Posts Tagged ‘Burnaby’

Spring time in Vancouver – Part 1…Gorgeous Wildlife and Plantlife

Monday, February 24th, 2014

For many of us who live in Vancouver the Season of Spring is by far one of the best, with the longer days becoming more noticeable and the weather slowly but surely warming it is a time where the city and nature start to wake from the long long nights of Winter.

There are many reasons to come to Vancouver between March and June not just because is it still a relatively cheaper time to stay in the city. The tourist season will generally start to really kick into gear during the latter half with the volume of Cruise Ships increasing, Spring break and so on, so if crowds are not your thing then very likely this season should really appeal to you as the city is not too too busy.

Many of us love Vancouver in the Spring for one thing overall and that is for the blooming of the plants and the explosion of colour because of this. As the leaves begin to unfold and the increase of the local wildlife who are during their rounds, where they will be getting ready for the mating season and need to fill their hungry bellies – so much to choose from that will no doubt grab your interest.

We will break down this blog into 2 parts so that there is something for everyone to be interested in, and, as always we will have further blogs that will keep you up to date on all the major events over the coming months.

CLIMATE
The Climate in Vancouver is very well known as soggy, mild with lots of rain! However, this year has been different, admittedly this particular Winter has not played ball as normal as it has been predominantly dry, it has had the odd blast of the Arctic air licking our shores (albeit brief) and its snowing as I type so we are still reminded that it is still the Winter season.

It has also been a remarkably sunny winter so therefore that means it has been very very dry. This area of the world is known as a temperate Rain-forest and we do normally average quite a few inches of rain each month during November and May respectively, in fact, the crazy weather that has been occurring in Europe and more specifically the UK is what we would call typical. So in a year that has been anything but normal we have to admit – it has has been quite nice to be able to get outdoors when we normally bunker down.

So what remains for the rest of 2014? Of course we will never really know, but many are predicting that it could be a year when we may get water advisories due to the lack of the precipitation, it could also mean that for all the visitors coming here in the Spring and Summer it could very well be an outstanding season to come. Meteorologists who are looking at the El Nino and La Nina fluctuations in the Pacific are seeing a possible transition to a mild El nino pattern which we has not been present in the last few years, if and a big if as always this is the case, this area of the world could expect a dry and warmer pattern -top that with the effect of this dry winter Summer 2014 may seem warmer than usual, only time will tell.

Spring in Vancouver is typically changeable with the rains becoming more showery with the odd brief cold spell, there is always an outside chance that snow may fall even as late as the end of March and at a push April – due to its topsy turvy nature, either way the great thing about Vancity is that you can get some late season skiing in on the slopes and then come back down to earth for a nice stroll down the beach – the Sun is starting to have an influence so it may be pleasent and warm down at sea level. In turn that means the world around us is waking up so the next section will explain about the blooming of the Plants and what wildlife to expect here.

TREES AND PLANTS
It is fair to say that the Spring season is one of the most colourful and stunning of all seasons and in Vancouver it is very visible- what you will also notice is the many varieties of Plant-life that hail from areas such as the Far East Asia with the main feature dominating are the Cherry Blossoms, they seriously show off what they have got especially during late April and May – there is a great Festival and Website that is dedicated to the Cherry Blossoms it gives you a comprehensive guide as to where the blooms are occurring around the city, what kind of blossoms they are, and what to expect over the next few weeks as they progress.
A major highlight of the Cherry Blossom blooms are the trees that line the square at Burrard Street Skytrain station – here there are so many Blossoms in bloom that they create a stunning pink and white canopy ceiling above you, its gorgeous.

Although the Cherry blossoms tend to take the most accolades in the area there are more amazing plants and trees to check out.

Cherry Blossom Festival: http://www.vcbf.ca/

Deciduous Trees
Vancouver is also home to some pretty stunning Deciduous trees in the area and in the Spring they really show off the very best of their Spring Blooms, trees such as Magnolia Vulcan this tree dazzles with a brilliant ruby-red 20-cm flowers. It thrives in every soil type and has sturdy upright growth. You can find this on the Corner of Beach Ave and Burrard St nearby, Magnolias are found all throughout the West End and vary in size and shapes.
Found all over but you can see it in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park The Prunus ‘Akebono’ (ornamental cherry) its pink blossom slowly turn to a soft pink-white from mid-March to early April.

