No, I’m not looking through rose-colored glasses. Even with an iPhone lens, British Columbia really does look this wonderful in the summertime. Flowers frolic in the sun and shadowy woods with sun-dappled trees beckon hikers.
We visited Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia this summer.
By car, the distance from Jacksonville, FL is 3118 miles.
We flew to Canada via Chicago and changed planes in Houston on the return trip.
Canada is a foreign country, so we did carry passports.
But because Canadians speak English and are friendly and polite, we felt right at home.
That’s our trip in a nutshell. We encountered a rainbow of colors and languages even in places not necessarily tourist attractions. Conversations in Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and French wafted through splendidly cool air morning and evening. Afternoon Celsius temps sometimes translated to what would be high 80s in the States.
Our impressions in 10 points:
- Grocery stores catered to a diverse population.
- A courteous call for shoppers to coral their buggies in parking lots.
Shop owners promoted kindness and smiles.
- British Columbians preserve nature, setting aside vast acreage of green space even in cities.
- Canadians obviously value walking. Designated lanes even on major highways honor cyclists. Still, traffic in Vancouver, BC was bear-ish.
We found a personalized sign instructing my husband to walk!
- Homes we stayed in encouraged consideration for others. This house booked through AirBnB posted unmistakable kitchen duties, even providing a stuck-in-the-soil watering can to hydrate the Christmas cactus. I took the hint.
- The Parliament Building in Victoria reflects love for the arts, architecture (neo-Baroque) and wise sayings.
The inscription under the rotunda Splendour sin occasu, from the Latin translates “Splendour without diminishment.” The sun never sets on the British Empire.
- We detected a strong work ethic. These strapping young swains transported travelers rickshaw style to tourist sites, here to the Emily Carr House.
The Emily Carr House
- Victoria’s famed author / artist / naturalist, Emily Carr gives enduring advice on aging well.
- Love endures. So does hatred and jealousy. We get to choose.
Postscript I The American – Canadian exchange rate tilted in our favor. Our $ 64.05 splurge at the Canyon restaurant in Edgemont, BC actually cost us $ 51.24 + tip.
Postscript II At Grouse Mountain, BC, the skies were too hazy for a helicopter ride or hang gliding. Zip-lining was also sidelined because one of us mentioned that it would cost too much to send a body-bag out of a foreign country. Still on our bucket list? All of the above.
Coming next: Grandma Gets a Keepsake
I adore the picture of the children! Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Marian. It looks like you and Cliff had a fabulous time.
I’m glad you enjoyed the travelogue. It felt good to leave town just for fun after several years of making trips for family needs – not a complaint, just an observation. You are an early riser. Thanks for being first responder today, Jill.
Yep…up at 3:45. I should have been a farmer! 🙂
I’ve enjoyed each of your vacation posts! Never been to Canada but British Columbia sounds like a lovely place to start. Hubby & I plan to cruise to Alaska for a second time & Vancouver/Victoria are near Seattle where the big ships board.
Seattle would be a strategic perch point for traveling to British Columbia. Victoria is smaller and easier to navigate than Vancouver but it does involve a ferry ride. You could enjoy mountains, the Capilano Suspension Bridge and hike in Stanley Park in Vancouver. I think an Alaskan cruise would be invigorating. Maybe we’ll put that on our bucket list. Thanks, Lynn.
It looks and sounds like such a wonderful trip, Marian. The photo telling Cliff to walk made me chuckle.
I want to see the hang-gliding and zip-lining photos from the next trip. 😉
Don’t hold your breath, Merril. We have thought of zip-lining but not at 70+ mph, the offer in one of North Vancouver’s parks. We’ll look for something of the gentler variety. By the way, Cliff, not me, wants to go hang-gliding. 🙂
Thanks for your highlights! The photo captioned “love endures” is just darling. Did you see it somewhere? The reminder of what trees do for us certainly should give all of us pause.
P.S. Cliff looks properly bemused by the command. What fun.
P.S. All those flowers: wondering if someone is tasked with deadheading them, or if they don’t need it. I love my flowing petunia baskets but it is a constant job to keep up with them. I won’t be sad when autumn comes.
I snapped the photo of the children in a shop in Edgemont Village near Capilano Park, Vancouver. One of my Facebook readers said she has this same photo framed in her hallway, so I gets it’s ubiquitous. (I couldn’t find an attribution.)
Yes, I have to confess to dead-heading blooms on flower baskets here and there on our walks. Most looked perky though, so I guess the deadly dull job is done after hours especially at shop entrances.
Such fun traveling with you and Cliff! We happen to be on vacation now, so I could show these pictures to six-year-old Owen. We loved trying to figure out how the tree stump turned into a tree and reading the story of the kissing children.
My own favorite was the sign from the Emily Carr house. A definition of jubilación to be sure.
I’m thrilled seeing you in my mind’s eye sharing wisdom with Owen, possibly on your lap, experiencing one of the joys of jubilacion. Yes, I thought of you when I read the Emily Carr quote. I want to showcase her writing and art in a later post. Yes, to twist the context of T. S. Eliot’s words, we want to go out with “a bang, not a whimper.”
