Tag Archives: Stanley Park

Christmas in Canada, 2007

It was the first time my husband-to-be (HTB) had been to Vancouver, so our first stop was Prospect Point with it’s view of Lions Gate Bridge, the local mountains and west van. We saw an eagle at Capilano salmon hatchery and went over Lyn Canyon suspension bridge (sober this time for me).

My cousin Glen took us to Stanley Park to see the totem poles and Gastown to see the steam clock and the railway station. We also went to the Granville Island Brewery for a paddleboard tasting and a cheap sushi restaurant where we had 50 pieces of fish for next to nothing.

It was a Canadian family tradition to see a British Pantomime, but my uncle insisted that my HTB needed to see an ice hockey game. So while the two of them headed to the ice rink, I went to see Jack and The Beanstalk at the Metro Theatre with my aunt and cousins Kate and Glen.

The next day, my uncle took us to Mount Seymour where we had lots of fun tubing in all the snow. He also took us skiing at Grouse Mountain on another day. I wore my terrible aqua eighties snow suit again and found that I was still just as bad at the sport, so went to watch a documentary that was showing about two bear cubs growing up in a wildlife refuge on the mountain instead.

Even though my aunt and uncle now lived in White Rock, on Christmas Eve they headed back to their old neighbourhood in Richmond to catch up with all their friends at a sort of open house party. It was nice seeing familiar faces from the past.

Christmas Day dawned cold, but we still all took a family stroll along the pier to spot the white rock on the beach. Yes- we were crazy to go out in the silly temperatures of a chilly Canadian winter. Rover the cat didn’t join us- he was older and wiser and didn’t even bring in dead animals anymore.

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Canada, 2002

For my post university trip I decided to go to Canada for a bit of fun, England to visit my ailing grandfather and Thailand to meet up with my boyfriend for a holiday on the way back.

My aunt and uncle in Richmond were kind enough to take me in again and I revisited the usual haunts with my cousin Kate- Steveston, White Rock and Gastown.

I saw the otters, belugas and sea lions at Vancouver Aquarium; but the killer whales were no longer there- the last one having been re housed in 2001. So I went to see the killer whale totems on the totem poles at Brockton Point in Stanley Park instead.

Celina and Geoff’s girlfriend Genevieve took me to the lookout tower in downtown Vancouver where we had a great view of the University of British Columbia (UBC) where they were both going to school.

We all visited the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and I saw some more totem poles and learnt about the First Nations people. By night we went to the Pit Pub and to see Geoff’s new band The Malchicks play.

I went to Whistler with Genevieve and a bunch of her nursing friends from university for a night. Not to ski- but to drink. We started drinking on the bus trip up and arrived in Whistler village just before nightfall. There were ice sculptures, it was snowing and we made snow angels. Those nurses sure could drink!

The next day, after a queasy bus ride back to Vancouver, I met my aunt and uncle to visit Lynn Canyon Park. All I could manage to keep down for breakfast was a raspberry iced tea- which promptly came back up. I barely appreciated the beautiful waterfalls and clear blue pools under the suspension bridge.

I went to Vancouver Island to catch a top view of Victoria from Mt Tomlie and high tea at the Empress Hotel; catching sight of Mayne and Galliano Islands from the ferry on the way back.

My cousin Glen now lived in Calgary so I went to visit him. It was the middle of winter and the coldest weather I have ever experienced of 40 degrees Celsius below zero. It was so cold that Glen’s house had ice cycles on it and he had to plug his car into electricity to keep the engine from freezing.

We went to the Calgary tower to get a view of the city and to the half frozen Bow River in Princes Island Park. We played snooker at the Heritage Park Historical Village and went to a bar that had real cowboys line dancing.

Glen’s job was as a pilot for freight planes. So he took me to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to see the Delta Bessborough Hotel and experience what it was like for my nose to freeze. We also flew to Edmonton to see Parliament House and visit the famous indoor water park at West Edmonton Mall.

Related posts: Canada, 1997-1998, Canada, 1997, Canada, 1990, Travel rememberings

Canada, 1997-1998

After my European adventures and spending Christmas in England, I decided to go back to Canada for New Year’s Eve.

I went to a big New Year’s Eve party in Vancouver with cousin Jay, his girlfriend Sarah, Geoff from the band and his girlfriend Celina. It was a lonely feeling having no one to kiss as midnight when everyone else was coupled up. I shook hands with a stranger instead- she must have been the only other single girl at the party!

It was snowing in Richmond, so we built a snowman in the backyard and went tobogganing at the school next door that had a big empty sports field- all very novel activities for an Aussie that didn’t grow up with snow. We visited the pretty local Buddhist temple and went back to Steveston.

Jay was training to be a hairdresser at the time, so I let him put in the only streak that has ever been in my hair. It was red and you could barely see it- just the way I like it.

In Vancouver, it was so cold that the dock at Stanley Park froze over. I went back to Vancouver Aquarium with Jay and Sarah and saw the killer whales. I also went to see the steam clock in Gastown again and saw the Chinese New Year show at the Plaza of Nations.

I wanted to get a tattoo, but didn’t know what to get that wasn’t cliché. So I went into downtown Vancouver to get my belly button pierced with my friend Jeanette who already had a tongue piercing. We went to a tattoo parlour which is meant to be better than a hairdresser. They didn’t use anaesthetic, just smelling salts, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, so that was ok.

