At Last. A Day Off

Vancouver, Canada – Saturday 11 November 2000

The day dawns grey and overcast, not like the clear sunny weather we’ve enjoyed for the last two days. However it’s not raining and this is apparently a bonus at this time of year as November is normally very wet (according to several locals and the Lonely Planet Guide).

There are many options, and some people mention trips to Vancouver Island, shopping in the city, visits to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium, movies and harbour cruises. Peter Kilpatrick, Matt Goddard, Gary Wain, Rob Clarke and myself decide to tackle Grouse Mountain, which towers 1100 meters (around the same height as Mount Wellington) above the leafy suburbs of North Vancouver. The Mountain is reached by public transport, which is one of the smoothest, most integrated and efficient systems I’ve witnessed. The journey involves a train, a ferry and a bus to get to the foot of the mountain, and then a precipitous cable car ride. When we reach the top it is minus 4 degrees, so we take shelter in the cafeteria for lunch.

The mountain is a popular skiing destination and there are snow machines and tow lines everywhere, although whilst there is some snow around, the ski season hasn’t commenced yet. There are also many large carved wooden statues, in what I imagine to be a native style, commemorating the area’s wild life, native inhabitants and colonial pioneers. There are spectacular views back over Vancouver and the harbour, and the sight of so many conifers (I think mostly spruce, but I could be wrong) is stunning.

TSO personnel have been invited to attend a Vancouver Symphony performance of Britten’s War Requiem at the Orpheum Theatre (the VSO’s main venue), conducted by Bramwell Tovey with soprano Barbara Livingstone, Tenor Philip Langndge and baritone Hakan Hagegard, along with the massed forces of three choirs including the Vancouver Bach Children’s Choir. The ninety minute performance is a moving celebration of Remembrance Day. Julie and David Porcelijn enjoyed supper with VSO Chief Conductor Bramwell Tovey and the soloists after the concert.

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