Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ambleside Park Pictures

The slide show below contains pictures associated with the Ambleside Park post.


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Copy of the Ambleside Park Post

Ambleside Park is the best know attraction in West Vancouver that is not a shopping mall or a ferry terminal. West Vancouver’s citizens gather at Ambleside to socialize, engage in either organized or pickup sports, to exercise themselves and their canine friends or just to enjoy the sea air.


The park is bounded on the East by the Capilano River. On the west by 13th Street and Hollyburn Sailing Club. On the North by Marine Drive. On the South by the northern shore waters of English Bay. Ambleside is bisected by the Canadian National rail line.

The beach within Ambleside is a combination of rip wrap stones and sand beach. The sand is 600 meters long and located at the west end of the park. There is 1.2 km of seawall which hugs the shoreline from Park Royal to 13th Street. The park includes 6 sports fields, 2 artificial, 2 grass and 2 all weather (that means gravel). Typical configuration in spring is a baseball diamond, softball diamond, and field hockey. In winter rugby, soccer and football are all played in Ambleside.

Between the CN Rail bridge over the Capilano River and the Ambleside Pitch n Putt there is a modest fitness circuit. The park also includes a skateboard area, 3 basketball courts and 3 tennis courts.

The Pitch n Putt is a small Par 3 course with 1189 yards of total length. The 7th hole is longest at 114 yards and the 45 yard 17th is the shortest. Golfers of all ages and skills harmoniously enjoy leisurely paced golf at Ambleside. Cost is Adults $10 Seniors $8 children $6.

The park has a picnic shelter, total of 18 picnic tables and three barbeque pits. While you’d enjoy a summer day, packed picnic, there is no need no bring your own food as there is a concession and several good near by restaurants. The concession building also houses large change rooms and a life guard station.

Near the concession building there is a play area with swings and other play apparatus suited to children under the age of ten.

The Park is home to the West Vancouver Youth Center and the West Van SPCA kennel.

Locals refer to the large off leash area east of the end Argyle Ave as Dog Beach. This area is extremely popular with north shore dog owners.

How to get there.

There are actually three accesses to Ambleside Park. Other than savvy West Van residents, the majority of use comes from the access off the foot of 13th Street in West Vancouver. Make your way to Park Royal mall and continue west to make a left at 13th Street and you are there. There is parking immediately to the left on either side of the rail tracks or in slots along Argyle facing the beach. Get off the 250 Blue Bus at 13th Street and you are within a few steps of the park entrance.

The other popular entry point to the park is from south of the Park Royal shopping mall. There is a gravel trail that skirts the west shore of the Capilano River and arrives at the Dog Beach portion of Ambleside. Many dog owners use this entrance as there is good parking and never a need to leash fido.

Finally, when you are traveling eastward on Marine Drive there is an access road between the western extent of Park Royal Village and the eastern most artificial turf field. This road is the access to the West Van Youth Center and the SPCA. There are a number of parking spots that are often used by those involved in organized sports.

Park Use

I find it hard to say which of many activities is more popular in Ambleside Park. Just to walk on the seawall seems to be a simplistic approach to a park with so much to offer. But for many that is Ambleside park: a portion of the North Shore sea wall that run west to Dundrave pier.

Upon closer investigation you will often find a variety of uses and users.

Young, and not so young, new moms and dads tend to their children in the play area. Older folkes lounge on the benches. People of all ages swim or use the summer volleyball nets.

Young guys gather in the skate board park or in pickup basketball games on the courts daily. The slightly older dudes park their ‘mercs and beamers along the beach. They gather in small groups to discuss, often in Farsi, the things guys of that age discuss. The counterpart girls are often clutched together on the logs arranged on the sand beach or enjoying a frozen treat from the concession.

Uber power mom’s armoured with latest Lulu Lemon wear purposely stride in pairs along the sea walk making their way to or from their next engagement. Toned metro-sexuals jog at a brisk yet polite pace.

Retired exec’s and their wives stole in pairs. Often the overheard conversation is of kids in university or the merits of a Lexus over the Land Rover.

