Illustration by Rupert Bottenberg

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Paul Merrick, Vancouver architect (in The Walrus)

Almost Grown: Paul Merrick, whose firm is one of several designing Vancouver’s Olympic Village, thinks his beloved city is finally outgrowing its architectural adolescence.

If cities are like human bodies, as Paul Merrick says, then West Vancouver is the city’s long left arm thrown out into Burrard Inlet. Marine Drive, the road that hugs much of West Van’s coast, is the ticklish inner arm, and I’m driving it into the city’s heart. The Lions Gate Bridge, recently widened, is like a glittering stent in a subclavian vein — the Stanley Park Causeway — that pumps in traffic, and I am stuck in that traffic. By the time I pick Merrick up at the Harbour Air seaplane terminal, deep in the garage guts of the brand new Vancouver Convention Centre, it has taken me longer to drive the sixteen kilometres from the North Shore into downtown than it took Merrick to get here across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver Island — a fact that greatly amuses him. “They’ve been talking about a bridge to the Island for as long as I can remember,” he chuckles, as he climbs into my car. “But there are lots of people who don’t want the Island connected to the mainland. I’m one of ’em.” Read Article