Saturday, March 28, 2015

Passport To The World In Vancouver, BC

FOR A WOODEN couple they certainly looked animated. Not one live person joined their happy dance, however, near the entranceway of the Passport Office at Sinclair Centre in Vancouver where I recently went with my daughter. Far from exuberant, everyone was peacefully resigned to the long lineups and waits. I had time to view the shopping, food court and corridor areas currently being renovated. The colourful works of art by sculpture John Hooper, depicting a man and woman on the move, have made people smile since the city's centennial sculpture symposium in 1986. It sometimes feels that long since I have been able to kick up my heels the way this couple is doing! I put my back out with some ill-conceived moves of my own a few weeks ago and it is taking me a while to recover.

The passport office, recently relocated within the Sinclair Centre complex at West Hastings, is now housed in the former post office. This hubbub of activity is in one of four heritage buildings connected by a glass atrium roof in 1986.

Our world has changed since the early nineties and prevention measures need bolstering due to manmade threats as well looming natural disasters. The southwest corner of BC is earthquake prone and seismologists have promised the really, really "big one" will happen within 50 years. The new arched beams (above) are a method of "earthquake proofing" the ceiling. Wallpaper (below) depicting the building is perhaps hiding messiness behind the scenes.

While maintenance crews kept the area clear of debris, soft murmurings from multiple languages drifted throughout the corridors. Vancouver is a welcoming portal visited by travelers from around the globe.

The face carving on the post looks similar to the feature at Gabriola Mansion, a heritage home built around the same time as the post office.

I envisioned the lamp in the corridor (above) radiating lovely light through rain soaked streets ... were it exposed to the elements.

Art Deco also seems to have had its sway here, perhaps in the 1930s as the post office building was continuing to transform.

These curlicues on the stairs looked mysterious and somewhat haremish.

Elevators were in good working order and appeared to be original.

The creature etched into the elevator door reminded me of a prehistoric bird.

This double door (above) is covered with illustrations of the Edwardian and Baroque styled clock tower outside the corridor walls. The landmark allure of the ornate tower adds gravitas to Sinclair Centre.

The clock tower bell waits to be released from its plastic wrappings but I doubt it will ever truly be set free. Now merely decorative, I suspect it once rang wonderfully when the clock struck the hours.

When our business was done I returned to my car parked on the roof of a nearby parkade. The elegant clock tower peered though the tall shoulders of the surrounding structures.

Beaux Art contrasted with boxier styles such as the one pictured below.

Across the waterway, more of the city was visible at the foot of the lower-lying coastal mountains. Clouds billowed and rolled over the horizon.

The street (below) looks deceptively empty in the picture. In reality, vehicles of all sorts, the chaos of construction, people scurrying by and even a fake bomb scare on another street were part of the ambience during my visit to the city.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms