A Stroll to the Westin Bayshore Hotel.
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Story & Photos by Dianne Maguire
On the corner of West Georgia and Denman Streets is a large carved glass sign that announces the Bayshore Hotel. Surrounding the sign are bushes and water spouts. Behind the sign, looking along West Georgia are deep troughs of cascading water that spills down canyon-like walls. Large white columns rise from the floor of the pool to an upper floor of a building that is part of a series that line that side of the wide boulevard for at least two blocks.
Denman Street leads to a bicycle lane that eventually turns right into the Coal Harbour walkway.
Next to The Change restaurant and bar, is a large, splendid water feature that directs clearly heard splashes from a large square pool at the edge of the 7000 block Bayshore Drive down into a series of shallow pools and terraces to a wide slopping pond. The edge of the lower cement bank is topped with a series of concrete medallions embedded with plant designs reflecting the riparian leaves often growing in such moist settings. This privately owned, unnamed water features is a favorite resting place for seagulls.
Walk a little further along the walk way or bicycle lane to perhaps one of the most interesting water features in Coal Harbour. The Marina Square Water Walk is set on a high point facing the Harbour and is designed to take advantage of the downward flow of water in several directions in a complex design. At its highest point, the water runs from the four points of a large cross-shaped spring surrounded by varied landscaping that tastefully complements the whole water feature. From this bunker-like structure, the water runs north and east through troughs artfully shaped with cascade gates and stepping stones.
The east cascade is surrounded by lush and colourful plants and bushes and ends at a slipway that joins Bayshore Drive. The north-facing feature has shallow channels filled with slate-like bricks that allow water to flow through surfaces that can be walked on, hence the name Water Walk. This channel descends into a circular pond with standing stone-like structures arranged in concentric circles.
The Western Bayshore Hotel isn’t much further along the walkway. What is actually the back of the hotel is the location of a restaurant that overlooks a pond fed from a moat that runs along the eastern side of the building.
Blooms and shrubs add to the well planned rock surround of the pond. Wooden walkways are part of the construct of the moat leading toward the front of the hotel. There is a naturalness to the landscape, and the area is particularly welcoming to squirrels, otters and humming birds.
The main water features of the Western Bayshore Hotel grounds were refurbished in 1980 using a variety of designs by landscape architect Donald Vaughn. Near the driveway, the tiered pie-shaped pools let water cascade through concrete blocks into a circular pool liberally planted with various water foliage. To the left of the front of the hotel, located on the corner of Bayshore Drive and Cardero Street, is an inviting spot to wander and sit. The water falls from level to level of a series of square pools and cascades.
The feature is nestled among small colourful trees. Concrete steps lead up from the sidewalk, along one side and then up to another level, until the stepping stones cross a pool, on to a platform with a bench. It is a perfect place to sit under the oriental maple and listen to the splish-splash of the cascade down the highest stone wall.