Beautiful Earth

In all its beauty

© 2013 Grant Finlayson & Adrian Green CONTACT US

Beautiful Earth in Spring 2013

Hello everyone. 2013 seems to be speeding by us here and we must apologize to you all for the lack of blog activity for a while. We can promise you, though, that we are working hard behind the scenes!

One of the main reasons for the lack of news is the huge wall we seem to have hit in raising the necessary funds to complete the documentary. We have approached many companies and individuals but so far have had no luck.

We’re trying hard to reach that one person in a company that will understand what it is that we’re trying to do, not just with this film but with Beautiful Earth as a brand. We will be doing enormous good for each location we focus on and it will be good for Stanley Park, for British Columbia, and for the rest of Canada as we bring our vision to these places.

We know it is just a matter of time before we break through. Persistence and a healthy dose of childlike optimism will see us through to the end!

People often ask us what we need finances for as we have completed almost all the required filming. Well, there are a number of things that are essential to this kind of documentary and there is unfortunately no way around the costs involved. So for those that are interested we’ll give you a brief overview.

Once the full edit is complete we will need a colorist to give us the look we need. Colorists are the often the unsung heroes and are an essential component in any film or television show and it’s very much one of those things that if done well then you shouldn’t notice where they have applied their craft but it would certainly be apparent if the process is left out. A good one can easily charge upwards of $10,000 for a feature-length project. It has been suggested to us that we do it ourselves but when you consider a professional colorist studies the craft for a couple of years and uses finely calibrated broadcast monitors costing many thousands of dollars then you begin to see that we should stick to what we can do well and get the specialists in for what we can’t.
We still need to hire a helicopter company to gather aerial shots of Stanley Park and although we have been in contact with a local company that specializes in aerial filming, it will require funds to get that off the ground, so to speak!

Stanley Park Aerial


The other main cost is the commissioning of a local composer to supply the musical score of the film. We have so far been able, through the immense kindness of a couple of musicians, to use free of charge some music pieces for a video blog and our trailer but it will be a rather substantial amount of money to have someone record for us a full soundtrack.
The final piece is of course a voice-over artist which we will need to hire.
There are other things we could list but these are the major ones for which we need sponsorship funding.

We are also very busy working on a secret project at the moment which could help us with some of these finances once we sort it out. We can’t say too much at this early stage but it was always the intention to include this in our Beautiful Earth future. It will be very much a companion to the documentary but we are keeping it firmly under wraps until we have a few more meetings with those involved. Be assured, though, it is very much worth the wait!

We hope you’re all getting out into nature now that the sunny weather is beginning to come through. So wherever you may be, keep well and happy wanderings!

Vancouver Police Museum

It seems incredible that 2013 is here already; time really does seem to be flying by! We thought we would start off with a short blog on our recent activities.

As many of you may have read in one of our previous blogs, we filmed a feature on the Vancouver Police Mounted Squad in Stanley Park. To help tell the story we needed some older photographs showing a brief history of the Mounted Unit and they kindly pointed us in the direction of the Vancouver Police Museum, which holds a huge collection. The museum curator, Kristin Hardie, was kind enough to help us and search out a number of fascinating photographs from the Mounted Unit’s past.

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Vancouver Mounted Police Squad Display at the Police Museum.

Over the coming few weeks we will be putting together this feature in a basic demo form to see what you all think and show you the general direction we’re going in with the documentary. We hope you’ll like it!
We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the Police Museum as we feel it is not only an important fixture in Vancouver’s history but also one of its more unusual and interesting places to visit.

The museum has many displays and exhibits, some telling the stories of some of Vancouver’s most famous criminals. They also have many displays showing the history of the various divisions of the Vancouver Police.

The building itself is rather noteworthy. A short excerpt from the museum’s website: “Built in 1932, our building has housed both the Coroner’s Court and the City Analyst’s laboratory; it is also a municipally designated heritage structure. The basement and main floor were home to a forensics lab and related facilities. The museum is housed on the top floor of the building and encompasses the original Coroner’s Courtroom, offices, morgue and autopsy room. All of these facilities on the top floor are included in our guided tour of the museum.”

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Out front of the Vancouver Police Museum.

They also conduct walking tours, taking in some of the oldest parts of Vancouver and exploring the origins of the Vancouver Police Department and how some of the laws came into being.

Please visit the museum’s website: -
http://www.vancouverpolicemuseum.ca/

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Kristin Hardie, Vancouver Police museum curator in front of her women in policing display.

We would like to thank Kristin massively for her help and for her kind words about our project and we look forward to helping in any way we can to spread the word about the museum.
If you haven’t done so already, go and pay them a visit, it really is worth it!

That’s it for now everyone. Many thanks as always for reading, we really do appreciate it.

Beautiful Earth visits Prospect Point Café in Stanley Park

Hello again. We hadn’t planned on bringing you another blog this month but we just had to slip this one in before the new year as we wanted to talk about our little trip to Prospect Point Café in Stanley Park today.
Grant was fortunate enough to win a contest that was being run on the
Prospect Point café’s Facebook page recently, the prize being a lunch for two. Grant being the gentleman that he is chose me to be his lunch date!

