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Vancouver and Vancouver Island Trip

When did we go….

  • Jul 24 – 30, 2019


Why did we go…

  • to visit a long-time buddy in Nanaimo, former industry colleague in Lake Cowichan, a friend of our daughters in Vancouver, and my bride’s cousin in Duncan



How did we get there…

  • drove 5 hours to Vancouver via the Coquihalla highway (traffic entering the city was very sluggish)
  • drove a half-hour from downtown Vancouver to the Tsawassen ferry
  • Tsawassen to Swartz Bay ferry took 1.5 hours
  • drove a half-hour to the Butchart Gardens
  • 1.5-hour drive to from Butchart Gardens to Lake Cowichan (near Youbou)
  • 45-minute drive from Lake Cowichan to Duncan
  • an hour drive from Duncan to our friends place just north of Nanaimo at NW Bay
  • on the return voyage, we drove a half-hour to the Duke Point ferry terminal on the south end of Nanaimo
  • Duke Point to Tsawassen ferry took 2 hours
  • drove 4 hours back to Kelowna



Where did we stay…

  • two nights at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver (on Coal Harbor beside Stanley Park, great location)
  • three nights at our friends place on NW Bay just north of Nanaimo (Hank, Jenn and their two cats Hunter and Jack)


Where did we eat…

  • TurF (lunch on West 4th street in Vancouver, vegan, excellent food)
  • Lift (dinner beside Westin Bayshore, outdoor patio, excellent location and food, terrible service)
  • Water Street Café (lunch in Gastown, fun location to people watch, outdoor patio, good food)
  • Cactus Club (flagship location on Coal Harbor, watched the Stamps beat Ottawa, good food and drink)
  • lunch at our friends place on Lake Cowichan (some great cheeses!!!)
  • Genoa Bay Café (dinner, near Duncan, outdoor patio, marina view, great food)
  • Dingy Dock Pub (lunch, floating restaurant on Protection Island in the Nanaimo bay)
  • Lighthouse Bistro (dinner in Nanaimo, good food, nice location on the harbor)
  • Tidal Tacos (small roadside stand in Qualicum Bay)



What did we do…

  • walked along Coal Harbor enjoying the harbor and mountain views as well as people watching on a gloriously sunny day
  • there are some historic plaques along the Coal Harbor promenade that provide a great history of the city
  • sat by the pool at our hotel and enjoyed the sunshine
  • had drinks both nights in the H Tasting Lounge at our hotel (Westin Bayshore) where we got excellent service from a young Filipino gal named Chiara who compted our drinks after she heard about our terrible service at Lift Restaurant
  • enjoyed a visit with our daughter Leah’s friend Mitch at the Cactus Club where we watched my Stamps down the RedBlacks
  • watched the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in the Olympic Plaza area beside the Cactus Club
  • walked the shops on Water Street then cruised thru Yaletown, down to English Bay to see the A-maze-ing bronze sculptures, coffee at Delaney’s Coffee House and back to the Bayshore (16 km stroll to cover a good part of downtown Vancouver)
  • rode a cruiser bike from our hotel around Stanley Park (great views of the inner and outer harbor and a flat easy ride)
  • viewed the Butchart Gardens just north of Victoria which are a display of spectacular flowers and trees (my parents loved to visit here, and it was my first time)
  • visited with friends at their lake house near Youbou on Lake Cowichan (great to get caught up with like-minded people who share similar passions)
  • visited with Mare’s cousin Laurie and her husband Steve at their picturesque house perched on a hilltop in Duncan followed by dinner on the patio at a café in Genoa Bay (excellent food and great location)
  • one day we drove around Nanoose Bay residential area, walked around Neck Point, a boat tour on our friend’s rig around Newcastle Island and stopped for lunch at a spot on the Island on a dock
  • the next day we walked Rathtrevor Beach (Parksville) at low tide, checked out the sand sculpture competition and market in Parksville, drove up the coast thru all the small towns, walked around the Comox harbor, and finished off with the chainsaw carving competition in Campbell River
  • enjoyed the beautiful sunset view from the property our friends are renting on NW Bay and a beach fire



Interesting facts:

  • Vancouver is comprised of 15 different suburbs (population 2.5 M people) which all have their own unique qualities and is a beautiful city when the sun is shining
  • it is typically ranked as one of the top five most liveable cities in the world and is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada
  • Vancouver Island is only 460 km in length and 100 km wide which makes it relatively easy to explore
  • it has one of the warmest climates in Canada which allows them to grow a diverse range of crops
  • it is the 43rd largest island in the world, Canada’s 11th largest island, and 2nd most populous island



What did we not do that is on the agenda for next time:

  • many things to do in Vancouver that would take a few weeks to accomplish
  • take a Harbor Air seaplane out of Coal Harbor to tour some inland areas
  • spend time exploring in and around Victoria
  • visit Horne Lake Caves near Qualicum Bay
  • explore some of the Islands along the east coast of Vancouver Island


Final thoughts:

  • it’s great to have friends to visit in Vancouver and on the Island to get caught up on life and to share their local knowledge
  • we enjoy the shorter driving trips to see parts of Canada and the U.S. and learn more about the local areas