Saturday, March 28, 2015

Passport To The World In Vancouver, BC

FOR A WOODEN couple they certainly looked animated. Not one live person joined their happy dance, however, near the entranceway of the Passport Office at Sinclair Centre in Vancouver where I recently went with my daughter. Far from exuberant, everyone was peacefully resigned to the long lineups and waits. I had time to view the shopping, food court and corridor areas currently being renovated. The colourful works of art by sculpture John Hooper, depicting a man and woman on the move, have made people smile since the city's centennial sculpture symposium in 1986. It sometimes feels that long since I have been able to kick up my heels the way this couple is doing! I put my back out with some ill-conceived moves of my own a few weeks ago and it is taking me a while to recover.

The passport office, recently relocated within the Sinclair Centre complex at West Hastings, is now housed in the former post office. This hubbub of activity is in one of four heritage buildings connected by a glass atrium roof in 1986.

Our world has changed since the early nineties and prevention measures need bolstering due to manmade threats as well looming natural disasters. The southwest corner of BC is earthquake prone and seismologists have promised the really, really "big one" will happen within 50 years. The new arched beams (above) are a method of "earthquake proofing" the ceiling. Wallpaper (below) depicting the building is perhaps hiding messiness behind the scenes.

While maintenance crews kept the area clear of debris, soft murmurings from multiple languages drifted throughout the corridors. Vancouver is a welcoming portal visited by travelers from around the globe.

The face carving on the post looks similar to the feature at Gabriola Mansion, a heritage home built around the same time as the post office.

I envisioned the lamp in the corridor (above) radiating lovely light through rain soaked streets ... were it exposed to the elements.

Art Deco also seems to have had its sway here, perhaps in the 1930s as the post office building was continuing to transform.

These curlicues on the stairs looked mysterious and somewhat haremish.

Elevators were in good working order and appeared to be original.

The creature etched into the elevator door reminded me of a prehistoric bird.

This double door (above) is covered with illustrations of the Edwardian and Baroque styled clock tower outside the corridor walls. The landmark allure of the ornate tower adds gravitas to Sinclair Centre.

The clock tower bell waits to be released from its plastic wrappings but I doubt it will ever truly be set free. Now merely decorative, I suspect it once rang wonderfully when the clock struck the hours.

When our business was done I returned to my car parked on the roof of a nearby parkade. The elegant clock tower peered though the tall shoulders of the surrounding structures.

Beaux Art contrasted with boxier styles such as the one pictured below.

Across the waterway, more of the city was visible at the foot of the lower-lying coastal mountains. Clouds billowed and rolled over the horizon.

The street (below) looks deceptively empty in the picture. In reality, vehicles of all sorts, the chaos of construction, people scurrying by and even a fake bomb scare on another street were part of the ambience during my visit to the city.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. The changing scene of Vancouver, even the street corner you captured looks different from the last time I was in Vancouver. Sinclair is a beautiful building and you captured it well. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I absolutely love the wooden sculpture So vibrant and alive these two figures.
    I also love the stairway and the bird in the elevator.
    I was told that earthquakes can't be really predicted. Especially not the one here in chch. As long as the buildings are earthquake proof that makes a lot of difference. In Japan they get often big ones. Their high rise buildings sway but that's it. I really hope you won't get one though.

  3. The couple does look animated. I love this look at Vancouver. What a diverse and interesting photographic tour.

  4. Hope your back will be restored sooner, Maria. I pulled muscles in the back a week ago, too, because of lifting my grandson wrong way and am getting better. The landscape of Vancouver looks like that of my hometown Kobe. (15th to 17th photo). Regarding another massive earthquake, the question is not so much if, but when, in Tokyo and Nagoya. It’s important for the people to be aware of that possibility and to be prepared to make the damages minimum or less.


  5. That's always been one of my favorite buildings in Vancouver...and your photos do it more then justice. You have managed to capture the both the beauty and the details perfectly.

    Take good care of your back, as we both know it can so easily go into something awfully painful with very little tinkering.

    I hope that you feel better soon.


  6. Beautiful architectural details in that old building. I love seeing these thing preserved. You captured some wonderful Vancouver sights.

  7. Wonderful scenes from Vancouver! I love the sculpture of the man&women, they look so happy! Thanks for sharing, enjoy your new week!

  8. Shows some interesting parts of Vancouver. The exuberant dancers made me smile.

  9. What a great tour of Vancouver!! I, too, love the sculpture of the man and woman and I do love to dance -- well, I did back when!!! Thanks for sharing the beauty and the fun!! Have a great new week!!!

  10. What a wonderful place to live and what very creative photography tour you have posted ~ Beautiful work!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  11. I love the Happy Dance couple. You couldn't pass it without a smile. Beautiful details in the buildings and beautiful scenery. What w great place to live.

  12. Beautiful shot. I like that the sculpture of the woman even has a slip. Talk about details.

  13. enjoyed reading your post and looking at all your delightful photos :)

  14. Wonderful architectural details. That dancing couple is so full of joy!

  15. Waiting in line can be tons of fun when there's so much to see and photograph! The wooden sculptures are GREAT. Hope you are taking good care of your back.

  16. Maybe the location had something to do with the crowd not breaking out into a happy dance. Getting a passport can be pretty stressful. - Margy

  17. Oh beautiful things to look at even if you couldn't jump and shout! I hope you and/or your daughter got to the front of the line and that your passport is on the way.

  18. I always love seeing our familiar haunts through your eyes, Maria! We were just in the passport office once, but your images brought that visit to mind so clearly, I felt I was visiting an old friend. Love those old elevators and the prehistoric creature, smiled at "haremish" curlicues, and drew in my breath at your wonderful capture of the clock tower with crane and boxier buildings behind it. Your discussion of "the big one" had me calculating how old I will be in 50 years.. ever the procrastinator.. :) Hoping your back is feeling much better by now.


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