After a wonderful breakfast together at our hotel, The Listel, our band of Texans headed out to learn more about Vancouver. I found out that the city is even bigger than I thought; the metropolitan area now has more than 2 million people. And it's hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. So the first part of our tour this morning was to the stadiums that will be used for the ceremonies and indoor events. One of the stadiums has a fabric roof held up by air pressure inside, and it was built originally as part of the Expo in 1986.
The new public library is a sight to behold. It consists of a rectangular glass building inside of a circular brick structure. Many of the buildings have green roofs, literally, and not just log cabins with sod roofs either. These are high-rise buildings and expansive convention centers with grass fields and trees on top. The new media center for the Olympics has a grass roof.
Vancouver has a large Chinatown section and a historical old section called Gastown, named for Gassy Jack, the man who owned the first saloon in the town. Vancouver was originally built as the western end of the transcontinental railroad, which we will be taking east tomorrow on the first leg of our train trip across the Canadian Rockies.
One of the most amazing places around is Stanley Park, a giant city park that covers about one third of the entire peninsula on which the downtown area sits. Many areas of the park are forested with giant red cedars, firs and hemlocks. Other areas have fields for recreation, even the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club. And there is a first-class aquarium in the park, too. We also witnessed a historic event, a totem pole being erected by the Squamish Tribe.
The Lions Gate Bridge across Burrard Inlet which leads to the port of Vancouver looks a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it was designed and built by the same people as the Golden Gate, except it's green and not as big as it's red-orange sibling to the south.
Many of us headed out to do our own things this afternoon and evening. But one thing we will all be doing tonight is getting a good night's sleep ahead of our railroad adventure tomorrow. Hope you check out all these pictures in the Eye on You section.