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!

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.


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.


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.


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!

Vancouver Police Mounted Squad at the Totem poles

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.

Krista Moyls: Miniature Train Driver

Marc Dupas: Miniature Train Maintenance Man

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.


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.


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!

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.

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.


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…


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: and please check out his Blog too at:


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.

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


Robyn Hanson of

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.


Patricia Thomson of the Stanley Park Ecology Society


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!


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.


Welcome to our very first blog entry!

With this blog we aim to keep you all up to date, not just with us and what we’re up to but also things relevant to our current project, which at the moment is our Stanley Park documentary.

Things have been extremely busy here at Beautiful Earth lately what with meeting new people for interviews and getting our website ready and it seems like there are hardly enough hours in the day. But it has been worth all the hard work and it really does seem like we’re on the right road with the whole thing. Anyone who has ever tried anything out of the ordinary will know that one of the hardest things to do is convincing yourself that you’re doing the right thing. Almost every step we’ve taken on this journey has been met with encouragement and meeting exactly the right people, often quite by chance, so we feel a growing sense of excitement as we continue with our work towards the completion of this DVD.

We have already interviewed some truly wonderful and fascinating people including Terri Clark (formerly of the Park Board), William Nahanee (of the Squamish Nation),
Vickie Jensen (author of Totem Poles of Stanley Park) and we have lots more lined up so it’s shaping up to be a very interesting couple of months ahead.


Terri Clark formerly of the Park Board


Vickie Jensen: Westcoast words and author of Totem Poles of Stanley Park

We are always looking for people who feel they might have something to say about Stanley Park or have an interesting story to tell. Perhaps you have a relative who always talks about their youth in the park or maybe you simply feel very passionate about the place; whatever it may be, we’d love to hear from you so head over to our contact page and send us an email.

We hope you keep checking in with us and following our story and we’ll be doing our best to add to this page as often as we can.

Thanks for stopping by! -A