We don't buy much stuff any more -- where would we put it? But today we visited the Vancouver store of Tilley Endurables. Alex Tilley is a Toronto businessman who has branched out from his lifetime-guaranteed hats to an entire Centennial totem pole line of travel clothing. We've known about the company since Bob bought a Tilley hat years ago. (Yes, that old broad-brimmed white hat with the red band that people at his last job admired.)
As we maneuvered the truck into a tiny parking place behind the store, a lady watched us appreciatively, and then let us in the back door of the store -- she was the manager. She then proceeded to instruct us on the latest and greatest features of the Tilley hats, so we each bought one, not to mention some shirts and quick-drying socks and undies.
Leaving Tilley's we followed different roads eastward and passed through a heavily Punjabi section of town, filled with ethnic restaurants and stores selling light, bright fabrics for saris.
We visited at a yarn store to replenish the family knitter's stock of raw materials, and then stopped at a White Spot restaurant for lunch, which turned out to be a cross between Coco's and Marie Callender's.
We continued on to the top of Burnaby Mountain, the highest spot on the peninsula, where we found Simon Fraser University. It was founded about forty years ago as an open university, and has built up a tradition of less formal but highly regarded classes, with special strengths in science and technology. The Japanese carved poles architecture is concrete and glass, and reminded us of new university buildings everywhere; but the hilltop setting can't be beat. Of course everyone either drives or hops a bus to the campus.
Also on Burnaby Mountain is Centennial Park, created for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the city of Burnaby in 1896. We walked the paths and enjoyed the spectacular views and read all the plaques. The rose garden is just beginning to leaf out, but it will be spectacular, with 100 rose bushes planted in a 100-foot diameter circle. Two Salish Indian totem poles were installed in the park, but the major attraction was contributed by Burnaby's sister city of Kushiro, Japan. This is a large setting of dozens of carved wooden poles to represent a bear, an owl, and other creatures in the mythology of the Ainu people -- the ancestral Japanese people who still inhabit the northern island of Hokkaido.
Thousands of acres on Burnaby Mountain have been set apart by the city and the University as a nature preserve. Greater Vancouver has incredible scenery, and has set aside lots of such preserves for future generations.