Recently, my parents and I went on a trip to British Columbia. As my parents lived there for a few years (I was even born there!) and we haven’t been back since I was five, this vacation was very long-awaited.
Day 1: Flight Day
We left the Toronto Pearson Airport around 8 p.m., and arrived at about 10 P.M. Pacific Time. The family friends we were staying with picked us up at the airport, and whatever was left of the night was spent talking and catching up.
Day 2: Settling In
The next day was a lazy day of sorts; all of us were feeling a little off from the flight and my mother had some work to do, so we didn’t do much sight-seeing that day (unless Costco counts).
Day 3: Steveston
This was our first real “travel” day. We left around late morning for Steveston, a quaint fishing village south of Vancouver. The town is also used as the town of Storybrooke, Maine in the TV show Once Upon A Time. Though I’m not a huge fan of the show—I used to watch it when I was younger, but haven’t for a couple years—it was still pretty cool seeing all the places I’ve seen on TV.
Seriously, guys. I could live in this town forever (if it wasn’t so expensive).
After that, we grabbed some frozen yogurt and stopped off in Richmond to watch water planes land at Vancouver International Water Airport, which turned out to be a lot busier than any of us thought it would be. (Huh. Who’d-a-thunk?)
Day 4: UBC, Kitsilano and Granville Island
We started off the next morning by travelling to UBC. Just driving in is amazing—the trees of the Endowment lands are gorgeous and more than a little inspiring. Hell, the entire campus was amazing. But somehow, Acadia Beach was even better.
Okay, it’s not an actual beach, and it’s certainly not Wreck Beach—in fact, there was no one on it, let alone any naked people on it—but to me, it was even better than a regular beach. Because it wasn’t used like the other beaches, it was more pristine, more natural.
Next stop: Kits, where my parents used to live.
The best way to describe Kitsilano is that it may just be one of the most hipster places in Vancouver. I’m not trying to knock the place, but that’s how it is. It’s vibrant, quirky, and probably the perfect area for 20-somethings to grow up in.
Most of our time in Kits was a memory-lane tour by my parents. We went down to Spanish Banks, one of the busiest beaches I’ve ever come across, and then Kits Beach, the place where my tiny (still tiny, honestly) feet first touched grass.
Even the tiny little apartment they used to share, which now looks like it’s about to fall apart. (But hey! Not all things can get better with age.)
Finally, our last stop of the day was Granville Island.
Okay, I reiterate my previous statement. Granville Island is the most hipster place in all Vancouver, and intrinsically so—the entire Marketplace is full of small stalls, most of them taken up by hand-crafted jewellery or homemade deserts. There was a massive stall dedicated to 20 different kinds of soups. We even passed a macaron store that sold lavender and dulce de leche macarons. Iced cappuccinos cost $6.
The truth is, though, for all I’m slandering it, Granville Island might be one of the coolest places on the planet, and I loved it.
Day 5: Stanley Park and Downtown Vancouver
Our day started off with a visit to Stanley Park.
We started out by the Brockton Point lighthouse and slowly made our way forward. Now, I’ve seen a few spectacular water-related landmarks, but this might be one of my favourites.
Onwards into the forest!
Next on our list was Prospect Point.
And though I’m not a morning person by any means, the view was more than nice enough to get up for.
After Prospect Point, we continued on into the depths of Stanley Park until we found our final goal: the Hollow Tree.
To sum up a long story quickly: when my parents asked me what I wanted to see when we were first planning our trip, the first thing out of my mouth was Stanley Park (the second may or may not have been where the filmed the City of Light scenes in THE 100). The last time we visited roughly 12 years ago, we went to Stanley Park, and though I don’t remember much, I remember stepping inside the Hollow Tree and feeling a sense of awe.
Stepping inside the tree again gave me the same sense of awe.
The tree was a tighter fit than I remember it being (though I have admittedly grown at least a foot since then). Regardless, it was still pretty cool.
I think one of my favourite things about the Tree is that when you go inside, you can see all these marks from people who’ve been in it before. I’m not a fan of vandalism, but something about all the initials and words scrawled across the inside of the tree seemed different somehow. Like a history of all previous occupants.
(Yeah, yeah, I know: I’m a nerd. Deal with it.)
After we finished up in Stanley Park, my parents and I went to Downtown Vancouver to look around. My mom wanted to see the Olympic Torch as well as the Vancouver sign, and though the Vancouver City sign remained elusive, we did manage to find the Torch.
It’s official, guys: I’m moving here. No one can stop me. (You know, except university and also probably my parents.)
The next part, featuring Victoria, Sooke and more downtown Vancouver can be found here.