Expats · Travel

Exploring Canada: Vancouver to Whistler

It’s only two(!) months until we leave Toronto and return to the UK. Honestly, it only feels like yesterday I was tapping out my very first blog post.

Everything is starting to wind down. The job, which was supposed to be a temporary six week position and ended up lasting well over a year, has finished. Our final set of visitors have come and gone, and fall is in full swing.

We wanted to have a memorable holiday in Canada before leaving – and my job finishing provided the perfect opportunity to make an extended trip west. So far, most of our Canadian trips have been long weekends due to the rather stingy holiday allowance here – so it was super exciting to put this break in the diary!

I was off to see the mountains – the truly breath-taking scenery – the reason I’d wanted to come to Canada in the first place. And it did not disappoint!

Our first stop was Vancouver – a city I’ve been intrigued to visit for a while due to the vast amounts of compliments I keep hearing about it. I can definitely see why everyone loves it so much! It’s much smaller than Toronto, has a friendly atmosphere, the food is great and there is a backdrop of glorious mountains.

Day one consisted of a taxi boat over to Granville Island, where we visited the food market for brunch. I loved this place – there were so many delicious treats to choose from – so many artistic and unusual shops to browse…

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Granville Island Public Market – the best place for delicious food in Vancouver
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So much temptation in Granville Market!
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Unusual art work on Granville Island

Unfortunately, in the afternoon it absolutely poured it down (fortunately the only truly bad weather we experienced all holiday) so we postponed our visit to Stanley Park until the following day, and made use of the free time to explore downtown, do a little shopping, trip plan in coffee shops and see the Gastown District.

The famous Gastown steam clock, Vancouver
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Gastown, Vancouver, at night

Day two, therefore, was almost an entire day dedicated to Stanley Park. I was amazed how far from the city I felt as we spent hours venturing the many woody trails and the winding seawall path.

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Stanley Park, Vancouver. The biggest trees I’ve ever seen!
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Stanley Park, Vancouver. First Nations Totem poles
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Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver. The way to Whistler and beyond!

Vancouver is an incredibly green city. If we’d had more time I would have liked to take the ferry to Victoria, or gone on a whale watching excursion. However, both were full day activities and we didn’t want to have to rush seeing Vancouver itself. Maybe one day, if we return, we’ll squeeze them in. Two days felt like enough time to get a good feel for the city and see the highlights.

Monday morning, we left for Whistler, which is about a two-hour drive from Vancouver along the stunning coastline. We made several stops on route – the first at Horseshoe Bay, the next at Britannia Mine Museum and the final at Shannon Falls and the sea-to-sky Gondola.

The sea-to-sky gondola was one of my trip highlights. At $40ish per person, I was slightly apprehensive at first… would it be worth it? But the views at the top were phenomenal. There was also a very springy suspension bridge over the valley for the daring, several trails of varying difficulty and a café/ gift shop at the top.

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The suspension bridge at Sea-to-sky Gondola

Next post, I’ll be talking about what we got up to in Whistler, and the unexpected gem of our trip: Wells Grey Provincial Park.




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