Every year, me and mum discuss where we want to go for our two week summer holiday months in advance. After our trip to the States last year, mum wasn’t too keen about splurging on another expensive holiday, but since it was a big birthday for her, we agreed on one last expensive holiday for a long while. We had a few suggestions about where we wanted to go. I’ve always wanted to visit Canada, especially considering how much people rave about the country.
My mum had studied in Vancouver 32 years ago for 5 years, so she knew the place quite well. Plus, she had some fond memories about Vancouver and felt a desire to return, just like when we went for our road trip around Ireland and revisited her hometown. So, with tons of planning ahead and booking an Air BnB, our holiday was set in stone.
I’ve never been to a place where I’ve felt such a sense of tranquility while looking at mountains, especially across the ocean. I felt at peace with the world, feeling all my troubles fly away. Not to mention staring in awe at the world beneath us when we took cable cars (called gondolas) and chair lifts up to the top. I’ve been up mountains before, but it never looked or felt quite like this.
It’s true what they say, Canadians are friendly. However, my viewpoint on this is skewered since everyone seems friendly to me outside of London. Everyone has time to chat with you, even if they’re serving you at a shop/restaurant.
We stayed in an Air BnB near Kitsilano beach, so I loved going down during the evening and watching the sun set behind the mountains and across the ocean. God, what a sight! It filled me with a sense of peace and serenity I hadn’t ever felt before.
We visited Stanley Park twice.
The first time, me and mum wanted to see the totem poles. Funnily enough, these were the same totem poles I painted in art at school back in year eight (aka when I was 13) because my art teacher had been on holiday the previous summer. I could immediately identify the totem pole I painted, which I’ll include a comparison of at a later date.
The second time, me and mum wanted to show my brother the totem poles, then walk along to the Lions Gate Bridge. We then decided to walk around Stanley Park and almost made it entirely round. However, we left to get a bus home before we managed to, but we weren’t far off.
UBC (University of British Columbia)
Since mum had studied at UBC, it made sense for us to go and visit it. Despite only seeing a fraction of it, I was very impressed by the buildings and the general scenery. We went to some totem poles near the Museum of Anthropology, then made the decision to go down to the beach nearby.
The beach was definitely worth seeing, but climbing the 400 or so steps wasn’t so worth it. The steps were never ending, and by the time we reached the beach, I needed a rest. Climbing back up required several stops, including sitting down on the steps at one stage, and being more than grateful when we reached the top again.
We visited Victoria on Vancouver Island and had a nice day out. We’d missed a race of sorts as they were starting to dismantle it when we arrived. We found an ‘Old British Sweet Shop’ per mum’s request, then wandered around the seafront a bit and had a lovely time.
The ferry ride over wasn’t so great for me, but on the way back, despite freezing to death outside, it was refreshing. To see the mountains on the islands as we sailed past.
We went on a guided tour for the day to Shannon Falls, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain (in order). Unfortunately, a few days before we flew out to Vancouver, the gondola (aka cable car) up Shannon Falls was vandalised (so the rumour goes), so our visit on the guided tour was short and gave us enough time to look at the waterfall, take a few pictures, and continue along on the tour.
Whistler is a combination of ski resorts and cabins, which I appreciate would look a million times better in the winter. I’ve always wanted to visit a place like this, so I can tick this off my bucket list. It had a few cute boutiques and nice places to eat, but the toilets were difficult to find.
We took three gondola’s in total, from the first peak to the second peak to back down again. My mum wasn’t too fond of going up the gondola but relaxed during the ‘Peak 2 Peak’ gondola, whereas I was the opposite. Looking down as we went ‘Peak 2 Peak’ made me nervous we could plummet to our deaths, but thankfully, we didn’t.
The view was stunning! Seeing Canada from above was fascinating, and looking at other mountains while on a mountain was beautiful. I can imagine covered in snow, the mountains would be another level of stunning, and I almost wish I could return to see it, but that would require me learning how to ski (probably) and I’m not sure I’d be any good at it.
I faced my fear and went across a rocking suspension bridge! I’ve watched too many films and TV shows where suspension bridges snap and break, which is where my fear comes from because I don’t wanna plummet to my death. My brother didn’t appreciate the commentary along the way. Once we’d reached the other side, we wandered around a bit before heading back over the bridge, which was so much easier now. I wasn’t anywhere near as scared. We went for a cliffside walk too before leaving, and once again, it was lovely to see.
Once again, going up the top of a mountain was stunning, and once again, I can only imagine how beautiful it looks in the snow. We took a gondola up, but then we went even higher up the mountain via a chair lift. Funnily enough, I was perfectly relaxed on the chair lift, but bother my mum and my brother were nervous. On the way up, there wasn’t anything to see really, but on the way down, the view was magnificent and breathtaking. Honestly, seeing Canada from that high up truly is a sight to behold.
Up Grousse Mountain before we went up the chair lift, we saw a grizzly bear enclosure with two bears inside and briefly listened to some lumberjacks. While it was cool to see two bears up close, it’s also cruel to keep them inhabited in such a small space. In fairness, if these bears were rescued from the circus and would’ve died out in the wild, that would be fair enough. But since I don’t know the circumstances of why those bears are being held in an enclosed space, I don’t agree with it.
- I found a really cute bookshop called Indigo, which had some lovely stationery, a place to do yoga and a desk area where I did some writing
- I went to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and enjoyed reading a few informative pieces about outer space and aliens
- I went to an art gallery by Bill Reid, which is fill of Indigenous inspired artwork – Indigenous people can create artwork and have it displayed in the art gallery for free
- I went to Granville Island with mum – it has cute boutiques, little art galleries and a large market place, with a wonderful view of the ocean from the harbour
I had a great time in Vancouver. The views were stunning, the people were lovely, and it was easy to navigate. I had a lovely time with my mum and my brother and I’d definitely visit again.