Vancouver is an arty city, so after spending a day in the museum, we decided to take to the streets. Visitors to downtown Vancouver can find semi-buried treasure thanks to the Downtown Business Improvement Association, which commissioned the Mosaic Art Tile Project. Reportedly there are 22 tiles partially buried in city sidewalks. Like the inexperienced treasure hunters we are, we didn’t come close to finding all the loot, though we had fun serpentining through downtown attempting to follow the directions in the tourist brochure. Hey, we modern-day treasure hunters are too lazy, busy and directionally challenged to do the hard work on our own.
It took us two days to find eight of the tiles, surprisingly few given that we covered a lot of territory in our search; however, during much of our walk, we forgot to look down.
When we’re talking about Vancouver, I think “mosaic” describes more than a collection of tiles. According to my on-line dictionary, a mosaic can be “a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.” Vancouver is a city of diverse people and cultures, neighborhoods, businesses, food vendors, and arts that seems to works as a “more or less coherent whole.” It’s clean, friendly, environmentally conscious; since it’s not too hilly, it’s also a great walking city.
On our walks, we saw no evidence of the hockey hooligans from June; therefore, I can only point to one bad element in the city: the gulls. They are as ubiquitous in coastal cities as are the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Below is a photo of my husband who had just disembarked from the water taxi wearing a cap he’s had for years. This cap is now reeking in a trash can we hope the city garbage service will collect soon, after a gull cruising over Granville Island splatted it (miraculously avoiding anything else its owner was wearing). So my husband would not feel alone in his loss, I tossed out my cap, too. Here we are, both wearing our new hats and able to safely continue our walking tour…looking down, looking straight ahead, avoiding looking up.