Rush in Vancouver B.C. - Day 2: Sightseeing - July 26
Cameron and I woke up late on Friday. (And when I say "late," I'm talking 11:30 a.m.). I opened the curtains and was blasted with pure, Canadian sunshine. Below, the streets and sidewalks were teeming with life.
Across the street at Teck Emergency Centre, patients dragged their IV carts (or dialysis machines) outside so they could steal a smoke. There were also strange phallic balloons poking out of hospital windows. At first I thought this look like some kind of bizarre procedure going on inside that room. Then, I wondered if it was an indication of a negative pressure room. From what I read, negative pressure rooms are used for someone with tuberculosis or another condition that requires a respiratory isolation protocol. (See picture below.)
Anyway, after we got showered and dressed, we headed out onto the crowded Vancouver sidewalks. The first thing I noticed was the modern, gleaming design of the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel. (Too bad the service level didn't match the architecture.)
As we walked toward our destination of Canada Place, two BMW motorcycles drove by at a casual pace, one red and one black. I knew from the look of the bikes that this was most likely Rush drummer Neil Peart and his riding partner Michael Mosbach.
I'm always amazed by the synchronicity you experience on trips (like running into someone you know). Not only were Cameron and I going to the Rush concert that night, but were actually meeting Michael Mosbach before the show.
But I'm getting ahead of the story...
Memories collide on the Vancouver Waterfront
One of the crown jewels in Vancouver (at least for me) is Canada Place. We'd once stayed there for one of Brenda's business conferences at the wonderful Pan Pacific Hotel. Cameron had only been 6 or 7 months old.
It was during that that trip that my Grandpa Olson had passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. I'd seen him only days before, although he was mostly unconscious (in hospice care at his home).
I remember getting the call from my Mom in the morning that he had passed. Brenda was gone at the conference, so I couldn't talk to her. I felt a little cut off (and guilty) for not being there with my Dad, Grandma, and family. So I took Cameron out on the sidewalks of Vancouver in his stroller. As anyone knows, you can't stay sad around a baby for very long.
On this current trip, my 13-year-old Cameron and I walked around Canada Place, looking at the shops and exhibits and cruise ships.
One cruise ship in particular was gigantic: Royal Caribbean's The Radiance of the Seas, pictured here:
Later I looked up the specs on the Royal Caribbean site:
With acres of glass enclosing the nine-story central atrium, elevators facing the sea, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, you'll never be at a loss for an incredible view.
Radiance reminded me of the Titanic, mostly because of its size and extravagance (although I know there are ships that are bigger and more extravagant).
We strolled to Historic Gastown so we could enjoy another Vancouver tradition: eating at the Old Spaghetti Factory. (It's also become a sort of tradition before Rush shows -- at least in Canada. When I travelled to Toronto in 2007 to see Rush in their home city on two different nights, we ate at the Spaghetti Factory on both nights!)
During our lunch, Cameron secretly listened for a genuine Canadian "Eh?" He wasn't disappointed.
After eating a plate of pasta for our first (and only substantial meal) of the day, we went back to our hotel for a break before the Rush show. I knew we'd need to conserve our energy.
Of course the maids hadn't cleaned the room, but that really shouldn't have surprised me. I was starting to think the Sheraton really didn't want us staying there again.
Bonus photo: The view of the city from Canada Place