Vancouver & BC

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by polyglot, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    As per my previous question, I'll be in Canadia shortly. I've managed to get our flights split at Vancouver and will have probably 11 days there at the beginning of September.

    While realising that this is an unanswerable question that will start nearly as many fights as "what is the best developer", what do we go see? I'm not a ski-bunny so Whistler doesn't appeal. Something that looks like Whistler but isn't covered in people might be good, but I'm assuming there won't be much snow yet, or will there?

    We think we'll spend maybe 3-4 days in the city proper as a change of pace from Nova Scotia and then we'd like to book a cheap weekly accommodation somewhere maybe out of the city and use it as a base for a bunch of sightseeing. Should we do that in Vancouver itself and take daytrips from there or are we better off staying somewhere like Kelowna or Nanaimo?
     
  2. h.v.

    h.v. Member

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    It really depends on what you're into and what you're into photographing. Neighbourhoods like Gastown, Strathcona, and the new Olympic Village will have exquisite architecture. The Skytrain might be neat to ride as well. For hustle and bustle or street photography, Robson St, Granville St (including the main part downtown and South Granville in Kits), and Commercial Drive are safe bets. You can get some great city views from False Creek, Stanley Park, Spanish Banks, and from the SeaBus (goes from Downtown Van to North Van). Iconic architecture would mostly be relegated to Canada Place, the flatiron in Gastown, Living Shangri-La, and the Vancouver Public Library. Vancouver Art Gallery might be worth a visit if that's your thing, as would the Harbour Centre for the observaton deck. What else? There's the Capilano Suspension Bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge, Grouse Mountain, and Stanley Park for more nature-y stuff. Vancouver also has a heavy Asian influence, so you might want to check out Chinatown or Richmond.
     
  3. lbenac

    lbenac Member

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    DO you like hiking?
     
  4. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Canadia?
     
  5. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Nanaimo has lots of lovely green spaces, ocean front to rainforest. Gabriola Island and Newcastle Island, are both worth visiting. Gabriola has some fantastic sandstone formations. Nanaimo can be a gateway to the rest of Vancouver Island. After decades here, there are still lots of places I haven't explored yet.

    The biggest problem is getting here from Vancouver. The ferry ride is worth taking, threading through the Gulf Islands. Foot passenger is reasonably priced, but it is a long bus ride from Vancouver to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Taking a vehicle on the ferry is expensive. On the Nanaimo side the ferry arrives in town. You can also fly from downtown Vancouver to downtown Nanaimo. More expensive than the ferry. Very attractive if time is tight - it's a 20 min flight. Bussing from downtown Vancouver to the ferry, and over to Nanaimo is at least 3 hours.

    Would certainly be glad to give some pointers, maybe show you around.

    Do you like hiking?
     
  6. mosport72

    mosport72 Member

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    Vancouver Island

    If you have time get over to Vancouver Island not sure how September weather is I went in early June. You will need to rent a car to get around Victoria is a old English city that is very walkable. The rest of the island west of the major highway that runs north south is very wild and scenic. If you like smoked fish little shop in the west coast town of Tofino is worth the ride also stop at the town of Ucluelet saw my first bald eagle there. They only sell the fish you will need to go to the market up the street to get the fixings then walk down the ferry dock for a picnic table. Store is between market and dock kind of out of the way. If you have a few days to spend take ferry to Nanaimo and base out of there Victoria is about a hour south and most of the rest of the island is north.

    Have a safe trip beautiful area of Canada to visit

    John
     
  7. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    MY wife and I spent three days in VAncouver after an Alaskan Cruise out and back from there. If you have 11 days, you might want to spend 6 of them doing that as the mountains and ocen and scenery are spectacular. You can take helicoptors onto the glaciers or seaplanes into the interior of a days trip off the ship. When we got back to Vancouver, we stayed there for three days. We drove up to Whistler during the summer. Although there's no snow, the landscape is craggy and mountainous along the water. You might get some nice shots along the way. My also drove over to Vancouver Island taking the ferry which is neat. Hit Butchart Gardens which has the most amazing floral displays you'll ever see. The city of Victoria is very pretty on Vancouver Island as well. Good luck and have fun.
     
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    You'll need much more than 3 days to see all of Vancouver! It's not a small city by any standards. Lots of history worth taking in like Canadian First Nations. Vancouver has a big park about this. Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, English Bay, the harbour (at night) and the Icefields Parkway are all worth seeing.
    You may not be a snow bunny, but that does not mean Banff, Whistler and other alpine areas are not worth seeing. Those mountainous areas are huge and a visual spectacle — and high (fancy a bit of altitude sickness?). Take a helicopter trip over Sun Peaks or the glaciers. Anything but sit in a hotel and drink and talk. Bears active around Banff. People are friendly, very friendly.

