Vancouver and Victoria

Whistler is totally purpose built as a ski and summer sports resort. The station is in the oldest part of Whistler which is the Creek area. Whistler village is at the base of the two mountains. The village itself is pedestrianized. Cars and buses are only allowed on the perimeters.  Whistler village is clean and modern and nicely designed with plenty of hotels, shops and restaurants. We stayed at Delta Whistler Suites which is in the heart of the village so everything you could possibly want is right on the doorstep. If I had more time I would have taken the gondola up to Blackcomb mountain and the peak to peak cable car which goes between Blackcomb mountain and Whistler mountain. There is chairlift down Whistler mountain. This is a new and very popular attraction.

It is lovely to arrive into Vancouver by train as the sight of the affluent homes of West Vancouver, the harbour and Lion Gate Bridge come into view.

Our home for the night was Fairmont Vancouver which is right in the heart of the city near Robson and Burrard Street and not too far to walk to the harbour, Stanley Park, Canada Place and the amazing conference centre which is surrounded by modern art and has grass growing on the sloping roof.
Cruise ships dock right by Canada Place so just a short walk from the most attractive parts of the city. Vancouver is a clean and modern city, it reminds me a little of Sydney, but only does Vancouver have beaches but also Grouse mountain which is high enough to have snow at the top even with temperatures in the thirties.

We took an hour long harbour cruise on a paddle steamer, a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and see not only the sights of the city but also harbour seals and a bald eagle.

We arrived into Victoria by sea on the ferry from Seattle, the catamaran takes around two and a half hours. Victoria is very pretty and our hotel the Empress is a Victorian feature of the city, dominating the Inner Harbour with its ivy covered walls.

Another feature of Vancouver Island are The Butchart Gardens. We were lucky enough to arrive on Saturday when they also laid on a choreographed firework display which is absolutely amazing. On our return into Victoria we stayed in the iconic Empress hotel. Victoria is such a pretty city full of flowers everywhere. The Empress overlooks the inner harbour where you can take a harbour tour, go whale watching, buy objets d’arts from the stallholders or listen to buskers. Close by are the Government buildings. During the day you can enjoy the flowers and at night these are lit up with fairy lights which reflect into the inner harbour. We managed to get a reservation on the seaplane back to Vancouver which was a highlight of our trip. Not just a mode of transport but also a beautiful aerial view of small islands and of Victoria and Vancouver as well.

One of the big highlights of our trip was that we were able to get seats on the seaplane  to Vancouver and this was absolutely amazing. We had a beautiful aerial view of both cities and also many small islands. This also took us conveniently from door to door from the Empress to the Pacific Rim
 
Our home in Vancouver for the last two nights was the Fairmont Pacific Rim, a new hotel built for the Olympics, a modern, state of the art hotel in a great location opposite the harbour and the world’s greenest convention centre. It gets this accolade because of the unique 6 acre grass roof.  We took the 48 hour trolley tour which has two routes, red and blue. The red route goes round Stanley Park which is actually bigger than Central Park In New York so this does take up at least half a day. The biggest attractions inside the park are the Totem Poles, the aquarium, the Rose Garden and Prospect Point.

On our last day in Vancouver we took the blue route which took us to Granville Island, home of the Maritime Museum and Observatory, and at the other end, old warehouses that have been converted into a market and entertainment area

We were very sad to leave Vancouver which is definitely one of my favourite cities

For more information on Western Canada or to book your own package or tailor made tour please contact me

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