Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Crab Park - Downtown Eastside's Gem on the rise

Crab Park is a small stretch of grass and sand on the North Eastern side of the waterfront in Downtown Vancouver. With cruise ship and North Shore ferry terminal on one end, and the Port on the other; train tracks on the South side, and boat traffic busy waterways on the North side.

I used to look over the park of the Seabus, coming from the North Shore, but it wasn't until I moved to the Eastern part of downtown, that I was able to visit this tiny beach. It definitely is a beach - and Eastside's answer to the rest of the town with a strip of waterfront, dedicated to nearly each neighbourhood.

Not to say I was not cautious of taking my photoshoots to the Crab Park, as, after all, it is laying in the middle of Downtown Eastside, conveniently secluded behind a lengthy stretch of rail tracks and a ravine. Since not many residents know about the park, for a while it may have remained the last hub of all kinds of beach partying, during city's crack-down on drinking or using on the beaches and parks.

The crack-down induced cleanup paid off - what I found, was a restored, tidy and spacious beach, with a functioning water park and a playground, green grass and real west coast driftwood. This is a park where you can still take your canine friends of the leash to play, make a day for your little ones in and out of the water, watch and count all the ferries, sea-planes, cruise ships and other boats - and who knows, maybe even swim in the ocean one day....

You can even get work done while you're sunning - besides myself, taking summery pictures of my latest creations, I ran into a painter, sketching the scenery of the Port, a photographer, interested in tiny rocks on the slopes, a bag-piper and someone just meditating...

I am so glad to have a beautiful beach just minutes away from my new home, which enables me rest and work simultaneously.... And be home in a heartbeat to get on with the day's chores.

The best thing about Crab Park, is that at least for now, many new residents of Railtown, Gastown and other Eastside's neighbourhoods have not yet discovered it. So it will not be overcrowded here on those hot days, when the weather calls for a beach, yet crowds of Kitsilano or West End is less than your favourite side effect to a day in the sun.

There is, however, a parking lot at the foot of a bridge, connecting the access to the park with the rest of the town - for those coming from further away. Not surprisingly, the peace, cleanliness and doggie freedom of the park will attract more visitors inevitably.

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