Canadian West Coast

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love travelling within Canada. It’s such a diverse country filled with beautiful landscapes, coastlines, mountains, prairies and everything in between. My first trip to the west coast certainly did not disappoint! (Check out a map here).

Day 1: Tacofino, Granville Island, Olympic Village
Day 2: Moii Cafe, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Stanley Park and Seawall, Gastown
Day 3: BC Ferry to Victoria, Red Fish Blue Fish, Butchart Gardens, Fisherman’s Wharf, Parliament, Drinks
Day 4: BC Ferry to Vancouver, Kits Beach, Gastown

Day 1: Tacofino, Granville Island, Olympic Village

I arrived in Vancouver around 10 AM and met two friends at the airport. We hopped on the skytrain at the airport to head into the city. On weekdays, you’ll likely need to get a 2-zone ticket (less than $10 CAD) to head into Vancouver but on weekends it’s the same price to travel in all zones ($2.85 CAD per trip or $10 CAD day pass). Our hostel, The Cambie-Gastown, was about a 10 minute walk from the Waterfront station so we went there to drop off our bags and grab some lunch.

1. Tacofino.We stopped at Tacofino for some amazing tacos, based on the recommendation of the front desk employees at the hostel. We split the spreads and chips (guacamole, black bean and salsa) and I got the Pork Ginga and Red Chorizo Tacos. It was just down the street from our hostel but would have been worth a walk!

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2. Granville Island.After lunch, we walked to Granville Island (about 40 minutes) to check out the public market and Granville Island Brewing. We walked down the wrong road and couldn’t find a way to cross the water (False Creek) except by a “water taxi” which cost $5.50 CAD for a roundtrip. So, after enjoying the scenery we hopped on the water taxi to head to the market. The market has a great selection of food, souvenirs, art and more food. After wandering we went to the Granville Island Brewing where we had about an hour wait for the next brewery tour. The restaurant was packed so we went off in search of finding somewhere to have a drink and stopped at Edible Canada. After a quick drink, we wandered back to the brewery for the tour (which cost less than $10 CAD, is a 45 minute guided tour of the small batch brewery and comes with 3 samples). We stayed for a pint afterwards (I enjoyed the Maple Shack Cream Ale) and then went off to meet a friend for dinner.

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Catching the “water taxi” to Granville Island
Three samples from the Granville Island Brewing tour

3. Olympic Village. We went to Tap and Barrel in Olympic Village for dinner. All the food looked amazing and I had the Mac & Cheese & Pulled Bacon. Afterwards, we took a short walk through the village before heading back to the hostel.

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Day 2: Moii Cafe, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Stanley Park and Seawall, Gastown

1. Moii Cafe. We met another friend at Moii Cafe to enjoy crepes for brunch. I got a savoury crepe and was craving a sweet crepe after! But, I decided to save my appetite for another delicious meal later in the day. After brunch we went back to the hostel to figure out our plans for the day – if we were going to stay in Vancouver or head to Victoria for the night. We decided on staying in Vancouver, taking an early ferry the next morning to Victoria and staying the night in Victoria before coming back to Vancouver.

 

2. Capilano Suspension Bridge. Next up was to head to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for the afternoon. There is a free shuttle and you can hop on the bus at Canada Place and pay for your tickets at the park. It’s approximately a 20 minute bus ride to the park and a beautiful drive! For $42 admission, you can cross the suspension bridge, walk through the treetop adventure and along the boardwalk and check out the cliffwalk for amazing views of the bridge. I recommend buying a piece of homemade fudge ($5.50 CAD for one HUGE piece or $20 CAD for 4) and an ice cream ($6 CAD) – both were amazing and made in house. There is also a cute “Trading Post Gift Shop”, live music and a small restaurant serving burgers, hot dogs and fries.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge & Cliffwalk
The amazing fresh fudge in the Travel Lodge

3. Stanley Park. We took the free shuttle from the Capilano Suspension Bridge park to Stanley park (about a 10 minute bus ride). You have to let the driver know you want to stop there or they won’t. We wandered along the seawall enjoying the scenery, tried a japadog (wayyyyy better than it sounds!) and then walked back to the hostel.

