Oh Canada, Oh Canada – Vancouver

1st September, 2018

Crossing the border from Seattle, Washington State was a breeze. Stopped by border control to present our passports and answer a few questions, then sent on our merry way.
Canada was always on our (rough) itinerary when we left Australia back in November, but I couldn’t believe that we were actually here!

To be totally honest- I wasn’t entirely sure that we’d get here. So far from home. I had sure hoped that we would, but we didn’t know if the kids (or us for that matter…) would still be enjoying the travelling life. So to be here, 7 months into our travel adventure – was a dream come true.

Our first stop was Vancouver, British Colombia, which funnily enough, felt very much like Melbourne city. From the busy business district around the water, to the suburbs – it felt strangely familiar.

We made the most of our week here by seeing, and enjoying quite a few of the sites.

STANLEY PARK:
We hired bikes from a place called Spokes, and set off. We ended up riding for over 12kms, and completed the entire loop of the park, without a single complaint from the kids – incredible! There is SO much to see along the ride. Great spots to stop along the way and enjoy the beaches, the parks, or just simply stop and take it all in. Definitely a big recommendation from me if visiting Vancouver.

GRANVILLE ISLAND:
Granville Island is located in a very trendy hub in Downtown Vancouver across from False Creek, right under the Granville Street Bridge. We drove, and managed to find a park under the bridge, but I would catch the bus or ride the bike next time as parking was quite minimal.
It was the perfect spot to hangout on a Sunday afternoon. Lunch in the Market Hall, a wander through the old toy stores and enjoying the local buskers. We had a perfect day weather wise which always helps!

VANCOUVER ISLAND – VICTORIA:
The ferry ride across to Vancouver Island is absolutely beautiful. Our eyes were peeled for whales – but no such luck.
We took the car, pre-booked through BC Ferries which cost just over $120 each way. Super easy to book online and show your digital ticket upon boarding.
The boat is lovely (and big) with huge outdoor decks, as well as ample seating inside with great viewing windows. A restaurant on board also for hungry children, and nice coffee for Mum.

The ferry pulls in at Nanaimo. It is then an hour and a half drive to Victoria, at the southern end of the island to where we were staying.
We’d picked Hotel Zed for a few nights. I chose this colourful, psychedelic hotel based on the location, as well as its fun “Austin Powers” vibe.
Hotel Zed was VERY groooooovy baby! Decked out retro style from top to toe. It was very well done.
Old school typewriters, ping-pong lounge, vinyl record station – listen to whatever you like…as well as rental bikes (including kids bikes and tandem), and a waterslide, pool and hot tub.

Beacon Hill Childrens Farm – open daily from 10am – 5pm. Donation entry.
The kids absoloutely loved this place! Gorgeous peacocks strutting around and so many baby goats to play with. Of course there were other animals – rabbits and guinea pigs, alpacas, chickens and more – but we all loved the goats – and they loved us!!

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE:
Andrew was very keen to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge. After all – it is one of the main attractions in Vancouver. When I saw the entry price, I wasn’t quite as keen. At over $130 for us to all cross a bridge – I didn’t really understand the fuss. That was – until we entered. It was WAY more than just a bridge.
It is an entire park with interactive activities for the kids, tree top walks and treasure hunts, cliff walks and more. It was very, very good. We stayed for ages and left at closing and were lucky enough to have the entire bridge to ourselves which is unheard of usually.
Definitely worth the entry price – if I do say so myself.

WHISTLER:
Had we not planned to visit Banff and Jasper after Vancouver, we’d have stayed a while in Whistler amongst the mountains. Instead, we enjoyed a day trip. Leaving Vancouver in the morning around 10am, and stopping along the way at the waterfalls – Shannon Falls, and Brandywine Falls are definite must sees. Arrived into Whislter around 12noon.
The town is very pretty. Typical ski village feel with more Australians working in the restaurants and shops than Canadians. Lots of Olympic memorabilia around from the 2010 Olympic Games which was pretty fun for the kids to see.
We enjoyed lunch outdoors at one of the many eateries and sparked up a lovely conversation with a retired Canadian couple.
We spent a few hours wandering the village, and then jumped in the car and drove around the neighbourhood a little, then made our way back down the mountain to Vancouver.

Vancouver – we love you and if it was easy enough to stay and live here, we would!!
We will be back again some day, I promise.

Next stop – BANFF!!!!!

Big love,
Cx

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