Vancouver Trip – The Holiday: Day Four

On our final day in Vancouver, we headed over the Lions Gate Brige again, for a pleasant drive up to Horseshoe Bay.
From Horseshoe Bay, you can catch ferries to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, to Bowen Island and to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It is also the starting point of the Sea to Sky Highway that hangs on cliffs as it winds its way along Howe Sound to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.
After lunch, we headed back to Vancouver where we took a look at the Steam Clock and had a stroll around Canada Place.
We got a good view of the float planes taking off and landing from Canada Place.

Overall, Vancouver is a fantastic place to visit but, for us anyway, maybe it is busy enough to remind us a little too much of life in the South East of the UK.  It helps to reinforce that Okotoks, Calgary and surrounds feel so much like home to us.

Vancouver Trip – The Holiday: Day Three

Another must see attraction in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. 

The current bridge is 136 metres (446 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the river. It is certainly a very wobbly walk!

In 2004, the Treetops Adventure opened. This newer attraction consists of seven footbridges, suspended between Douglas Fir trees, forming a walkway up to 30 metres (98 ft) above the forest floor.

There is a small display of birds of prey.  This is an American Kestral.

That evening, we treated ourselves to dinner at the Vancouver Tower, the views from which, were stunning.
Here’s Jan’s Mum & Dad enjoying the great food, wonderful view and of course, the great company!!
It was another lovely day out in Vancouver.

Vancouver Trip – The Holiday: Day Two

On day two, we took the drive over the Lions Gate bridge to North Vancouver and towards Grouse Mountain where you can take a cable car to the top.

At the top, there are lots of huge wooden carvings, which are very impressive.
There was also a lumberjack show, which was also quite entertaining.
There was a Birds of Prey display where we saw this huge eagle.  It was amazing to be so close to it.
This is one of very few places where we see Beaver Tails for sale!!  Before you all scream with horror, they are, in fact, delicious pastries in the shape of a Beaver tail! 

The real treat though, was Grinder & Cooler.  These two bears were both orphaned as cubs, Grinder was found on June 5, 2001. He was wandering alone on a logging road, dehydrated, thin, and weak. His mother was never found, so how he came to be alone is unknown. 
Coola was found orphaned at the side of the highway on June 29, 2001. His mother had been hit and killed by a truck. Of her three cubs, Coola was the only one to survive. One cub was hit by a falling tree and the other ran away and was not seen again.  Coola, it seems, loves to play in the water.
“I’ve found something…I’m very excited!”…
“Oh joy, it’s a fish, it’s a fish!”
“I’m going to eat it!”
“Hang on, something’s not right”
“Are you a fish?”
“I’ll kiss it and see…”
“Damn, it’s just a rock!”
It really is a lovely place to visit and the bears melt your heart.

Vancouver Trip – The Holiday: Arrival & Day One

After a long drive (mainly with the heavy traffic heading into Vancouver), we arrived at our apartment at around 6.30pm.  The apartment block didn’t look much from the outside, but it was, in fact, very nice and we had the biggest balcony we had ever seen.

We were on the top floor in the penthouse suite, where Katharine Hepburn stayed on a number of occasions. The suite was 1,900 square feet, with a massive, wrap around deck, which included barbecue, heater and lots of seating. The apartment also had an office, dining area, kitchen and laundry.  It also had a wood burning fireplace but it was far too hot to even consider using it!
Feeling energised after a very nice Thai take-out and a good night’s rest, we decided on an easy day in Stanley Park.
We started by taking in the wonderful view of the city.
Although we didn’t try it on this occassion, horse and carriage is a nice way to get around the park.
The Lions Gate Bridge.
The Hollow Tree is the lower trunk of a 700+ year old Red Cedar. The tree is often considered Vancouver’s first tourist attraction. After the storms of 2006, which devastated parts of the park, the tree was considered a hazard and approved to be removed. Thankfully, people lobbied to save the tree and it has now been reinforced, so hopefully it will be around for many more years to come.
We then took a stroll down to Beaver Lake, which is a lovely tranquil setting.
And of course you can’t go to Stanley Park without taking at least 100 photos of these cute and entertaining Racoons!
For the whole of our stay, we were blessed with incredibly good weather, although it was a little too hot at times.  More to follow in the days ahead!

Vancouver Trip – The Start

Driving in Canada is generally such a nice experience, that we decided to drive the 600+ miles from Okotoks to Vancouver.

The journey time is around 12 hours so we thought it best to split the journey and picked Salmon Arm from the map as an approximately halfway point.

We were all starving by the time we arrived and by pure luck, we found a lovely restaurant which was just what was needed after a long drive. Table 24 is situated in the building that was Salmon Arm’s first courthouse, built in 1929. Apparently, a portion of the kitchen, located in the basement, was used as an old jail cell.  We had to take this photo from their webstie, as, unusually for us, we didn’t take a photo! –

The food was out of this world, it was freshly prepared, and the steak was so tender, they didn’t even give you a steak knife!

After our meal, we decided to take a drive down to the harbour, which was really pretty.  Although there was a storm coming in, it was still warm, so we decided to take a stroll down the pier.
We saw lot of birds and on the way back we we spent a little while waching these Osprey, who seemed to have two chicks in their nest.
It was so calm and peaceful, it was hard to believe a storm was on its way.
We stood at the end of the pier listening to the thunder and watching the lightning in the distance.
We also saw this beaver, but it was getting quite dark at this point.
We just made it back to the car and back to the hotel before the heavens opened and we were treated to the most spectacular rain shower.
The next morning we took another stoll down the pier in the sunshine before we started on the second half of our journey.