Beautiful Earth

In all its beauty

© 2013 Grant Finlayson & Adrian Green CONTACT US

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.


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.


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:

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.


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:

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.