What’s the #1 New Year’s Resolution on most everyone’s list? Without a doubt, it would have to be keeping or getting fit, fitter and fittest. And what better way to kick start the year than to go for a walk especially when your route takes you by some of the most fascinating public art pieces in the downtown area, conveniently located near Lord Stanley Suites on the Park, so lace up your running shoes and just do it!
Exit Lord Stanley Hotel and head south on Denman to Davie.
Amazing Laughter: In the heart of English Bay, in a postage stamp sized park, one of Vancouver’s most popular pieces of public art is a group of imposing statues standing in a huddle, smiling, grinning even guffawing. Here’s your chance to strike a pose beside these gentle giants and don’t forget to say cheese!
Head back on Denman St heading north until the corner of Denman & Georgia; make a right on the pathway to Coal Harbour Walkway.
Solo: created by artist Natalie McHaffie for Vancouver’s centennial, this stainless steel and cedar plank spiral sculpture evokes mountains, planes and cargo cranes as well as wind and water. It sits on the grass in Devonian Harbour Park located on the outskirts of Coal Harbour and near the entrance to Stanley Park.
Sliding Edge Waterfall & Sculpture: Situated on the wall of the walkway, a solitary bronze figure posing as a sentry is atop a strikingly elegant waterfall. Constructed of concrete, cast iron and stone, the title of this piece of public art refers to the constant movement of the tides and the waves, which was taken from a line of poem from Canadian writer Earl Birney.
The LightShed: Not unlike the house that landed on the Witch in the Wizard of Oz, this metal house on stilts seems exceedingly out of place standing on the corner of the Coal Harbour Harbour Walkway and gets the attention of anyone passing by. Many sheds such as this representation by artist Liz Magor existed along the water to repair fishing boats during the early days of Vancouver. And if you happen to be strolling along the walkway in the evening, you’ll see some actual light being shed from within the structure; get it?
Up the steps to the very top; the Convention Centre is on your left; Digital Orca and Olympic Cauldron are within view.
The Olympic Cauldron: Continuing with Vancouver’s Olympic legacy is a sleekly modern glass and steel sculpture; one of the most popular spots for photo ops. Although the Cauldron is normally unlit, perhaps you will be lucky enough to be passing by when it roars to life to commemorate special events and achievements a few times a year.
Digital Orca: Although novelist Douglas Coupland is best known for coining the term Generation X, he also has extensive training in visual arts and one of his most spectacular pieces is situated at Canada Place. Crafted of steel and aluminum, this mammoth killer whale resembling Lego building blocks garners much attention from visitors and locals alike.
The Drop: Perched right at the edge of the corner of the seawall outside the Vancouver Convention Centre, this bright blue 20 metre stylized raindrop punctuates the Bon Voyage Plaza with a big splash! It’s a playful reminder to passers-by about the weather that is inherent to the Pacific Northwest.
Cross the street on Waterfront Rd; head north up Thurlow until the corner of Cordova and Thurlow.
Nike Goddess of Victory: To commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, this four metre-tall sleek bronze artwork sits resplendently at the median of Cordova and Thurlow with wings spread. Since the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta Georgia, every city hosting the Olympic Games is the recipient of various editions of this sculpture. Best angle for a picture? Stand on the northwest corner of this intersection for the best shot.
Need more up to the minute information on what to see and do in Vancouver? Check out Tourism Vancouver’s office for timely tips and helpful hints located just across the street!