Sunday Evening Reflection: Walking the Ambleside Pier

The Lions Gate Bridge

“The idea to build a bridge across First Narrows was investigated as early as the 1890s, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that plans began to take shape. In December 1933, approval for the building of the bridge was reached through a city wide vote. Construction began on March 31, 1937 by clearing ten acres of Stanley Park to create the right-of-way. Upon completion in November 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge was recognized as the longest suspension bridge in the British Empire and one of the biggest construction projects undertaken in Canada during the 1930s. Despite its great size, the open steelwork of the twin towers gives the structure a weightless quality that blends well with its picturesque setting.” Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Long Pier looking towards the western horizon and Pacific Ocean.
Ambleside Pier

Walking on the Ambleside Pier, there is a sense of history. With the elegant vision of Lions Gate Bridge in the background, I imagine a time before cars made their way across the iconic structure of open steelwork of the twin towers.

Before the Lions Gate Bridge, the only way to travel back and forth between Vancouver and West Vancouver was by ferry. Ambleside was the centre of bustling activity, the thriving hub of West Vancouver. In the early 1900’s, Ambleside Wharf, which stood at the foot of 14th street, was known as Ferry Square. From 1913, Ambleside Wharf was the place where residents and visitors disembarked from or boarded the ferries. The ferry would take passengers, sometimes numbering up to 100,000 per month, to Columbia Street dock in Gastown, Vancouver

Ambleside Pier looking towards the city of West Vancouver
Ambleside Pier

Lions Gate Bridge, opened November 14, 1938, ushered the advent of bus travel, which became the preferred mode of transportation. On Feb. 8, 1947, West Vancouver Ferry No. 6 made its last run, ending 38 years of ferry service.

Standing on Ambleside Pier looking towards Lions Gate Bridge, I acknowledge that time brings change, which is as it should be. What was before, transitions to something new, and then transforms again into something else. What was once a busy ferry wharf in the early 1900’s, remains just as busy in a new century. Ambleside Beach continues to be the commercial heart and creative hub of West Vancouver – “a waterfront neighbourhood that celebrates community and culture in all its forms.”

Yellow Wildflowers growing next to an ocean beach.

Thank you for joining me on Ambleside Pier.

45 Comments Add yours

  1. An informative little post with a gentle/beautiful video. Have a lovely week ahead, Rebecca

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Jo! Your message gave a brilliant start to my week. Whenever I go for a walk, I try to imagine all the others who have walked these same steps. If only the paths could talk, what stories they could tell! It reminds my of your post on Venice – every street and canal had a compelling narrative. Time may change the landscape, but the stories remain even though they may stay hidden for a while. And that gives me great comfort. Sending hugs to you and Carina. Have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. cindy knoke says:

    You have such a very special heart and mind Rebecca. Thank you for sharing this aching beauty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Cindy for joining me on the pier! It was a perfect day of sunshine and breeze. Hugs coming back with speedy wings.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Kally says:

    The story is interesting and the scenery is so peaceful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Kally, for stopping by Ambleside Pier. Your comment was very much appreciated. The idea of ferrying people back and forth from Vancouver to West Vancouver emerged out of necessity. What started out small took a grander theme when people realized how easy it was to cross the water. Even so, I read that it was not an easy crossing, but it was a much needed way to go from point A to point B.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Dave Astor says:

    Terrific post, Rebecca — including maybe your best video yet! That video captured so many great long-distance and close-up scenes; I particularly loved seeing the bird sitting/observing and then flying away. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Dave. Here I go again, bringing up one of my favourite quotes: “The breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet. It was a wonderful day of sunshine and brisk, but warm breeze, when I walked along the beach. The seagull kindly gave me time to take his photo before he glided away. I was reminded that life is on the wind, and that everything that we experience is a gift. For we are like the flowers along the beach – here for a precious moment – feeling the warmth of sunshine – until we embrace the wind and take to flight. What a grand adventure we are on, Dave!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Clanmother says:

        Thank you Liz!!! Your encouragement is so very much appreciated.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re most welcome, Rebecca!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Carolyn Page says:

