We continued our journey to Banff today, following or crossing seven rivers. The landscape has changed, it looks more lush and we’ve seen some rapids as well.
It was nice to be able to stand outside from time to time on the viewing platform to take in all the sights and sounds.
The scenery was everything we thought it would be, and more, and we had a very happy day just relaxing and taking it all in. What a great experience!
Friday 27 July: Left Victoria this morning on the car ferry for Vancouver and then we all headed off in the coach for Granville Island.
This is a shopping district under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. It was once an industrial site but today is home to a large farmers market, marina, hotel and various arts theatres and galleries.
Ocean Concrete is the oldest tenant, having started up shop there in 1917 and this is the mural project started on the concrete silos “Giants”.
The farmers market was where we were heading for lunch and shopping and we weren’t disappointed. We couldn’t resist the fruits, some of which we had never seen before, but all were fresh and delicious and we bought enough to snack on for a couple of days. Lots of lovely fish to choose from so we chose salmon for lunch; very nice.
There were lots of artists selling handmade crafts as well as an extensive art shop and I was happy to find a quilt shop where I bought a selection of very nice fabrics with a Canadian theme. At this point I forgot to take any more photos, but we had a very nice day and have found ourselves coming into contact with lots of Australians and some New Zealanders. Most Canadians recognize our accent and are keen to start up a conversation. Very friendly people!
Later in the day we picked up our coach and were taken to the Metropolitan Hotel conveniently located downtown. This will be home for the next three days.
Not very hungry after our lunch, so we thought we would take advantage of “happy hour” and had a drink in the hotel bar. We then progressed to a few more bars and ended up in a great little pub in historical Gastown “Steamworks”; good atmosphere and award-winning craft beers, we managed to get a table with a view and ended the night with pizza and beer. It was an easy walk back as it doesn’t get dark here until about 10.30m.
Thursday 26 July: We visited Chemainus, on Vancouver Island, where the spirit of survival lives on in this beautiful little community. When the sawmill closed down in 1983, threatening to disrupt the lives of families who had depended on the forest industry all their lives, this little town survived and has continued to flourish as an outdoor art gallery for which it has received international acclaim.
Murals by well known artists fill the sides of buildings around the town, celebrating the history of the forest industry and life in a small mill town. There are now 44 murals and 10 sculptures located around the town and we were taken around by horse and cart to see them. At the end of our tour, we were happy to purchase a charming little book “The Chemainus Murals” by The Chemainus Festival of Murals Society as a souvenir of a very enjoyable morning.
We also stopped to see the statue of Terry Fox and later watched his biography in the coach. As well as being Canada’s hero, he is such an inspiration to the world and I felt very touched by his story.
Wednesday, 25 July we visited the Butchart Gardens, a world famous attraction located on Vancouver Island, consisting of 55 acres of gardens open every day of the year. Started in the early 1900’s in a disused quarry, this garden is so inspiring and is still owned by the Butchart family.
We were treated to a lovely buffet breakfast in the restaurant, followed by a leisurely morning exploring these magnificent grounds. A minimum of 50 gardeners tend the grounds increasing to 90 as required. Everything is perfect; not one spent flower or faded leaf to be seen.
The staff in the Plant Identification Centre were very knowledgeable. We saw some plants that we were interested to know more about and by taking some photos on my phone they were able to identify them and let us know if they were suitable for our zone.
Following our trip to South America, I came home with a plan up with to catch up on various crafts – sewing, scrap booking etc. Consequently, on one hand I got a lot done; on the other, I completely lost my writing mojo and this is my first blog for quite some time.
Now I have it back ….. because we are in Canada!
Nice to have a direct flight, from Brisbane to Vancouver. Not so nice the 13-1/2 hour flight. Good thing I can sleep pretty well so don’t have a problem with jet lag.
We are doing a Trafalgar tour with a group of 24, so together we made our way from the airport to the car ferry, heading for Victoria, Vancouver Island, where we spent 3 days in our Worldmark accommodation, very conveniently located, a short walk from Fisherman’s Wharf.
The locals were feeling the heat, with temperatures around 30 degrees, but we thought it was great. Love Victoria, the beautiful buildings, friendly people and hanging baskets of flowers everywhere.
Also it doesn’t get dark until about 10.30pm which was absolutely amazing for us. We can’t even get daylight saving in Queensland, so we thought it was wonderful to be able to walk around town in the evening and watch all the buildings light up.