We’ve talked before about our positive experiences at Daniel Frankel’s restaurants but after our lunch today we felt compelled to spread the word again on the superb service we received.

After being seated we were greeted by Tawsif, the general manager. He was very pleased to meet with his prizewinners and very excited that it was the guys from Beautiful Earth! He had some very nice things to say about our work and we’re very flattered that he’s been following our progress and checking out our website. Thanks Tawsif!

I’ve never seen a restaurant manager to be so attentive to the customer’s needs. He frequently went from table to table making sure everyone was happy. Both Tawsif and our waitress treated us and the other diners like gold the whole time we were there.

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Grant and Adrian of Beautiful Earth enjoying their lunch at Prospect Point Café in Stanley Park


Many other places like to say how much they care for the customer but I struggle to think of any that go the distance and walk the walk the way that Daniel’s staff do. As well as being great restaurants with a really comfortable atmosphere, it’s those fine touches that the Daniel Group pays attention to and makes the whole experience so pleasant for the visitor.

The food was so incredible; I can’t believe we both ate so much! Grant had the Seafood chowder followed by the Grilled Salmon burger and I had my usual favorite the Vegetarian burger. Everything is made from scratch with good quality fresh ingredients. Grant says the wasabi mayo together with the grilled salmon in his burger was a delicious combination. After that we finished off with some extremely tasty chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream. Check out
Prospect Point Café’s Menu here, they have a nice selection of food, drinks and famous ice cream.

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The Seafood Chowder at Prospect Point Café is really Delicious!

We had a fabulous time today. It was great meeting Tawsif and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with him. We are both so grateful to everyone there and it will be a delight to return again soon.
If you love a bit of comfort food, a great view and friendly staff we encourage you all to take the trip up to Prospect Point Café and treat yourself; you won’t be disappointed!

Please check out the Daniel Group website where you can find details on Prospect Point Café and their other restaurants in the city:
http://www.danielgroup.ca

Prospect Point Café’s Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/prospectpoint

Follow
Prospect Point Café on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/prospectptcafe

Thanks a million to everyone for reading and for keeping up with our progress in 2012. We’ll see you back here in 2013.

Take care and happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from Beautiful Earth

Hello all, as we’re into the Christmas season now we wanted to touch base with you all and let you know how things are going here at Beautiful Earth as we near the end of 2012.

It has truly been a magical year for us both. We have worked extremely hard with many days of long hours to get to the point where we have completed almost all of our filming for Stanley Park: An Urban Wilderness. There have been so many breakthroughs this past year where we have managed to interview people that we pursued for many months and finally got the time we needed with them which gave us so much material, more than we could ever need. They really were some of life’s golden moments.

We also found ourselves on the other side of the camera when we were chosen to feature on a local television show and talk about our film and ourselves; it was a nerve-wracking experience to say the least! It turned out very well though and we are so pleased and grateful that we had the opportunity to share our thoughts with so many people.
We also had an interview at CBC Radio which we loved doing, but so far hasn’t been aired. We’re still hoping it will be so let’s all keep our fingers crossed for that one.

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Beautiful Earth with Sheryl Mackay of North by Northwest at CBC Radio 1 Studio.

We launched a funding campaign on Indiegogo in the fall and although it wasn’t successful in the way that we hoped we are extremely touched that we had the contributions that we did. Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to you all that were generous enough to donate.

We will be doing so much more in the New Year to secure sponsorship and funding in order to finish this project, which will involve huge leaps of faith on our parts to dive into the unknown this way. But as they say, you can’t learn to swim by standing on the shore! This whole journey feels like that, the courage to take that leap, to see what happens if you try.

We find ourselves at a point now where we still have a great deal of hard work to do to complete what we have started but it’s very exciting too. We have a bright future ahead, with big plans for the company, which will see us expanding into other things; but those plans will be kept under wraps until they become viable.

Thanks as always for reading and we’ll leave you with the best of wishes for a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

November Interview: Vancouver Mounted Police Squad

Anyone who has spent a lot of time within Stanley Park wandering its many scenic areas will surely have seen at some point one of its most endearing and magnificent sights, that of the Vancouver Police Mounted Squad patrolling on their beautiful horses.

Having seen them on a number of occasions, we knew we had to include them in some way in our film. Many people we have talked to who are born-and-raised Vancouverites had no idea the Mounted Squad even existed and that made up our mind that we should set aside a feature for them in our documentary.

Permission was granted through the Vancouver Police media relations and I found myself in direct contact with the Sergeant in charge of the unit, Doug McMillan. After a few emails back and forth we arranged our first visit to the paddocks and our first encounter with these glorious animals and the wonderful officers that work with them every day.
It is a humbling and a rather moving experience to be up close to these gentle creatures and we can only imagine how the officers and staff must feel to be able to spend time with them each day.