A beautiful synopsis of a lovely trip,to our beautiful country and province. We honeymooned in Victoria so it holds a special place in our heart too.
As you may know, Victoria still boasts quaint and charming places for lodging, Linda. We stayed in Burgundy House on Clarence Street in James Bay where well-kept bungalows lined the streets. I wonder where you and Gerry spent your honeymoon. We experienced a few hazy days depending on how the wind blew from further east. I hope the wildfires in your province are gone, gone, gone!
Loved the travel details and glad you had a great trip! Welcome home! We visited Vancouver in 2003. While Hubby climbed Grouse Mountain, Big Guy and I enjoyed a gondola ride up and a walk on the top. We didn’t zipline or hang glide (no thanks) but we did cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge (even Hubby who is scared of heights, though he abandoned us all to do it)! My grocery store has a whole International section (4 lanes) – I never thought about it being unusual. I learned something new! lol
The day was hazy when we visited Grouse Mountain, but we did enjoy a gondola ride. Bravo to your hubby for getting up the nerve to cross the wiggly suspension bridge. Most strode bravely across, but we encountered one woman looking absolutely petrified who was being gently steered across by a whole crew of family members. “Don’t look down, you can make it,” I told her.
Many grocery stores in Jacksonville have “international” aisles too, but not as many categories as offered at Save-On Foods. Here’s to variety!
It was a great time being with my best friend in BC–except perhaps with the pre-recorded screaming sound I heard driving through heavy Vancouver traffic at rush hour. Great time!
Pre-recorded, right! So I’m off the hook.
It’s best to drive through a city of 2.5 million people either blind-folded – or heavily medicated but only if you’re the passenger of course. 🙂
How marvellous it all looks and sounds. I am all for promoting kindness and smiles. What a wonderful world this could be if people only tried that more frequently! I like your 10 points, and number 5 with dish duties is just spot on!
On another note, I recently saw a TV programme about BC and it is said to be one of the most hunted states/counties in Canada. Have you heard anything about that? By the way, I do not believe in ghosts.
If by hunted, you mean haunted, that’s news to me. We didn’t see or hear about haunted houses or specters of any kind during our stay. As far as we could see, British Columbians promoted only their awesome scenery and outdoor venues. Happy travels to you as you continue in your caravan, Fatima.
Sorry, I thought I had typed haunted. I didn’t really believe any of it, but sometimes towns try to promote a bit of tourism that way, especially about Halloween time.
I am not getting notifications on my blog as I used to. Sorry for the delay in my reply. As you know, we are currently on the road and too busy sightseeing, so I don’t spend that much time online.
You are on the road AND take the time to comment even though you are not getting notifications about new postings. I am thrilled and humbled, Fatima.
I am not sure why are you not getting notifications. Every once in a while subscribers have to re-subcribe on my home page to start getting alerts every week. I guess connections get broken: I wish there were something to do on my end. Thanks again, Fatima!
Marian — I loved the photos and your impressions. I laughed at the “CLIFFwalk” sign! What a great time you had.
A good time was had by all, as the saying goes. We hadn’t had a vacation in a long while, so we let loose on this one. Thanks, Laurie!
Welcome to beautiful Canada my friend. It is truly a multi-cultural country and growing, where everybody plays happy. 🙂 Beautiful photos.
In one of my pleasant encounters, a young man detected an American accent and responded by saying, “Oh, you are from down south!” I had not heard that expression before applied to the States as a whole, just a region. He was buying a shower curtain for his 14th floor apartment and worrying a little bit about the elevator or maybe the steps. Funny, since he appeared to be a strapping young man with tons of energy. Perhaps afraid of heights? I think “everybody plays happy” nails it, Debby!
It’s funny how people interpret accents. As a Canadian, I always felt that WE do not have an accent, lol. When I’m in the states and people tell me I have an accent, I always find it so amusing. 🙂
We are tone deaf to our own inflections because they are familiar, I think. Something different-sounding stands out. When I go to Pennsylvania where I grew up, I come back with a lilting rhythm for awhile. Then I go back to speaking English with a southern overlay dialect, so they say.
I have to agree. It’s like my best friend who moved to England 20 years ago, after a few years she was pronouncing words with a British accent. I always remember her saying the word ‘garage’ after she first moved there, pronouncing it ‘gayrage’ . I gave her a light tap on the head as if to say, “What’s the matter with you? Speak English” LOL
So glad you were able to enjoy a vacation in our great country. Since my husband and I have now travelled from the west coast right to the east coast, we have an inkling of how diverse Canada really is. When I attended an international school in Germany as an undergraduate, we all were asked to give a report of our country. When the Russian students heard my report they were amazed at how much Canada resembled Russia. I had never thought of that before, but found it very interesting since I was born in Russia, but grew up in Canada.
You are definitely a citizen of the world, Elfrieda, with roots in Russia and living in Canada now. I believe too you spent time in Paraguay and Africa as well.
Yes, we did enjoy our stay in Canada this time also. We’ve been to Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia once before.
