UBC Greenheart Canopy Walkway review

IMG_20140928_141922521This Sunday Maria and I went to UBC to check out the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, as I had a Groupon from a while ago, that was about to expire. I was very surprised that this place gets less traffic than all other Vancouver attractions, because, in my opinion, it is one of the best out there.

IMG_20140928_142427801_HDRIts length is only 310 meters, however, it feels much longer. The walking boards are secured to the tall fir trees with metal cables, and they swing up and down, and to the sides, as you walk on them. Some of the trees, Douglas firs, Grand firs, and Red cedars are 100+ years old. The walkway is only wide enough for one person, so everyone is moving in a single file. This is not much of an issue, as long as everyone is moving at a similar pace.

The walkway is located within UBC Gardens, so you have to pay the $24 admission for the garden+walkway entry, or a little less if you want to visit just the gardens. There are guided tours to join (which do not cost anything extra), or you can walk at your own pace.

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IMG_20140928_140500405_HDRWhat surprised me, is that there are no security cameras (usually, there is one on every corner in such attractions, mainly for liability). And, as such, the absence of 1984-esque “Your every move is being filmed” signs, makes the teenagers go a little crazy. I have witnesses 4 guys jumping their hardest at the second to the last portion, and, even though it felt like we were on Paris Hilton’s waterbed, the cables did not snap, which was reassuring.

This is what the garden part looks like

This is what the garden part looks like

The tunnel to the North Garden

The tunnel to the North Garden

The gardens are a nice walk for a sunny day, too (though, I doubt we would have much more of those until the next summer). They have created a ton of micro-floras, showing what the mountains look like in certain areas. The gardens have different fruit trees and vegetable plants.

Overall, it is definitely worth the $12 single admission, and is still a good way to spend a half-day even if you are paying the full price.

Click the Groupon logo below to sign up for large discounts, and get deals such as this one.


Ioco (Imperial Oil Corporation) Ghost Town visit


Image from http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/view-of-ioco-townsite

Resized image from http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/view-of-ioco-townsite – click to expand

I’m sure you remember the previous post I wrote about Ghost Towns in BC. Ioco town in Port Moody is ones of them, and probably is the closest one to Vancouver.

Location: Ioco Rd., Port Moody V3H
Distance: 28 km from Waterfront Station;
Recommendation: check it out, if you are nearby;

Ioco and the DRZ

Ioco and the DRZ

The Imperial Oil Company built an oil refinery in 1914, and began construction of the Ioco Townsite in 1921. After the WWII, IOCO no longer wanted to take care of the town, and people started moving out. In 1992 Ioco own has been incorporated into Port Moody.

Currently, Port Moody Heritage Society is trying to preserve the site.

It seems rather odd to find all these expensive waterfront homes on the way, even a block or two away; but to see the abandoned homes just a little further down the road. Nonetheless, there are only two houses that still have people living in them, and the soccer field behind the school is still used by the local residents.

The houses have the windows and doors decked up, and the signs promising a maximum $50,000 fine completely discouraged me from attempting to get inside. My friends and I stayed there for about an hour, took a few pictures, and left.

Here is an artistic picture of Lady and myself by Andrei Onokhov.



Sodium intake in Canada, and its health risk.

nutritional chartSalt has long been a treasured food staple. Salt provides two elements – sodium and chloride – that are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own, so you must get them from your diet.

As well as that, salt is very important when it comes to preserving food. See the nutritional chart at the back of a can of Campbell’s soup next time you are in a supermarket, chances are it is pretty high in sodium.

Salt does great things for the body: it’s essential for the health of all the cells. Along with potassium, you need salt so that your nerves can function and your muscles can contract. Salt helps to balance out the body, it contributes to fluid, electrolyte and pH balance.


However, as per Health Canada, the average sodium intake for Canadians is about 3400 mg, which is more than 2x the recommended daily intake. If you are a healthy adult, your upper limit for daily sodium intake should not exceed 2300 mg per day, and if you suffer from a coronary disease like high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, aim for 1500 mg daily. 

Kazakhstan, where I am from, has the highest average sodium intake in the world, measuring at whopping 6000 mg per day! Their average life expectancy is 67.35, versus 68.50 global average (according to the World Health Organization).

Salt is made of sodium and chloride, but the processed (table) salt also has man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents and flow agents, dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate.

The more sodium we have in our bloodstream, the more water it binds. As such, sodium is thought to increase blood pressure (and it does, though mildly). If blood pressure is elevated, the heart has to work harder to push the blood throughout the body, and there is increased strain on the arteries and various organs. High blood pressure (AKA hypertension) is a major risk factor for many serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Cardiovascular disease deaths.

Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. These statistics are based on 2008 data (the latest year available from Statistics Canada).

In 2008 cardiovascular disease accounted for (Statistics Canada, 2011c):

  • 29% of all deaths in Canada (69,703 deaths – or more than 69,500)
  • 28% of all male deaths
  • 29.7% of all female deaths

In 2008, of all cardiovascular deaths (Statistics Canada, 2011c):

  • 54% were due to ischemic heart disease
  • 20% to stroke
  • 23% to heart attack

Its not a secret, that too much salt can kill you. But how much is “too much”? Apparently, 0.45g/lb of body weight. If the average person weighed 150 lbs, then about 5 tablespoons will be a lethal dose.

