Monday, August 29, 2011

Views from the Hotel Georgia Residential Tower

I don’t usually write any work related posts as it would either be discussing a particular individual or be very uninteresting, or both.

However, I am currently working with a buyer who is interested in a suite in the new Residences at Hotel Georgia.

Hotel Georgia is a landmark hotel situated in the centre of Downtown, built in 1927 notable famous guests include Elvis Presley, Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Nat King Cole, The Beatles and apparently Errol Flynn died while a guest in the hotel although apparently he didn’t actually die in the hotel. Mum, Dad and I include some of the less famous guests from the early 90’s !

The hotel was sold in 2007 to a developer group who have renovated and transformed the building from a 315 room aging shabby Crowne Plaza into an elegant, upscale 155 room Rosewood. The old parking garage at the rear of the hotel has been demolished and in it’s place a 47 storey tower built with commercial on the lower 14 floors and then residential condo suites above.  Below the ground level are 8 floors of underground parking.

Just within the last couple of months Hotel Georgia re-opened after it’s multi-million dollar renovation.


IMG_5347 This view from across Georgia St shows the old hotel in the foreground with the new residential/commercial tower under construction behind. You can see the large triangular balconies that extend from the uppermost units.

IMG_5351 So, my buyer is interested in buying into the Residences at Hotel Georgia and while the tower is nowhere near completion it is possible to arrange with the developers to have access to different floors to get a sense of what the outlook from different units on different floors is like.

We donned our hardhats and took the noisy, rickety construction elevator up the outside of the building to the 17th floor where we gained these views South over the Hotel Georgia rooftop, across the art gallery and Robson Square beyond.


While my buyer doesn’t actually have the $9m budget for a top floor penthouse unit we were afforded the opportunity to take the elevator right up to the top to see the astounding views the lucky purchaser will eventually have.

The views are through the windows which were filthy, so some reflections and marks on the images.  I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to venture out onto the balconies at this level since they didn’t yet have their railings !

This view is North-West over the North Shore, the Lions peaking out to the left, Grouse Mountain straight ahead and Seymour on the right.


View North-East with Lower Lonsdale in the centre of the North Shore and Canada Place straight ahead of us on this side of the bay.


The view East over East Vancouver, Burnaby Mountain ahead.


The new Woodwards tower, this development completed in 2010 is iconic of the redevelopment of the Downtown Eastside – Woodwards was a long established chain of department stores and their first branch opened in 1892, before expanding in 1902 to this location at the corner of Georgia St and Abbott St, at the time the hub of Downtown Vancouver.  At the peak of the company boom the headquarters for Woodwards was based here and occupied nearly a whole city block while Woodwards department stores could be found throughout Western Canada.  However, during the last century the ‘downtown’ of Vancouver gradually shifted West towards it’s current location around Burrard & Georgia. 

The decline of the neighbourhood around the Woodwards building was rapid through the 1970’s an 1980’s.  Woodwards gradually sold their other Western Canada stores to The Hudson Bay Company hanging onto their original Vancouver location until their eventual bankruptcy in 1993. The buildings remained empty until squatters moved in in 2002.  Eventually the site was re-developed keeping some of the original heritage buildings and two new residential towers housing about 500 market value condos and around 200 affordable homes.  This development was seen as one of the significant first regeneration projects in the neighbourhood.

IMG_5344 The Vancouver Public Library


Rogers Arena, formerly GM Place.


View East across East Vancouver, Burnaby and Metrotown on the skyline.


Here is one of the large triangular balconies facing South we could see from the ground looking up.


The view from the 47th floor looking South, high up over the top of the art gallery and Robson Square.

IMG_5336 South-West view over the West End, English Bay and Vancouver Island just visible on the horizon.


West towards Stanley Park.


Finally after having a good look around at the excellent views from the top floor it’s time to take the metal cage elevator back down.  It was great to have the walk around and see the views from the top, as privately owned there won’t be many other opportunities in the future to visit the 47th floor of the Residences at Hotel Georgia !


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mojo survived the vets…….and the vet survived Mojo.

Yesterday Mojo was due his annual immunisation shots.  Having been preconditioned to hate the vet from the day we first collected him (long history) last year we changed veterinary practises and arranged for a home visit so the vet came to the house to perform the health check and shots.

Mojo was fine with the home visit so we decided to try him out on the new veterinary practise this time around.

We walked around the neighbourhood for a few minutes to de-energise Mojo and do some tricks in the parking lot to get him into ‘working’ mode.

The result was that he was absolutely great in the vets this week.  It was clear this wasn’t his idea of fun but he tolerated it and was completely submissive through the appointment (just like Charlie used to be) rather than aggressive as he used to be with the previous vet.  Dr Sidhu our new vet is also excellent with Mojo being friendly but also very confident with him.

After the examination and shots we waited in reception while they prepared our account.  This gave Mojo plenty of opportunity to watch the tiny kittens waiting for adoption.  Mojo couldn’t quite decide between the black one to chase or tan one.  Either way he knew he definitely wanted one of this tiny living toys.

Well done Mojo on being brave and well-behaved for us at the vets, but no we’re not getting you a kitten.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Lindeman Lake

After leaving Teapot Hill and Cultus Lake Provincial Park we turned East on Vedder Mountain Road which brought us to Vedder Crossing where we turned East again onto Chilliwack Lake Road.  There are a few farms and homes dotted along the first few kilometres of this road but essentially it’s about 40kms of beautiful countryside tucked south of the mountain range bordering the Fraser Valley and just North of the US border.

