Author Archives: Paul

About Paul

I'm a designer who loves photography, architecture and information design and my two boys.

UBC is a very cool place

{Jamie & Charlie during the UBC cycle classic}

Even though it’s summer holidays, the University of British Columbia is so huge, with a permanent population that there’s always something to do here. From the Museum of Anthropology (First Nations), the Botanical Gardens, Museums for Fossils, the Olympic (Ice) Hockey stadium, the swimming pools, the beaches and of course Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Here’s some pics from this place.

{these babies are everywhere and just so damned cute}

{The UBC cycle classic was a brilliant evening. There were youth, corporate, female & male races. The women’s and mens pro races were brilliant around a rectangular block course here on Campus. The action was close as you can see, and really intense. The boys loved it – well anything that keeps them up out of bed late is fun eh}

{the boys were given a camera each to use, unfortunately we didn’t know at the time that this camera Chuckie is using was damaged in transit from NZ – the bloody lens was broken ;-( }

{everything is a competition eh, just even running to get a better spot to watch the cyclists}

{we are very lucky, as out our backdoor & quite literally across the street we have the forest walks of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. In this park which separates Vancouver from UBC, there are coyote, snakes, beavers and all manner of strange things like snakes. Still it’s a wonderful place to be, and we go more or less every day}

{this sculpture is outside the UBC thunderbird olympic skating rink (Ice Hockey venue). It’s pretty cool eh, it’s copper car parts that are made to look like transformers meets first nation art – I love it}

{one of the dozens and dozens of parks that are on UBC. The campus has something like 20,000 people living full time out here, with thousands of families from all over the world, so parks are everywhere.}

{we went to the UBC botanical gardens, they are a great place to hide away for a day. Was just having a little fun with the camera}

{this forest canopy walkway was new since we were here last and quiet simply one of the coolest things to do in Vancouver full stop. You get something like 60-70ft above the ground, the walkways are very secure but you do feel very exposed. The boys were in heaven. So much so we did it a second time…}

{except for janine who had her fill of heights and white knuckles first time around. So she was more than happy to snap some pics of us from below to show height.}

{The boys have some homework set by Mrs B & Mrs Sharma. We got our Starbucks drinks and head off to the Life Sciences building for the massive study hall – they are geeks as they loved the homework sessions}.

{Final pic is a rough pano I took from the old penthouse of a 14floor apartment block which has been turned into an adult residents only study room. It’s got the most amazing views, but the balconies are locked and the people up there are so quiet that the camera shutter even annoys them ;-( This pic was almost at sunset looking north to the mountains north of vancouver }

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Filed under The Boys, UBC, Vancouver

Revisiting fav places – or the Claytons Summer

Aside from the lack of true heat in the sun, days settled down into 21-23°C temp days. So with bus passes itching to make tracks we very very quickly re-associated ourselves with the city, in particular the water front areas of Kits Beach, Granville Island & UBC.

One of the essential things to do in Vancouver regardless of the season is head to Granville Island. It’s an old industrial Island that once was one of the major industrial hubs of the city.  Amazingly one of the biggest industries on the island still exists – thanks to False Creek (Vancouver’s opening to the Pacific Ocean), the cement factory.  Aside from this, the place is now home to a massive produce market, arts & crafts stores & some of the yummiest restaurants, cafes & pubs.  Not to mention home to Vancouver’s coolest University, Emily Carr ( The map below opens to a large PDF. You’ll see on that map bottom centre, the water park. It was a great place to come with the boys last time, although Chucky was a little, well little. But as you can see from the pic above, the boys are fully into the water park. It’s nothing like an amusement park water park, it’s got 2 slides only, both very small, it’s got lots of water jets and some nice places to hang out in the sun. But for some reason it’s fantastic – possibly because it’s free & easy to get to.

A pic of the last remain large commercial heavy industry on Granville Island. It’s amazing how the massive concrete trucks (much bigger than in NZ) can live with the tens of thousands of tourists on the very tight narrow lanes – but somehow they do.

This is a view from the Sandbar restaurant patio. It’s a wonderful place, we had to take Carl & Jeanie and Ingrid there last time we were in Vancouver. Because it’s very high up, against the water and nestled under the Granville Bridge, the patio can be a little cool.  They have that sorted, with the heaters & blankets for folks knees. Not the cheapest place in Vancouver, but also not the priciest, and with a view like that, one of the coolest.

These water taxis have been a fav of ours ever since we’ve been coming to YVR.  They are a very cool way to get around False Creek. I LOVE them.  This pic is looking north across to Downtown.

Another view of Yaletown & Downtown

A view of Granville Bridge

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Settling back into VYR & UBC

Ok aside from summer making a very very delayed start here in Vancouver, this being our 4th trip back and we’ve been coming here over a decade now, everything is so familiar & easy.

After the compulsory trip to IKEA to deck out the apartment, the trip to Shoppers Drug Mart to get the monthly bus passes, we got our library cards etc etc.  One of the first things we had to do was get back down to Kits beach.

Typically the day we arrived in Vancouver, it was stinking hot (mid 20s) but for us from the middle of winter it felt much hotter.  I’d been listening to YVR radio a lot leading up to our trip here, mainly because I like the music on Rock101 but also because of the Canucks. I’d heard the locals moan about the poor spring & very very late summer.  Little did we realise their moans were with some reason.  Summer was days of 18°C temps with way too many rain bands coming in – not really amounting to much except cool cloudy days.  Yeah yeah I hear you back in Snowy NZ laughing at us with the worlds smallest violins, but last time we landed in Vancouver 2007 same month, it was hot hot hot – not CHCH hot, more sort of 26°C+ and clear calm days.  We were kinda hoping for that again.