My uncle took the whole family up the Grouse Mountain Sky Ride for a fancy dinner at the Grouse Nest restaurant. The view of the city as night was awesome. They had lots of wood carvings at the top of the mountain of goats, bears and wolves and we went on a real sleigh ride in the snow.

I went to Mt Baker, just over the border in Washington State, on a skiing trip with cousin Kate. We stayed in a real log cabin (apparently very hard to maintain) and I found out what mono boarding was. On another family skiing trip, we took the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler, seeing Chieftain Rock on the way. We sat in the warm outdoor spa in the cold air and skied Blackcomb.

The last big party before I was due to leave was Arts County Fair at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Bands played all day and I got a souvenir plastic mug for beer refills. There were not enough toilets so we took turns peeing behind a rug and it was the first time I had ever been in a mosh pit- scary stuff!

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Canada, 1997

When my parents gave me a round the world ticket instead of a uni application after school- my first stop was Canada to visit my uncle, aunt and cousins. My cousin Jay had just spent the summer in Australia surfing around the country with his best friend Geoff. We were the same age so it was very easy to mix into each other’s social groups.

I flew in from 35 degree weather in Australia and was driven straight to Big White, Kelowna for a family skiing trip. Why not Whistler? Because Big White’s better, I was told. Having never seen snow before, I was overwhelmed by huge snow banks taller than cars on the side of the road and snow on the fir trees just like I had seen in the movies. I learnt about snow angels and drinking hot toddies.

As I had never skied before it was my cousin Jay’s task to teach me. I was dressed in my aunt’s old and unfashionable full body aqua ski suit, clutching onto Jay’s ski poles as he dragged me down the green run whilst I snow ploughed. It must have been a very amusing site for the toddlers whizzing by who could all ski before they could walk, as most Canadians can.

Back in Richmond, I was sleeping under the pool table this time. Holly the Dalmatian had been replaced by Rover the vicious tabby cat who brought me birds and mice for breakfast. The pool room also doubled as the band practice room for “Public House”. Jay played drums, Geoff played violin, Wayne was on vocals and Chris on guitar.

I became friends with some of the girls, Jeanette, Kim and Dana. We went drinking at “The Keg” and had a bonfire party at the dyke. One day, we went to the beach and a field full of sunflowers.

Revisiting the killer whales at Vancouver Aquarium and the totem poles in Stanley Park was a hi light. I went to Prospect Point with its iconic view over the green Lions Gate Bridge to West Vancouver.

I went driving around town with my cousin Kate who had just gotten her driver’s license. We cruised to Dairy Queen or Tim Horton’s with pop music blaring and a couple of her friends in the back seat. We drove to the family’s holiday land at White Rock and visited the pier.

My cousin Glen introduced me to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which I didn’t like; and Maple Walnut ice cream, which I loved. We flew kites in Stevenson and went to Granville Island.

Glen was training to be a pilot and was getting his flying hours up with small plane trips from Boundary Bay Airport. He took me on a flight to the Gulf Islands. We flew over Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island and saw the point where the Fraser River meets the Strait of Georgia. We had a bird’s eye view of Madeira Park Peninsula at Pender Harbour, Capilano River and the house in Richmond.

Related posts: Canada, 1990, Travel rememberings, The Seven Year Itch, TV replays and Movie marathons, Friendship: Great Expectations?

Canada, 1990

In 1990, we visited my dad’s brother in Canada and my obsession with Vancouver Aquarium began. l fell in love with the sea otters, marvelled at the white beluga whales and was impressed with the killer whale tank that was there at the time.

My uncle and aunt lived in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, BC with their three children and beloved pet- Holly the Dalmatian. My parents and I slept in the brown pop top campervan parked out the front of their house.

I ate lucky charms for the first time for breakfast and my aunt made us bagels with salmon and cream cheese for lunches on our day trips in the family car- a wood panelled station wagon named “The Woody.”

My cousin Jay had a paper route and I remember riding around on a bike following him as he completed his drop.

The first time I realised that people drive on the other side of the road on the other side of the world was when my cousin Kate got on the back of motorbike with my dad who tried to pull out on the main road on the wrong side of the road. They were chased by my yelling uncle, concerned for his daughter’s safety.

Our grandparents visited from England and we all went to Steveston wharf- a cute little fishing village not far from Richmond. On the way back we went to the European village at Fantasy Gardens where my aunt had been an extra in a movie.

One of my favourite parts of Vancouver was Stanley Parkwith its totem poles of different animals carved by First Nations people. We also went to the bizarre steam clock in Gastown. Another favourite to visit was Lynn Canyon suspension bridge.

I first discovered that Canada is famous for its natural wonders when we travelled to Manning Park which is famous for its wildlife and wildflowers. I remember seeing a lot of Canada Geese.

We then went to Whistler out of the ski season where grandpa saw a black bear going through a bin behind a hotel and a ranger had to come and shoot a flare gun to scare him back up the mountain. We caught a cable car to the top of the mountain and saw Shannon Falls on way back to Vancouver on the sea to sky highway.

The ferry trip to Vancouver Island became an adventure in dolphin and killer whale spotting as we made our way through the labyrinth of islands. We landed at the provincial legislative buildings of Victoria and saw a parade with dragons in Chinatown for Chinese New Year.

Lastly, we drove through the Okanagan to Oysoyoos Lake on the US border where my cousins holidayed every summer in their campervan and went on a boat trip on the lake.

Related posts: Travel rememberings, Friendship: Great Expectations?