My Canada Day: CRAB Park, Canada Place & A Busker

I might be taking myself too seriously. It crossed my mind that it’s too late  to post on Canada Day but then I decided, no it isn’t. On July 1st I, went to celebrations at CRAB Park and Canada Place. Both these areas are waterfront properties and it is a short 20 minute walk from one to the other but as any local knows, they are distinctively different spaces. CRAB Park has a downtown east side feel while Canada Place has a downtown core west side vibe. Canada Day festivities reflected the community of each area and I enjoyed the events in both.

CRAB Park was a smaller production with fewer people and no visible sponsorship. It was intimate and relaxed. There were plenty of choice spots on the grass to enjoy the live music from a small stage that was amplified by a spectacular port and mountain  background.

Canada Place and the surrounding areas were filled with high-spirited crowds. There were large scale exhibitions, outdoor stages, acrobats, fancy feathered ladies on stilts, bazookas and jets, indoor soccer and more. I had feared that crowds would equal in density to those of the Olympics but I was  wrong. The number of people reached a balance where it was festive and but not crazy.

Here are four of my stops in Canada Day: CRAB Park, Olympic cauldron, Canada Place, and Marc Stokes busking outside of Waterfront Station.

1. CRAB Park 2. Olympic cauldron 3. Canada Place 4. Marc Stokes

I am the neighbourhood watch. Before I went out I took some photos of Canada Place from my balcony.

And two photos of CRAB Park:

I know.  My camera creeps me out a bit.  In the photo above, see the guy standing on the gravel path with his dog? That is where I stood to take the shot below:

A view of downtown Vancouver from CRAB Park. The two Woodwards buildings are visible on the far left.

A long line up for hotdogs.

Jaunty newspaper boy cap guy and his crew. You can’t beat watching live music with mountains, cranes and TEUs in the background. Mike Van Eyes’ Lot: Mike on keyboard, Ronnie Scott from Shanghai Dog on guitar and Ian Tiles from Pointed Sticks on drums. I cannot confirm whether Mike has a left eye or not.

Does anyone have any drugs? C’mon, where are we? Somebody’s got to have some drugs?!

Ian Tiles was a quick-witted smart ass and kept the crowd delighted with running insults and banter.

We don’t rehearse. This is what happens when you don’t rehearse. But then again, Mike is a toy and you don’t rehearse a TOY. You wind it up and let it play! You don’t rehearse a car, YOU TURN IT ON AND WATCH IT GO!!!

Here is a 1 minute video of them playing and Mike does a little dance:

A light blue roof covered a small area that served as a stage.

Finally, Olympic flame: check. The Olympic cauldron was fired up again for Canada Day. I saw it during the Olympics but only from a distance because it was too crowded at the time. It was unexpectedly satisfying to see it up close and in person, as if a to-do of “see Olympic flame” was finally checked off. I also saw it from the the viewing platform and without lining up too.

A lithe limbed acrobat from the Inner Ring Circus Display dazzles a crowd at Thurlow Street and Canada Place Way. Good to see that the First Aid Tent is close by.

I have never seen so many people out for Canada Day.

Cute or scary. The first exhibition area in Canada Place was Celebration of the Canadian Forces where you could mingle with members of Canada’s Army, Navy and Air Force. There were military vehicles, a fighter jet, a meshed covered area evoking a military camp, etc. A selection of weapons was available for people to pose with. One little girl was handed a bazooka to hold (above).

I would have posed with a weapon myself but no small hand guns or sniper rifles were in sight. But then again,  I didn’t search thoroughly so I shouldn’t complain. I’m joking. Well, sort of.  I enjoyed playing Fallout 3, a first person shooter game, but find it unsettling to see a little girl hold a weapon.

Moving on…

In the following room was the  Our Canada Stage. I entered as Melody Mecredi from Il Voce was singing what sounded like opera to me. Their website describes them as “Classical Crossover” or “Popera.” I didn’t stay long.

Next was BC Soccer World, an area where kids played soccer on artificial turf. Canadian Olympic athletes were there too but I missed them.

Nerd it up. And finally, Discovery Centre which was set up by Port Metro Vancouver. There was a floor to ceiling map of the Lower Mainland showing all the ports; a large steering wheel; and some interactive computer terminals.  I liked the few informative wall panels best. Do you know what shipping containers are called? Let me share what I learned:

A TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) is the global unit of measurement for containers.

20 foot  containter = 1 TEU

40 foot container = 2 TEUs

“TEU” strikes me as having the seedlings of potential for emphatic slang use. For example, “I’m TEU stressed,” or “That’s a TEU load of crap!” I need some help on this but you get the idea.

Marc Stokes aka Un-1 rapping in front of Waterfront Station

Canada day was a bit of one of those days. Can this be explained? Earlier in the day on my way to CRAB Park with J.,  I saw my English highschool teacher Mr. Stokes in gastown. I spotted him as he was about to enter a building with his son, a local musician and busker. Introductions were exchanged, we chatted briefly, promised to catch up another time and parted ways.

I didn’t think about it again until much later in the day when from behind a crowd, I caught a glimpse of curly hair and a flash of blue: it was  Marc Stokes busking outside of Waterfront Station, a guy I met earlier in gastown and son of a teacher from one thousand years ago.  Do you get a sense of what I mean now when I say that the day was a bit of one of those days?

I stopped to watch. The crowd gathered around Un-1 were under 25 years old so I’d say he’s a hit with this demographic. Get with it. Watch this clip of him rapping:

The end. There was a parade in the evening but I didn’t go.  I watched the fireworks from home. Maybe I’ll put up a short video of it later. The quality should be better than my previous efforts. Do you want to see it?


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