There is so much to do and see in BC’s largest city, especially during the month-long celebration of Culture Days. On This Spot has a total of twelve self-guided walking tours in Vancouver, and today we are featuring three. These tours dive into the city’s history and culture, exploring Vancouver’s identity through time. They are available for free online and through the On This Spot app.
Our first tour explores the history of the famous Stanley Park. Stanley Park is often called the jewel of Vancouver. The park is a huge patch of temperate rainforest located just beside the downtown core. Ringed by a seawall that offers spectacular views of the city and the North Shore mountains, it’s a small wonder that Tripadvisor continues to rate Stanley Park the best park in the world. With this tour, you can experience Stanley Park in an exciting new way, peering into the past to see the fascinating changes the park has undergone since its founding over a century ago. This 20-stop tour travels along the seawall, completely circumnavigating the park.
Our second featured tour today follows the rise of the automobile in Vancouver and within the larger context of Canada. Through historical photos of cars and their drivers, learn about the triumph of the car over other forms of transportation. In the 21st Century, our lives, our cities, and our civilization is built around our cars. It’s easy to forget that they are a relatively recent invention. The first car was seen on Vancouver’s rutted roads in 1899, and a mere half century later, by 1950, our society was well on its way to transforming into an all-embracing car culture. In this tour, we will learn about the fascinating early history of cars: who invented them and why, how people felt about them, and how they came to conquer Vancouver and much of the world. This twelve-stop tour begins near West Hastings and Granville Street downtown and meanders down to West Georgia Street before heading northwest. It ends just past Thurlow Street on West Georgia.
The final tour On This Spot is featuring today is slightly different, looking at amphibious invasions in the Second World War. It may seem odd to have a walking tour in peaceful Vancouver that examines amphibious invasions, since history records no battles here, let alone a combined arms assault on a defended shore. Yet in the collections of the Vancouver Archives there is a remarkable set of photos from the spring of 1943 that shows a mock amphibious assault that was played out by Canadian troops on Kitsilano Beach. The ten photos included in this tour hint at the almost sporting atmosphere that prevailed that day, showing war as the government intended people to see it: scrubbed clean of the blood and the misery, the deafening shellfire and the screams of the dying. Though a continent and an ocean away from the beaches of France, we will use these photos to examine the techniques and technology of the major amphibious landings that involved Canadians in France (Dieppe and D-Day), and hear the stories of those who took part.
On This Spot is participating in Culture Days every day until October 24th, so stay tuned for more great content!