BY ANDY CHENG
Every few years, my family plans a vacation to travel around the United States by car. One such trip involved paying our neighboring country a visit. As a southern California resident, I never imagined entering Canada for the first time via car, let alone be the driver. After the third day of driving north, we passed the Washington State customs into British Columbia.
We entered Vancouver an hour after passing the border and drove to Stanley Park, the city’s urban park equivalent to New York’s Central Park. My original expectation was just to walk through foreign-introduced flower patches and look at systematically placed trees and gardens. Those expectations could not have been more incorrect.
The inside of the park unsurprisingly featured an arboretum-esque scene. What took my breath away was being on the perimeter and gazing outward. To the south was the marina with the downtown as the backdrop. Gorgeous hanging gardens could be seen on the sides of some skyscrapers, while other buildings looked to be apartment or office complexes. The reflection of the seawater was icing on the cake, showing a perfect reflection of the near-symmetrical skyline.
The north was a completely different view. Instead of a distinct skyline, there were many small buildings complemented by a vast mountain range in the background. Many commercial ships went beneath the Lions Gate Bridge, and a harbor on the opposite end showed an array of cranes. I saw a seaplane land in the water for the very first time.
My southern Californian pride was bruised by the end of the day. I had always been proud of knowing that I lived in an area where people could ski in the mountains, ride in the desert, and surf in the ocean all in the same day. Vancouver may not have the desert, but I’d take the aesthetics of a perfect marina and skyline over cacti and lizards any day of the week. I went into Stanley Park expecting mediocrity; I went out yearning, ‘til this very day, to go back again.