The Way

The tranquil Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia is a very peaceful place to wander and ponder.

The Way

Advertisement

Elven Kitchen

In the sylvan core of UBC’s (aptly named) Green College, a few random buildings hide with the trees. Some have pedestrian uses (literally—the building on the right is a stairwell), but others are more surreal: this little cottage is a shared-use kitchen. As the first rays of moonlight catch the scene, I can’t help but be reminded of some Tolkienesque elven fortress.

Elven Kitchen

Nitobe Tree

While I’m on the trend of remembering summers past (and mourning the end of our own summer), I’m also going to reminisce about our trip to the University of British Columbia’s Nitobe Memorial Garden last summer. Look at that lushness. Foliage everywhere. And, as I like to joking call it, the “enormous bonsai tree” framing the soft scene.

Nitobe Tree

Water Lillies

Another shot from UBC’s Nitobe memorial garden, this time of water lilies floating serenely on the surface of one of the pools. The arrangement of the leaves above the surface of leaves really does give the impression that every leaf, every petal on each flower has been hand placed for a specific effect.

Water Lillies

Japanese Garden Fence

In the already quiet and calming Nitobe Memorial Garden, this particular corner is the quietest and most calming of them all. At the back of the garden, where few other visitors go, is this tiny fenced-off area. Though this yard is actually adjacent to the ceremonial tea house, I much prefer imagining that an elderly couple lives here, and will be out to tend the garden shortly.

Japanese Garden Fence

Almost Rivendell

UBC’s Green College (shown here from another angle) is almost 100 years old, but when you’re inside it, the passage of time seems to stop. The heavy, wooden columns and beams seem to have been there forever. The trees are enormous, and enigmatic towers and cottages dot the interior, like the buildings of some alternate-reality castle.

Almost Rivendell

Cyberdojo

The University of British Columbia’s campus has the odd quality that many modern campuses do. The vast majority of the buildings are post-war additions, and carry the strong characteristics and visions of each of their respective architects. This particular building caught my eye for the way it integrates a Japanese-style bridge, pool, and island into the courtyard of what could otherwise be a glossy but unremarkable structure.

The combination makes me think of the entrance to some sort of futuristic dojo in a cyberpunk novel. No wonder William Gibson calls Vancouver home.

Cyberdojo

Kami’s Rock

An enormous, moss-covered stone mediates the meeting between pathway and stream, deep within the Nitobe Memorial Gardens at the University of British Columbia. Though the calm pond and the massive entrance have given a broader idea of the Gardens’ feel, I really like the calmer, more compact corners. These little areas seem like the perfect place for a kami to live.

Kami's Rock