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VPD Sergeant Doug McMillan

Our time down at the paddock has been joyful in every moment and has to be one of the most beautiful experiences so far in this adventure of ours. Every person we met treated us with such kindness and went out of their way to help in any way they could.

We first interviewed Doug who gave us a great insight to the history of the unit, how it’s run on a daily basis and the work that they do. The second of the three interviews we did there was with Conrad and his horse Gunner. He gave us an extremely detailed interview about the horses and how they are trained for police work and the challenges involved in certain situations. The last interview was with Susan Sharp and her horse Duke. Luckily, the sun decided to shine and she suggested the rose garden as a location for the interview. Susan talked about the bond the officers have for their horse and how fortunate she feels to be patrolling Stanley Park.

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VPD Conrad and his horse Gunner

Of course, they all talked about many other aspects of the unit, too many to list here but they all gave a very interesting and unique take on this wonderful and important job they do.

This feature would never be complete without filming the officers and horses riding through the park and after Susan’s interview she asked two other officers, Des Sparrow and Rich Horner to help out with some shots down at the totem poles, which was a wonderful backdrop. After filming them, Conrad and Susan met with us down at Third Beach, which made for some beautiful shots.

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VPD Susan and her horse Duke

We are extremely grateful that they were all so willing to go to these locations without a moment’s hesitation and I really cannot thank them all enough for being so helpful and so generous with their time.

We would like to thank Doug for allowing us to come down and film in the first place and for giving us the freedom to film whenever and wherever we wanted. It was truly a privilege and we thank all the officers and staff of the mounted squad, you made us feel so welcome.

And thanks again to everyone for keeping up with our blogs, it’s a real pleasure to be able to share all these experiences with you. Keep smiling!

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Vancouver Police Mounted Squad at the Totem poles

November Interview: Randy Motkaluk of the Burn Fund

Every year, the Stanley Park miniature train plays host to various themes and attracts huge crowds. There is one event and one time of year, however, that attracts more crowds than any other. The time of year is Christmas and the event is ‘Bright Nights’.

As soon as Halloween is over the miniature train crew is hard at work setting up the spectacular lights and decorations ready for their biggest event of the year.

Although we filmed a great deal on the train this past summer we were very keen to include this very special time of year and show just how much the whole area is transformed.

For those not familiar with Bright Nights we should explain what it’s all about and the great cause that it’s in aid of.
For the past fifteen years Bright Nights has been raising money for the BC Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fund. Here’s their website so you can see what they’re all about:
http://www.burnfund.org/

During the entire month of November a total of 3800 Firefighters from all over BC take part in the set-up of Bright Nights and by the time they’re done over a million lights will be lit and ready to dazzle the crowds. From what we’ve seen so far this will truly be an event not to be missed!

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Randy Motkaluk, Director of Bright Nights, fundraiser for the burn fund

While we were filming the set-up recently we were very fortunate to meet with Randy Motkaluk who is director of Bright Nights and who very generously gave his time to talk with us on camera about the event.

He gave us a wonderful interview and talked in detail about the Burn Fund, the programs they run and why Bright Nights is such an important fundraiser. We encourage you all to have a look at their website and help out in any way you can.
Bright Nights will be running from November 29
th until January 1st so be sure to get your tickets early and enjoy one of the highlights of the year at the Stanley Park miniature train. Tickets are available now from Ticketmaster or you can buy tickets from the ticket booth at the miniature train. For details on ticket sales, train times and prices, visit: -
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

We thank Randy very much for helping out with our feature on the train and we will be doing our part in getting the word out there about this very worthy cause.

Thanks for reading everyone, we’ll be back next week with another blog which we think you will all love!

Adrian's video blog

In this new video blog from Beautiful Earth, Adrian talks about our latest news including our Indiegogo funding campaign, the future plans with our blogs and our recent television appearance on Go! Vancouver.

To see our TV clip, click on this link:
http://youtu.be/TNCw5JRmqTg?t=3m28s

Here's our Indiegogo page:
http://www.indiegogo.com/beautifulearth

September: Vancouver Aquarium and Miss604 blogs about us!

Hello again everyone. With the summer heat deciding to stick around for a little while longer this year the boys here at Beautiful Earth had a real treat when we visited the Vancouver Aquarium recently.

We knew the project would not be complete without the inclusion of a feature that is such an integral part of a Stanley Park visit.

We were honoured to be able to interview Nicole Cann, manager of interpretive delivery. She gave us such an enthusiastic and informative insight into the work that goes on at the facility and also a wonderful overview of what you can expect to experience when visiting. She also gave us information on a lot of the different aquatic creatures they have, how they came to be there and why they are so important.

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Nicole Cann, manager of interpretive delivery at the Vancouver Aquarium

There’s nothing more pleasing than to see someone who enjoys their work and this is certainly the case with Nicole. She clearly has such a passion for the aquarium and the creatures she gets to see each day, but also has a deep love in sharing her knowledge with eager minds, young and old, who want to know more. It is a refreshing experience to be around someone like this and we found ourselves leaving the aquarium with huge smiles on our faces and a glowing positivity inside.

