Back in June, my Grandma and I traveled across the country and spent a week exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC. I have been meaning to write about our trip, but with a busy summer working at the pool and a crazy fall semester of nursing school…here I am, six months later and I finally having the chance to document our amazing, jam packed trip. People question why I want to travel with my Grandma, but she is honestly the best travel buddy anyone could ask for, 82, yet the most curious and keen adventurer I know.
Day 1 – Flying YYZ to YVR
Our first day was spent flying non-stop Toronto to Vancouver. We could hardly contain our excitement as we flew across the country over the Great Lakes, the Prairies, and finally the Rocky Mountains. Typical to Vancouver, we landed over fog covered ocean and mountains and made our way onto the Skytrain to bring us into the downtown where we were staying at the YWCA. We were very pleased when we arrived to our hotel to find out we would be staying in a corner room on the 12th floor with views of the ocean, mountains, and city streets below.
DAY 2 – False Creek, Granville Public Market, and Gastown
We started our morning off with a walk around a nearby harbour on False Creek, an inlet of the ocean that separates the downtown from the rest of the city. This was my first time ever on a beach of the Pacific Ocean, so needless to say I was pretty excited.
From the harbour, we walked across a bridge to the mainland where we caught an Aquabus to take us to Granville Island. Despite the rainy foggy weather, the boat got us to our destination dry and very efficiently.
The Granville Public Market was a great rainy day activity! Full of vibrant colours, various cultures, and delicious food! Grandma and I spent hours walking around checking out the various vendors and stores and also trying some tasty snacks.
After the market, we headed back downtown to grab some dinner in Gastown. We were already amazed by all the different pockets of the city to explore and appreciated how accessible the city was by foot as well as many forms of public transportation, including ferries, busses, and trains.
Gastown is a beautiful historic area, with gorgeous flower arrangements lining the cobblestone streets. The area has many boutiques and restaurants to check out and is a great place to discover some history about downtown Vancouver.
Day 3 – Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park Seawall
We awoke to a stunning sunrise outside our hotel window, a nice surprise after the previous day of rain. We were clearly still on Toronto time because we were up at 5AM pretty much everyday of our trip.
To fuel the adventures ahead of us, we tried out Revolver, a famous coffee spot in Gastown. Grandma was very confused by the pour-over coffee concept (she claimed her coffee machine was better), but I decided to give their espresso a try and was impressed. The vibe of the shop was very unique and the baristas were super friendly.
After our caffeine fix, we caught the shuttle to North Vancouver to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge. We quickly discovered this to be a VERY touristy spot, but nonetheless very beautiful. We were able to get a glimpse of the luscious rainforests BC has to offer and learn about the aboriginal history of the area.
On our way back into the city, the bus driver was able to drop us off right where we could rent bikes to ride around Stanley Park. Grandma, being the adventuous lady she is, decided she’d be able to ride a bike even though she hadn’t done it in 30 years. Well boy was that scary, seeing Grandma almost fall off the side of the Seawall. I insisted we walk instead, but she decided to just relax on a bench while I went for a good ride. I was absolutely amazed by how gorgeous a park right in the city could be! The bike was a nice relaxing way to get around, as well as to stop to take some photos of the scenery.
I later met up with Grandma and returned my bike, we then ventured back into the park to walk along the beach. We stopped at Third Beach where I decided to have my first ever (very chilly) swim in the Pacific. Grandma was very proud that we walked a good half of the Seawall together to get back to a place where we could catch a bus back to our hotel.
Day 4 – Squamish Sea to Sky Gondola
The following day, we caught a bus that travelled out of Vancouver and along the scenic Highway 99 to Squamish, BC. Once we arrived we took the Sea to Sky Gondola up to the top and were absolutely blown away by the breathtaking views of Howe Sound below. At the top, we enjoyed a nice lunch and a glass of Okanagan valley wine. There were also a few walking trails to explore.
Day 5 – University of British Columbia
Our first stop on campus was the Museum of Anthropology. This was the only museum we visited on our trip. Knowing that Grandma likes to read absolutely every detail, museum trips usually take hours. This museum was particularly interesting, incorporating aboriginal works of art and pieces from ancient civilizations all over the world.
Next we decided to check out Wreck Beach, which after walking down 400+ stairs we quickly discovered was Vancouver’s nude beach. After going for a nice walk down the beach, Grandma was a champ and hiked all the way back up all of those stairs never losing the big smile on her face.
We then went to the botanical gardens, where we explored acres of beautiful flowers and trees right on the university campus.
Day 6 – A Rainy Day in Kitsilano
Grandma and I grabbed a yummy brunch at Jam Cafe on Beatty Street. It was a quirky little place and the food was amazing.
It was a chilly and rainy day, so Grandma decided she could use a day to recover from all the walking, while I ventured to Kitsilano (aka “Kits”), a local neighbourhood. While in Kits I went for a swim in the 137m outdoor pool and relaxed on the beach. I walked along 4th Avenue looking in the shops and going to 49th Parallel, an awesome Van coffee spot, for a latte and donut.
Day 7 – The Grouse Grind
After all of the eating Grandma and I had been doing on our trip, I felt the need for a good workout. So what better than the famous Grouse Grind? I caught the SeaBus downtown and headed to North Van to Grouse Mountain. The trail was killer, only 2.9km, but 2830 stairs up a very steep incline. It took me just over an hour and a lot of sweat, but me and my legs somehow conquered the Grind. I wasn’t able to get a good view of the city from the top because of the rain, but I was just pleased that I had made it up.
Day 8 – Flying YVR to YYZ
Sadly it was time to leave this beautiful place and all of it’s culture, nature, and beauty. I am so grateful that I got the chance to travel to Vancouver with my Grandma and I know I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. ‘Til next time, beautiful BC! 🙂