Old School Indeed

An unexpected trip to my hometown, Manila, Philippines has drawn me to walk the fields and halls of my old school, St. Scholastica's College.  My Valentine's Day was spent with my niece's Family Day Celebration at her school - mine and my sister's school.  We spent our formative years, from Preparatory all the way until High School in this Catholic - privately owned school.  Seeing and experiencing its growth now as an adult has clearly shown how it has sculpted my own being.


The Streets of Downtown Eastside

via Wikipedia: Downtown Eastside

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and was known as "Canada's poorest postal code".[2][3] According to the city of Vancouver, the following zoning areas are partly or wholly within the Downtown Eastside:Chinatown, Gastown, Oppenheimer Park (formerly Japantown), Strathcona, Thornton Park and Victory Square, as well as the light industrial area to the North.[1] There are many conflicting definitions of its perimeter but it can generally be viewed as being bordered by Cambie Street to the west, Clark Drive to the east, the waterfront to the north and Venables Street/Prior Avenue to the south, with Hastings Street running down the middle of the neighbourhood.

The area is noted for a high incidence of poverty, drug use, sex trade, crime, violence, as well as a history of community activism.[4] Hastings and Cordova Streets were once the core shopping district in the city,[5][6][7][8] many of the retail shops that flourished until the early 1980s are now gone. The area was the victim of significant urban decay but presently buildings are being renewed and many new businesses are operating in the community.[citation needed] In recent years there have been tensions between developers and some members of the community relating togentrification development proposals.

When I arrived in Vancouver the first time around in the summer time of 2005, I have been told to avoid walking around the streets of Vancouver Downtown Eastside because of its notorious reputation and history.  "Make sure not to make eye contact with any one."  "There are a lot of crack heads there. Stay away."  These were the common phrases that I would hear from some locals.  And naive as I was, I did stay away and avoided eye contact. 

But that 8-year streak of closing my eyes and just driving away was broken. I had to take a leap from being extra careful to seeing Downtown Eastside's culture and history with a photowalk.

Last year around Spring time, my photography class went on a field trip to Vancouver Eastside.  My first dive into street photography. 

The walk was really long and tiring, an experience that I would like to once again relive.  The walk around the streets of Downtown Eastside has shown me what this town was and is about, a historical part of the city showing its diverse culture. Seeing the abandoned apartments, experiencing my tripod bag being spat on from the above apartment units, and most importantly seeing the inner beauty of what this city has to offer.  Yes, I still have my guards up when I walk around these streets but I am glad that I have seen and captured how it is now at our time.  It will for sure be different in the many generations to come.  We don't hear the music in the pubs anymore nor can we watch movies in the old theatres. We can only see Jimmy Hendrix' Museum from the outside. There are a lot of empty homes and dodgy alley ways. But isn't that how mankind is?  We all move on and leave behind what we think we don't need. We only keep a few things that reminds us of how we lived our lives.   No more passing through for me but instead, I will be embracing the culture that this old neighbourhood has to offer.  Vancouver Downtown Eastside is the memorabilia of the Old Vancouver, uncovering what this town has gone through and how it is keeping up today.

Great Outdoor Spots for Portraits in Vancouver

 

Spring equals fantastic photo oportunities for everyone. It's also a great chance to enjoy each other's company outdoors with the milder weather. Here are a few ideas our backyard has to offer.

 

Queens Park, New Westminster

It's a great area for families and has been known as a regional destination. It's got plenty of background options from gardens and play areas such as a water park and sports facilities.

Queens Park, New Westminster

Queens Park, New Westminster

Devonian Harbour Park, Vancouver

Nestled between Stanley Park and Coal Harbour, this delightful spot in the heart of downtown Vancouver offers a great combination of views from trees, a marina, outdoor art and the city. Great for couples.

Devonian Harbour Park at Denman Street, Vancouver

Devonian Harbour Park at Denman Street, Vancouver

Rose Garden, Vancouver

A Vancouver tradition for couples and a favourite wedding venue in Stanley Park. If there was a right time to take in all it's beauty, spring is it! The roses speak for it.

Rose Garden in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Rose Garden in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

A quiet, secret spot for North Van residents, this has a fantastic view of the Capilano reservoir and the North Shore mountains towering in the background. It's also a picnic favourite and pooch friendly!

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

A hot venue for locals in the summer, Kits Beach is a great option for springtime photo spots being a little less busy. Lots of background options such as the sandy beach, the North Shore and it's still snow-capped mountains. Great for an active and dynamic feel. Or just when you need to quiet down for a stroll.

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Conveniently situated right in the middle of North Vancouver and a SeaBus ride away from downtown. Get a hustle and bustle feel for your shots in this famous local spot.

Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver

Capilano Suspension BridgeNorth Vancouver

Vancouver's first ever tourist attraction boasts diverse settings that highlight iconic images of the west coast. These range from historical, cultural and, of course, the rainforest. Voted as one of the top-ten places to get married in Vancouver, this is a famous venue for couples and families.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver

Argue Street, Port Coquitlam

A little hidden gem, this quiet neighborhood, low traffic volume spot has an amazing view of the Fraser River at the Waterfront and the intriguing architecturally designed Port Mann bridge. Great for families too for the quiet it offers.

White Rock Beach

It's not just a summer destination for warm waters in the Lower Mainland. White Rock offers great skyline views and dramatic sunsets perfect for photo ops for couples and families.

White Rock, BC

White Rock, BC

Creekside, Vancouver

Creekside, Vancouver

Granville Island, Vancouver

A great spot to capture the feel of art and culture in all it's vibrant colours and textures. Backgrounds include a harbour, various shops, a massive marketplace and squares to walk around. Awesome for headshots or business-oriented portraits.

Olympic Village, Vancouver

Fleetingly a home away from home for the athletes of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the village is now a delightful spot in the city buzzing with all things chic and cool. It offers a great background combination of water and sleek architecture. Great for corporate head-shots and portraits.  

The Village on False Creek, Vancouver

The Creekside Community Centre offers combined views of the city, water and a chic community right next door to the Olympic Village and a stone's throw from Granville Island. This spot is fantastic for families and newly-weds.

 

Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver

Quietly tucked away in West Vancouver, this little gem has great views of a marina, docks, the inlet, Vancouver and the occasional ferry passing by. Nice and quiet for families and head shots.

Know more spots?  Feel free to add-in a few more locations in the Comments.