The fourteen hulking bronze statues that comprise “A-maze-ing Laughter” were making a world tour when they touched down in Vancouver at the corner of Denman and Davie. And we just loved them! But with a price tag of 1.5 million dollars, they were beyond our city’s budget. Lucky for us we have a yoga-gear magnate by the name of Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon—who rode in on a magical yoga mat with a check in hand.
What a guy!
It’s perhaps a gesture of gratitude to all us Vancouverites who live, breath, work, and of course practice yoga in his apparel. So far as I know, there’s only been one misstep in his yogic trajectory… that being the case of the overly transparent pants, which turned downward dogs everywhere into a case of “too much information.”
While this fabric oversight could have been overlooked as a simple sartorial error, his response raised the ire of many a local when he responded to this cheeky clothing item by saying “quite frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t work for it… it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs,” insinuating that women’s thighs are a little too big for his brand of yoga.
Politically charged yoga stories are not rare in this yoga-happy city, so it’s a good thing we have the A-maze-ing Laughter statues to remind us about the latest yoga craze… laughter yoga.
Called the ‘Car Tangled Spanner’ by locals, this bridge once had a suicide lane. You see, it was built with three lanes, the middle one being a passing lane—for cars driving in both directions!
Today the 60,000 daily commuters who cross the Lion’s Gate have been saved this particularly ghoulish Russian Roulette, and we now have a counterflow system. That is, traffic lights in the middle lane face both directions and are adjusted to smooth the flow of traffic, especially during rush hours.
As for how the Lion’s Gate Bridge got built, for that we can thank the Guinness family of Ireland, of beer and Book of World Records fame. They put up about $6 million to build our bridge. After charging a twenty-five cent toll to drivers for a number of years, they made back their original $6 million dollar investment. And then sold the bridge to the city for another $6 million—doubling their money! The luck of the Irish indeed.
Hard to believe this gorgeous sunken garden was once a quarry where workers “macademanized” the lava rock used to build Vancouver’s first roads.
Just as remarkable, hidden under the parking lot is a water reservoir which is Vancouver’s main source of drinking water.
Nowadays, Queen E. (as locals call it) has as its main claim to fame the two sunken gardens and the views of the city. One hundred and fifty two meters above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in Vancouver as well as the geographic center of the city, and has spectacular views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains.
Follow the path to a bridge that overlooks a waterfall. Beyond, a winding path leads you to the bottom of the sunken garden with its garden beds and pond.
Back at the top of the garden, the dome-shaped building is The Bloedel Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden with over 500 plant species, and dozens of tropical birds.
If you’d like to keep exploring, just behind Bloedel Conservatory is an open square with a fountain, a wedding chapel, and shaded boardwalks. Depending upon the time of day, you’ll see everything from artists to tai chi groups, from wedding parties to master gardeners.