WE Live Here: A West End Audio Tour
What’s better than a leisurely stroll through the West End on a beautiful day?
Basically - nothing! Except maybe having someone in your ear buds telling you things that might surprise and delight you about your spectacular neighborhood!
As part of our attempt to create car-free activities that keep you safe during a global pandemic, the Car Free Vancouver Society is thrilled to present WE Live Here: A West End Audio Tour!
Local writer, historian, and musician Aaron Chapman will be your host as we weave tales while you weave through the streets of the West End.
Aaron is joined by special guests: Squamish Elder Dennis Joseph, Journalist/Broadcaster and CBC Radio documentarian Pamela Post, writer, poet, podcast host and otter enthusiast Dina Del Bucchia, and beloved author and long-time West End resident Bill Richardson.
Tour Distance: 4.9 km
Stops on Tour: 5
Entire Tour Walking Time: 1.5 hours at a leisurely stroll
Our suggestions for enjoying this tour:
The tour is intended to be listened to from special viewing spots in the West End neighborhood that our storytellers would like to share with you. For your convenience we’ve added suggested walking route maps to help you find your way along the tour.
Not feeling up to strolling 4.9kms all in one afternoon? That’s okay! The audio stories for this tour are arranged into little mini-episodes - so that you can visit one or two stops one day, and then come back to continue the next part of your tour another day.
Once you arrive at each story point just use your phone's web browser to find this page and access the audio segments and maps. Use it in landscape mode for the best look. You will want to plug in your headphones for the best listening experience.
- Stories range from educational, historical, or contemplative, and some decidedly more mature content. We’ve added tags to help give you a clue what to expect, and recommend that parents consider pre-screening stories to determine suitability for your children (e.g. Episode 4 has been tagged Mature).
- Transcripts are available for each episode.
- Don’t forget to hydrate! Consider packing along some snacks or take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy any of the numerous coffee shops and eateries to be found along Denman, and just up along Davie or Robson Streets.
- Take a break whenever you need to. There is so much to explore and enjoy between each story area! A bench in the park or a log on the beach with a beautiful view is easily found along the way.
- This tour is also very bike-able! The pedestrian and biking path run next to each other all the way to English Bay. **You will want to walk your bike for episodes 4 &5 - these episodes ask the listener to travel to another location.
- Episode 5 takes the listener inside the Robson Public Market, so be sure to plan your visit to arrive during their open hours - everyday from 9AM-9PM.
- If you do choose to cycle, we urge you to take all necessary precautions and strongly advise AGAINST wearing headphones until you reach each storyteller spot.
There are numerous westbound buses that will drop you directly in front of Devonian Harbour Park and run about every 7-10 minutes, including:
Stanley Park 019, which runs along Pender, and then up to Georgia at Cardero St.
North Shore busses 240, 246, 250, 257 which run along West Georgia St.
Robson 05 or Davie 06 can take you as far as Robson and Denman, then it’s just two short blocks to cross Georgia where you will find the Devonian Park Entrance (just before Stanley Park).
Episode 1: The Kanaka Ranch and the Denman Arena
Your audio tour journey begins at the Devonian Harbour park at the corner of Georgia and Denman Streets. Make your way over toward the Seawall Path for an expansive view of the harbour, city, and Stanley Park. Start the audio when you’ve found a comfortable spot or a good view and imagine the rich history of this area as you begin your first episode with Elder Dennis Joseph!
Tags: #Historical #Indigenous #Lacrosse
Episode 2: The Great Blue Herons of Stanley Park
By Pamela Post
Next we’ll head west over to Stanley Parks Great Blue Heron colony nesting site. From Devonian Park, make use of the pedestrian (or bike) pathway that crosses under Georgia and takes you past Lost Lagoon. *Keep to the left pathways heading toward the second set of tennis courts. Look up and you’ll know you're in the right place. Once you found a safe viewing spot, enjoy our next episode!
Tags: #LocalNature #Educational #HeronsAreAwesome
Walking distance: Devonian Harbour Park to Stanley Park Tennis Courts
1.1km, 15 - 20 minutes
Want more of the herons? Check out the City's heron camera here.
Episode 3: Seeing the Beach
Continue west to the Seawall and left toward English Bay. You’ll find it hard to resist stopping along the way to take in spectacular views of the ocean and beach, all the people, buskers, and towering condos that form the city skyline. But you’ll want to eventually make your way along Beach Avenue, just past the Cactus Club. Stop at the top of the English Bay Bathhouse where you can take in a commanding view of it all and enjoy "Seeing the Beach" with storyteller Dina Del Bucchia!
Tags: #Historical #LocalNature #BeachLove
Walking Distance: Stanley Park Great Blue Heron Nesting Site to top of English Bay Bathhouse
850m, 10 minutes - or more if you want to take your time to wander and gaze at all the spectacular sights along the way!
Episode 4: West End Stories
If you are ready to power on, our next tour begins at the top of the hill at Davie and Jervis. Leaving from the English Bay Bathhouse you can cross Beach Avenue, walk 5 blocks up Burnaby Street, then turn left on Jervis until you hit Davie Street. Start your audio here and enjoy a nice easy downhill trip while Aaron Chapman shares some of the local lore.
Tags: #Mature #Historical #Nightlife
Walking Distance English Bay Bathhouse to corner of Jervis and Davie Street
800m, 12 minutes
The Davie/Denman area is the ideal area for a nice little break! Try out any of the great little coffee shops, and eateries nearby, or perhaps just hang out at the beach at English Bay to take in a busker show and enjoy a little people watching.
Episode 5: The Vacant and Empty Tour
When you are ready to resume the last leg of this tour you will want to leave from Denman Street at Barclay and head north 1 block. Turn right onto Gilford and it’s a short block to Stovold Lane where you can begin your final audio experience. This tour will bring us over and up along Robson Street where we take a few moments to explore the inside of Robson Public Market place. Contemplate these Vacant and Empty spaces along the way with our final storyteller Bill Richardson.
Tags: #CurrentAffairs #Contemplative #UrbanSpaces
Walking distance: From Denman at Barclay to Gilford and Stovold Lane
250m, 3 minutes
We hope you enjoyed this epic tour of the West End with all its incredible beauty, lively neighborhood culture and richness of history tied to the area. You can let us know what you think by leaving your comments below!
All this is made possible thanks to a fantastic collaboration with JAR Audio - we are so grateful, and it’s been such a pleasure to work together!
And thank you to Canadian Heritage and the West End Business Improvement Association for your continued support!