So thanks a million Nicole and also to Danielle for allowing us to come in and do this, we had the greatest time!

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Nicole sitting peacefully next to the Beluga tank

We would urge anyone who hasn’t already visited the aquarium to do so and to learn more about the work that is done here, particularly their rescue and rehabilitation programs. They are also very involved in education about (and sustainability of) marine life so that together we can make a difference in the world and conserve one of our most precious natural wonders.

There are many different events and programs running at the aquarium all the time so be sure to visit their website regularly to better plan your visit and get the most out of your time here.
www.vanaqua.org

Another huge thank you goes out to Rebecca who runs her blog www.miss604.com She recently very kindly did a blog on us for which we are extremely grateful. She did an amazing job (as she does with all her blogs) and we feel thrilled and flattered that she took the time to do this and help spread the word on what we’re doing. You can read her blog on us here:

http://www.miss604.com/2012/09/stanley-park-an-urban-wilderness-documentary.html


That’s it for now folks and I would say our last blog of the summer! Fall is almost here and is a perfect time to be in the park (and to grab a Mocha from the Legends Of The Moon Gift Shop at the Totems – they make the best ones in the city in my opinion!) Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into you, we’re always wandering around down there.

Take care everyone and thanks as always for reading. See you again soon.

The Most Important Blog ever written by Beautiful Earth

Hello all. We just wanted to let everyone know about something that is currently going on behind the scenes here at Beautiful Earth at the moment, which is a very big deal for us, and will see us stepping into a very successful future if all goes to plan.

We are, as you read this, putting together a huge funding campaign through the very popular organization Indiegogo that a lot of you have undoubtedly heard of. If not, please check out their site and take a look at some of the campaigns currently running:
www.indiegogo.com
We have achieved a great deal since we started filming this project back in the spring of 2011 and managed some incredible things that we really had our doubts about at the beginning. There have been some hurdles in our path but such things seemed to just send us in even more exciting directions and placed people in our sights that we would never have met otherwise. There were even certain people we’ve interviewed that are in the habit these days of turning most requests down but welcomed us enthusiastically; it made us wonder if what we’re doing is just that bit more special than we realize.

We are now busier than ever before and it will only become more so as we begin to enter this last episode of our epic journey. As we look back at everything we’ve filmed it can seem quite daunting as we now have well over sixty hours worth of footage to go through. Editing will be more than a full-time job!

Making a documentary can be an extremely expensive thing to do, particularly if an attempt is made to do it on a full-time basis. Even with our small set-up and the skills we are very fortunate to have, such as Grant’s ability to build the website, we are incurring costs that are stretching way beyond our means.

So far, we have done everything with no funding, no sponsorship and it has relied entirely on our own money, scarce as it is. We have now come as far as it is possible to go and so we are turning to Indiegogo and will also be seeking out funding and sponsorship outside of that.

We will be launching the campaign very soon and wanted to let you all know ahead of time. It is our hope that you will help us out so we can achieve our goal and finish this wonderful project. If nothing else we hope you can help us spread the word far and wide so that this documentary finally gets released.
Thank you all for reading!


beautifulearthindiegogo

Help Beautiful Earth Achieve our goal, watch out for our campaign on Indiegogo!!!

September Interviews: Stanley Park Miniature train

It’s hard to believe it’s September already and to think our original plan was to be done filming by summer! We had no idea just how big this project would grow when we first started but when we look back on just how much we’ve achieved so far this year it really is quite amazing. I think the extra time we’re taking on the filming and all the new ideas that have come along will really benefit the final product when we release it next year.

We’re slowly making our way through our huge list of subjects to cover in this documentary but it’s still very surprising that we’ve only now gotten around to filming the miniature train. It was always the plan to go down to talk to the staff that runs the train but we always seemed to have so many other things to take care of. But all that changed when we paid them a visit recently.

So often it takes many emails back and forth to get permission to film something but when we told the staff at the train our ideas they were more than willing to help out in any way they could.

We gathered lots of shots of the trains over a few days - mainly the CPR 374 replica – and were excited to get three interviews with two drivers (Krista & Tony) and one maintenance worker (Marc) during our time there. Marc is now retiring so we feel very lucky to have spent some time with him at the barn hearing his stories.

We felt it would be a very interesting feature to not only show the train ride but to have a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes which most people never get to see. We hope to go back later in the year and show the preparations for their big Christmas theme.

We cannot thank the staff enough for all their help in allowing us to be there and also making us extremely welcome. John, Joe, Marc, Krista and Tony, thanks a million!

We have more news coming up later this week so keep checking back with us and thank you to everyone for reading.

