A road trip from the west coast of Canada to the east coast is the final candle on my husband’s birthday cake. This trip is his dream, his nirvana to drive 6,156 kms from Vancouver to Nova Scotia along the iconic Trans-Canada Highway with Gene Pitney at full volume.
Air Canada now flies direct from Brisbane to Vancouver in a very doable 13 hours. At this time of the year, Vancouver is chilly. I needed 3 layers, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Snow still covered the tops of the mountains, the air was crisp and skies were blue. Nice. Our ‘home’ for 4 nights was a hotel in English Bay, a strong reminder of the city’s once strong ties to Britain. The hotel ticked all the right boxes – water views, close proximity to the famed Stanley Park as well as Denham St with its eclectic mix of cafes, walking distance to everywhere and bus transport at the door.
The 400 hectare Stanley Park boasts an 8 km walk along the sea wall which we did on Day 1, trying to ward off jetlag. Going to bed at 8.30 am just didn’t seem right, so we donned the joggers. One thing we really admired was the separate lanes for walkers and cyclists/skateboarders. There are bikes galore to hire and if we weren’t so busy gawking at everything on offer, a bike ride would have done the job nicely.
Vancouver is an easy city to navigate. It almost seems like it’s purpose built with neat grid like streets, well presented buildings, lots of parks boasting row upon row of brightly coloured tulips and daffodils. Pretty. The city is made for walking and that’s exactly what we did…every day. There really isn’t any need to catch a bus or even a ferry.
We did catch a ferry though…over to the colourful Granville Markets, just to say we rode in one.
Afterwards, we walked across Granville Bridge to Gasworks. Both Granville and Gasworks were once rather sad and decrepit waterside areas, but are now revived and heave with cafes, shops and people.
We also walked to Olympic Village. Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010 and the main village site today has been transformed into eateries and drinkeries [is that even a word?] Lots of craft beers on tap here.
Along the way, we passed the famed Stadium [wish the Vancouver Canucks were in the ice hockey playoffs] and the Science Centre.
Here’s a few more pics:
If I lived in Vancouver, I’d never eat at home. There are restaurants everywhere – the usual Japanese, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Vietnamese as well as the more unusual; Bulgarian, Ukranian, Transylvannian and African. Healthy cafes abound and organic food is prolific. Close to our hotel are 3 fruit and veg shops, so we’ve had our fair share of Mexican blueberries, Californian strawberries and Guatemalan bananas. A good coffee can be found everywhere and the water here is incredibly clean tasting – the city claims to have the cleanest water in the world.
Another healthy habit that’s easy to adopt over here is drinking some good Canadian red wine as well as Canadian beer. The Okanagan Shiraz has become a firm favourite.
A few Aussies call Vancouver home and it’s expected really with the Whistler ski fields an hour away. Whistler has long been employing our home grown talent. After the ski season finishes, some stay on and find work in Vancouver. There are jobs galore here at the moment and every second shop wants ‘Help’. We spoke to two Aussies working in cafes here – one from Burleigh and the other from Currumbin. Small world.
We also spent a wonderful 4 hours talking over coffee to Michael, a Canadian who gave us an incredible insight into his country. He has lived in Vancouver for some years, but hails from Nova Scotia, and we can’t wait to see this part of Canada. It’s lobster country, so looking forward to a lobster diet for a few days. Thanks so much for the chat!
Tomorrow, we pick up our hire car and head off to Sun Peaks, a popular ski resort. Our neighbours Peta and Jen ski here each winter and while we won’t be skiing (because we don’t know how), hopefully we’ll do a bit of hiking. Till then…..