Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vancouver from the 17th Floor

It is my last day in Vancouver, after a week conferring on computer education. My trip was to attend the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Computer Science and Education (ICCSE 2014). The conference was at the University of British Colombia (UBC) on a peninsular, next to Vancouver city. From my room on the 17th floor of the Walter Gage Student Residence, there is a magnificent view of forests below, ships on the water, the city skyscrapers and mountains in the distance. Most important for a university is good coffee and I found the Great Dane Coffee just around behind the Walter Gage.

UBC Malls

The UBC campus is very large with tree lined pedestrian  "Malls". The buildings on the malls have mostly been kept to four to six floors, to match the height of the trees. So while these buildings are large close up, they do not dominate when looking down a Mall.

There is an attempt to blend the new glass walled buildings into the old granite ones, by using granite bases and muted sandstone and grey colouring on the new ones. A good example is the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, which has been wrapped around the sides and back of an old granite one..

Indigenous Welcome at ICCSE 2014The ICCSE 2014 conference dinner featured a welcome from local indigenous performers. This had a fun bit of audience participation, with the delegates loosening up a little after getting up to dance as animal spirits (last year we had Sri Lanka Drummers).

UBC has two bus stations, one of which is serviced by electric trolley buses.This is something the city of Canberra might consider, in preference to trams. It is about a 30 minute ride to down-town Vancouver. I took a ride from UBC to the SFU Vancouver campus. The BC FareSaver Tickets allow you to get on and off buses and trains for 90 minutes. So I stopped off along the way to the city to shop at the Salivation Army Thrift Store (2714 West Broadway) and picked a pair of near new Italian shoes for $20.

Asia Pacific Hall at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for DialogueThe bus stopped outside SFU's Vancouver campus, near the waterfront. Across the road is the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The guard was kind enough to open up the Asia Pacific Hall for me to have a look at this impressive room. This is a circular parliamentary style chamber, with stepped seating. It is intended to facilitate discussion, rather than adversarial debate.

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