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Krista Moyls: Miniature Train Driver

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Marc Dupas: Miniature Train Maintenance Man

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Tony Hamaliuk: MIniature Train Driver

August Interview: Alleyne Cook

With summer nearing an end and autumn getting ready to greet us once again, things at Beautiful Earth are really coming together. We have been gradually adding more articles to our website and making a few small changes here and there that we think will improve the overall look of the site and make it easier to find your way around. Grant has been putting in many hours of work so we hope you like it.

This coming week is looking extremely busy for us, both behind the scenes and out and about, so be sure to keep checking in with us as we have lots to tell!

We have another interview to mention this month and I have to say that it was another of those immensely enjoyable ones that came about by chance.

We have Paul Grant to thank for setting this one up as he thought we might like to delve into the story of the Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron garden that has been part of Stanley Park since the 1960s. The man responsible for the planting of the garden was Alleyne Cook, an instantly likeable and jolly New Zealander who came to work for the park board in the 1950s as a gardener.

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Alleyne Cook: Started to work for the Park Board in the 1950’s as a gardener

Those who have visited the Rhododendron garden in the park will know just how extensive it is and will appreciate just how much work went into it all. Alleyne had free rein in designing the flowerbeds and knew how to bring out the best in the look of the area. He told us how he wanted to bring folk out in numbers to enjoy the garden, to feel safe while enjoying the beauty of the place.

Both Alleyne and his lovely wife Barbara were a delight to meet and are two of the nicest people anyone could ever hope to know. It was a joy to sit and hear the stories and we certainly have the biggest challenge on our hands when we have to decide what to use for the documentary and what to leave out, as everything was so interesting!
Thanks for reading, we’ll be back soon.

July interview: Dr. John Blatherwick

It was back in the early part of 2012 when our next interviewee was recommended to us by Stuart MacKinnon. We had just met with Stuart to talk about our project and as often happens in these meetings we were given names of other people that might be good to interview. One of those names was Dr. John Blatherwick, a retired Naval Reserve medical officer.

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Dr. John Blatherwick, retired Naval Reserve medical officer

John has many achievements of note from a long and distinguished career, including being Canada’s longest-serving medical health officer, but the one thing that really grabbed our attention was that he held the same office at HMCS Discovery on Deadman’s Island in Stanley Park for twenty-five years. We realized that he may have more than a few good stories to tell!

John was a marvelous interview, even going as far to wear his uniform for us on the day. Unfortunately, even with great efforts from John himself, we were unable to secure permission to film on the island, but we were more than happy to be able to film from the shore and have a great time talking with John.

He told us of his time working on the island, the time he met Arnold Schwarzenegger during the filming of ‘The 6
th Day’, and his great love for Stanley Park, all told with great enthusiasm.
We are delighted to have caught up with John for this interview and so very pleased that he was so eager to help out as it certainly gave us a great insight to such an important part of Deadman Island’s fascinating history.

Many thanks John, and thanks to Stuart MacKinnon also for recommending him all those months ago.

Thanks to everyone for reading, we’ll be back soon with more news!

July interview: Dal Richards

This week is certainly keeping the boys at Beautiful Earth busy as we’ve had three interviews to film, all the questions to come up with and we’re beginning to put together a video for our funding campaign which is coming up very soon. More details about that in another blog.

The second of our interviews was very special indeed and something we were looking forward to with much excitement.

I’m sure many of you know when we mention the name Dal Richards we are talking about a real living legend. One of the best-known big band leaders and known as the ‘King Of Swing’, Mr. Richards is now approaching his 80
th year in the business and is showing no signs of slowing down.

We have the delightful Leslie Harris to thank for arranging a meeting with him. She told us how much he loved Stanley Park and we were thrilled to be invited over to his Yaletown home for a chat.

He really took us back to some golden years in Vancouver’s past during our interview and we could almost believe at times that we were back there with him as he regaled us with stories from his early days in the business, the people he met and of course his memories of the park.

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Dal Richards: Vancouver Legend the ‘King Of Swing’

It was a true honour to be in his company and the fact that he gave time to three strangers in his home with all our equipment speaks volumes about his character. A true gentleman and a treasure of our time. We consider the short time we spent with him to be a gift and something we will forever be grateful for. Thank you Mr. Richards, it meant so much.

And thank you also to Krista Rubino for helping out on the day, she’s always willing to help us along towards our goal!
If you would like to know more about Dal Richards, have a look at his website:
www.dalrichards.com

Another blog will follow when we will talk about our third interview this week, another good one!

July interview: Paul Grant and Laurie Dickson

Hello again everyone. What an eventful month July is turning out to be. There seems to be so much going on and each and every day we seem to be gathering more and more attention, it’s absolutely wonderful!

As most of you know we released a small teaser trailer earlier this month to give everyone an idea of the direction we’re heading in. We try hard to describe in words what we see with this project but it’s not until we show it in the form of a trailer that others can really get a good idea. It seems to have worked as the feedback has been tremendous and it has given us that well-needed boost to continue down the road we’re on. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and encouragement, we really are extremely grateful and always keen to know what you all think. We will be making another trailer in the near future which will include more detail on the subjects we’re covering in the documentary and we’ll keep you posted both here and on our
Facebook and Twitter pages.