Just around the corner from us is a wonderful Magnolia tree that is getting ready to put on its own Spring show, take a left turn from the Hotel and Burnaby Street onto Thurlow St and you will see this gorgeous tree!

WILDLIFE and STANLEY PARK
Spring is also the season when you notice the influx of the migrating birds and of course the critters that are now waking up from their deep winter slumber.
We recommend that when you do visit the parks (Its our stunning oasis in the city) we really do encourage you to keep your eyes peeled as there is plenty of wildlife to spot on the ground and in the skies.

The Great Blue Herons.
These majestic creatures have made a small area in Stanley Park their natural home for nesting and it is in surprisingly large numbers – it seems that in many other areas of the world the Herons are found to be dwindling in numbers, thankfully this is not the case in Vancouver, we hope that this is a healthy continuing trend.
During March we will see the return of the male Herons, the best place to see them are down by the Tennis Courts on Beach Avenue (Which is not too far a walk from the Sunset) the male herons will return to their designated nests where they will hope to attract the females whom arrive a short while later.

Once they do arrive the usual courtship ritual begins, you can spot this when the couples are in their nests and will cross their bills regularly, together they help maintain their nests (some return to the existing ones and like to modernise and spruce them up too).
Come the end of April and early May you will start to see the chicks hatching from their nests, it is quite a sight to see. At the last count there are around 165 to 170 nests, this location has been a regular home since 1921 there were many nests across the creek in Vanier Park, but now, only a handful remain.

Heron Colony of Stanley Park: http://www.greatervancouverparks.com/StanleyHeronColony01.html

Here is a video of the Herons in the Park
Blue Herons of Vancouver

The Elusive Coyote
Coyotes breeding season occurs from January through April and there is always a chance that you will catch a quick glance of them as Spring progresses to Summer. Cubbing season will be well under way by then so the Coyotes will be busy looking for food not only for themselves but for their new offspring too. If you do manage to see them – just let the Coyotes be, they may look a little under nourished but don’t be tempted to feed them as these critters are more than capable and happy to forage by themselves.
An interesting fact about the Coyotes, they were introduced into Vancouver in the 1980s and very quickly established themselves into the urban setting. They are a little fearful of humans when they are not treated or respected as the animals that they are, however, this is not a cause for alarm, just leave them be and they will carry on their merry way as long as they are not distracted – it is not unusual to find them wandering the street or even venturing deeper into the city, Coyotes live where ever they can get comfortable, they only make Dens for the purpose of bringing up the cubs, otherwise, leaves and shrubs will be more than fine for a home sweet home.

Living with Coyotes: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/co-existing-with-coyotes/

Migrating Birds
A sure sign of Spring is the sound of the Birds that are making their way around the globe and at this time of year start to make their presence known in the city, this is really noticeable by their chirping, whistles and regular songs that become more and more familiar, and of course the plumage, they really do begin to get more and more colourful!
The birds that arrive come in all shapes and sizes of course and there are far too many to mention here, but we will note a few to look out for, and please click on the link below so you can read in depth of the many other species not mentioned here. Keep an eye out for Hawks, Bald Eagles, Chickadees, Hummingbirds and of Canada Geese – easily spotted by their famous flying V formation!

A cool occurrence that happens everyday is when the Species of Gulls and Crows make their way home to their respective nests and roosts, if you look up at the skies roughly an hour before and up to Sunset you may get to witness a very large Murder of Crows heading east to their roosting spot in Burnaby, its is quite a sight to see – at the very same time, you will see the Gulls making their way home from inland out to the coast where their nests are.

Birds of Vancouver: http://birdvancouver.com/blog_april12.html

Major Events to look out for in April

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Here are some big events to watch out for if you are coming to Vancouver this month…

SUN RUN April 15th
Canada’s largest 10km race and an excellent way to check out Downtown Vancouver – it is perfect for everyone who likes to run, you can take it easy, seriously or just do it for fun, and if the latter is what you are in for, why not go in dress up!!!!