    Two from this family are at this time on an APT Australia tour of the Rockies and Canada (one month). "Sanitised" for older folk (no walking, cushy beds and 7 days drifing up the Inside Passage) and apparently dripping with luxury and indulgence. So it should at $20,000 a pop... :pouty:
     
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  9. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    thanks for all the replies!

    hv: we'll certainly use that as a starting point for things to see - probably also doing museums etc but can sort that on google. I'm not so much into the street/city photography though. Got any recommendations for excellent+cheap food around chinatown? Vietnamese in particular I suspect I'll be missing badly after 3 weeks in Nova Scotia.

    Yep, we definitely like hiking (typically spent 8+ hours/day walking on previous travels, but that was just 2 of us). Now, we'll have a 13-mo-old girl along who will be in a backpack. That means I'm carrying the child on front (9kg? she's small) and cameras (10kg) on back so won't be doing any huge ascents or distances and probably can't hike in the rain. 5km sections with good rests should be OK; probably 10km if I can share child-carrying duties.

    sly: I think I'll have to PM you. We'll have to look into car rental costs in Nanaimo vs the ferry costs because I really want to see more of the island than just the towns at the south.

    mosport: my wife will be all over the smoked fish :wink:

    AK: we're looking at Alaska, but we don't want to be stuck on a boat for that long. I think we'd rather get an apartment-type thing in Nanaimo and spend a bunch of time driving/walking around the island and getting more personal with the rocks & forests.

    PdJ: we expect to soak up a good 1% of what there is to see, and thoroughly; we have no illusions that a month is enough to cover any one of the places we're going to spend 2 days in. Hotels are for sleeping and storing luggage! I would like to see mountains, but moreso if there's white stuff.
     
  10. lbenac

    lbenac Member

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    Go to Phnom Phem in China Town, best beef salad rolls in town, bo-lu-lac and garlic prawns....

    Ha a man to my heart.
    Rent a car in Vancouver, rent a room with kitchen in Whistler (it is low season so good rates) i.e. Blackcomb a little outside of the hubbub and go hiking from there. Just make a stop in the village for a cold one on the way back.
    I can recommend Brandywine Meadows/Glacier (outside of the more popular Garibaldi park with Black Tusk:smile: ) nice and quiet. Toward Pemberton I do like Joffre Lakes and of course a little bit more popular the whole Garibaldi provincial park. I have a few out of the beaten tracks hikes but require a 4x4 and knowing well the places. It is worth taking 3 or 4 days there.

    Tofino is totally worth it. Should consider also Denman and Hornby Islands on the way North and there are a few more pass Campbell river. Maybe a stop in Comox and going up Mount Washington. Strachona park is beautiful and wild but more backpacking so likely out.

    What about oysters? look for Little Wings and Kushi a delight.

    Well that should pretty much take care of the 11 days before you even realize it.
    ps: in Vancouver hike Mount Seymour nice easy and beautiful views.


    Cheers,

    Luc
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    September is wonderful around here - the weather often seems designed to frustrate the kids who have to return to school.

    In the greater Vancouver area alone there are hundreds of opportunities for hiking - from the North Shore mountains through the Fraser Valley and all the various waterfront areas.

    The ferries to the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island aren't inexpensive, but if you aren't commuting frequently they are well worth it.

    You shouldn't hesitate to contact us locals ahead of time - for a meet up and some showing around.

    And if you like trees and forests ...:whistling:
     

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  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    About a week back by phone I was told of "heaps and heaps" of snow at Whistler and Banff, and "kids are riding mountain bikes down the steep slopes of snow...brave or stupid...". If you like snow, Alberta still has lots of it despite the devasting floods elsewhere e.g. Calgary.
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If Whistler already has snow, then I ought to be set! I think there will need to be a daytrip to that Garibaldi/Brandywine area.

    Tofino is also looking very good but given the 3 hour drive from Nanaimo I guess we'll need a night or two there.

    Nanaimo meetup?
     
