9/15/11

Pedestrian Friendly Vancouver and Durable but Adorable Footwear

Vancouver is a picturesque city shaped by awesome natural beauty and good-natured people.  Outdoor enthusiasts arrive eager to explore a world-class downtown bordered by scenic waterways and parks.  The extensive transportation network minimizes the need for a car since you can travel from taxi to ferry, bike to SkyTrain, and bus to Aquabus. 

The clear delineation of pathways for pedestrians and cyclists encourages a neighborly attitude and prevents traffic jams.  Vancouver's thoughtful urban planning has resulted in a vibrant downtown complemented by an abundance of green-space to complement the high-rise lifestyle.

Vancouver

   

Vancouver is an ideal summer getaway because the temperate weather accommodates a variety of outdoor activities beginning with a walk to Stanley Park.  Located at the tip of the downtown peninsula, Stanley Park juts out into the ocean like an enormous, multi-faceted emerald.   Beaches, totem poles, and the Rose Garden are a few of the treasures you’ll find within this 988 acre park. 1  If you choose to hike one of the forest trails, you’ll see what Vancouver’s original ecosystem looked like before tall buildings replaced tall trees. 

This is the time of year to look for the Greenest Blue Plate Specials that celebrate the morning harvest of fruits, vegetables, and fish.  Indulge in the bounty of the coastal region and keep in mind that spontaneity is sometimes the best dining guide, like when you opt to eat freshly prepared tacos sitting on the stairs outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery because the TacoFino food truck just pulled up to the curb.  Track this truck down for the best fish tacos north of the border(s). 
wood fired frittata
There were several choices to satisfy my Free Range Appetite at CinCin, a “wood fired Italian cucina” with a treetop patio that was the perfect setting for a leisurely rejuvenation after sightseeing all morning. The frittata was made with organic eggs, Salt Spring Island goat cheese, and topped with Hannah Brook Farm greens.  The delicious earthy taste of wood fired smoke enhanced the melted cheese and infused the eggs with rustic flavor.  

Walking allows you to immerse yourself in the rhythm of a city.  Vancouver has a distinct urban seaside beat that’s composed of French speaking locals at the cafes; swooping seagulls; chic Canadian women riding bicycles in a skirt and durable, but adorable footwear; functional public artwork; and friendly city ambassadors directing lost tourists.  Signs of optimism and prosperity were everywhere, particularly the bright red stickers promoting the summer of “vanlover.” 

“Fluevog funky shoe history”
While I was waiting for my departing flight, I strolled through the concourse reminiscing about Vancouver style.  How fitting that I should find shoes on display in the airport.  The exhibition was honoring Canadian shoe designer, John Fluevog, who celebrated the 40th anniversary of his freestyle footwear last year.  He’s been making shoes for so long, there’s a "Flueseum" on his web site featuring the “Fluevog funky shoe history.” 2
Several “Fluevogs” have a yesteryear appeal to them that invoke a time when shoes were made by cobblers.  Even though women’s shoes are descended from “families” with surnames like Baroque and Operetta, they have contemporary touches like colorful leather and rubber soles.  Fluevog uses whimsical phrases like, “There is no fashion like old fashion,” and shoe descriptions like “Louis the 14th hexagonal heel” to separate the brand from the mainstream. 3  
The “Wonder Kilimanjaro” shoes reminded me of Victorian lace-up boots.  The black leather ankle boots have decorative stitching and a comfortable 2.5” heel with a practical, but lady-like appeal.  Here's the description in French:  “Elle comporte un bout souple pointu et releve ainsi qu’un talon de 6cm est enrobe de cuir semi-parchemine.”  4
an impressive grand finale...

My evening departure from Vancouver featured a stunning aerial view.  The glow from the sunset accentuated the mountain ridge to create a striking backdrop for the stage of sparkling high-rise buildings.  Such an impressive grand finale left me wanting another day in one of the most friendly cities I’ve ever visited.




Sources:

1 Tim Jepson, The Rough Guide to Vancouver (Rough Guides, 2010), p. 62.
2-4 www.fluevog.com