Check the link below to see all the details and any road closures that may have an affect on your travel plans.

http://www.vancouversun.com/2013sunrun/index.html

VANCOUVER LEGO GAMES! April 28th
So the Event is actually held in Burnaby….but still….Burnaby is a great area to visit and explore.
The LEGO Games are held to raise money for the Vancouver childrens hospital – check the website if you wish to participate or just join in the fun – mind that you don’t step on a piece….it hurts!

http://vancouverlegogames.com/

VANCOUVER CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL – April 3rd to April 30th
Join in the song and dance at various locations to celebrate the bloom and blossoming of these beautiful trees that make the streets of Vancouver come alive at Spring time.

http://www.vcbf.ca/

Playland Amusement park is now open on the weekends!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Playland Amusement Park and Vancouver in the distance

Canada's oldest Amusement Park...Playland @ The PNE

Opened in 1958, The Wooden Rollercoaster is a recognizable feature of Playland

The Playland amusement park is now ready to open its doors for the 2012 season, at the moment the park will be open only on weekends. As the Summer season hits its peak, the park will be open during the weekdays as well.

The park is also home to the PNE and the Hastings Race Course – the Playland Amusement park itself is Canada’s oldest amusement park, it opened its doors to the public way back in the 1950s and still has the original wooden Rollercoaster in operation, which has been entertaining thrill seekers since 1958, there are also 2 other rollercoaster rides at Playland.

Playland like to shake things up a little, so every year, two of the amusement rides are replaced with something brand new, there are also festivals and events happening every year, with the climax of Playland and PNE joining forces at the end of August for a bigger festival for the public to enjoy.

If you decide to go there in the summer, please look out for any concerts that may be happening, the PNE generally has some fantastic line ups. You can easily make a whole day of it too, get yourselves there at early doors, have a mess around at the Playland Park, then you can go check out the Races at the nearby Hastings Racecourse, and then finish up the day with a good concert!!!!

Playland is also home to one of the best places to enjoy Halloween, they really know how to scare your wits with their crazy Haunted House and other spectacularly scary exhibitions!

To get to Playland is quite straightforward, situated on Hastings Street in East Vancouver close to the city of Burnaby, just follow Hastings Street Eastbound all the way.

If you like to explore some further funky areas, you can even stop off along the famous Commercial Drive district. Commonly known as ‘The Drive’ it has a similar atmosphere to our own Davie Village and Main St districts. You will be spoiled for choice for quirky shops, fantastic Bars, Cafes and Restaurants, please ask the front desk for details regarding this area, specifically Dave and Elvis who are both very familiar to this district and have both resided in the area.

http://www.pne.ca/

www.thedrive.ca

Cherry Blossoms are Blooming!!!!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Video of Vancouver Crows coming home to roost

Spring season has arrived, and like clockwork it is very visible throughout Vancouver.

One of the most telling signs that the Spring is here is by noticing the Cherry Blossom trees awakening all around the city, and what a beautiful site these trees are. Vancouver is blessed to have so many Cherry Blossoms throughout the city and it will be quite the display from now until May.

Between April and May, Vancouver will host the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival The festival is run by a non profit Society that celebrates the season with Arts, poetry and entertainment, it was set up in 2005 to celebrate and give thanks to the trees that were donated to the city back in the 1930s. They also have a fantastic website that follows all the trees as they begin to bloom, there is an interactive map that points out where you can go and locate the very best in bloom. The festival runs from April 5th until April 28th.

www.vcbf.ca

What we really adore about Vancouver is how the area is really divided by the seasons, not only do we have the four well known seasons, but also Wet and Dry, it is this time of year where we see the beginnings of Spring appear, also the rains now begin to taper off marking the beginnings of the transition between wet and dry

Check out the local flora and fauna which are now visibly awakening from their slumber, the suburbs of the West End are by far a stunning sight to see. Also keep an eye on the skies above you as Vancouver has many migrating birds of all shapes and sizes appearing overhead, it is not unusual to see Herons, Bald Eagles and more hovering majestically above our heads. If you want further help on where to see the best of the natural world make sure to check with us at the Front Desk, there is a wonderful spot in Stanley park where the Herons build their huge nests (located near the open air Swimming Pool and Second Beach), and nesting season for the Avian gang are well and truly here, we will be able to recommend other great areas such as Queen Elizabeth Park – located in the south of Vancouver, formally part of a quarry, the park is situated on the highest point of Vancouver and has incredible 360 degree views of the area it is a must for all plant lovers.

Finally, everyday of the year look out for the Crows heading home to roost, a remarkable sight that sees a huge flock (believe it or not it is commonly known as a murder!) of crows all heading home one before sunset, they congregate from many areas of the city (such as English Bay, False Creek and Stanley Park) where they head south East towards Burnaby where hundreds of the Vancouver Crows settle in for the night!.

So from every at the Sunset Inn and Suites, we say a warm and welcome hello to Spring, the good weather is on its way…..