Vancouver is now an international city, a destination, a place to see. In the early ‘70s it was more of a backwater, far from the seat of power in Ontario. The relatively mild climate was a draw as was the hippie cred it got from being on the same coast as San Fran where everything was happenin’. Even in Halifax, we had heard of the hippie mecca of 4th Avenue but, when we realized we had to go back to Canada, our first choice to relocate had been Montreal. We may have pooled our resources together to make our trip but we didn’t think of ourselves as a commune or fitting into the hippie scene. We weren’t drawn to Vancouver but it was where we ended up.
It wasn’t all hippies. Many of the people in Vancouver were like us, young 20 somethings trying to find their way in the world. It was kind of like Halifax, only warmer. Like Halifax, Vancouver was a port city but it was bigger and flasher – all those neon signs. As a newcomer to Halifax I had found it easy to get lost, Vancouver was easier to get around. It was laid out in a grid with numbered avenues and there were trolley buses that went everywhere I wanted to go. Best of all, bus fare was 25¢.
We were slowly getting to know our way around as we learned the bus routes to get to work and explored our new environments. It was when we started to connect with people outside our crew of four that things started to get more interesting.
Bird, Kate Vancouver in the Seventies: Photos from a Decade that Changed the City. Greystone Books, Vancouver, 2016.