Canada Day on the West Coast

When the rest of the country has packed it in for another year, the celebrations on west coast time continue. Last evening, John Lawson Park in Ambleside was in full festive mode. Families had spread their picnics all over the tables, the lawns and the beaches for supper by the sea. Children were crawling all over the pirate ship, the train station and the whirligigs newly constructed in the playground. From the improvised gazebo, the guitar players let go with their popular music and children danced to the tunes.

At 8:30, two tugs pulled and pushed a scow west from under the Lions Gate Bridge to the bay off Dundarave. This was the fireworks scow, the signal of further festivities to follow when the sun finally faded in the sky. Two hours later, onlookers lined the Ambleside Seawalk: old folks, infants, a cacophony of people speaking all sorts of languages, even dogs and skateboarders, contrary to the posted bylaws (no one seemed to mind). The young people sprawled on the rocks and reclined against the logs, the older people sat on the benches and walls of the Seawalk waiting for the fireworks to begin. It was high tide, and the water was lapping against the rocks less than 15 metres away. There is something positively idyllic about sitting by the sea as the light fades in the west.

Finally, the fireworks… a half-hour show of loud bangs and lights, of changing visions in the night sky: red and green, gold and violet, white and yellow, reflected in the shimmering water. A silence descends on the crowd, broken only by the occasional gasps of approval and the last cheers and clapping. At 11:30, the crowd had dispersed, the armada of small boats gathered to watch the event long gone, and the tugs and scow made their slow trip back to the inner harbour. I learned today that exactly the same fireworks display also occurred in Coal Harbour, at exactly the same time, a mirrored event for the north shore and downtown.  And so Canada Day on the west coast came to an end.  

Watching fireworks with a camera is now commonplace, although purists would scoff. I have never ever taken a decent picture of fireworks with my regular camera. Night shots are always difficult, and fireworks require particular skill with speed and aperture. Last night, however, I had my iPhone and, for the first time, tried its video capacity. Clearly, that is the way to go. Why haven’t I discovered this before? The results may not be fantastic, but that there are any results at all, from such a simple touch of the finger, is positively amazing. Come to think of it, my seven-year-old grandson has been using the video on his camera for some time. Where have I been? Ah, but it is not so easy. I just tried to download a video example to add to this post, and my videos all disappeared. I “removed them from my cellphone” without first checking their status in iPhoto, and found they weren’t there. Guess I should have dealt with them some other way. There’s always something more to learn.

Belated Canada Day greetings to everyone. Hope that you had a great day and that you will have a super summer. My summer posts are likely to be somewhat erratic. We are gearing up for a river rafting trip on the Alsek River in the Yukon, mid-July, and will be beyond any internet capacity until we return to Whitehorse at the end of the month. I hope to post from Dawson City when we arrive there. Maybe I will have mastered how to do videos by then.

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  1. Steven

    Enjoy your trip to the Yukon. Dawson does have Internet so you should be able to post from there and it is a fascinating place as I can say as I spent 22+ years in the Yukon


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