I'm sitting in my home office in North Vancouver, looking up at a towering fifty-foot cedar tree, whose roots are threatening our foundation. If I were to walk out to touch the tree and glance to the right, I would be looking down a hill across the waters of Burrard Inlet to the sparkling glass towers of Vancouver, a "postcard" beautiful city surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains.
It is the kind of place where, on a sunny day, everyone wants to move to. It's the kind of city where you are more likely to be run down by a bicycle than a car, a city with outlandish real-estate prices and more good Asian restaurants than anywhere outside of Asia. Vancouver, like most western Canadian cities, is relatively new, incorporated just over a century ago as the terminus of our national railway. In this century, it has become a city that is defined as much by its natural beauty as by its rich mix of cultures.
I first moved here from Edmonton, Alberta, during the early 1960s and experienced the exciting rise of the counter-culture and the emerging contemporary arts scene. But, for all the excitement of those days, Vancouver still seemed like a small, very British colonial outpost.
I returned here in 1989 after a twenty-year stint in Montreal. Vancouver was then experiencing a boom, and the influx of immigrants was making it a very dynamic place to be. We settled on the North Shore, in a place with a view of the water and the city out one window and the mountains out the other. My wife teaches art history at a university just eight minutes away. We are but a stone-throw from mountain trails, and a marina is a short walk down our hill. It's not hard to feel blessed! It's odd then that the photographic work I do now is mostly far to the east, on the prairies and the Great Plains, a place I love and am drawn to. But, when I return from a trip, the smell of the ocean and the cool mountain breeze always feel like a welcoming home.
Copyright © 2013 Danny Singer. All rights reserved.