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  15. moto-uno

    moto-uno Subscriber

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    Don't worry about spending time at Tofino,if you're not careful you could easily spend all your time there!!
    Some fine dining to be had there also.
    Peter
     
  16. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    Tofino would defnately require an overnight stay. It is pricey, and crowded even off-season, a victim of it's success and popularity. Whistler is the same. (My opinion, I prefer to be more solitary.)
    I always prefer when I travel to avoid the spots that ALL the tourists go to and find smaller, but still fascinating locales, so I'm going to suggest other options.
    An alternate plan could be to go partway across the Island. There is a wildlife rescue centre in Errington - see eagles, bears, racoons, deer... whatever has needed care. Englishman River Park has a large, noisy waterfall that disappears into a crack, and good trails. Goats on the Roof Market in Coombs is a popular spot. The smoked salmon there is my favorite. Lots of other delicacies. A number of other funky shops, a parrot refuge, and a butterfly garden are nearby. Little Qualicum Falls Park has a number of beautiful cascades, and more trails. I think I like it even better than Englishman River. A bit further along is Cameron Lake, more of a picnic spot, but the highway driving along the shore is quite scenic. At the end of the lake is Cathedral Grove, the only spot on the mid-island with old growth trees. Trails and photo opportunities. If you keep going, over a mountain pass, you'll come to Port Alberni, which has McLean Mill, a forestry museum well worth seeing, that you get to by riding a steam train. Port Alberni is about an hour and a half from Nanaimo, if you drive fast and don't stop, but even a few of my suggested stops would make it into a day trip.
    If you want to get to the west side of the Island you could stay overnight in or near Port Alberni (Sproat Lake, say), and take the Lady Rose in the morning. It is a freighter/passenger boat that travels down the Alberni inlet to Bamfield. I've taken it a few times, and have seen bears on the shore turning over rocks looking for crabs every time. Bamfield is a tiny fishing village, perched on an inlet. You can stay a few hours and take the boat back the same day, or stay overnight and return the next day. Bamfield doesn't have the sandy beaches and surfing that Tofino does, but because the road to it is pretty bad, it is not crowded or so overpriced.
    Sorry to go on for so long, I love my home and am glad to share my experience and opinions. Hope I get to see you in September.
     
  17. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    It's not that Whistler already has snow, it STILL has snow. It will be melting. Whether there will be any left in September will depend on the weather over the summer. I don't think the ski season there starts until late November or December, but I'm not a ski-er.
     
  18. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Thankyou very much sly; I will have to go mark all this out on a map and start arguing with Management about itineraries. Definitely if something is cheaper and less-trafficked then that is appealing.
     
  19. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    If you are heading over to Victoria consider a short ferry ride to Port Angeles (U.S.) and drive up Hurricane Ridge. Best in clear weather for spectacular views.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you have the $, you can ski year round at Whistler. Helicopters are involved.
     
  21. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    Except for the $20,000, that sounds great. What's wrong with cushy, luxury and indulgence?
     
  22. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Perhaps, Alan, consider that a great many people in the world do not have the money for a $1.00 bowl of rice for the day. Or money for electricity, gas or many other essentials we take for granted. There are many stark and sad contrasts. Spending $20k (I'm told it's now closer to $30,000 "with classy entertainment, food and drinks") on a junket is offensive to me actually.

    Is Polyglot backpacking from one place to the other, or boltholing for a few days then moving on to the next place of interest?
     
  23. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The current totally-vague plan is to spend a couple of days in Vancouver-proper for the family, a daytrip to Garibaldi or Pemberton kind of area then get cheap weekly accommodation in Nanaimo and travel from there: mostly daytrips, maybe an overnight somewhere on the west coast.

    Due to other issues, it's now looking slightly iffy. I'll know more for certain if/when the travel booking is actually approved which should be later this week.
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Aiiiiieeee! Due to some political stupidity at work, I'm not going to be able to have the holiday I thought I was.

    Still doing all the Halifax stuff, but I won't have my family along and will get probably only 3 nights in Vancouver instead of 11.

    So maybe one night in the mountains (Brandywine/Garibaldi/Pemberton somewhere) and two nights in Nanaimo or something. Got some prioritising to do.
     
  25. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Well, I guess it's better than nothing, and with no family means INDEPENDENCE!! You're going to have to seriously priorities work time vs photography time in such a small timeframe. I hope you get something memorable. I would still fight tooth and nail to get 11 days there! :smile:
     
  26. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Oh, I will still have 3 weekends in Halifax dedicated to photography, in between work. And the 3 days in YVR will be ALL photography ALL the time. So I'm still going to get about 10 days to myself to give the RZ a really good workout and as you say, no interruptions and no feeling guilty for that one more stop. Won't get to see any of Vancouver City though, I reckon it'll be straight into the hire car and up the mountains.

    Specific-question time. Is there somewhere I can stay in the mountains (Brandywine to Pemberton) wherein I could get into the car for a few minutes then walk up to a nice big mountainous lake and be there for dawn? I will be alone but with good lighting and shoes and stuff; obviously I want to minimise the distance I need to walk in the dark and the risk of falls.
     
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