Vancouver has grown into me, it has slipped under my skin and become part of me. I talk to it and it responds. I can feel its moods and I know some of its secrets. We confide in each other, casually, as friends exchange impressions on their daily routine.
But now I am suddenly trying to see the city through someone else’s eyes. Ironically, after two years working in the tourism industry, it’s the first time I completely immerse myself in that perspective. Hundreds of questions arise daily, trying to imagine what she will see, what she will think. The smallest things I take for granted can now be redrawn into possible surprises or exclamation marks.
What will she think of the innumerable coffee shops? Will the fancy Caffe Artegiano win with its classic elegance, or will it be the funky decor of Trees Organic Coffee, or the busy JJ Bean on Commercial Drive? Will Granville Island’s public market appeal to her cooking spirit or is it too pretty and not spontaneous enough to match the real European markets? Will Stanley Park have the same magical effect on her it has on me, erasing the urban core from my conscience in as little time as it takes to walk a block or two? Will the Seawall and its mesmerizing views make her stare in awe? Will the outrageous richness of Yaletown’s waterfront be too much to accept or will it just be an urban feast for the eyes? What will she think of Lynn Canyon, which I consider to be the most beautiful spot in the lower mainland? Am I just biased about it or is the magic real? Will she see the colors I see in our West Coast sunsets, how will they compare to eastern ones? Will the sight of a graceful harbour seal poking its head through the calm waters of Coal Harbour make her smile and point like I still do? Will she laugh at people respectfully waiting for the signal to change to cross an empty street, at passengers thanking the bus driver when leaving, at girls waring flip-flops in the autumn rain? Will she share my childish excitement when riding the gondola up to Grouse, and when overlooking the Greater Vancouver at night? Will she enjoy the Seabus ride to North Van, and the False Creek Ferries, unavoidable floating links between here and there in our city surrounded by water?
What will Marie think of Vancouver? I almost wish I was in her shoes, ready to discover the city all over again. But she’s bound to like it. Vancouver has beauty everywhere one looks, and beauty is what makes Marie tick. And me too.