Archive for the ‘British Columbia’ Category

Vancouver 2009

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


Thu, 6 Aug 2009

University of British Columbia & vicinity

UniversityofBritishColumbiavicinity-0-bOur first day began with a visit to the rose garden on the UBC campus followed by time at the Museum of Anthropology that included indoor and outdoor totems. After a lunch stop near the beach we visited the Japanese gardens and the UBC botanical gardens — an extensive collection of plants, shrubs, and trees, both local and from all over the world.

Bowen Island

We took a ferry to Bowen Island where we stayed 3 nights at a retreat center perched on a big hill. We enjoyed the scenery, the flowers, and walks through the forest and around a lake. One evening we drove to a beach, skipped stones over calm waters, and watched the sun go down. One of the many deer on the island gave us a grand farewell on the morning of our departure.


We had one day in Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Low clouds prevented views of the nearby towering mountains, but after lunch in a creperie we enjoyed a walk in the drizzle to and around a small lake. Later we visited and were impressed by the Olympic ski jump area. We also enjoyed the glacier-fed streams and cloud shrouded mountains.



After returning to Vancouver (city) we took a 1 1/2-hour ferry ride to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria where we stayed 3 nights with a “Mennonite Your Way” family. Sights in the city included the famous Empress Hotel, many flowers near the harbor, more totems, a tour of the British Columbia Parliament building, a friendly harbor seal, and Chinatown.

Work-out and Relax

One day we hiked 10 km around two lakes near Victoria. After a picnic lunch on the grass we spent the rest of the day relaxing near the sea. We saw memorials near a Japanese cemetery, a hang-glider just off shore, and a two-story house being moved by barge. The evening light brought gorgeous views of the Olympic Peninsula and Mt Baker, both in the US.

Butchart Gardens

Our visit to the famous Butchart Gardens was memorable in several ways. We visited the sunken gardens in an old quarry, the rose gardens, the Japanese gardens, and the Italian gardens. Then after a picnic in a very beautiful spot we joined in the evening festivities led by a dance band. Finally, as the sun was setting we revisited the gardens lit by many lamps along the way.

Fri, 7 Aug 2009

Sproat Lake & Port Alberni

Leaving Victoria we began to explore more of Vancouver Island – a land mass about the size of England. Our first stop was a campground at Sproat Lake Provincial Park which also was inhabited by a friendly snake that surprised Sally Jo as she was reading at the picnic table! We also enjoyed walks through nearby forests and to a waterfalls. In the evening we drove to Port Alberni, enjoyed fish & chips on a park bench, and made arrangements for an all day excursion the next day.

Bamfield excursion

From Port Alberni we took an all day excursion on the “Frances Barkley” to the small town of Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The scenery was “gorge”eous and the boardwalks of Bamfield were quaint. We appreciated the way that they looked after stray cats. We had time for lunch in a small cafe before boarding our boat for the 3 1/2 -hour return trip.


Black Creek & vicinity

From Port Alberni we continued north to Black Creek where we stayed two nights with a “Mennonite Your Way” family of Dutch decent. We enjoyed seeing their farm, flowers, and birds. From their location we spent a day hiking on board walks through mountainous meadows.

Strathcona Provincial Park

Strathcona is a huge preserve in the middle of Vancouver Island. We planned to camp there 2 nights, but when we saw our campsite we decided to make it 3. The mountains, lake, streams, trees all combine to make it a very beautiful place. We enjoyed several hikes to waterfalls and up the mountains. Views included snow-capped mountains as well as a large mining operation.

Telegraph Cove

We took a day trip by car to Telegraph Cove near the north end of Vancouver Island. The small village (population 20) caters to tourists in the summer. Old fishing cottages have been converted into holiday cottages with restaurants and a whaling museum nearby. Sea and rail are used to transport the logs harvested from area mountains.

Sunshine Coast

Leaving Vancouver Island we took a series of ferries to explore the Sunshine Coast northwest of Vancouver city. After a lunch stop and a short ferry ride to Earl’s Cove we camped overnight at Robert’s Bay near Gibson’s – the small town that became famous as the set for the long-running Canadian TV series “The Beachcombers.” From there we took another ferry towards Vancouver city.

Vancouver City

Our ferry to Vancouver arrived at Horseshoe Bay – the same port that we used earlier to go to Bowen Island. Near Vancouver we saw another large log sorting operation. In the city itself there was a large folk festival. We enjoyed our last evening there in Queen’s Park which also featured a large sunken garden in an old quarry.


Before flying home we had a beautiful evening in Seattle. Mt Rainier was in full view over the stadium.