Thursday, June 5, 2014

Burnaby Village Museum


Have you ever been meaning to do something for a really long time.  And you get an opportunity often (like once a year) to re-commit to doing it.  And just as often as you re-commit you also fail because you just can't get it done!  Burnaby Village Museum was that for me.  It is a "tourist attraction" here in the Greater Vancouver area and all I could think was that I should see it because it is part of what we offer our guests in Vancouver and beyond that....well, you know...I, obviously wasn't that enthusiastic.

But I broke the cycle last week.  I was taking my Mother to her "witch doctor" (her words not mine) and after the appointment I took her to the Museum.  It isn't difficult to find as it is on Canada Way in Burnaby.  I would estimate about 30 to 35 minutes from my B&B in downtown Vancouver.  There is complimentary parking and it is part of a greater cluster of art galleries and restaurants all in heritage buildings.  And the Burnaby Village Museum is funded by the City of Burnaby, meaning there is no entrance fee!

My Grandfather and my Mother used to talk about going on the "Inter-Urban Trolley" which was a train that operated in and around Vancouver and Greater Vancouver.  My second last stop was to see one of these fascinating old vehicles.  They were electric, didn't have to be turned around at the end of the line, the driver simply unhooked the headlight and took it to the other end of the train and started the return journey.  Lots of facts were there to read, but alas I was practically kicked out of the site because it was closing time.

We had lunch to start at the Ice Cream Parlour, I had Fish and Chips, which were okay but not terrific.  They had other things on the menu but I opted for that.  My mother brought a sandwich - she's a cheap date!  Then we started prowling around.  There was a General Store, very similar to the one my mother lived behind in the 1930s in Alberta.  There was a couple of private homes, a Log Cabin, a Japanese Ofuro, the Royal Bank (I remember the old banks with their beautiful oak counters), Seaforth School, a phonograph store - I have one at the Guest House and occasionally play it, there was a Movie Theatre playing a Max Sennet silent movie, an old Locomotive and a Blacksmith Shop and Steam Donkey, a Chinese Herbalist and more, much more.

After so many years of saying yes but doing no, I am very happy I experienced this worth while Village from Vancouver's (Burnbaby's) past.

Did I mention the Merry-Go-Round....thank goodness it wasn't running because my 88 year old mother wanted to ride it!  Another time MOM!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter was over

Up until yesterday I was thinking of the coming of spring.  I was on the Guest Sun Deck thinking of putting the cushions on the chairs and lounges and wondering what I flowers I might plant this year.  And then today happened.  THEY said it would snow but mostly the weather forecasters have been incorrect and anytime truly winter weather was predicted it never happened in Vancouver.  But this morning, with Canada winning the Gold in Mens Hockey and the excitement of horn blowing, shouting and firecrackers it all got silenced by a blanket of snow.  It isn't really snowing to the point where we are having snow remain on the ground - at least not in the West End where we are - but it is no longer reminiscent of Spring.

And I was looking forward to Spring with such optimism because we've been working hard on improvements to this old house!  If you have stayed here before I'm sure you'll see and appreciate the changes.  I feel like the house is like "NEW" again.  Now almost every room has a new bathroom, the Deluxe rooms got a make over with new furniture and bedding - I love the Coral in the Deluxe Queen Room and finally the Junior Deluxe King room seems right....after all these years!  We have a new suite called the "Suite Caboose".  I'm not entirely certain how I thought up that name so if you have a better one please tell me.  I was able to re-display some art from a New York artist done in 1970something, there are three pieces and Asian, possibly Japanese in theme.  I like them because the colours really work with the furnishing.  The Suite Caboose is another room where we can offer sleeping for 3 people - King or two twins in the bedroom and a single in the sitting room.  Recent guests loved the Rain Head in the big shower.  I like the heated floors in the bathroom.

All the carpets in the house have been changed.  Such a cafuffle about ordering carpets.  I Saw, I Ordered, I Paid but then I was told they couldn't get them to me and I'd have to choose something else.  That meant we had to close out for another period in February.  Fate took care of me this time, the new carpet is much nicer than the previous choice and gives the house a much more modern feel, makes it feel bigger, is very plush and so very quiet - we still have a few squeaks in the floor but not as many, what is an old house without squeaks.  The overall effect is that the carpet picks up something different in every room, so they all look as individual as they are and the pallet shows off the antiques I have collected to their very best potential.