    How beautiful, Rebecca. I love to view through your eyes – and your music! I couldn’t help but think, whilst watching and listening, that your videos offer a meditation, of sorts. I always know I’ll spend that time in quiet contemplation enjoying the visions and the sounds you offer.
    I was also reminded of the many ‘transitions’ we each are experiencing, both personally and globally. Accepting them and trusting in them brings a peace we all need.
    I do hope that, one day, I’ll be experiencing some of the places you highlight in your Sunday Evening Reflections. What a joy it would be to be able to say – “Rebecca, showed me the way!”
    xoxoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh, Carolyn – thank you so much for your heartwarming comments. Sunday evenings were always a time of anxiety as I prepared for the next day, whether it was going to school as a child or heading into a Monday morning university exam , or starting a new week of work. I thought this was unique to me, but I understand the “Sunday scaries” is experienced by many others: “https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/02/sunday-scaries-anxiety-workweek/606289/. When Monday came, I realized that much of those “scaries” never occurred. You thought on meditation is spot on. I learned that by focusing on positive thought, a photograph of a flower etc, my mind would dwell on beauty and life-affirming thinking. I agree, we are living in extraordinary times that continue to challenge us to engage in ways that build resilience and foster compassionate communities. Thank you for creating a space that provides these qualities. Many hugs coming your way.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Carolyn Page says:

        Yes, I do agree. Those ‘scaries’ are, in general, only within our mind; created by the mind. Overcoming them with an objectivity that is aware of the preponderance of the mind to behave in this manner, I found to be the first gigantic step toward shattering those falsities into the nothingness of which they are a part.
        I liken it to the scene in Harry Potter and the Boggart-Banishing Spell (Riddikulus). It took an individual’s fear, and with a little humour made nonsense of it. After all; when looked squarely in the eye fear really is made up of a lot of nonsense!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you, Carolyn. How very well said – humour has magic, doesn’t it? Let’s keep repeating “Riddkulus” Have a wonderful day. Thank you for making mine extra special.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderfully peaceful stroll with you, dear Rebecca. What a beautiful place. I love the benches and the lamps. Seeing the seagull take off with not a care in the world was so good for the soul. Looking at the beautiful places you take me to in Vancouver makes me wish that our daughter had stayed there instead of giving up and returning to South Africa. Who knows what may have happened then? Maybe we would also be living there. 😃🤗

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am so glad that you joined me on Ambleside. Every time I see a bench I think of you, Sylvia. Life has so many twists and turns, doesn’t it? There are so many possible paths and yet, we are given a finite structure of moving forward in time. Our universe has three dimensions of space (up and down, left and right, back and forth) and one dimension of time that keeps us all going forward. BUT, I have a feeling that we have many more dimensions than what we know, which is backed up by science which suggests at least 10 dimensions. https://www.space.com/more-universe-dimensions-for-string-theory.html. Perhaps time travel is in our future, but right now, I am hoping for any kind of travel. You must come for a visit!!! Hugs and more hugs coming your way.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. An interesting concept indeed. Hugs back to you. 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ms Frances says:

    Another delightful Sunday Evening Reflection. I love it. And a look into the history of this lovely place. I can imagine workers preparing a “path” through the forest of trees to make a path to the bridge to be constructed. And, we need to remind ourselves that in those days there were no big machines or the power engines to construct the bridge that we now take so fore granted. The bridge construction was labor intensive and the design was to be a construction of beauty–which it is until today. Can you imagine many people waiting for a ferry to take passengers to and from Vancouver to North Vancouver. It must have been a long wait at times! ! It is good to remind ourselves of the history of a place that we take so nonchalantly Thank you for sharing this delightful Sunday Reflection!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      We live in a time of technological advances that promises speedy resolution. When my browser doesn’t refresh fast enough, I think that something is wrong. Microwaves, refrigeration, public transportation, washer & dryers – all benefit us by giving us time. Travel, however, has made enormous strides over the past century. As my grandfather said, “I have lived to see the first car on the road and a man on the moon.” We have extra time because of modern conveniences, but sometimes it is good to pause, to stop and enjoy the sunshine.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Klausbernd says:

    Dear Rebecca,
    it’s funny Ambleside is connected with the Lake District and the English romantic poets for us. It were probably people from Cumbria who gave this area its name.
    Ambleside Pier looks very inviting. We would like to have a stroll there.
    Thank you very much for sharing 🙏 🙏 🙏
    With lots of love and hugs to our dear friend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Klausbernd – your comment about Ambleside being connected to the Lake District had me looking back into the history of West Vancouver. You are absolutely right. There is a strong connection between West Vancouver and England and Scotland. Here is what I found “Ambleside was an early subdivision built on a gridiron plan with a commercial strip along Marine Drive. John Lawson Park was named for one of West Vancouver’s founders. Dundarave was named for the Scottish castle that was home to the clan of early resident R.E. Macnaghten. Caulfeild owes its unusual spelling to Francis William Caulfeild, an Englishman who laid out an English-style village according to the contours of nature, including the paths of wild animals and cows. Before 1931, when Dan Sewell opened a marina and Whytecliff Lodge in Horseshoe Bay, only a few families lived there year-round.”

      From what I’ve read, West Vancouver needed investors which came from Great Britain. I have a feeling the English romantic poets would enjoy this area. Lots of nature and no industry. I had always known that Victoria had close ties to Britain (Victoria has many tea shops) I think you will find this link interesting: https://westvancouver.ca/arts-culture/heritage/west-vancouver-yesterday-and-today
      Thank you for joining me on the pier. Sending many hugs and lots of love to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Thank you very much, dear Rebecca 🙏 🙏 🙏 Very interesting your answer and the link.
        I am sure the English romantic poets would have liked it at Vancouver. We just see “Outlander” about the first Scottish settlers in America every night.
        Wishing you and your whole family all the best, big HUGs
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, Rebecca. I enjoyed your reflection, the sights and sounds of the video, and your other readers’ comments in equal measure. All served as an important reminder that I need to make time to seek out the places in my own area of the world that bring me the same sense of peace and acceptance of change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am with you, Liz. After countless time management courses, I have come to the realization I must be more open to spontaneity. I have little memory for all the tasks that I crossed off with a superior flourish, but I have detailed recollections of a conversation with a friend over coffee, attending my son’s concerts, discussing books with my father and so on… My quote for today is by Iain Thomas: “Each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, it it on your heart and say, ‘No. This is what’s important.’” Have a wonderful day. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are so right about all those tasks crossed off and their relative importance in the grand scheme of things–particularly work tasks of an administrative nature. It’s the human connection that counts.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Ambleside, what a great name for this pier! So much history of place and people that helps us ponder our own locations and the passage of time. I can watch the modern ferry that takes passengers across Lake Michigan between Wisconsin and Michigan and marvel how quickly it crosses. My two favorite scenes in your lovely video are the waves lapping on the beach (so tranquil and eternal) and the wild flowers at the end. They remind me of my own neighborhood and connect me to this other place!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Mary Jo. We are linked in ways that are difficult to define! I have always been fascinated by our connection to location. Even though, in reality, we are fixed to a specific time and place, we are able to envision a broader dynamic based on our past experiences as well as the experiences of others gained through conversation or reading. The best part about reading is that we are able to connect with people who came before. As Descartes said many years ago, “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” So thank you goes out to our writers, poets, and storytellers. Hugs!!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Ms Frances says:

    YES INDEED, It is to pause and reflect!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jean-Jacques says:

    Sorry for my tardy reflection, not enough time to do justice to your great posts. in any event, In your response to Kally and I quote “I read that it was not an easy crossing, but it was a much needed way to go from point A to point B.” That i would presume has a like history with Sechelt, where my sister Pierrette and my brother-in-law have lived some 35 years. All part of BC’s beauty…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      The party is still going on, Jean-Jacques. You are never tardy. I am so glad that you brought up the Sechelt and how ferry service has evolved. Today, BC Ferries has extensive services for residents and travelers but it was not always so in the past. The Vancouver Seabus, a vital public transportation route linking North Vancouver and Vancouver, was only launched June 17, 1977. According to one statistic from a couple of years ago, daily ridership was approximately 17,000.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jean-Jacques says:

