Yesterday was the first day in the new John Paul II Pastoral Centre. After months of anticipation, it was nice to finally get into our new building.
Here’s a look at my day…diary style.
6:45am: I rolled out of bed after just three hours of sleep. I guess I was too excited to get a decent sleep. Reminded me of the night before the first day of school. Or the night before releasing a new Canucks music video.
7:40am: I leave my home in Steveston via car.
8:09am: I make a left turn onto West 33rd and have to wait in traffic for about five minutes because of the construction in front of our building. Still, this shaved about 10 to 15 minutes off my commute.
Well, the day is here: our first day in our new JP II Pastoral Centre at 4885 Saint John Paul II Way in central Vancouver (corner of Willow and West 33rd).
Thus, I thought it would be fun to look back at a few of some of the more memorable aspects of our now former Pastoral Centre at 150 Robson Street in downtown Vancouver – the place I called my work home for the past 12 years.
When you walked up to the “freight elevator”, you’d hope that it was on your floor. After all, you basically had a one in four chance of getting lucky. However, if the elevator was on another floor, you wouldn’t be able to “call” for it unless the elevator doors were closed.
The location of my office and workplace – 150 Robson Street – was ideal for a sports fanatic like myself. Our offices at the corner of Robson and Cambie put me next door to BC Place and just two blocks away from Rogers Arena.
Thus, a big part of what I’m going to miss about downtown is the sporting scene.
The 2010 Winter Olympics
My favourite downtown sporting memory was actually a “one-off” so to speak – that is the 2010 Winter Olympics. For 17 days straight, I was blessed to be in the middle of the patriotism, hoopla, and jubilation. Our Pastoral Centre played host as an “Catholic Hospitality Centre” as we invited people from all across the world to come in and stay awhile. Visitors could enjoy a cup of coffee, surf the internet, write a prayer on our prayer wall, watch some of the events on big-screen televisions, or learn a bit more about the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Downtown Vancouver is so beautiful and picturesque because of its many different sights (and sites).
Near my workplace at Robson and Cambie, we’re right next to the remodeled BC Place Stadium. Walk a few blocks south and you’re in trendy Yaletown; walk a few blocks north and you’re in historic Gastown.
Head down Robson from my building and you’ll pass the Public Library before hitting Granville Street (which actually looks better at night than during the day). Go a couple of more blocks and you’ll find yourself in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Traverse a bit more past Burrard and you’re right in the middle of the Robson shopping district.
Turn right and you’ll get to the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre and Jack Poole Plaza. Or keep going down Robson and eventually you’ll hit English Bay. Or head east on Georgia and you’ll make your way to scenic Stanley Park with Coal Harbour on your right side.
Along the way, you’re bound to pass a plethora of fancy hotels, expensive restaurants, casual eateries, clubs, and shopping centres. And of course, there’s beautiful Holy Rosary Cathedral at the corner of Dunsmuir and Richards.
But the one sight I’m going to miss the most is actually one I see BEFORE I get downtown. It’s the view I see as I head north on Cambie as soon as I begin my descent after crossing West 12th Avenue.
On a clear day the view is breath taking. You see the tall office buildings along with BC Place and the Harbour Centre tower. Rising above the buildings are the North Shore mountains. And if the time is right, the mountains will have snow on them.
Even when it’s not a clear day, it’s still a good view…especially when the mountains emerge through the low-lying fog.
When bringing visitors downtown via Cambie, they always react favourably to what they see – either with a gasp, a smile, or they whip out their cell phone to take a picture. And they keep taking pictures as we drive over the Cambie Street Bridge with the great view of False Creek on the right.
While our new area won’t be as scenic, I look forward to exploring a little bit to discover new favourite sights.
But I anticipate making the quick 10 minute trip downtown a number of times in the upcoming months to visit.
After all, it’s been like my second home for the past 22 years.
What are your favourite downtown Vancouver sights?
One thing I’m going to miss about working downtown is the food.
Now I’m certainly not a foodie (sorry Debbie and Megan). And the ONLY time I’ll take pictures of my food is to poke fun at people who do such a thing regularly (sorry Debbie and Megan…haha).
But I certainly appreciate a good meal.
The beautiful thing about working downtown is that there’s an abundance of food choices on every block. Craving pub food? No problem. Steak? Take your choice. Soup and salad? Pick your spot. Not to mention the plethora of food courts and fast food joints.