Hotel shows artist’s views of Canada


Artist Norah Borden’s work, which depicts the Canadian landscape, is being showcased at Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel. (Adrian Brijbassi/

Story by Adrian Brijbassi Managing Editor

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA — For Norah Borden, Canada is both a source of inspiration and a topic of concern.

Borden is an artist whose paintings are concerned with the changing face of the earth. Her work is abstract, painted on wood panels and depicting her interpretation of the landscape of the planet, particularly the west coast, a land she has come to call home. Raised in Preston, a small town in southwestern Ontario close to Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo, Borden has lived in Vancouver for more than a decade.

Thick with colours that are emblematic of the Canadian topography, Borden’s art is stark and beautiful. Greens and blues stand out in much of her work, but so too do swaths of white that could be clouds or waves driving in from the Pacific Ocean or ice coating the arctic.

To celebrate her work, Fairmont Vancouver Airport is displaying her creations and also doing a unique collaboration with the hotel’s kitchen. The on-site restaurant is creating dishes that are paired with Borden’s work.

“There’s a synergy between the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s expansive views and my Planet Earth collection,” Borden notes.

Hotel Presents Artist’s Depiction of Canada

Executive chef Colin Burslem’s themed menu recently featured rhubarb in creations inspired by Borden’s Tundra painting. Plates included pickled rhubarb served with a braised duck leg, Swiss chard and spinach, and a dessert that included a rhubarb crumble that came with wheatgrass and frozen vanilla yogurt.

The collection, whose pieces are also for sale through the hotel, will run through 2017. It demonstrates Borden’s examination of the world around her and how it is rapidly being altered.

“I’m interested in studying the changes that are currently evolving on both land and waterways. Whether it’s within the arctic region, the coastlines of Canada or even the lakes that are the veins of our country, it’s hard to ignore the impact from our world,” Borden says. “I believe everything we do has a resonating effect. With this in mind, there’s a complexity to my work. If you look closely at a painting, there are details that overlay other details, and when the viewer steps back five feet or more, other aspects of the composition stand out. Along the sides of the painting, you can see the production of the work. This series highlights the interconnection of perspectives through layering, ultimately examining the space we occupy.”


For abstract artist Norah Borden, Canada Day 2017 means a time of celebration as well as reflection. (Adrian Brijbassi/

As Canada’s sesquicentennial draws closer, Borden contemplates what July 1 will mean to her this year.

“Canada’s 150 birthday is a marker of where we have been and where we are going as a nation. There’s richness within our society because of the vastness of our land combined with our cultural mosaic that is the backbone of our country. I have travelled to various parts of Canada, but the area that most intrigues me is the Northwest Passage. Years ago while I was doing an artist residency in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, I had the pleasure of meeting Cedar Swan, the CEO of Adventure Canada. Her stories about the dramatic fjords and calving glaciers fascinated me. My hope is to one day be a passenger on their Arctic Expedition cruise so I can see firsthand the transformations within the region,” Borden says. 

Borden will be celebrating Canada Day in style, flying out of the airport adjacent to the Fairmont franchise that is displaying her work and embarking for her hometown in Ontario, where she will feast with friends at Langdon Hall, the venerable Relais & Chateaux property that is among the finest restaurants in the nation.


Location: 3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC
Room Rates: Nightly rates for a weekend stay in July start at $339, according to the hotel’s booking engine.

Adrian is the editor of and He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world.

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