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Not the most original name, granted. It’s wedged into the middle of Greater Vancouver’s western oceanfront and is mostly occupied by our airport and its apparatuses. But there are a couple of decent parks, and on a greyish February day they yielded fresh air, smiles, and a harvest of photographs. This particular season of this particular year, we’ll take what we can get.

McDonald Park · It’s wedged in between the airport and the north branch of the mighty Fraser River, whose existence is a big part of the reason Vancouver exists. It’s low-key and old-school.

Pay phone (!) in McDonald Park on Sea Island, Vancouver

Lauren picked it up and listened but there was no dial tone.

Walking along a riverbank smells and feels different than the oceanfront. It wasn’t much of a day but the gloom was relieved by the joy of the many off-leash dogs getting blissfully filthy in the mud and sand.

Reflecting puddle in McDonald Park on Sea Island, Vancouver

I thought the most interesting part was the semi-artificial marsh, deliberately planted and encouraged in an effort to compensate for one or another of the many losses in salmon habitat following on infrastructural improvent.

Marsh sign in McDonald Park on Sea Island, Vancouver
· · ·
Cattails in McDonald Park on Sea Island, Vancouver

These pictures reinforce an argument I’ve made here before and will make again: The desirability of going for a photowalk with a modern cameraphone — they’re all excellent — and a difficult, opinionated, prime lens, in this case my trusty Samyang 135mm f/2.. Neither can take any of the pictures that the other can.

Iona · It’s Regional Park (whatever that means) stuffed in behind Vancouver’s main water treatment plant, mostly distinguished by nice views out over the Straight of Georgia (that’s the water between Vancouver and Vancouver Island) (no, Vancouver isn’t on Vancouver Island, deal with it) and the South Iona Jetty, a stone string stretching 4km into the sea; you can walk or bike out and back, which I recommend but we didn’t do today.

People walking on South Iona Jetty, Vancouver

A popular spot on February 21st, 2021.

But for me the main attraction is the views out over the straight to the islands on the other side. Today the tide was at a level that maximized the extent of the tidal flats.

Tidal flats at Iona Park, Vancouver

Behind the flats the sea-grass reminds me irresistably of the coat of Highland cattle.

Dry sea-grass in Iona Park, Vancouver

Some vegetation flourishes in the intertidal zone; I’m sure there’s a branch of botany that understands how plant metabolisms can survive salt water, and maybe there’s something in there we could all learn from.

Tidal flat vegetation at Iona Park, Vancouver.

Let’s put on the long lens and peer across the ocean at the islands.

Looking across the Straight of Georgia from Iona Park, Vancouver

When we drove home, since Sea Island is where the airport is, all of a sudden we were on the road home from the airport, which we’ve taken so, so often over the years but not for a long time, and it felt spooky. Can’t imagine when I’ll fly again.

In these dark days, get the hell outside and soak up some air and light, already. You’ll thank yourself. Take a camera.



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From: Jim (Feb 22 2021, at 12:41)

It’s Regional Park (whatever that means) - it means that it is administered by the regional district, in this case Metro Vancouver. McDonald Beach Park is administered by the City of Richmond.

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