The T-shirt my wife purchased for me one Christmas reads:
The idea is to remind people that the little Vancouver just across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore., is indeed a U.S. town, unlike the city of the same name 300 miles north in British Columbia. And, that we are in the state rather than the nation’s capital.
But, when old Capt. George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy left MY Vancouver, he traveled up to Canada to name another city the same.
It gives a lot of grief to U.S. Vancouver residents who are often mistaken for have forsaken their citizenship to live in BC. I am forever explaining that, since nobody who lives outside of 20 miles of Vancouver, Wash., seems to have even heard of it.
To reach the point of this blog, my wife and I decided to go see what all the fuss was about that northern Vancouver, and so we trekked up the interstate to a Best Western to spend 3 days touring the Canadian version.
At very first sight, it was a shock. This is an amazing city of so many high rise glass-front buildings that we decided to dub it “Crystal City.” It is a window-washers dream!
Not only is the main city an endless array of 30-40 story – and higher – of these structures, but across the inlet is another part – North Vancouver; also on the other side of the water nearer the Pacific lies West Vancouver, both as thoroughly laced with high rise structures as the city center.
All of it takes in 2.5 million people, making it one of the most interesting in the large Pacific Coast metropolitan archipelago which includes Seattle, San Francisco, LA and San Diego.
Vancouver, BC, is a tourist magnet, with high rise restaurants, including one saucer like choice that revolves as you dine, fascinating shopping areas like Gastown, and a sprawling Stanley Park to rally even NYC’s Central Park in size and interest.
The mountains against which the city is set – Whistler and brethren -- makes the scene one of high camera use.
To say the least, Vancouver, BC, is a place to visit as a destination. But, don’t stop there. An island – also called Vancouver – is just across the water where the British flavored city of Victoria and the exquisite Butchart Gardens are located.
So, we returned to OUR little Vancouver much impressed, even if we thought we were not going to be. It was an eye-opener.
One caution about visiting Canada via I-5. Don’t get in the NEXUS lane when entering that nation. Somehow, when crossing the border, I got into the lane that is exclusive for those with monthly passes, and the customs people didn’t like it at all.
They diverted our car aside, and we had to go into a big scary building to show our passports and answer questions about our Grandmother’s dog’s sire and what in the world were we thinking to get into the prized NEXUS lane!!!
After a while, a lady called up back from our assigned seats and returned our scanned passports, which obviously did not turn out to be on the Interpol watchlist, and we were able to drive on into Canada.
My wife thought it was funny ( I was driving).
I thought I would spend 20 years in BC provincial prison!