Down the east end at Dog Beach the pooches rule. An increased level of activity fills the air. Dogs chase their grotty old tennis balls or a stick flung into the ocean. Owners call after their barking dogs. Children noisily interact with their canine best friends.

Across the rail tracks, over at the organized sports fields, the kids compete while the into it moms hang on the chain link fence shouting encouragement. The more laid back parents line the bleachers in their designer shades sipping the Venti sized paper tumblers of fancy coffee drinks.

Clearly Ambleside is the focal meeting place of West Vancouver. Regardless of age, original culture or current socio-economic status our park by the sea has something to offer everyone.


Ambleside was originally a garbage dump and log sort. A near by ferry terminal at the foot of 14th Street made the area popular with locals. Park status was given in 1912. While ferries ran to Vancouver beginning in 1868 this site became the ferry terminal in 1914. The Lions Gate Bridge which towers over the east end of the park opened in 1938. Yes, in West Vancouver we do refer to it as the bridge over the moat.

What you might not know.

Green Heron nest in the duck pond at Ambleside Park. This is the only known nesting site, for these birds, on the North Shore.

In addition to ducks and swans there are turtles in the duck pond.

The best time to see cruise ships power out of Vancouver harbour towards Alaska, and the setting sun, is at 5:00PM on Sundays.

The sea wall walk passes under the rail road tracks at the Capilano River. The bed of the rail line is no more than three meters from the ground. Depending on how tall or brave you are, with the luck of timing, you may get far closer to the underbelly of a train than you may care.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Murph the Dog

Hello Readers

Miss 604, also known as social media guru Rebecca Bollwitt, is doing a series of posts on her popular blog about the parks of our area. I offered and Rebecca agreed that I will make a guest contribution on her blog. My post will be about West Vancouver's Ambleside Park. I’m very excited to be recognized for my writing and have the opportunity to contribute to an established, award winning and well know blog like Rebecca’s Miss 604. Look for my post on Ambleside Park at Miss 604 in the near future.

Saturday (26-Apr-08) the little one and I gave up our normal wander through Lighthouse Park to head down to Ambleside to take a few pictures and inventory the park. The little one’s interest in helping was additionally fueled by her curiosity about the Carnival that, this weekend, was taking place in the park.

While undertaking our reconnaissance mission we met Murph the dog. Murph’s owner seemed quite please that Murph was getting his photo taken and even more pleased to hear that he might make the internet as part of our park story. At the time, I told Murph and his family that the site would be westvan dot blogspot without thinking that the real site would be Miss 604. Then in wordsmithing of the story I began to think would Murph’s picture make the editor's final cut?

The ‘Dog Beach’ portion of Ambleside is an important element of the park. I’m pretty sure Murph will survive the editor’s final cut.

Regardless, meet Murph the dog! He seemed to be having a fairly relaxed time at Dog Beach. We enjoyed briefly meeting him.

If you would like comment on West Vancouver, Ambleside Park, Dog Beach or Murph please enter you comments below.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Next ‘Nucks GM

Hello Readers

Have you ever been in the situation where you hear something and you’re afraid to repeat it just in case it is true? For the last week or so I have had this creepy feeling about the vacant GM post with our beloved Canucks. When Nonis was let go – and I support that move by the way – I immediately began to think of a potential replacement.

Your thoughts turn to out of work GM’s like Mike Smith, Doug Armstrong and John Muckler. John Ferguson Jr.?

You think of out of work, aging coaches that might like to move into a front office position. Like West Vancouver resident Pat Quinn. Or Pat Burns. Glenn Hanlon?

As well, you might consider some currently active coaches and GM’s who might be on the market if their teams do not do well in these playoffs. Brian Burke might fit this category as would David Poile. Ron Wilson in San Jose? I say Burke because this is the only situation where he might be available to return to the ‘nucks.

Then you consider Assistants to current GM’s who are looking to move up. Of course this list is topped by Steve Tambellini and includes Detroit’s Jim Nill.

