Monday, May 9, 2011

Winging To Vancouver's Gastown

THIS PIG WITH WINGS that my daughter gave me on Mother’s Day is a gift she knew I would appreciate.

The tiny glass ornament represents a theme that is somewhat similar to our own fictional character Penelope Puddle.

Penelope the Piggie also flies in the face of the can't-do crowd.

When pigs fly
is an old expression that speaks to the near impossible odds of overcoming difficult situations and achieving challenging goals. In a world where dreams are often dashed and a meaningful life of longed-for achievements rarely seems realized, a can-do reminder is encouraging.

Heading to Gastown in Vancouver for Mother's Day dinner yesterday, I saw a sign that shows the high hopes of some are on a more global scale. Minimizing pollution is a great dream and a grand goal that many folk share.

The water taxi floating on False Creek and the surrounding apartments were reminders that toying with our natural world requires a balanced approach to the environment.

Trees clothed with blossoms softened the city streets. Fallen petals covered both grass and concrete.

As our car sped over the Cambie Street Bridge I saw that the Cirque du Soleil was in town. The acrobatic group in the white tents were sure to put on a spectacular show.

Ongoing construction included a new roof for BC Place, a huge stadium at the heart of the city.

Historic weaponry was exhibited along our way. Some might think when pigs fly when I suggest our current weapons and battles will be obsolete one day.

Finally we reached our destination. Gastown is a historic area of Vancouver that fell on hard times in the 1930s to be revitalized in more recent days.

An increasingly popular tourist hotspot, shops and restaurants merge with updated older heritage buildings and new office structures and residences.

Gastown is named after an entrepreneur known as Gassy Jack who opened a saloon in the 1800s as a retreat for nearby millworkers. It was a successful venture that expanded the Water Street area until the Great Depression when it disintegrated into a respite for the desperate and homeless.

Today the area has come full circle. There is a hubbub of activity and an atmosphere that is bright and airy ... rain or shine.

Since one never knows when showers will fall, cheery umbrellas are available for purchase as well as decoration.

This flowing fish fountain seemed appropriate in a nook along Water Street.

We arrived at The Old Spaghetti Factory. This restaurant chain across Canada has a decor that suits Gastown's historic theme perfectly.

Inside, a kaleidoscope of stained glass provided delicious eye candy.

The gorgeous colors were difficult to capture.

The lamps were dripping in bright hues.

The crowds were huge and there was a long waiting list. Eventually, we were seated in the indoor train portion of the restaurant.

More glass glittered when looking out from inside the train.

We were definitely hungry and you could say we truly enjoyed "pigging out" on the heaps of tasty spaghetti we ordered for dinner.

Explorers can find more sites from around the globe at My World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic Mothers' Day! The trees are beautiful when in flower! I cannot believe the pile of petals on the grass though! That's a LOT of petals!

    Mmmm. The Spaghetti Factory? I can almost taste the delicious cheese. :)

  2. A great Mother's Day indeed!! Marvelous photos of your world! We have piles of petals like that from some of our trees, too. It is amazing! And as I wait for my very late lunch/early dinner to finish cooking, I could almost taste the cheese and spaghetti from the Spaghetti Factory, too! Hope your week is off to a great start!


  3. That idle free sign is great!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  4. Penelope Pig is just adorable. You have a wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful daughter, and I love her very much!
    I also love (although not in the same way) the photos from The Big City. I've never seen that water taxi before. SO cute! I've been a long time gone.
    And let's hope the idle-free idea works. You are so optimistic, saying we "all" want to minimize pollution, even though so many have proven they don't give a darn about it.
    I haven't been to the Spaghetti Factory in Vancouver for a long, long time. Your photos of the stained glass are beautiful.
    As for blossoms falling off trees, we're still waiting to have blossoms ON trees, and for something to bloom besides dandelions. Soon, soon.
    Happy day-after-Mother's-Day, my dear friend.
    Luv — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. I love that flying pig! And your wold is looking mighty spiffy right now.

  6. You are a great tour guide! It is so amazing to see the fallen petals, I could imagine the tree in full bloom!

    Happy Mother's Day, and that's a great gift!

  7. Such a lovely crystal “pig with wings” and fabulous meals as Mother’s Day celebration - I’m happy for you.

    Vancouver reminds me of my hometown Kobe where both mountains and sea are near at hand, especially cityscape of downtown looks alike. As you mentioned, we seem to share how the weather feels and maybe sensitivity toward this time of year. The stained glass designed with lotus flowers is special to me among all the fantastic glasses.

    Penelope helped me fly to Vancouver and accompany you. Thank you for the wings to fly.

  8. A great tour of your world. I'm enchanted by the flying pig, since I heard that expression a lot when I was growing up.

    Happy mother's day, hope it was great, and thanks for sharing Vancouver. It's been too long since I've been there.

  9. I love the flying pig. What a thoughtful daughter you have.

    Thanks for the pictorial on your drive into Gastown. As I read along, I wondered if you were going to end up at the Spaghetti Factory and you did not disappoint. It still looks just like it did forty years ago..(how can it be that long? Wow!)

    I remember how the City awed me as a youngster. It has sure grown up in the ensuing years!

    Sounds like you enjoyed that dinner! Hope you had a great mother's day....xx

  10. I've always loved the "when pigs fly" expression. A friend used a flying pig for invitations to her 50th birthday many years ago and I loved it. Wonderful photographs from your world. Looks like you had a great day. So many beautiful sights you captured.

  11. Oh my goodness, you packed a lot of goodies into this post, Penelope! I love that you got great shots all along the way to the Old Spaghetti Factory and even captured the gorgeous stained glass windows once there. Reminds me that it's been far too long since I've been there, though we did enjoy a nice wander through Chinatown last week.

    Your crystal flying pig is definitely the star of this post...such a sweet piece of art, with an even lovelier sentiment behind it. You daughter is clearly a very special girl, and obviously feels the same way about you.

    So glad you had the special Mother's Day celebration you deserve. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely words and pictures...I was thinking that your breathtaking photo of petals covering the steps would make a lovely card, if you ever chose to expand into another line.

    I had a splendid day might enjoy the Mother's Day piece I wrote, if you get a chance to stop by. Aren't we lucky to share our lives with these precious young folk?

    Have a simply wonderful week...


  12. Kay, you are, indeed, more realistic about the pollution issue. So I changed "all" to "many"!

  13. Penelope I came across your world in the "my world". although I have not written or posted anything there I do love looking around this beautiful world at others. Do you mind if I keep in touch and follow your world. I love making new friends and seeing how small our world really is and the wonderful friendships to be made. BTW I really loved reading your Mother's Day post!

  14. Linda, I am pleased that you want to follow my world. I checked out your Mother's Day post and loved it. :)

  15. beautiful places, beautiful images...


YOUR THOUGHTS add colour to the content and are always much appreciated.