As I write this it is a glorious sunny July afternoon and we have just returned from another interview. As I’m sure we’ve mentioned before, we really do love filming these interviews and meeting such wonderful people. Today was no exception as we had the joy of meeting with the authors of ‘The Stanley Park Companion’ book, Paul Grant and Laurie Dickson.

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Paul Grant and Laurie Dickson: Authors of the book ‘The Stanley Park Companion’

It was when we were just beginning this project that I bought their book and I knew right away that we had to include them in some way. The book itself is an absolute must for anyone that loves the park. I cannot think of a more engaging or informative book on Stanley Park, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s packed full of just the right kind of information and photographs that you feel you know the park intimately, even if you’ve never been. The book is now becoming increasingly hard to find so if you do find one then be sure to pick it up right away.

There are times when meeting great people that a ‘thank you’ is never enough and it is certainly true in this case. Paul and Laurie were so lovely to chat with and so generous with their time and the stories they had to tell. It was a huge pleasure indeed and I feel honoured to have finally met you both after admiring ‘The Stanley Park Companion’ for so long. Thank you!

check out the book here:
TheStanleyParkCompanion

Well, for now I shall sign off but stay tuned as later this week we are interviewing a Vancouver legend!

Take care everyone and thanks again for reading.

Filming the Nine O'clock Gun

Some of you might not know that every day at 9pm along the seawall near Brockton Point, an 1816 bronze cannon goes off with a loud ‘Bang!’ followed by a huge fireball. It is said that it has been heard as far away as Mission, almost sixty-two kilometres to the East.

As a Vancouver resident I’ve known about the nine o’clock gun for most my life. However, it wasn’t until now, during the making of ‘Stanley Park: An Urban Wilderness’ that I witnessed the spectacle of the gun up close for myself. We filmed the gun over half a dozen times this summer alone and I never get tired of the shocked reactions that I witness from the crowd.

If you’ve never been down to the gun at around nine, you certainly should. Ten seconds before the gun is due to go off a red warning light starts to blink along with an audible buzzer, then a huge boom echoes across the harbour.

The first time I filmed this I had no idea what to expect. Because the tide was out I climbed down the seawall to the shore and set my camera in a perfect position to film from the front and just below the gun. While waiting for the big moment, the tide started to come back in and splash around my feet. I will never forget the heat on my face from the fireball that shot out from the gun just a few feet away and feeling the intense shockwave in my ears. What an exhilarating experience.

Here is a video of what to expect, but it really needs to be experienced in person.


Beautiful Earth in the Summer

Summer is upon us and the park is now getting very busy indeed with tourists all flocking to see what this beautiful place has to offer.
It’s always a good thing to step back a little from the documentary filming and take a look at the park through a visitor’s eyes. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how beautiful and how unique this place really is; a Vancouver treasure indeed!

We’ve had another couple of interviews since our last blog. The first was with the extremely busy Daniel Frankel, who some of you may know as the owner of the Prospect Point café and gift shop and the Stanley Park Bar & Grill located at the Pavilion. He also has other restaurants around the city, all of which are well-worth dining at. Here’s his website where you will find information on all his restaurants

http://www.danielgroup.ca/Daniel_Group/welcome.html
One thing we’re always impressed with when we go to his restaurants is how friendly the staff are. After talking with Daniel at some length about this it became clear that he really tries to create a true team spirit within his company and everyone has ideas worth listening to. Richard Branson has the same attitude so it’s no wonder that Daniel is as successful as he is!

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Daniel Frankel: business man owner of Prospect Point Cafe and Stanley Park Grill

Our interview with Daniel covered his passion for Stanley Park, his restaurants and the night of the big storm where Prospect Point café was hit hard.

A genuinely nice guy to talk with and considering just how busy he is right now we are truly grateful for his time. Many thanks Daniel! Also, a huge thank you to Jayne for making it happen, it was worth the wait!
Our other interview was with Chris Hay and if his name sounds familiar then it should as he was in the media last year when the Stanley Park Rock Garden was formally recognized by the Heritage Foundation.


It was Chris Hay’s Great Grandfather, John Montgomery, that built the Rock Garden from 1911 to 1920. You can read our article about it here
http://beautifulearth.ca/rockgarden.html

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Chris Hay: Great Grandson of John Montgomery

Chris talked to us about his extensive research into his family history and the many years it took to uncover the whole story of the Rock Garden. There were many steps along the way where he would come up against huge obstacles and there were times when most people would have given up the quest but Chris persisted and with many strokes of luck he was able to complete the story and discover this true gem in the park.

It’s a remarkable story, and it was only a chance meeting with Chris that brought him to our attention in the first place so we feel very fortunate to be including this story in our documentary. Thanks for your time Chris!

