This is one of the places I regularly go to in East Van – take the dog for a walk down above the train tracks in the marginal space between Vancouver and Burnaby. It’s not exactly pristine down there on the waterfront above CN and the oil refinery site – the detrius of people who think no one’s looking evokes the nightmare of serial killings somehow – especially in the winter when the torn shreds of clothing hanging from the fencing or branches are that much more visible. It’s just garbage dumping, or squatters – I know – but a walk along this stretch of trail feels a bit X-Files where the gloom and fog can get the better of you. Except they don’t – because the only people I ever see down there besides me are other dog-walkers and joggers – also appreciating a little off-road, off-leash action in a city that otherwise doesn’t offer much of it.
Despite the graffitti and garbage – or perhaps because of it – I enjoy taking our dog Charlotte down here in the winter. This trail follows an old road – possibly one of Vancouver’s oldest, as this stretch of waterfront was once the home to Hastings Mill and the large squatter’s village of Crabtown which existed for several decades. The neighbourhoods around this park stretch haven’t quite succumbed to the new condos and pastel Vancouver specials that have crept into every corner of the city since I moved here fifteen years ago…. it’s still a little gritty and less healthy down here. And yet, the neighbourhood is all there walking their dogs and running back and forth despite the rain. A funny little spot where I go and take pictures.