Although Spring is going to have to wait I am not going to stop working on my rooms as I have one more little transformation to do on the Cozy Double.  Stay tuned for this, it should be quite sweet when it is done.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance Day

Each year in November I remember a remarkable person in my life and how lucky I was to know him.  James Bracegirdle was born in Eccles, then outside of Manchester, UK in 1890.  All his life he had adventures that I used to hear as a child usually from my mother.  My grandfather - Pappa - was of the moment.  He loved whatever was happening right now and he put his whole heart into it whatever it was.  And so it was that in 1915 he went to war.  He served in Northern France - I have a piece of shrapnel with each place he was at and I have his WWI Canadian Infantry helmet.  He never complained about whatever he went through in the war and he loved life, probably because he knew how precious it was.

He was in his 100th year when he died.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brisas and Fog

I promised in my last Blog to mention an event on October 26th - it is the last time you will be able to see a Cuban music group called El Grupo Cubano Brisas Del Palmar.  I went with a small group a couple of weeks ago to hear them and dance to them.  They performed at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kits Point - just across the water from the West End.  The place itself is a little bit of a dive - well, it reminds one of a completely different time.  They have photos of flying squadrons and memorabilia from the world wars.  And of course the patrons have been going there for years, that is why the "stage" was pretty informal - a cleared space with stacked chairs on one side of the "stage" and chairs in facing.  There was a little bit of room between the chairs for seating and the 6 gentlemen performing....this was the dance floor.  Mostly it was Salsa and the audience produced some hardchore dancers as well as some just out for a bit of dancing fun.  The music was terrific, the guys authentico and the evening memorable.  If you want to see them perform for the last time tickets are $20 and they perform at 7 pm on October 26th at the Peretz Centre, 6184 Ash Street, Vancouver - Pay at the door.

October weather has been odd this year.  For the past few days the weather has been very foggy and for our Korean and Louisianana guests it was cold.  For Vancouverites and folks from the Pacific Northwest it wasn't particularly chilly...but it was a little spooky.  The photos I took yesterday were from Stanley Park near Lost Lagoon.  The racoon family I took photos of were very interested in the crunching of the paper bag in my pocket - I was more nervous than they.  Fortunately they went back to hunting for worms and grubs.  I also took a photo of a Gunera plant.  I couldn't get a pic of me and the plant but I can tell you it was about 7 feet tall - they are huge, obviously something the dinosaurs used to eat!  As it said yesterday was foggy - fog horns all night but today it was very warm and sunny...the sun is still shining on my office at 4:40 pm!  I am sure the sunset will be amazing tonight.

I am working on some packages for guest to buy over the winter and the summer.  It isn't ready yet but they will be on the Specials page or when you make a reservation so keep checking.

There were 4 in this family but they wouldn't get into a group shot.

There is something so enchanting about water foul on a pond - this photo was taken by the stone bridge on Lost Lagoon.

Gunnera over 7 feet high on the left and a Princess tree with huge trees on the right of the path.

Masked Bandits...but too lazy to do any thieving for this photo op!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Outings

It has been a whacky autumn this year.  In September the rains came down and it really felt like we would be into winter in a very short time.  Then October came along and the weather began to change - as much as it does on the West Coast.  We'll have really warm and sunny weather one day and then can be cool the next but still sunny.  It hasn't been horrible is what I am trying to say, so I thought I'd be a tourist at home.  I'm doing this post about a couple of activities I've done in the past week or so.

Last Saturday was one of those really wonderful west coast days.  It was warm, I kept having to take my layers of clothes off, that's what happens when you live in the basement - it is cold down there so you think it must be cold outside as well.  Anyway, dressed in a shirt and taking a sweater along just in case Ron and I went with our two dogs - Persia and Friday - to a part near the Vancouver International Airport.  I've never been there before - never, it seems incredible that I'm this old and experiencing something new like this.  If you check out the pictures you will see that it is very scenic - I wish I would have made a picnic lunch and stopped for a bite to eat and a nap while I lay in the sun.  BUT I didn't, we walked the dogs along the Eco trail...probably has another name but it was a trail where dogs needed to be on-leash (ours were but no one elses was), where there might be some foul in the bushes and other things like a snake I saw slither away as we approached along the path.  After a wander up the path we found a place to get down to the Fraser River.  There was a little beach area - so cute, I felt like Robinson Crusoe.  After a short rest we headed back to the designated dog park so that Persia could fetch the ball for 20 minutes or so.

The next park was 3.5 kms away and there we bumped into a group of people doing a wedding shot.  It was very picturesque there and if we hadn't spent so much time at the first park we would have wondered along the shore.  At this point there isn't much more land.  It sand and scrub with River on one side, the Airport sort of beside and behind and the Gulf of Georgia ahead.