    Ops… forgot to mention, that their crossing from Vancouver to Sechelt is some two hours ferry crossing, or a superb half hour small aircraft crossing, in a closeup sky sighting of its incredible landscape!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Riding the ferries between the islands is an adventure, especially on a day of sunshine. Your sister saw many changes over her 35 years of living in Sechelt. Remember the television series “The Beachcombers” which was filmed in Gibsons a few miles away from Sechelt? The Sunshine Coast is spectacular!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jean-Jacques says:

        Oh dear…I’m making dear sister out to be a resident of Sechelt longer than actual, as it is more closer to 25 years they left Québec for BC. And yes we remember The Beachcombers well and that it played for many successful years. Also that we’ve been around long enough to remember as kids, David Archer’s Dagwood Bumstead. Though he might have a hard time, if at all, recalling “L For Lanky” on the radio…that my sister listened to while nervously scratching the radio with a hair pin, from the suspense.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I remember Dagwood Bumstead and Blondie and the J. C. Dithers Construction Company!!

        Like

  14. Annika Perry says:

    Thank you for sharing this fascinating history of the magnificent suspension bridge and fifty years from the initial suggestion to completion is not too bad, I suppose! It looks very graceful. I love the old pier, it’s almost as you can sense the history in the boards themselves!

    There can be quite a lot of controversy over bridges. A small ferry used to run between the bigger island to the smaller one where my mother was born and her parents lived all their lives. Then in the late 80s a bridge was proposed – and supported by the islanders however visitors saw the changes it would bring. Not all bad and it has worked out mostly for the good … yet I recall the small ferry with fondness, the sense of anticipation as we headed across to the island!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree, Annika. Ferries have a way of reminding us that travel is embedded in our hearts. Vancouver has a water taxi service that operates in False Creek, which operates in summer and winter. It is a way that people can travel between Granville Island, Science World, Olympic Village and Lam Park. Tourists love taking a tour, but it is mostly used by residents to go back and forth from work. I understand that this taxi service started with a couple with one boat. They had a dream that came into being and responded to a need. So when you come for a visit you must ride the taxi: Here is the link. https://granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Annika Perry says:

        Rebecca, how sweet you remember that I want to visit Canada! We were going to book a trip this year for 2021 … but of course on hold! However, I have given up on the idea and this winter for fun will ‘plan’ out a trip for the future. The sightseeing cruise from one of the ferries would be a must!😀

        Like

  15. smilingtoad says:

    An absolutely enthralling account. And I so enjoyed your reflections toward the end. I’d love to spill into those chilling blue waters and creep about that splendid array of driftwood. Beautiful, beautiful video and music. A gorgeous meditation. The sea-bird was especially charming. And what a name for a pier…Ambleside. My kind of place.

    Cheers.

    toad

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I was surprised that the seagull allowed me to take his photo before he sailed off on the wind. Those waters are indeed chilly and not for the faint of heart, but it was a beautiful day of sunshine. I am delighted that you joined me on the pier. It is a great place to contemplate and meditate. Take care!!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh, Rebecca, would I ever love to visit your gorgeous province!
    (Sorry I’m late visiting—I haven’t been online much this past week.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Resa says:

    How gorgeous, Rebecca! Your Vancouver posts do bring memories.
    I sat in a small, wooden, temporary pyramid during an event on a beach in West Vancouver. I read Tarot cards, and blew minds.LOL!
    Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      You must come back!!! What great memories. I am envisioning the line-up to the temporary pyramid waiting for you read their Tarot cards. Many thanks for joining me on the pier!!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Sarah Ahmadi says:

    I forget how beautiful this city is! Lives get so busy that we forget to stop and look at that which is around us — thanks for reminding me that “business” isn’t an excuse for failure to treasure what we have!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree, Sarah – “business” is not an excuse. Ambleside is a beautiful place to walk. It is a place that inspires meditation and mindfulness. This is the quote that came to me as I walked the beach:

      “if
      the ocean
      can calm itself,
      so can you.
      we
      are both
      salt water
      mixed with
      air.”
      Nayyirah Waheed

      Liked by 1 person

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