My girlfriend Maria and I are guilty of binge-watching TV series. The day before yesterday, a new show we’re watching, “30 Rock”, passingly mentioned the dangers of high-sodium diet, which made me think, “how much sodium do I take per day?” I really like clamato (clam + tomato) juice, and my evening meal usually includes a large sandwich with bacon and pickles, and a glass of the juice. To my surprise, a nutritional chart at the back indicated that 250 ml (about 1 glass, give or take) contains 800 mg of sodium. And that’s almost 1/3 of the upper limit for adults. In just one glass! Add the 300 mg from the 2 slices of bacon, more from pickles, and the potato chips (even though I prefer Boulder branded ones, which have nothing but potatoes, vegetable oil and salt), that is already pretty close to the 1500 limit, which I should be aiming to.

TL;DR: Canadians eat too much salt – on average 4000 mg. daily vs. 2300 upper limit recommended for healthy adults, or 1500 for ones suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease. If needed, reduce the salt intake to the adequate level; read the nutritional chart before you eat something; try to replace the table salt with the healthier kosher, additive-free or sea salt. Keep in mind that no salt is also dangerous, and, as anything else, salt is good for you in moderation.

Refer to Health Canada article on sodium consumption:


Smoking in Vancouver

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British Columbia banned smoking in all public spaces and workplaces including, as of March 2008, within 6 metres of doors, open windows and air intakes. Additionally, all commercial displays of tobacco visible to people under the age of 19 was banned in public areas under the same legislation. As of March 2008, ventilated smoking rooms are only permitted in nursing homes and care facilities. The smoking ban does not apply to hotel rooms.

To promote the care and protection of health of people in parks, the Vancouver Park Board Smoking Regulation Bylaw prohibits smoking in Vancouver parks and park areas, including:

  • On park land
  • On seawalls and beaches
  • In buildings in parks, except caretaker residences
  • In customer service areas in parks
  • In vehicles for hire in parks
  • On public transit in parks
  • In shelters in parks where people wait to board vehicles for hire or public transit


City of Vancouver has banned smoking in circumstances such as:

  • A customer service area, which means a partially enclosed or unenclosed area, including a balcony, patio, yard, or sidewalk, that is part of, connected to, or associated with a business or use in a building or premises that includes the service of food or alcoholic drinks to customers or other persons for consumption on site;
  • Any area within 6 metres of the perimeter of a customer service area;
  • Any area within 6 metres, measured on the ground from a point directly below any point of any opening into any building, including any door or window that opens, or any air intake;
  • In a vehicle for hire, or on public transit such as a school or passenger bus, ferry, or rapid transit;
  • All municipal properties, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields;
  • Within 6 metres from bus stops and public buildings;

Hookah (AKA waterpipes, shisha):

The council has passed the bylaw in October of 2007. An exemption for hookah and cigar lounges was removed 9 months later. Provincial tobacco control legislation stipulates that hookah bars could still operate as long as they don’t use tobacco or tobacco blends.

Apparently, and don’t quote me on that, you can still operate a smoking lounge as long as the employees are not exposed to second-hand smoke. So an idea of a cigar club would be viable, if the smoking room was kept close at all times, and the area inside is not serviceable by any of the employees.

B.C. municipalities that prohibit hookah smoking:

Port Coquitlam
Salmon Arm
West Vancouver

Source: Canadian Cancer Society

Buying new (eye)glasses in Vancouver

This is NOT a paid post, I am not receiving any remuneration, bonuses or special treatment from the business; this is merely an appraisal for the business, that I believe deserves it.


Over the weekend I have misplaced my prescription glasses during the camping trip. Without further adieu, I had to get them replaced, because I need them for driving and work.

Living in the country with mostly capitalist economy, I had a few options for the place to buy my glasses from. I had to compare prices, because I did not feel like spending any more that I should have. Really, I was looking for the cheapest eyeglasses with a solid frame.

First, I went to LensCrafters, as they had a retail outlet within 3 blocks from where I work, then to VisionWorks at Capilano Mall, then to First Avenue Optometry Centre. I did not have my prescription on me, so it prevented me from making hasty decisions on the spot.

The quotes I got:

1. LensCrafters – $306 for frame+lenses ($126 frame, IIRC); ~1 week wait.
2. VisionWorks – $199 for frame+lenses with anti-glare coating, or $149 for the lenses without the coating; ~3-5 days wait.
3. 1st Avenue Optometry – $138 for frame+lenses; 

Needless to say, the choice was made on the spot at the 1st Avenue store. Since I had my eye exam taken by them, they still had my vision data on file. Luckily, they had the lenses with my dioptres in store, so the glasses were ready within LESS THAN ONE HOUR. I am wearing them right now, and it’s a perfect fit. I also got a free case!