Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, October 16, 2002
# 8:27:00 AM:

Many faces

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This morning's National Post calls my home town of Vancouver a "mountain city." I don't think that's a term anyone who lives here would use, even though it's true. I, for one, picture a mountain city as landlocked, nastled in the notch of a deep valley between snow-covered peaks, like the stereotype of a European ski resort, or maybe Whistler. Besides, by the Post's definition, most cities in B.C. would be "mountain cities."

Vancouver, you see, is also an ocean city, and a river city, as well as a park city and a border city. It is the economic hub of British Columbia, but not its capital (that's Victoria). While some of our suburbs (North and West Vancouver, Port Moody, Coquitlam) scale the sides of mountains, others (Richmond, Delta, Ladner) are so flat that their highest points are either buildings or highway overpasses. The City of Vancouver itself is a peninsula, with the Fraser River on the south and the fjord of Burrard Inlet to the north. Its highest point, Little Mountain, is aptly named -- the former rock quarry reaches the Olympian height of 160 metres above sea level.

Yet the real mountains (1200 metres and taller) dominate nevertheless. We know that north is always in their direction, and every year, people get lost or die in the ravines, where they can see the city lights but not reach them, reminding us how close wilderness is.


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