Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vancouver on the (high) rise: Is the Canadian city losing its soul?

Vancouver skyline from Granville Island. Sue Frause photo.

I recently had a discussion with a Vancouver resident who said he would never live in Seattle. As much as I love Vancouver, I became somewhat defensive of my urban hometown.

After all, Seattle is my hub, even though I live on an island north of the Emerald City. But instead of getting all snotty about it, I told my dining companion that I thought Vancouver was slowly losing its soul.

I've been visiting 
Vancouver ever since I was a high schooler in Arlington, Washington. My friend Susan loved to drive her family's big Buick across the border, and we'd hang out on Robson Street and walk through the lobby of Hotel Vancouver and pretend we were staying there. That was so long ago, the city's pubs had separate entrances for men and women.

So now 2010 is coming, and like any good host, you want to look your best for the Winter Olympics. 
But what's with the generic high-rises and condos that are cluttering up the Canuck sky? Vancouver is all about fresh air, mountain vistas, salt water, biking, walking and that wonderful place called Stanley Park.

Coincidentally, Knute Berger wrote a piece in Crosscut today that carries the same sentiment.
Titled Vancouver is Shangri-not, he opines, "The city that inspires Dubai has some soul-searching to do. After the Olympics, of course."

I don't like whining about a place that I love. 
But Vancouver, slow down. You're losin' that lovin' feeling.

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