We were extremely pleased and honoured to have Melina Cassidy stop by recently to record three voice-over pieces for our Pauline Johnson feature. We felt strongly from the beginning that Pauline should have a voice in our documentary and so when Melina sat down and read for us we knew we’d struck gold. She brought her obvious talent to the role and gave us her interpretation of what Pauline would sound like. Of course, nobody knows what kind of voice she had but there was something very special about the way Melina approached it and we really feel it is the perfect fit. Stay tuned for the teaser trailer, which will include a brief taste of this feature. Thank you Melina for giving your time!

MelinaCassidy

Melina Cassidy: Voice talent, actor, spa therapist and bodyworker
Find Melina online at
http://www.melinacassidy.com/

And thanks as always to everyone for reading and keeping up with our progress here at Beautiful Earth. Keep well and keep smiling!

Beautiful Earth in May part3

Hello and welcome to yet another blog from your favourite guys at Beautiful Earth! We have more news on interviews and it really does seem to be all that’s happening lately but it is keeping us very busy!
We had a special interview lately and this was another one I really didn’t think we’d get. I’m not sure why I think such things. Lack of confidence I suppose.

Anyway, we were overjoyed when Ian Robertson not only said yes to an interview but that he was flattered that we asked him. Mr. Robertson was an important figure within the Park Board, especially as he held the position of Commissioner from 2005 to 2011, which of course meant he was there when the windstorm hit Stanley Park. It was this subject that made me contact him in the first place, although he gave us so much more during the interview, including some very special memories he has of the park during his childhood. Considering he must be a very busy man we would like to give Ian our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the time he gave to us to make this a very special addition to our documentary.
Ian also has a website
http://ianrobertson.ca/

ianrobertson

Ian Robertson

One of the subjects we are including in our documentary is on Pauline Johnson. As with a lot of other people here in Vancouver, I had heard the name but really didn’t know much else. Because she gave the name to Lost Lagoon in one of her poems and because her grave is in Stanley Park, we began to research her life and her work. This started something, which I must admit became extremely addictive. I have heard since that this is the kind of effect Pauline has on people. Once she gets into your mind and into your heart there is no letting go! It was a labour of love to write a short article on Pauline for this website and if you haven’t looked at it already then I hope you’ll check it out: http://beautifulearth.ca/paulinejohnson.html

I do find it a great injustice that she isn’t talked about more as she really was a Canadian national treasure and someone we should be proud to have in our history. It is with this in mind that we are doing a feature on Pauline to include in our film. One of the names that kept cropping up when looking at various things written about Pauline Johnson was Carole Gerson. Carole, along with Veronica Strong-Boag, has worked on a couple of books on Pauline and we were very keen to talk to someone who could help give the story more substance. Carole certainly did this and more when we interviewed her at her home. It was at times quite moving to hear what Pauline Johnson must have been like, the things she did in her short but full life, and to learn much more about her from someone like Carole who obviously is far more knowledgeable than we are about this amazing woman.

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Carole Gerson: book author and professor of English Simon Fraser University

Our interview with Carole also did something quite unexpected. Listening to her speak about Pauline with fondness and admiration brought her alive in a way. It’s one thing to read about a person’s life on a page but to hear about it from someone who clearly has a passion for her life’s history makes it more tangible and it was a wonderful moment that almost took us back in time to when Pauline was alive. If only that were really possible! Many thanks to you Carole for giving us such a lovely insight to her life and her work, you were more help than you know!
Thanks again for reading, we’ll be keeping you as up to date as we possibly can with everything that’s going on and we hope you keep checking in with us as we have new things to share all the time.

Keep well and keep smiling.

Beautiful Earth in May part2

Hello again. Just a quick update on yet another interview we did recently.

It’s always a very pleasant surprise when we finally meet with those we interview, as they are always such nice people and it helps enormously to put us at ease. That was certainly the case with our next interview when we had the delight of meeting Robyn Hanson.

Some time ago I had stumbled across an excellent blog entry online written by Robyn on the subject of Stanley Park. The way it was written made me contact her right away, as she seemed the perfect person to talk to about the park. She readily agreed to help us out and we had the great fortune of sunshine down at Third Beach when we filmed the interview one Friday afternoon. Third Beach is the perfect evening hang-out, especially to watch the sun go down, and as it is Robyn’s favourite place in the park we just had to go there to hear what she had to say. To say she was a great interview is a huge understatement. She’s a joy to talk to and her personality matched the weather: bright and sunny! Thanks Robyn, it was a blast.

We would encourage everyone to check out Robyn’s blog as it’s a great way find out about new and different things to do in the lower mainland
http://www.604pulse.com/

robynhanson

Robyn Hanson of 604Pulse.com

Thanks for reading; we’ll be back later this week with more updates on interviews and anything else we can think of sharing.

I’ll leave you with a rather fine quotation: “As you think, so shall you be”. Seven words to consider. It certainly seems to keep great things coming our way when we keep our thoughts positive.


Beautiful Earth in May part1

First of all, many thanks to everyone who have been reading our updates and following our activities here at Beautiful Earth, it’s a joy to know that others like what we’re trying to achieve.
So, what’s been happening lately with us? Well, we have had quite a number of new interviews in the past few weeks, which we are extremely pleased and proud of.