We were no more than 25 minutes from the Guest House.  Vancouver is big but nature is nearby.

My next post will be about Billy Bishop's Legion and the Cuban band we went to see and hear....and dance to.

Pond, part of the Fraser River.

Hmm, a little dark in the foreground, but this is our little Robinson Crusoe Beach beside the Fraser River.

North Shore Mountains, Reeds and a long wooden path.

Say Cheese! What a great location for a wedding shoot. Looked like a happy day!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Travel Mugs

Travel is an obvious influence here at the West End Guest House.  I mean all my guests have had to travel to get here but what about the innkeepers?  I get that question very often - "When do you get to travel?"  We do travel, we try to slip out of town once or maybe twice a year to experience some of the world.  We have favourite places to go but also try to see new places and countries as well.  And when we travel we collect Coffee Mugs to remind us where we have been and what that experience meant to us.  These mugs have been hung on coat hooks in the kitchen for 4 years now but we've decided to share them.

The Guest Pantry has fascilities for making tea, or hot chocolate and this is where guests can find a pot of coffee first thing in the morning.  We have always had a collection of mugs for guest to use and they are all different.  (It is fun to see which mugs appeal to which guest....sort of a way to express yourself.)  We cleared out all the old mugs and replaced them with mugs from our travels.

Recent countries visited are:  Ireland, England, Scotland, France - but I missed picking up a mug in Rouen - so mad about that one.  Cities include Amsterdam, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, and attractions include the Hearst Castle, the Capilano Suspension Bridge and states including Alaska, Hawaii and Peurto Rico.  We've been to more places but the mugs from St. Petersburg, Russia and Buenos Aires, Riga are not displayed.  We couldn't fit a mug for each city we visited briefly last fall when we took a Baltic Cruise.  So countries/cities we missed were;  Brugge, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Tallin, Stockholm....I guess we'll have to go back!

I hope if you visit you'll enjoy using these mugs from our personal collection.


. More Mugs

. I seem to collect Tea Pots as well.

And more Tea Pots and wine glasses for guests to fill. We can't sell you the wine, but there are wine stores nearby.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Canada Place

I had a couple of hours off to explore a little more of Vancouver.  Yesterday I walked down to Coal Harbour and sat for a little while on a bench looking at the harbour, the SeaPlanes, the Paddle Wheeler and other harbour cruise ships, the private yachts and loads of people strolling the SeaWall.  It was all great but I didn't have a phone/camera to take a few pics.  So today I did.

Specifically I wanted to see the Fly Over Canada presentation at the far end of Canada Place.  There were two cruise ships in and loads of people.  The Canada Place Pier with the convention centre and hotel above it is a really good place to get a sense of what it is like to be Canadian.  There are small displays of history - nothing too in your face except perhaps a mural about the War of 1812 - I was quite young at the time and don't remember it well, so I'm happy they've got it documented...something for us Canadians to be proud of!  Actually the story isn't about the massive win for Canada as it was about establishing a border between the United States and what became Canada...kind of an important thing.  The Fly Over Canada presentation is in the old I-Max theatre and it is pretty cool.  And if you go then you'll know it is misty as well and scented and worth the $20 to get in.  I would have liked it to have more content that it did.  I didn't feel that they represented the East Coast of Canada too well but they did show some mountains that were pretty awesome.

We had had rain this morning but by the time we left the theatre it was sunny and warm and a pretty perfect day in Vancouver.  We had a leisurely walk back to the house - it is so close 20 minutes is all you need.  So if you are booking a room to attend a convention think about walking along the SeaWall before getting into the conference zone!

.. .. Coal Harbour is busy all the time - from Paddle Wheelers to Freighter, Sea Gulls to Sea Planes

.. .. Good vantage spot to see Vancouver is along the Canada Place Pier

.. .. You can practically touch the cruise ships. I didn't take photos of people on their cabin's decks but they were already occupied at 2:30 in the afternoon. Sail time is usually 5 to 6 pm.

.. .. Coal Harbour as taken from the promenade at Canada Place. That is the Stattendam and then the new Convention Centre with the living room, Harbour Air Port and the tall building at the end on the right is the Bayshore Hotel - Westin Hotel. The Guest House is about half way between the SeaPlanes and the Westin. I clock an 11 minute walk from the House to Harbour Air.

.. .. Couldn't resist taking this photo - freighter in the background and paddlewheeler in the foreground doing a harbour tour.