Saturday, 24 October 2015


We are in the throws of the Christmas holiday or summer holiday job search for the returned home uni student son. So while he's trying to track down pretty much any summer job, I have been reflecting on holiday jobs of my past, both good and less so. Which has brought me to thinking and reminiscing about a fabulous year I had on a working holiday in Vancouver in the mid 90s. The job was a means to an end. We only wanted to ski, and ski a lot we did that year. So much did we want to ski, that with the teeny tiny wages we earned, it was being able to afford to eat that lost out to being able to ski. Priorities huh?!

That short-term job was in a killer beautiful location in West Vancouver, right on the harbour in the little village style hamlet of Ambleside. I sold high end French and Spanish children's shoes. They were the most lovely shoes for kids I have ever seen, and I have craved the likes of them ever since. Although my days were dull, I was the only staff member there, my few and far between moments of actually fitting and selling the shoes were fun. Time ticked by very slowly, but I decided to join the local library and it was in that year that I read all the north american classics. I think I read the entire John Updike shelf from the West Van library that year. I also took out every cookbook for dinners on a budget.

Ambleside is picture perfect with a seawall running along the harbour's edge, making about a 20 minute walk to the little beach village of Dundarave. Walking there and back, I'm guessing it's a 6km walk that is so picturesque - views across to the classic lines of the Lion's Gate Bridge, which joins the north shore to downtown Vancouver through Stanley Park. In summer, the harbour welcomes and sees off cruise ships most days, and it'll stop you every time to watch those giant ships sail under the Lion's Gate Bridge as the sun is setting. Vancouver is the postcard perfect city - snow-capped mountains, harbour, boats, seaplanes, Stanley Park, driftwood logs, and pebbly beaches. Strap on the the sneakers and take to the West Van seawall when you make it to Vancouver, you may see a bald eagle or a sea otter or two. You most certainly will not be disappointed with the walk or the vistas. And stop by in Ambleside and have a look around. Can you not see why I had the gold medal winning location for that shoe shop sales job? I was being paid to spend my time reading the classics in the most beautiful little spot on the north shore.  And I got to ski Whistler on weekdays in that epic early season that November back in 1994 without any crowds.You most definitely can't do that anymore. 

But you can go see Ambleside and Dundarave, and you absolutely must.

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