Ok grumbles aside, we made the most of it – we are from Dunedin after all, and headed back to a place that we had spent a lot of time, Kits beach. It’s a wonderful place.  Not too many places in the world where you can sun yourself on the beach, with a backdrop of massive skyscrapers, vast forests and 3 ski fields dominating the skyline (and thankfully due to the cool Spring, they had plenty of snow still on them- still have 2 months later).  Kits beach isn’t the best beach on the world, but it’s just so cool – disappointed we haven’t seen the guy with the massive Snake draped around him yet.

Anyway some pics for ya.

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One thing that has amazed me, even from our first trip here with the boys, is how much fun the boys get out of being in Hotels.  Since our first two nights in YVR (Vancouver) needed be in Hotels (IKEA couldn’t deliver same day), we had two nights in two very different hotels.

The first night was downtown by Granville Island, in what was meant to be a posh place, but in reality it was just another hotel. Very nice, great view from the 14th floor.  But the second was something else.  After a long day at IKEA and with full bags, we were stopped outside the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond (south of Vancouver) and I thought, what the heck, see if they have anything cheap.

Sure enough they did & not only that because they liked the boys they upgraded us to a 2 bedroom suite.  Talk about posh. It was the nicer hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  Not only were the rooms big, the beds were huge and the plushest bed I’ve ever slept in. They boys had their own massive double bed & their own TV.  The resort had several restaurants to choose from, but the buffet was the best value.  The boys love Buffet.

After dinner it was off the swimming pool with the boys. What a pool – right next to the health spa.  There was a hot tub of course, but the pool was huge and had a big slide in it which Jamie just adored. So thanks River Rock Casino – I may very well come back to watch Three Dog Night in concert.

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Filed under Nina, Paul, The Boys, Vancouver


Once again we found ourselves needing to get to IKEA asap, as the apartments at UBC are unfurnished.  Last time cause we were here for most of the year it was easy to buy a lot of stuff, this time we tried to be a little more restrained but we still needed to get the most basic stuff we could get by with, beds, dining table, pots, pans, plates, beds etc etc.  The last time we were here the boys were 4 & 18mths old and it was a lot easier as Jamie was in the creche for a couple of horse at a time. This time we took the boys all the way through with us, once again they were troopers. So $1500 and a few hours later.  The only sour point is IKEA (despite their false advertising) doesn’t deliver everything. Anything breakable they don’t deliver.  We got a very nice woman who took pity on us, as they are only allowed to deliver big non-breakable stuff, and we boxed up so much stuff. We still had to carry so much crap on the bus – which is no small feat so far from our apartment.

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Filed under The Boys, Vancouver


When the reality of going half way around the world with the boys dawned on us again, the first thing that came to Nina & my mind was the lack of crap that we won’t be taking with us this time. No nappies, no cots, no formula bottles blah blah blah, how easy was this going to be.  Well as anyone who has done long haul flights will tell you, it’s never easy. But boy oh boy was it going to be easier than last time.

And sure enough, thanks to Air New Zealand and their genius direct flight Auckland to Vancouver (a mere 13hr flight) the travelling was a lot easier.  Leaving Dunedin airport can be a bit underwhelming at times, and considering the security we were about to go through, a lot laughable. No security checks, just boarding pass and a short walk to the plane.

We were of course leaving early Winter in Dunedin, and in a few days (lay over in CHCH) we’d be in the middle of summer (or so we thought).  The boys were excellent travellers.  Yes it did help having the lay over in chch, after all we had Jamie’s 8th birthday to have with the grandparents – and yay no earthquakes.

Next was a short flight to Auckland, a very quick turn around late in the evening, and finally on our flight to Vancouver – that was after some power Duty Free shopping.

Aside from that fact that it wasn’t a 747 that we were boarding, and the seats we got for ourselves weren’t what we thought, the flight & plane was awesome. The 777 only has 3 middle seats, so poor Nina was stuck with the boys for about 2/3 of the flight.  Being a late flight the formula was pretty simple. Get settled, get dinner into the boys, change into their PJs, watch some of their TV or play games then lights out and sleep. Well aside from some inevitable “i’m too tired to sleep” routine, this is how it went. Sure it was long, sure Nina and I got bugger all sleep, sure I didn’t drink as much as I was hoping to, but the Air New Zealand staff were bloody brilliant. Even when there was a full on medical emergency, things still went smoothly.

How happy were we the next morning to realise that not long after breakfast we’d be not too far off the NW coast of North America.

All in all it was a brilliant trip, bloody hard work, but the boys were of course spectacular in their behaviour and their patience, after all do they ever sit down for 10mins let alone 13hrs.

Landing in Vancouver, we were immediately greeted with a wave of heat (wasn’t to last) and free wi-fi, so of course I needed to make the most of that, sending out tweets and reading all the messages sent to us while in transit.  Aside form the massive line (which moved very fast) the immigration was dead simple and over and done with in minutes.  Collected our bags and we were back in Canada baby!

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Filed under Nina, Paul, The Boys, Vancouver

Vancouver 2011

So 4 years on, the boys are older (so are their parents), Vancouver is a little bigger, they’ve had the olympics & almost a Stanley Cup, and we are back in town.

Back out at UBC loving the busses & of course the boys are having a ball of a time. We’ll be posting pics and videos as soon as I get my act together.

Nice to be back in town (even if the boys are missing their friends).

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Filed under Nina, Paul, The Boys, Vancouver