British Columbia Interior
City of Vancouver and the surrounding cities
This bustling seaport welcomes cruise ships heading north to Alaska and ports of call to the south. Short of writing a book, it would be difficult to cover everything this world class city has to offer.
Vancouverites are a different breed. They will tell you there is no better place to live on the planet. They stoically preserve their pristine beaches, lush gardens, trails and parks. Rain or shine, you will see the inhabitants of this beautiful city sipping their espressos on every available patio which, as it happens, is on just about every street corner. Don’t be fooled. Vancouverites are a healthy, active and hip bunch but live in the slow lane by choice.
Vancouver is a potpourri of cultures. Stroll through the eclectic neighbourhoods of China Town, Gastown, Yaletown or the West End. Watch the harbour float planes taking guests to the various islands. Take any kind of tour you can think of – photowalks, foodie adventure tours, whale watching, coastal discovery and water adventures. Rent a bike and head for the trails or drive up to Grouse Mountain. Spend a few hours wandering the famous 35-acre Granville Island Public Market, featuring a farmers’ market, day vendors, and artisans.
Venture out and shop along upscale Robson Street, take a nature walk or cycle through Stanley Park, a 405-hectare public park in the very heart of the city and almost completely surrounded by water.
If you head west, you’ll get the chance to step out into space on the Capilano Suspension Bridge or the Cliffwalk in West Vancouver, a city onto itself.
Squamish Sea-to-Sky Gondola | eclectic shops at Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf | the boardwalks of the City of White Rock | antiquing in the numerous secondhand shops in Fort Langley
When visiting the coast and the weather is lovely, it is a must to travel the sea-to-sky highway up to Whister Blackcomb. This delightful pedestrian village is famous for its winter skiing but is perfect for a summer visit: al fresco dining, boutique shops, art galleries, bars, boutique and 5-star luxury hotels. Take the Peak-to-Peak Gondola or book just about any kind of adventure you can think of and explore for a day or two! You may even spot one of Whistler’s 70 bears in residence. (Seaplanes and busses head in and out of Whistler all day if you don’t have a car.)
Four spectacular golf courses | year-round events and festivals | year-round heli ice cave exploration tours | zipline
City of Victoria
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. A charming and walkable city. Start your journey at the harbour and marvel at the magnificent parliament buildings, stop in for traditional high tea at the recently renovated Fairmont Empress Hotel (reservations during high season a must), enchanting boutique hotels, and hidden Bastion Square boasting fine restaurants, cafes and artisan markets and shops. Be careful not to bump into all the tourists snapping photos of the gardens, sailboats, and each other. Victoria is also the home to a couple of castles (open to the public) and one of the world’s premier gardens, The Buchart Gardens, which receives upwards of a million visitors a year. And check out what is showing at the Royal BC Museum with the largest IMAX screen in British Columbia.
The west side of Vancouver Island is adventure and nature at its most exquisite. The small town of Tofino sits at the top of a peninsula within Clayoquot Sound, characterised by wild natural scenery including lakes, inlets, ancient rainforest, and year-round surfing. Stay awhile at the 5-star Wickaninnish Inn situated on spectacular Chesterman Beach to take in whale or storm watching.
Vancouver Island’s inside passage (east side) is where you will find the golf trail and some of the finest (and reasonably priced) courses in Canada. Wonderful accommodation is available all the way up the coast with resorts such as the famous Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort, Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, camping at Parksville, family friendly Qualicum Beach and beyond up to northern fishing lodges. Take a quick break and stop in the enchanting town of Chemainus to wander the antiquity shops and view the town’s famous murals.
I’ve merely scratched the surface. One of the best features of Canada are our citizens. We are a friendly, helpful and downright polite bunch. Come visit us.