And finally your mind turns to players who have the potential or goal of becoming a NHL GM. Trevor Linden is first to mind. Does the role suit him? Remember that GM’s and coaches are hired to be fired. Do we want to be faced with the team needing to fire GM Trevor Linden? There is a more palatable role for Trevor if he chooses.

Then it hits you! Mark Messier. He has stated his desire for a position in management. Until recently he was on the Canucks payroll. Aqualini / Zimmerman know just enough about hockey to be dangerous. Then you hear it suggested on HNIC. And you shudder. You’re afraid to think it, afraid to say it.

I have no delusions about who reads my material. But please great God of all things hockey. NO! NO! NO! Mister Aqualini no! Am I clear in my position?

I’d love to read your thoughts on the next Canucks' GM. Add your comments below.


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

P.J. Stock on HNIC

Hello readers.

Wannabe broadcaster P.J. Stock joined the HNIC crew early this season. The second intermission was 'enhanced' with former players Scott Mellanby and Sean Burke joining the Hot Stove segment as alternatives to the typical cadre of media hacks. Stock seems to have made the best of his opportunity as he has a regular spot with Ron McLean and Kelly (Bobby) Hrudey. Albeit when most of Canada has gone to bed or lost interest as the Leaf's are not in the playoffs.

PJ's time as a player was noted for his excellent fights. The video below is Stock vs Stephen Peat in the '01/02 season. Note two things: PJ's number 42; and how quickly Stock switches from feeding Peat lefts to throwing rights.

If you have commentary on PJ Stock or HNIC, please add it in the comments section below.


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Friday, April 18, 2008

Is the answer to everything 42?

In a shameful attempt to boost Google search hits and thus drive Adsense traffic I have decided to investigate the universal answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. If you do not know why the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything = 42 then click here.

The 1941/42 NHL Season was certainly the answer for the Brokklyn Americans. The storied franchise who's roots began way back in 1888 as the Quebec Bulldogs folded in 1942. The team had a handful of names and locations over its history including the Hamilton Tigers and the New York Americans. The franchise won the cup in 1912 and 1914.

On 18-Apr-1942 the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup. Syl Apps was the Leafs' Captain.

For the current NHL maybe 42 was also the answer. The 1942/43 season marked the first season of the ‘modern’ NHL and the first season of the original six.

The list of NHL Players who have worn the number 42 includes sixty five players. There are a few notables. For the Vancouver Canucks only Josef Beranek has worn the number 42. He did so between 1994 and 1996.

Sean Avery wore number 42 in his rookie season ('01/02) with the Detroit Red Wings. Dear Sean scored 2 goals and 2 assists and logged 68 PIM in 36 games his rookie season.

Shean Donovan wore number 42 starting in the '94/95 season and kept the number until he moved from the Sharks to the Avalanche in the '97/98 season. Shean’s association with the number 42 lasted 181 regular season and 12 playoff games.

Bernie Federko finished up his 14 season NHL career with one last year in Detroit. In '89/90 Bernie wore number 42 in seventy three games scoring 17 goals and 40 assists.

In a chance that 42 just might be the answer to everything, fan All Star favorite Rory Fitzpatrick wore number 42 with the St Louis Blues between 1996 and 1999. Heart warming for Rory’s fans until you realize that during that period, always the All Star bridesmaid, Rory only played three games in those two seasons. He hit the scoresheet twice with two minor penalties.

Jamie Linden, younger brother of Captain Canuck aka Trevor Linden, played four games in 1994/95 For the Florida Panthers and wore number 42.

Wannabe broadcaster and long time fringe NHLer, P J Stock wore number 42 in Boston for the ‘01/02 and ‘02/03 seasons. If you are like me you are wondering who the hell this guy is. And why is he getting camera time in the second intermission of HNIC? Stock played 255 NHL games with four teams and tallied a total of 5 goals and 21 assists for 26 points. Don’t take that as critique. Don Cherry never laced them up in the NHL. The fashion challenged one coached six NHL seasons and came as close to the cup as losing, twice, in the finals.

