Boundary Bay

Monday.  Went for another drive this afternoon just, you know, to kill some pathogen time.  We took the Laing Bridge and then the Number Two Road Bridge through Richmond down to Steveston Highway, turned left, hooked up with Highway 99 and drove south to Exit 23 which took us into the Boundary Bay area and the end of the road where there’s an access point to a 13 km gravel trail death march if you feel like it along the actual Boundary Bay. I knew nothing about this and was momentarily concerned.  What else around here didn’t I know about?   

Boundary Bay Airport wasn’t far so we decided to go over there, found the sparsely attended parking lot and exited the car again to take the air.  Never been to the Boundary Bay Airport.  There’s no scheduled flights.  It’s all flight training and charters but there is among other buildings a large WWII vintage aircraft hanger, certainly one of the few left in the country and it looks well maintained and is still in use.  There’s a fairly new small terminal building with a licensed café to the right as you walk in and a long check-in counter a little to the left of the “No Admittance” doors that take you out to the runway and taxiway areas. 

The terminal was all set for Christmas, decorated trees, wreathes and long green garlands strung up.  We thought it a bit early, not even being Halloween yet, but our feeling that this was a bit dubious was short lived.  On the far left of the check-in counter stood three American flags side by side on their own freestanding poles, confirming for my companion, who knows about these things, that some movie or TV shoot had just wrapped here and this Christmas stuff was all props, which explained the three large box trucks just outside lined up on the road between the parking lot and the terminal. 

All the tech gear looked like it had been loaded up and all that was left were these mildly disorienting Christmas decorations.  Just earlier I’d seen the last in line truck of the three with it’s back door rolled up when someone’s employee was out there and it was mostly empty. But nobody I could see was pushing it too hard out here today.  Perhaps it was coffee time or just the secret ways of the movie business.

As a matter of fact it’s just occurred to me the whole check-in counter was also part of the set.  We need to dig into this, friends, and find out how the little terminal looks normally.  The half-walled off restaurant area had a ten dollar minimum per person advisory in effect, which sounds like the movies.  A large jug of liquid pathogen killer on a small round table was explained, as usual, with a “Please Sanitize Your Hands Before Entering” sign.  We elected against the restaurant but I was able to visit the Men’s and with these pills I’m taking that really was the fulfillment of Boundary Bay Airport for me. 


There’s an interesting and fairly recently established “history walk” you might call it also between the parking lot and the terminal building.  The Airport really got its start because of that above alluded to most murderous war in human history, and so it does have this history which is worth preserving. 

There’s a sizable granite slab, upright, with large commemorative plaques on both sides as well as four all weather historical information boards complete with black and white images down each way on the walk.  The airport trained over 4000 air crew during the last big war as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Program, so that’s interesting.  Boundary Bay Airport was it’s own little, self-contained town at that time. 

Then a train was going by a short distance away to the north complete with its lonesome train whistle call and I turned to watch for a half minute or so as the train chugged by. Luv trains.


          No, that check-in counter is a permanent component of the terminal.  The Airport advertises itself as a “Fixed Base Operation Services for Corporate and Private Aircraft” and, as we discovered, makes itself available for location “bookings”.  Many productions you’ve heard of have done shooting here. Now we know too. The history walk is known officially as an “Interactive Exhibit” and has been in place a year and a half. You can’t beat that.

The White Dogs

Blaise Cendrars
Blaise Cendrars

It’s about that time again. Time to reiterate for all you stragglers who may not have gotten it an explanation for the existence of whatever exactly is going on here.  Spring is here and spring is a time of renewal.  That’s what the old man always said.

In a way that disclaimer ‘It’s Not About The Dogs’ isn’t true.  It is about the dogs, but the dogs in the poem, the samoyed dogs that were, or are, “climbing up” onto that ship in English Bay sometime about 1912.  The dogs in Blaise Cendrars’ poem “Vancouver”.  Right?  Were they real?

It doesn’t matter if the whole thing was fiction.  That the poet, Blaise Cendrars, the Frenchman, just imagined it.  Just imagined those “shape-shifting Samoyeds” as Mr. Colin Browne so eloquently put in in his introduction to a section in issue 3.23 / Spring 2014 of The Capilano Review devoted to Monsieur Cendrars, and whether or not he was ever actually in Vancouver.  Mr. Browne subsequently challenged me to a duel, but I just don’t have any time for that right now.

IMG_0385For back information on this controversy you may want to look into the archives August 2014.  Archives.  Imagine.

“We bump against the dark bulk of the ship and on the
Starboard quarter Samoyed dogs are climbing up
Flaxen in the gray-white-yellow
As if fog was being taken in freight”

There ain’t but one way to explain things and this here is it.  It’s 1912.  The dogs.  Climbing up.  Grimpent des chiens samoyèdes.  Cool.  Yes?  No?  As if fog was being taken in freight?  Fog?  As freight?  Anybody?  Dogs?  Woof?

IMG_0436So that was it.  The creative idea.  The confusing, perhaps a little, perhaps not, self-indulgent reason why this thing is called samoyeddogs and isn’t about the dogs.

Those creepy, cuddly, fluffy, white, dog hair-bearing quadrupeds that you can read about anywhere but here.  That’s them.  Altogether now:  “Samoyeddogs are climbing up, climbing up…”


Coming soon:  “The White Dog”.




Remember the character “Japonica” on “That’ll Be The Day” which ran I think on ABC?  Sitcom.  It was back in, what was it, 2006?  2007?  Tuesday nights 7:30.  Then it moved to Monday nights eight o’clock.  Then it got cancelled.  I think so.  I don’t have the exact details, but you can look it up.  I guess  half a season is better than no season at all.


This is Camellia japonica.  Around here we just call it “Japonica”.  Other than that there is no connection whatever to that TV show character.  I know where this is going.  Japonica was the one who looked a little funny, never got enough teddy bears, and kept complaining that he just wasn’t ready for spring.  “Japonica, why’s you always sittin there on that sofa?”

Then he’d hang up.  “This is the plant most gardeners have in mind when they speak of camellias,” somebody in the Sunset Western Garden Book, Seventh Edition, says.  I would say that is wrong.  This is the flower that lasts but a moment then is gone for another year.  The shrub sticks around, but not the flowers.  More than 3000 varieties of Camellia.  This has been one of them.

DSCN0773Japonica flowers and buds.  Perhaps they are in the crucible of time.  It’s the colour.  Depending on the strain the flowers can be pink, red, white or orange.  Some strains, like this one, bloom early.  Others not so early.  Now we know.


Japonica flowers courtesy M M H Nicol and C S Nicol.

Have yourself a happy St. Patrick’s Day too.




%d bloggers like this: