After living now for a year in the West End of Vancouver, I have moved from liking it (a lot) to loving it. Things are close — we can walk in minutes to groceries, veg stores, Post Office, UPS office, opticians, shoe repair, Nordstrom, the Dollar Store, a gelato place, bakery, bank, hardware store, parks, beaches, malls.

We keep bumping into friends.

And, oh my, restaurants.   We half-jokingly say that we could eat out every night for a year at a different one by going west on Davie, down Denman, then Robson then back home along Davie.  By the time we got all the way around, half the restaurants would have changed, so we could pretty much start over again.

But there’s a human dimension to the West End.  People — every shade of every variety of every demographic. Age, size, hipster quotient, language, local, tourist:  any dimension you can think of.  And it’s a lively and welcome contrast to the human emptiness of our old ‘hood near UBC.

But sometimes it’s just a small thing that is unique and touching.  Funny and sad at the same time.

Here’s the “Wish Tree”.  It’s a California Lilac, located on Jervis, between Harwood and Burnaby. People write a wish on a tag, and hang it on the tree. There are hundreds, some so faded they can’t be read.  Some silly, some wild, and one that brought me to a standstill, and left me close to tears with the simplicity and power of the wish.