Finally, just to be certain that 42 is the answer. Kyle Wellwood wore number 42 with Toronto in ‘06/07. He notched 12 goals and 30 assists for 42 points.


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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gordie Howe Hat Trick

Maybe you can help me out my readers?

We all understand a Gordie Howe Hat Trick to be the recording of a goal, an assist and a fight on the scoresheet for one game. This feat is fairly rare in the NHL. I had a feeling in the back of my mind that Mister Hockey had not actually recorded as many of the tricks as conventional hockey legend would have us believe. Small debate with a buddy lead me to investigate.

There is a wiki for Gordie Howe Hat Tricks here. Much to my surprise Gordie is reported to have only ever recorded one of the hat tricks named after him. The date was 22-Dec-1955 and the opponent was Boston.

Here is the problem. I want to believe the wiki. But I do not. Do any of you readers have any verifiable proof otherwise? If so please add it in the comments below.

Thank you my readers.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ex-Canuck to Win Stanley Cup

At this time of year it is a bit of fun to play the game of looking for ex-Canucks that have an opportunity to win the cup. Again this year, the crop of potentials is interesting.

The freshest ex-Canuck is Matt Cooke and he has his chance with the Washington Capitals. An outside chance. Still a better chance than Matt Pettinger’s.

The most notable ex-Canuck would be Todd Bertuzzi who now sulks the left wing in Anaheim. I have mixed feeling about Bert having a cup chance with the defending champs. Mostly I would rather not see Bertuzzi’s name etched on the cup. Yet it would most likely be a big relief for Betruzzi to have a shot at a legacy of Stanley Cup Champion and convicted felon rather than just convicted felon. Anaheim also has Brad May who did in fact win the mug with the Ducklings last season.

Two (maybe three) ex-Canucks have the best shot at touching the cup this spring. They include one time rental Bryan Somlinski with the Habs and lovable pest Jarkko Ruutu with the Penguins. Add to this a reasonable chance for D-Man Adrian Aucoin and the Flames IF Iggy and crew can get by the Sharks.

There are a handful of others such as, Alex Auld and Peter ‘Who’ Schaefer in Boston. RJ Umberger, Philly and Marek Malik for the Rangers. At this time I do not think any of them has a legitimate chance.

Finally in the “huh” category. The final two would make good trivia questions. Who is the backup goalie in New Jersey? It is ex-Canuck Kevin Weekes. Which journeyman defenseman is not a Canuck’s property but recently played for the Manitoba Moose? The answer is Dallas Stars’ Nolan Baumgartner. While Baumgartner was recently added to the Stars’ active roster, he has no games played in the NHL this season. Unknown what the rules are with respect to winning and minimum games played but Baumgartner does have the chance to be on the ice when the cup is presented.


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Monday, April 14, 2008

Canada Loves Hockey

If there was any doubt of Canada's passion for the game consider my current situation.

I sit in Terminal B of Vancouver Airport waiting a flight. There are five guys sitting around a TV. Two of use are tapping away at laptops and YouTube can be heard from both. Two guys are debating the "Sean Avery Rule." And I mean debating! I'm considering which is going to get the extra two for being the instigator.

I expand my gaze and notice there is a secondary ring of people all watching the highlights as John Garret whines on about whether Sarich's hit was legal. Next Bill Walters tries to sound authorative on the latest antics of dear Sean Avery.

Yes my readers - as the commercial says - "The cup makes all the difference!"


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Count the number of Swedes

While the Canucks hint at the potential of signing touted free agent Fabian Brunnstrom last night the boys still palying continued their quest for the cup. The Sarich hit, turning point in a 4-3 Flames win, was impressive but what was far more impressive was Marleau got up and played the remainder of the game. Ask yourself, in the video, which staring role would any of Vancouver's swedes played? Hitter? Hit and got up?


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trevor Linden Picks the Sharks

Until now I had thought of Trevor moving into a job with the Canucks' organization or with the league. This video is a pretty good effort at the role of analyst. Perhaps Linden will remain with a career in front of the comera.


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Sunday, April 06, 2008