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Vancouver Seawall
A Japadog

4. Gastown. We went to Hapa Izakyu for sushi (amazing by the way) and our “roommate” joined us for dinner and drinks after. That’s what I love about staying in a hostel – meeting new people and getting to know about other countries (she was from Australia). We stopped back at the hostel for a drink (the extra spicy caesars are extra spicy!!!) then off to bed for an early morning.

Day 3: BC Ferry to Victoria, Red Fish Blue Fish, Butchart Gardens, Fisherman’s Wharf, Parliament, Drinks

1. BC Ferry to Victoria. We went with BC Ferries to get from Vancouver to Victoria. There were a few options to get to Victoria (a plane or ferry). This package was easy – you catch a coach bus at one of a few designated stops, the coach drives right onto the ferry (no wait), you get off to enjoy the scenery for 1.5 hours then hop back on the ferry to drive into downtown Victoria. It was easy and quick. The line-up for cars was ridiculous (even though visting Victoria would be worth it). There’s a restaurant and shop on the ferry as well. A bus ride costs you $2.50 while a day pass costs $5, so we purchased a day pass and went off to the hotel to drop off our bags.

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Ferry Views from Vancouver to Victoria

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2. Red Fish Blue Fish. This was recommended by one of the friends I went with and is rated number 3 on TripAdvisor for food in Victoria. The fish tacos were literally the best fish tacos I’ve ever had and I can’t imagine having any better. It was about an hour wait but you’re right at the harbour and the line moves pretty quickly (there’s just a lot of people!). It’s 100 % worth the wait.

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The menu at Red Fish Blue Fish

3. Butchart Gardens. Next stop was an hour bus to get up to the Butchart Gardens.We spent about 3 hours at the gardens which was (in my opinion) enough time to see everything and take time taking pictures. I loved everything about it! Spending time in nature is wonderful. THe layout of each garden was beautiful and the colours coordinated well. I grabbed a London Fog gelato ($5) which tastes exactly like a London Fog and perfect on a hot summer day. The gift shop has lots of cute local souvenirs. I especially liked the pressed flower candle holders and coasters. After some wandering, we hopped back on the bus to head to our next stop.

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Butchart Gardens
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Butchart Gardens

4. Fisherman’s Wharf. A cute area with house boats, floating houses and restaurants and a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

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Fisherman’s Wharf
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Fisherman’s Wharf

5. Drinks. We went off in search of a late dinner and stumbled across Nautical Nellie’s for a seafood dinner. Let me say, the food and wine were amazing. Between three of us we split the calamari, mussels, oysters and a plate of seafood linguini and every single bite was amazing. We got there a bit late but they were nice enough to let us sit down and enjoy our meal. Afterwards, we walked off some of the seafood by checking out the Fairmont after which we wandered down by the harbour and came across a movie filming with dogs. We were fascinated by the scene and stuck around for a bit. i’m interested to see if the movie becomes mainstream! We walked y parliament which is beautifully lit for the evening and stopped at The Barb & Banker for a drink and to enjoy great live music. Then it was off to bed!

 

 

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The seriously amazing spread we got at Nautical Nellie’s

Day 4: BC Ferry to Vancouver, Kits Beach, Gastown

1. BC Ferry to Vancouver. We got to sleep in and catch a later ferry to be back in Vancouver for the afternoon.

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2. Kits Beach. We stopped at Meat & Bread for lunch (the grilled cheese is amazing!!!) and took a bus to Kitsilano. We stopped to grab a few Donuts at Luck’s. It was a great relaxing way to end the trip. The two other girls left Saturday night so I met up with a friend who lives in vancouver that evening for drinks in Gastwon.

Meat and Bread grilled cheese
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Lucky’s Donuts
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Kitsilano Beach

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3. Gastown. We went to Diamond to enjoy some cocktails. Their drink menu is organized into “types” such as boozy, refreshing and notorious. It makes it helpful when choosing what to try! We ended the night with a drink at Alibi. What a wonderful way to end the trip!

All in all, it was a wonderful trip filled with great company, amazing food and fun entertainment. Definitely worth a trip to the coast if you can manage it!

What do you think about the activities? Would you head to the west coast?

One thought on “Canadian West Coast

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