Visiting Vancouver

Another new type of post this week! I’m in Vancouver visiting my family with Lucy, and we’re going to my friend Hayley’s wedding this weekend. I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to the past week!

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Soon after we arrived, we headed to Whistler for Hayley’s hen do (bachelorette party). I’d never really looked around Whistler before, and everything was new to Lucy, so it was a fabulous weekend. The weather was also definitely on our side! We ended up going to the Scandinave Spa, which I highly recommend. They have several types of hot rooms including a eucalyptus steam room, outdoor hot tubs, and cold plunge pools. I recommend going in the morning to avoid the crowds, and bringing your own flip flops and cover up.

Whistler village has loads of shops (including a British section in the candy store) and, in case you’ve never heard of Whistler, it’s a world-famous destination for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and mountain biking and hiking in the summer.

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On the way back to Vancouver we stopped at Shannon Falls, which is only a few minutes walk from the car park. It’s a great stop over for a bathroom break, and boy did we need it because we sat on the highway for hours due to a car fire!

My parents live in a town called Pitt Meadows and nearby is Pitt Lake (which, fun fact, is a tidal lake). It was very hot Monday so we only managed a short walk with Watson. Pitt Lake is great for canoeing, boating, hiking, and bird watching.

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Pitt Lake

Tuesday we headed across the Fraser River to Fort Langley. Fort Langley belonged originally to the Hudson’s Bay Company during the fur trade and gold rush era of the 1800s. I think most of the furs and salmon made their way from northern forts down the river, where they were stored at the fort before being shipped to England. It was a good opportunity for Lucy to learn a bit about the history of Canada/British Columbia.

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Fort Langley

Plus, it is Canada’s 150th birthday and, in celebration, you can get a free pass for all federal parks. If you’re based in Canada, or visiting in 2017, I suggest picking one up! Fort Langley is also a town and it is absolutely adorable. It has frontier-style buildings and lots of great cafés, cute shops, and boutiques.

Wednesday we did a major tourist day downtown Vancouver. We took the West Coast Express commuter train to Waterfront Station and then walked around Canada Place (the cruise ship port and location of the Olympic flame). From there, we walked Stanley Park and visited the totem poles. These totem poles were moved there in the 1920s from the Haida Gwaii islands (among other places) and were created by the First Nations groups (aboriginals). They can be thought of as monuments that depict stories, events, and family heritage. If you visit Vancouver, it is an absolute must to visit and appreciate all of the First Nations art and culture.

From Stanley Park we walked over to English Bay, which is my favourite part of Vancouver. It has some of the best beaches, Davie Street (the gay district) is nearby, and it hosts the annual fireworks displays and the pride parade. After lunch, we headed over to Robson Square. Robson Street is the main shopping district downtown, and the square has the art galley and winter skating rink.

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Totem Poles at Stanley Park

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Lions Gate Bridge and the woman in the wet suit (mermaid) statue + heron!

Lastly, we walked over to Gastown — a historic part of Vancouver. Lucy had to see the steam clock and it’s worth waiting around for it to toot its very off-key song on the hour! Gastown is a trendy place to go for local craft beer. I got to enjoy a green tea frappaccino from Starbucks, which, to my dismay, doesn’t exist in the UK. My fit bit told me that I walked 22,000 steps and something like 14km. It was a very long day, but I guess it shows that Vancouver is a very walk-able and tourist-friendly city!

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Gastown Steam Clock

Thursday Hayley’s dog Gimli came to stay with us for a few days and so we’ve just been adjusting to having two dogs bouncing around the house. I’m trying to relax and enjoy my holiday, but it’s also good to keep busy. Stay tuned for next week’s post, which will feature a spectacular birthday cake for my brother!

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