Hello, Elfrieda–is your heritage “German from Russia?” I’m fascinated with that history. My ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side came from a Village near Odessa. I’ve done some research and reading and have discovered such interesting stories! I’m assuming your people were also Germans from Russia–Neufeld doesn’t sound very Russian!
Hi Tracy! My history is long and involved. My ancestors are originally Frisian and from there they went to the Vistula Delta on the invitation of Frederick the Great. After a century and a half, because of Imposed land restrictions and military service requirements many of them, at the Invitation of Catharine the Great, emigrated to the Ukraine. My ancestors are Mennonite. They experienced severe persecution during the Stalin era. I was born just after the Russians defeated Germany and was a few months old when my family fled to Germany, then to Paraguay and to Canada (when I was 9). There you have it. I told you it would be long! Thanks for asking
I think all interesting histories are long! Yours is fascinating. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Tracy, for reading again this blog post and comments. I go “Ouch!” every so often when my memoir beta readers say “This doesn’t fit the narrative arc.”
Of course, I have the final say, but still . . . !
What a wonderful trip! I love Canada and Canadians. We’ll be in Quebec and Montreal in September. I’m really looking forward to it.
I got to practice a little French in Quebec when we visited years ago. British Columbia, as the name implies, has more of an English feel, particularly in street names. I would imagine you’ll enjoy some fall foliage there in September. And then again in Virginia in October. Something to look forward to!
Wow…I love a walk in the woods and that is one of the things I miss..the hot steamy.humid jungle is not quite the same..lol Beautiful pictures Marian, the one which caughht my eye was the shopping trolley park…Here they park their scooters/mopeds with no thought as to how one will get a trolley which they have invariably parked in front of and blocked in…as we say here TIT( This is Thailand)….A lovely post, thank you for sharing Marian 🙂
Is TIT a common expression for habits in Thailand? If so, very unusual – and laughable!
Yes, Marian, very common among the expats and yes it is laughable, I always explain it or someone may think I am being offensive…lol
Perhaps originated by an Englishman with a sense of humor!
I should say indeed , Marian 🙂
Wow – your area is so pretty!
Actually, Florida is my home but would love to live in British Columbia during the summer – low humidity and moderate temperatures usually.
Welcome back (if back?) – I enjoyed the photos of your travels Marian. I love to travel – makes arriving home extra sweet. Have a great weekend 🌸
Yes, we have returned home now. Having had time away from the daily hum-drum, it’s good to return to home sweet home and a regular routine. Traveling is intense; the best souvenirs are the memories. Enjoy your weekend too, Susan.
I enjoyed tagging along with you and your sweet guy through part of your vacation. I’ve never been there, but boy, now I really would like to see the colors, the perspective, the wonderful things that you did. I love the photos you chose to bring us along. Wonderful! xo
We met congenial people, did not listen to the news, and got a fresh perspective. When you visit you can see first hand the many lovely forests and gardens that didn’t make the cut on this post. Thank you, Pam.
“Did not listen to the news” – best part of vacation! ;-0
AMEN to that! 😀
I’m so glad you enjoyed your journey, Marian and Cliff. I’ve never been to BC — only to Quebec and Ontario in Canada, and I love Canadians. Thank you for sharing your memories and photos, so that we can travel vicariously with you. Reality traveling is too intense for us these days, but I am able to stay connected to the Whole Wide World on the World Wide Web, which still simply blows my mind, and puts quite a lot of fun into my homebody life.
Have a great weekend, my friend!
I remember salivating over the destinations, delis, and other shops you described in your memoir Toward Daylight, still on my bookshelf. If travel memories can be stored up for future reminiscences (that’s the point!) then you still have a lot to feast on.
You are right: Online friends have expanded my world too because of shared interests. I’m glad we have this connection. Thank you, Tracy!
Beautiful adventures, sweet stories, and a bow to our admirable neighbor to the north. I’ve loved many trips to Canada but have never been to British Columbia. It makes me happy for you and Cliff that you can have these adventures together. The nail biting part seems inevitable (thanks for describing that, Cliff). It makes a good story afterward, but first you have to survive it. I’m glad you made it home via Houston before so many got stranded there. On to the next adventure…
Yes, it’s true. Cliff has steered us through high-volume traffic in Paris, Rome (egads!), and London (on the opposite side of the road). I am the designated navigator and screamer. He has thanked me for one scream especially when he was admiring reflections on a skyscraper and nearly plowed into an oncoming vehicle.
“But first you have to survive it” – very perceptive, Elaine. You are so good at reading between the lines. 🙂
I have suggested that we drive to the mountains on the next adventure, perhaps North Carolina, and just nest for a week. We’ll see. In the meantime, I do count my blessings, knowing they are precious, our lives so fragile.
Sounds like a wonderful visit, Marian, and you got some great photos. BC is only a half day’s drive for me (about 6 hours to the border). I’m going to have to visit soon. 🙂
Please do, Diana. I put my own slant on things here; otherwise, I could have posted much more scenery. Botanicals lick up those cool temps and low humidity. 🙂