WHERE: Vancouver, Canada
WHEN: June 2016
HOW LONG FOR: 4 Days
We started our Canadian road trip on the west coast, in Vancouver. Vancouver is a city that, for me, has everything – the mountains, the beach, and the skyscrapers. Something that I found incredibly refreshing was that the locals were right there with the tourists enjoying everything Vancouver had to offer. I also found the vancouverites (and, actually, Canadians in general) so friendly and welcoming. After just 4 days here, I was pretty smitten. We’ve even started daydreaming about living in Vancouver someday, is that crazy!?
We spent a whole day exploring Stanley Park – it’s pretty big! We enjoyed a morning sitting in the rose garden and wandering around the lost lagoon (making friends with a couple of raccoons!). We then spent a couple of hours in the aquarium, which is home to the most adorable sea otters! We decided to rent bikes for the afternoon (from Spokes, just outside the park), and cycled the sea wall. The sea wall is a path divided into two lanes, one for pedestrians and another for cyclists, which runs anti-clockwise around the park. We then took a trail inland to beaver lake (trying to cycle a bike with no gears uphill on a gravel path is one way to get thighs of steel!)
I’m always saying that I’m happiest by the sea. English Bay was a perfect spot to have some beach time. And catch a killer sunset.
We spent a morning on Grouse Mountain. We took the free shuttle bus from Canada Place to the Mountain where we decided to go for the ‘Peak Experience’. From the mountain the views of Vancouver were stunning. The mountain is also home to two grizzly bears, Cooler and Grinder, who are frikin’ adorable! I’ve never seen animals in captivity look so alive. They were making use of the whole of their 5 acre enclosure, splashing about in their little lake, and shadowing the rangers with the hope of being thrown a chunk of watermelon. Well done grouse, you appear to have two happy Grizzlies!
Gastown was my favourite part of the city area of Vancouver. It’s red brick architecture gives it a pretty trendy hipster vibe with lots of quirky restaurants and shops.
We didn’t spend much time in Yaletown but it seemed like a really cool place to live. We met some friends from England for brekkie, and they told us how the area used to be super dodgy warehouses, which the city completely transformed into more trendy restaurants.
Canada Place & Downtown
My favourite part of downtown Vancouver was Canada Place, which sits on the sea and is often hosting a gigantic cruise ship!!! If I worked in downtown Vancouver, I would sit and eat my lunch in Canada Place every day. It’s a great place to people watch.
Whale Watching (or not)
“Definitely go whale watching, it’s the best thing you’ll do in Vancouver”.
– literally everyone I know who has been to Vancouver
… We saw no whales 😦 we knew all hope had been lost when the ever-optimistic naturalist on board tried to hand out reading material about the wildlife we could have seen. We do have a lifetime return voucher though. Yay! (Do you think they’ll also cover our flights ?! )
Best Food Spots
- The Banana Leaf on Denman we ate here twice. Would highly recommend the char kuay teow and the basil aubergine (or eggplant as the locals say)
- Milestones (English Bay) I had a great steak here. It’s also a great place to people watch as it’s right on the beach.
- The Elbow Room Cafe in Yaletown brilliant breakfast/brunch spot. Quirky atmosphere and service too. They did amazing looking 12 inch pancakes but I chickened out and had the eggs and bacon instead which were yummy
Vancouver. You are such a beautiful city. I know I’ll come back and visit one day (I will see whales. Godammit.) but maybe something a little longer term is on the horizon…
Watch our video diary…
We filmed a few clips along the way, and made them into a little video of memories of our awesome trip!
More posts from our Canadian Roadtrip…
- The Sea to Sky Highway
- Whistler & the Joffre Lakes
- Jasper National Park
- The Icefields Parkway
- Banff National Park Part 1: Banff Town, Lake Minnewanka & the Johnston Canyon
- Banff National Park Part 2: Lake Louise & Moraine Lake
- Yoho National Park
- How to Spot Wildlife in the Canadian Rockies