Of course, BC has many other gems than it’s largest city and most popular island, but on our trip we explore these two. This is part 2 of my post about taking the trans-continental train across Canada from Toronto to Victoria with my sister, Monica and my parents. If you didn’t see part one, read it HERE. This part is after we got off the train and enjoy Vancouver (gem 1) and Victoria, BC (gem 2). My brother, Keith, and his wife, Sylva, join us here for a lovely weekend. This post covers Day 7-Day 12 of the trip.
The Tail End of the Trip.. Off the Train : Day 7 – Vancouver (gem 1)
In Vancouver they transported us to our hotel, but it was too early to check in. So we decided to walk the 3/4 mile to Canada place and catch the free shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which wasn’t free but a spectacular BC gem.
We all walked across the bridge and Mom and Dad found a place to sit while Monica and I walked through the treetop adventure. We attended an interesting totem pole lecture. and got a bite to eat for lunch.
After lunch Monica and I we going to walk the “cliff walk”. Dad said he wanted to go so we headed off and were trying to find a place to leave the scooter when Mom announced that she didn’t want to go. Perfect we asked her to wait with the scooter while we went on down a couple flights of stairs, and across the cliff walk, then a little walk through the forest.
Back in Vancouver, we checked into the hotel. That evening we enjoyed the best dinner we had on the trip at the Cactus Club in the harbor. The view was lovely as we watched the sea planes come in and go out. We finally met a few people from our tour as we recognized their “special” Fresh Tracks Menus… interesting.
Day 8 : Ferry to Victoria
At 8:30 am we board a big motor coach that travelled around and picked up a bunch of other people at various stops. 2 hours later, the bus boarded the ferry to Victoria. We really hadn’t anticipated the 2 hour bus ride and didn’t have any breakfast before leaving. So instead, we had a super expensive and marginal lunch on the boat.
Of course the ferry offered a nice ride through the islands. Victoria is definately a southwest Canadian gem. What a refreshing cute town!
Upon arrival in Victoria we dropped our luggage at the hotel, and took off to find the Hop On-Hop Off bus. I usually am a big fan as you can see all the attractions easily in one trip. This one however, was not super exciting. Victoria was having unseasonably hot weather and the bus had no AC. We had planned to take the bus the full way round and then head back to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner. But about half way around we saw a pub calling our name. So we stopped, back tracked on a city bus, and had a nice fish and chips dinner. After dinner we rode the rest of the way around on the Hop On-Hop Off bus. We finished off the evening heading on foot for an ice cream stop in town.
Chocolat Favoris featured 5 kinds of soft serve on a cone with a dozen chocolate dip flavors and lots of toppings if you like. It was pretty decadent. About 1/2 way there Dad was fading, so there happened to be a bicycle Ric-shaw sitting right there so we talked him into giving us a ride up the hill. Fun and special.
Day 9 : Butchart Gardens
A highlight of the trip was Butchart Gardens. Known the world round as a local gem. We were oh-so-mobile with a complementary wheelchair for Dad, the scooter for Mom, and Monica and I to push up and down the hills. The gardens were beautiful and we enjoyed the commentary on the bus trip also.
My brother Keith and his wife, Sylva, were waiting when we returned from the gardens, then we went out for a fabulous Greek Meal before heading to the AirBnB we had rented for the 6 of us.
Day 10 : A day of rest.. Phew!
The next day was all visiting, talking, relaxing and enjoying the nice house we rented. The House was the perfect for us. It had a lovely balcony, 3 bedrooms, and we appreciated just doing nothing for a day. After all our plan was 5 day doing nothing on the train, and somehow.. that was not the result. In retrospect this was one of our favorite days.
Day 11 : High Tea at the Empress (another gem)
This morning we relaxed with our coffee and breakfast at the house again in the morning then took a taxi to town and rode a water cruise up the channel in Victoria on the gorge tour. It was the 6 of us, and 3 other tourists. The breeze was just lovely as we went up the canyon past multimillion dollar vacation homes.
From there is was a walk across the street to the Empress hotel where my brother treated us all to High Tea, for Mother’s Day and Dad’s birthday. What a treat.. mostly to say you have done it.
Scroll on the 360 photo above.
Day 12 : The Final Day
The Transport picked us up at 7:00 to shuttle us to the airport. Keith and Sylva stayed on to vacation for the following week with a friend that lives on Vancouver Island. We travelled ALL day, Victoria to Vancouver, then Vancouver to Denver, arriving at 5 or so, and finally Mom and Dad flew back to Albuquerque and I flew to Salt Lake City, where Mike picked me up to dash me home.
Overall, the trip was a long time coming and quite different than expected. But we are happy to have done it and it will provide memories for years to come!