Chilliwack Lake Road running through the Chilliwack River Valley is wide, quiet and scenic.


For a number of kilometres the road runs roughly parallel to the Chilliwack River.




A panorama of the Chilliwack River next to Chilliwack Lake Road.

There were beautiful views across the meadows of the valley floor towards the surrounding peaks.




We continue the drive along Chilliwack Lake Road and enter Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.  A short distance later we see a line of parked cars at the side of the road, an odd sight since we had been driving for the last 40 minutes in the middle of nowhere seeing very few other cars.  However, the impromptu parking lot marked the trailhead for the Lindeman Lake walk as well as a few other trails beginning from here including a 14km circular walk around four mountain lakes.


The trail starts level in sub-alpine forest that lets a lot of sunlight through.

IMG_5256 Initially the trail follows alongside Post Creek, Mojo here cools off with a quick paddle.


Soon though the route becomes more demanding, including some clambering over boulders and rocks although when nature throws a big obstacle in the way a path is made clear.

IMG_5258 More views along the Lindeman Lake trail.

IMG_5259 After a while the trail crosses Post Creek using a fallen tree as a bridge.  Here Mojo tries to navigate the steps up onto the bridge.


We both make it across to the other side, view back across the bridge from there.

IMG_5263 Further up the hillside the trail rejoins Post Creek as it rushes down the steep descent.


After a short but steady climb we get our first glimpses of Lindeman Lake.

IMG_5266 IMG_5267

We walk some distance along the west side of the lake and find a good spot to stop and have lunch.  The view from our lunch place;


We noticed many maples and other deciduous trees around the lake.  We should come back a little later in the year when the leaves are turning colour.


Although we noticed in some places they appear to be turning already – these high elevations have long winters and short summers !  This with the view towards snowy peaks in the south end of the lake.

IMG_5285 Panorama of beautiful peaceful Lindeman Lake.

After lunch we walk further alongside the lake to some nice flat beach areas where Mojo could easily get into and out of the lake to swim.  Which he did.  Lots.



Unbothered by the cold temperature of the glacial-fed lake Mojo races in and out after sticks.

More views of Lindeman Lake.

IMG_5283The south end of the lake has a few wilderness campsites.  The parks board have created flat bases for tents due to the rocky nature of the lakeshore. However this is definitely a wilderness camping location, no hot showers or pub here !



The trail along the west side of the lake does continue a further couple of kilometres to Greendrop Lake and then circle around to two more lakes and back to the parking lot.  However, the two walks were enough for us today.  We will save Greendrop and the others for another day.

A final view north up Lindeman Lake.


We descend back to the car.  Approximately 1 kilometre on from the Lindeman Lake trailhead is the entrance to the day-use area of Chilliwack Lake plus a gravel road which runs down along the east shore of the lake.  However, as it is well into the afternoon we decide to also hold that for another day and a separate hike. 

More views of the valley as we drive back towards Highway 1.


And plenty more nice quiet road.


Chilliwack Lake Road includes a couple of old wooden bridges including this one over Slesse Creek.


Views south along Slesse Creek.


Looking North up Slesse Creek.


Finally we reach the small town of Vedder Crossing and fill up on gas as it`s about 15c per litre cheaper here than in the city and make our way back to Highway 1 and home. 

A really fantastic day out with lovely weather and spectacular scenery.  There are more walks in these two provincial parks which we will no doubt be back to explore.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teapot Hill in Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Our second day of walks this week we headed back down to the eastern end of the Fraser Valley.  There were two shorter walks I wanted to do that were not worth driving out for individually but to get to one you had to pass the other, I was able to combine them and enjoy both on the same day.

First we headed to Cultus Lake Provincial Park.  Cultus Lake is a well known BC ‘party lake’ where the parks board provide extensive facilities shoreside and allow all types of boating, swimming, tubing, jet skis etc on the basis many of the other lakes in the province are protected and enjoyed in their natural state.

I had heard of Cultus Lake and indeed most Lower Mainlanders seem to have grown up camping on the shores and vacationing their summers on these waters but we hadn’t ever visited.

As we reached Cultus Lake we stop for a bathroom and photo break.  We arrive quite early, around 9.15am so the majority of vacationers are still waking up and the lake is beautifully peaceful and quiet.

This is the view South along the lake from the main beach.  The lakeshore is thoroughly organised with huge jetties built out into the lake for sunbathing and jumping into and out of the water.


At this the North end of the lake there has been some development of waterfront homes although they all sit on land leased from the parks board.



After a quick photo break we drive the next few minutes along Columbia Valley Highway down the east side of the lake to the trailhead for Teapot Hill.

There’s no clear definition for the name of this hill but it’s an easy warm up walk of 5km and 200m elevation gain.  The first half of the walk is up an old forest service road, alongside a couple of creeks and through lush moss covered forest.


Around halfway up the trail for Teapot Hill veers off and becomes a natural forest path, still easy walking though. This eventually brings us to a lookout over Cultus Lake.


Another 100m or so and there’s the peak of the hill and views South over the Columbia Valley.  Within this view is the US-Canada border as we’re only about 3km North of it here and looking straight down to it.


The small village of Lindell Beach sits to the South end of the lake.


More views from Teapot Hill.

IMG_5234 IMG_5235 We descend the trail back to the parking lot and from there get a good view North up Cultus Lake.


Panorama from the South end of Cultus Lake looking North.

Zoomed in on the beaches and amenities at the North end of the lake.


After this we head towards Lindeman Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park which will be our next post.