The work that goes into these interviews is always quite hard and tiring but also always very rewarding. It does take a lot of research in the subject matter and in finding just the right person to have on camera, but also a lot of hours go into coming up with the right questions to ask. This can sometimes be a bit of a hit-and-miss affair as we are often talking to people who are experts on the subject and the worry is that our questions will fall short in some way. But with the people we have interviewed so far those fears have been cast aside as they have been extremely gracious and accommodating with these two ordinary guys and their camera.

So, who have we interviewed recently? We had the very great pleasure of meeting with Patricia Thomson and Robyn Worcester of the Stanley Park Ecology Society who both very kindly gave us a large part of their time and fascinating insights on how the park is looked after from an Ecological point of view. Nature is obviously the biggest part of what the park is and why so many people visit, so there are huge challenges in keeping a balance between protecting the ecology and keeping the park accessible. This is one of the many reasons why the society’s stewardship is essential within Stanley Park and it’s important to note that they rely heavily on donations from the public in order to continue their work. So, if you would like to help them out with a donation, to volunteer, or just to see what they’re all about, then head on over to their site
http://stanleyparkecology.caIt’s also a great site if you want to keep up with all things to do with nature within the park.

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Patricia Thomson of the Stanley Park Ecology Society

robynworcester

Robyn Worcester of the Stanley Park Ecology Society

We took a slightly different angle with one of our other interviews when we were granted a bit of time with a Harbour Air pilot down at Coal Harbour. One of the things I’ve always noticed when spending time on the seawall is whenever a float plane takes to the skies and flies low over the park, there are always lots of faces looking upward and kids pointing excitedly. I began to see that the area and activities around the park are just as important as the park itself when it comes to telling its story and as Harbour Air is flying over it every day then we should try to include it. For some reason I honestly didn’t think we’d get very far when we contacted them but they were more than willing to help us out with an interview. We want to give a huge thank you both to Reggie Morisset for doing the interview and to Vanessa Johnson for kindly and very generously arranging the whole thing for us in the first place. It was an honour and pleasure!

reggiemorisset

Reggie Morisset of Harbour Air

Stay tuned for more blogs in the next few days as we have lots more to share with you.

Thanks again.

Busy times for Beautiful Earth

It’s hard to believe that April is upon us already and the park is very much in bloom! This past weekend saw people flocking to the seawall and just about everyone partaking in summer fun, even if it is springtime.

We’ve spent a bit of time down by the Park Board offices lately observing the Heron nests, which is now a very busy place, both with the birds and with lots of people. If you pass by this way you’ll lots of faces gazing skyward and it’s not hard to see why. These magnificent birds are a joy to watch as they swoop in and land. So graceful in flight and so impressive up close. More often than not, if you get yourself down to Lost Lagoon you’ll see one just a few feet from the shore; it’s a wonderful experience to be that close.

heronnests

Heron nests

We’ve had two more interviews lately and both went extremely well. We feel very fortunate to have met these two amazing people and to hear the great things they shared with us.

The first was Bruce MacDonald, a local historian and a man who is a seemingly endless fountain of knowledge. One conversation with him will teach you more about the local area than you ever thought you could know. We once attended a talk he gave that lasted for more than two hours. It was so interesting and had us so enthralled that we felt only twenty minutes had passed. He is very much the go-to person for anything in Vancouver’s history. Incidentally, Bruce is the author of ‘Vancouver A Visual History’, which is a fascinating insight on how Vancouver was shaped decade-to-decade. If you have even a passing interest in Vancouver’s history then this book is a must, you will not be disappointed. We were delighted to have met Bruce and to be invited to his home. Just seeing his house was an adventure itself! We could almost do a documentary on him alone. Now there’s an idea…

brucemadonald

Bruce MacDonald: Historian and author of Vancouver a Visual History

Our other interview was with the delightful Stuart Mackinnon. Stuart is one of those people that has an infectious, sunny personality and from the first meeting we had with him we knew we would be in for a real treat when the interview day rolled around. He’s a person that makes you happy just to be in his company and has a genuine passion for nature and for Stanley Park so we knew we had to include him in our project!
Stuart has a great website which we would encourage everyone to have a look at:
betterparks.ca and please check out his Blog too at: betterparks.blogspot.ca

stuartmackinnon

Stuart Mackinnon

We have done interviews with lots of people who are knowledgeable in various areas which have added a degree of expertise to our project in telling the story and history of the park, but it was Stuart who delved into that heavenly area between the facts and gave us that uplifting emotional ingredient that we love so much. That’s not to say he isn’t knowledgeable because he clearly is in many areas, but he also has that heartfelt passion for nature that came across so beautifully on camera.

We would like to thank both Bruce and Stuart for generously giving their time and their insight to us. It is a constant joy that people like this are willing to do so simply because they believe in our vision and it is that most of all that gives us the drive to continue.