-ups and various other fitness exercises. There are trails running through the park, most of them leading to this small 'lake' where there are flocks of ducks paddling in the water. There's also a small gazebo and some picnic tables, and nearby a golf putting range and other sports facilities.
The main wild life in the park are the squirrels -- hundreds of them, and most of them cheeky and bold. This little fellow actually started to run up my leg while I was resting on the bench, and when I shooed him away he ran up behind me and started exploring my back-pack.
I didn't have a thing to feed him so he eventually gave up.
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