Shoulder Seasons in the North Shore Mountains by Nich Hance McElroy in Cypress Provincial Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

The North Shore mountains are about a twenty-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and are typically crowded in the winter and summer months. On a weekend during the ski season you might spend half an hour looking for a place to park, and you’ll have to wade through throngs of skiers and snowboarders to access into the backcountry. Over the shoulder season — after the ski-hills have closed, but before the snows have receded — these are easy place to go for solitude, mountain scenery and atmospheric light. The rotten snow and cold rain means that there are no skiers and few hikers. You can wander for hours (don’t lose your bearings) without seeing anyone else and make it home in time for dinner.

Name:Nich Hance McElroy



The power-nap

Tell us about the place you live:

When I first moved to Vancouver I thought of it as a hybrid between Seattle, Shanghai, and Alaska. It’s not really fair to think of a place in comparative terms, but this description still feels about right to me.

A perfect day?

Having no schedule to keep and a long, aimless walk with the dog — through the neighborhood backstreets, down to the sea-wall, and all the way out to wherever.

What is the best thing about your spot?

Continually forgetting and being reminded about the mountains and the water.

What is the worst?

It seems like a lot of artists (and just normal, working people) are being priced out of living in Vancouver. You definitely pay for the beauty of the place and there are social consequences to the city’s “playground” atmosphere.

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider?

When I first moved to my neighborhood I was surprised by the beautiful little alleys (“lane-ways”) that cut between residential streets, most of which open onto little backyards with vegetable gardens. I don’t know that a tourist would ever find these, or care about them, but they were one of my favorite discoveries here.

Before I die I want to visit:

The Greek Isles

Who are three of your favorite artists?

In keeping with the regional theme, I’ve been really inspired by three Dutch photographers lately: Rineke Dijkstra, Rob Hornstra and Viviane Sassen.


Name:Nich Hance McElroy


Favorite place to eat:

Phnom Penh

Favorite place to drink:

The Six Acre is great for people watching

Favorite shop:

Neighbour and MacLeod’s Books

Local Tip:

Traveling on foot is definitely the easiest way to get past Vancouver’s glossy veneer

Must Do:

Walk the sea wall around Stanley Park, hunker down at Finch’s when the windows are all fogged up, bring an umbrella.