Vancouver’s airport and the Jade Canoe

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

Nothing is as exciting as the start of a trip.
Take, for example, a journey from Vancouver airport – with a quick blessing from the Jade Canoe – to somewhere far away from home.

Vancouver airport is a gentle place, surprisingly gentle for a busy international airport. The air always seems cool and crisp on one’s arrival…to depart on a journey. The sliding doors glide silently beckoning the adventurer into its vast interior where travellers slide by, almost at one with their smooth rolling luggage.

Traditions must when it comes to starting a journey to and from home – a Tim Hortons coffee must be had before one leaves, and on their return to Canadian soil. That my friends is as traditional as a Canadian will get. Tim Hortons is as sacred as Hockey to us patriots.

Then it is off to the Jade Canoe to bid Vancouver adieu.

This iconic piece by legendary Canadian artist Bill Reid serves as the natural nexus point for the entire airport of YVR. This is where the public and passengers meet prior to grand adventures, and where countless photos have been taken over the past two decades.

It took the Haida artist, Bill Reid, four years to create this masterpiece.  The Jade canoe appeared on the Canadian $20 bill from 2004 until 2012. There are 13 passengers on the Jade Canoe including men and women, young and old, animals, humans, and mythical Haida creatures. Many passengers touch the Canoe for good luck before they travel. It is said that the luckiest part of the Canoe is on the Old Mouse Woman’s nose, which is noticeably worn out.

The Canoe and the diverse group on board represent not just one people, but all living beings of the world. Even though they are struggling to get along on the crowded canoe – the wolf is biting the wing of the eagle, who is biting the paw of the bear – they are all going in the same direction, paddling, and working with each other, as they are all on the journey of life together.

After the farewells have commenced, it is time to board the plane and anticipate the first meal in the next airport. I like to explore airport restaurants, it is like a box of chocolate…ya never know what you’re gonna get.

Paris airport would be a shameful place if their restaurants’ offerings were, well…off . Luckily for me, I found this little expensive as hell gem, but so worth it.

The French Taste

The French Taste is a neo-classic brasserie. It enables travellers to enjoy the Grand Véfour two-Michelin-Star owner’s cuisine. At The French Taste, only fresh produce are served and some of them are organic, others from sustainable agriculture, prepared in a real kitchen.
The French Taste is Guy Martin’s bistronomic restaurant at Charles de Gaulle airport, check it out if you have a couple of hours layover.

The French Taste

A great meal, and a few hours later, I arrived at my destination, Athens, Greece. Possibly one of my most memorable travels ever. Ok, well, hmm there was Africa a few years ago, but then there was Filoti, Naxos, last year. Damn, it is a toss up.

Athens, Greece

“Athens in the Springtime” beats out “Paris in April” hands down. Look at those vibrant bitter oranges, imagine the sight of them lining the streets, and the scent of orange blossoms…

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