Thursday, April 1, 2021

Some of us might be taking out the family for a lot of walks these days, and some of us might be doing solo walks to get away from our families.  And of course some of us might be feeling lonely at home and just want to be out and about in the world. What I do know for sure is that most of us are spending more time outside, trying to be safe and trying to stay local. 

Recently I came across this incredible Instagram account from the UK.  A brilliant person who rates benches.  In their bio they provide a quote from Samuel Beckett: “We spend our life, it's ours, trying to bring together in the same instant a ray of sunshine and a free bench...”.

Inspiration!  I started looking around while out on my walks, there are benches are EVERYWHERE, I had no idea we had so many in Downtown New West.  I thought why not, let’s follow suit, and here our own little version of #RateThisBench is born! 

First stop, Anvil Centre. There are a few benches out front right on Columbia Street so you have options, I chose to sit on the 2nd bench closest to the Anvil entrance (there are 8 benches in total). It had a nice wide seat and good back support. It’s noisy from the traffic but there is good people watching and I faced the beautiful façade of Anvil and could look over at the Piva patio.  After a few minutes though I could feel the slats of the bench on my behind which over time got uncomfortable.  All in all I’d rate this one a 6 out of 10, good for a short sit and sip, but not a great place to spend more than 15 minutes or so.

Anvil Centre bench
Anvil Centre view

This next bench is a little odd.  There are two benches on the south side of Carnarvon just west of the McInnes Overpass.  They seem out of place, but there aren’t too many other places to sit along this block so I get it.  Carnarvon is chaos these days due to construction, it’s incredibly noisy, but sometimes I like a lot of noise to drown out what’s going on in my head.  Just around the corner is the newly opened Serious Coffee and Gong Cha Bubble Tea so this could be a good spot to sit for a minute and enjoy those first few sips. There is no backrest on these benches but the seat itself was much more comfortable than it looked.  I would give this one a 7 out of 10, it surprised me in a good way.

Carnarvon & McInnes

Now the courthouse benches at 651 Carnarvon Street are popular for those of you in the know. On a sunny day it’s hard to find an empty one at lunchtime, but other times of the day there is often lots of availability.  There are benches all along beside the steps up to Agnes Street, and each one is almost built as if it’s a booth so this is a great place to bring your lunch or coffee and stay a while. The Hide Out Café and Banh Mi Bar are only a 2 minute walk up the street. I chose the third bench from the top, the seats are comfortable and the back support is top notch, the angle of the backrest worked perfectly for me.  It’s typically pretty quiet there, you can hear the occasional skytrain fly by, but it’s generally lovely and peaceful if that’s your kind of thing.  I could spend a good amount of time there, so this one is my highest rated of this batch, an 8 out of 10 easily.

Courthouse Bench
Courthouse View

So that’s it, our first edition of #RateThisBench.  What did you think? What are your favourite benches in Downtown New West?  Let us know and we’ll add them to our next blog!

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