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Yachts and sailboats moored in False Creek with the tall buildings of City of Vancouver in the background. Beautiful British Columbia. The sun managed to find a hole in the clouds to highlight a couple of the buildings in the middle of False Creek, BC. To picture what the land around False Creek looked like 150 years ago, one has only to visit the old growth forest at Lighthouse Park, the clear waters of Lynn Creek, the historic native village site at Jericho Beach, or the vast tidal flats of Boundary Bay. Then imagine a creek choked with the squirming bodies of hundreds of returning salmon. The watershed around False Creek was once dense with huge coniferous trees, some over 1,000 years old. Berry bushes of all kinds flourished in the under story. Bears and cougars roamed the woods, elk and deer inhabited the grassy pastures. In marshy areas near what is now Douglas Park and Trout Lake, beavers built dams. There was a large bog, called the �Tea Swamp�, south of 15th Avenue between Main and Fraser. Creeks flowed from these marshy areas, swelled with countless other small streams, and wound their way down to the sea. Salmon and trout thrived. At high tide, the peninsula of present day downtown Vancouver was an island. The eastern end of False Creek was a large tidal flat fanning out from a narrow isthmus of land at what is now Main Street. The shallows supported abundant sea life such as oysters, clams, crabs, and mussels. The seawater was rich with oolichans, herring, perch, flounder and rock cod. Sturgeon came into the still side waters to enjoy their warmth and calm. Because of the rich intertidal life, thousands of migratory birds lived around the creek, and seals and orcas were often seen. The First Nations used to say, �When the tide is out, the table is set.�
December 8th, 2011
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