Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2019-08-13 Butchart Gardens and a toast to our trip

Ruth and I started our day with a swim in the hotel pool and a soak in the hot tub.

We then visited Butchart Gardens which is a group of floral display gardens located near Victoria on Vancouver Island.  The gardens have been designated a National Site of Canada and receive over a million visitors each year.  Jennie Butchart had a former limestone quarry for her backyard and decided to landscape a sunken garden in its place.  As well as the sunken gardens there are the Rose Japanese and Italian gardens.  We ended our visit eating ice‑cream in the Italian garden.

Ruth and I toasted our trip with a cocktail in the hotel lounge as well as a light supper.  We have certainly seen some wonderful sights during our trip.

Tomorrow our trip comes to an end when we leave Vancouver Island.  We will travel from Victoria to Vancouver airport by coach and ferry.  I will then spend two weeks in Ottawa with Andy, Ruth and Dariel.

2019-08-12 From Vancouver to Victoria

Victoria, capital of British Columbia, sits on the southern end of Vancouver Island.  We travelled from Vancouver to Victoria by coach and ferry.  Luckily our coach was at the front of the ferry so we were able to watch the mechanism of the ferry door lowering as we arrived at Vancouver Island.

We checked in at our hotel in Victoria.  There is an amazing light fitting in the lobby that reminds me of prawn crackers.

Ruth and I then went on a horse drawn carriage tour of a heritage district near our hotel.  Our horse was called Sam.

We then had a walk along the waterfront before ending up in an excellent seafood restaurant for dinner.  I looked longingly at the seaplanes as going on one is definitely on my bucket list.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

2019-08-11 Flyover Canada and Vancouver Aquarium

We started our day by walking down to Canada Place.  Canada Place is situated on the Burrard Inlet waterfront of Vancouver. 

I visited FlyOver Canada which uses state of the art technology to show some of Canada’s most wonderful sights.  I was hung suspended with my feet dangling in front of a 20 metre spherical screen.  The film shown gave me an amazing 8 minute journey across Canada from east to west.  There were special effects including wind, mist and scents which combined with the ride’s motion to create quite an experience.  A particularly pleasurable moment was when I saw the Rocky Mountaineer in one shot.  FlyOver Canada is not for people who do not like heights but this does not apply in my case.

Afterwards Ruth and I went back out to Stanley Park to visit Vancouver Aquarium.  We enjoyed the exhibits but a wet Sunday was not an ideal time to visit.  The place was heaving.  I didn't take many pictures because most of the exhibits were behind glass.


We ended our day sampling the hotel pool and hot tub.

2019-08-10 Vancouver Orientation

Ruth has been to Vancouver, British Columbia before but I have not.  We decided we would take a city orientation tour in order to give me a flavour of Vancouver.

The tour started off in Stanley Park which is a 1,001-acre public park that borders downtown Vancouver and is mostly surrounded by the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay.  The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the Vancouver city. The land was originally used by indigenous people for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonized by the British during the 1858 Fraser Gold Rush. For many years after colonization, the future park with its abundant resources would also be home to non‑Indigenous settlers. The land was later turned into Vancouver's first park when the city incorporated it in 1886.  The first point of interest in Stanley Park is a collection of totem poles.

The Stanley Park seawall is a stone wall that was constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park to prevent the erosion of the park's foreshore.  The term has also come to include the pedestrian, bicycle, and rollerblading pathway on the seawall.

We then visited the Lions Gate Bridge, opened in 1938, officially known as the First Narrows Bridge.  This is a suspension bridge that crosses the first narrows of Burrard Inlet and connects the City of Vancouver to various North Shore municipalities.  The term "Lions Gate" refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver.

The third stop was Granville Island which is a peninsula and shopping district of Vancouver.  I managed to resist the shopping apart from a few postcards.  Ocean Concrete is the longest-established tenant on the island, having set up shop there in 1917.  In 2014, OSGEMEOS (Portuguese for “the twins”), consisting of brother duo Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, revamped the concrete silos with their ongoing mural project.

Ruth and I had lunch outside overlooking the marina.  There were a number of opportunistic gulls, one of which stole the top off Ruth’s ice‑cream.

Afterwards we strolled through the Granville Island Public Market which features a farmers' market, day vendors and artists offering local Vancouver goods.

Finally we drove back districts such as Chinatown and Gastown before going up the Vancouver Lookout which gives a 360-degree view of Vancouver and surrounding areas.  I was taken fifty storeys above street level in a glass elevator in less than 50 seconds.  There was a good view of one of the cruise ships that come into town moored by Canada Place.

In the evening we went out to the Joe Fortes restaurant just up the road where I had the largest scallops I’ve ever seen.  Joe Fortes was a self‑appointed unpaid guard who devoted all of his free time to teaching children to swim and to patrolling the beach.  He continued to support himself by working odd jobs until, in 1900, the City appointed him its first official lifeguard.  He has been officially credited with saving 29 lives, yet it is believed that the real number is considerably higher.