About British Columbia
The interior of BC is every bit as spectacular as the Rocky Mountains to the East and the Pacific and Coast Mountains to the West. Don’t just drive through on the Trans-Canada (Hwy-1) or Hwy-3 – the real attractions lie in the two north-south routes. The Easternmost of these goes through the Kootenay region, an idyllic assortment of mountains and lakes and peaceful towns from the grand Glacier and Revelstoke national parks all the way south to the US border near the attractive old mining town (and skiing and biking haven) of Rossland. Roughly parallel to the west, the next major highway system travels along the arid Okanagan Valley: a Californian-like enclave of orchards, vineyards, warm lakes and resort towns, whose beaches and scorching summers draw hordes of holidaymakers from all over Canada and the western US. Kamloops is the Okanagan’s northern gateway. It’s also on the doorstep of the laidback Shuswap region (an area of lakes and rivers) and the magnificent Wells Gray Provincial Park, a remote collection of exceptional waterfalls and perfect canoeing lakes.
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Imagine a city with an island smack bang in the center of it. What if I tell you that the island has a fascinating history as well as the youthful buzz about it? Granville Island is all that and much more. Arguably the epicenter for Vancouver's culinary enthusiasm, you must walk around the market for flavors of fresh fruits, local cheese, maple syrup and handmade chocolate. Anyone spending a weekend in Vancouver must visit this iconic location. If you’re into collecting souvenirs, consider dropping a few dollars on handmade soaps, paintings or silk scarves. Cap day one of the weekend in Vancouver guzzling beer at the Granville Island Brewing!
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Kick start your weekend in Vancouver by visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The park is one of this city’s gems and an absolute must-visit. Beautiful Kia’palano totem poles with stories about British Colombia's First Nations people and their connection to the natural world welcome you to the park.
The Vancouver Lookout Tower is the one of the tallest structures in Vancouver and probably the most famous landmark in the city. Situated atop the Harbour Centre, the tower is 168 m high and gives you a chance to witness Vancouver’s myriad landscapes from a vantage point.Opened in 1977, the elevator whisks you skyward in about 40 seconds. From the top, you will get to see several of Vancouver’s historic areas such as Gastown, Stanley Park and the Olympic Peninsula Mountains. The admission ticket is valid all day and you must check out the views during the day as well as the night. Vancouver Lookout is the perfect way to cap your weekend in Vancouver.
It’s bit of a Vancouver thing to have restaurants tucked away in alleyways, often without any prominent signage. Thanks to its large Asian population, Vancouver is home to some of the best oriental cuisine found anywhere in the world. With their emphasis on mild flavors and fresh ingredients, it would be sin to not feast on steaming pots of Pho, award-winning sushi and yummy dumplings. Try fitting New Town Restaurant in Chinatown in your 2 day Vancouver itinerary.
FlyOver Canada is a spellbinding flight simulation ride that has no equal. The unforgettable ride takes you across Canada’s diverse landscapes and sceneries. The experience is also a technological marvel for having replicated an actual flying experience, complete with an impressive 4-storey spherical screen, wind, scents, and mist! FlyOver Canada’s audio-visual show is also a fantastic way of getting introduced to Canada’s history and culture.Open seven days a week, 10 AM - 9 PM. CAD 22 Entry fee, 10% discount if booked online.
Storm Crow Alehouse
Sci-fi geeks and board game lovers swarm this bar, where Han Solo is part of the décor and only sci-fi and fantasy movies are played on televisions. Pick a game\ or a book from their huge collection and sip on a locally-brewed beer—this place is your fantasy. stormcrowalehouse.com
We find that Coast has a decent wine list including a variety served by the glass. Jeremy assures us that fine wines are easily procured for the more discerning diner. Meantime, we regular diners plump for a sweet round and clean Californian White Zinfandel (RM39) and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with notes of lime and pepper, which proves a good choice with fish (RM40). In presentation, Chicken Terrine (from the set menu) echoes the underwater theme; a black sea anemone sits among coral tendrils. We delight in the fine moist texture, the chicken flavour full but subtle. It’s a memorable dish.Fettuccine Pasta bursts with the Mediterranean flavours of black olives, semi dried tomato, garden basil and Parmesan shavings. Capers give a zing to the dish, which is slippery and tasty and soon devoured by Jeremy (after we've had our fare spoonful). Pan fried sea bass is elegantly presented with the lemon beurre blanc served separately, by far my preference with fish. Cutting through the crispy skin reveals moist flakes with a good dense flavour. One of the best-cooked pieces of fish I’ve eaten in Malaysia, and the lemon sauce delicate and light. Delicious.
Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park
Upon arrival at Myra-Bellevue we had a decision to make, pull into the first park entrance (West) or deal with the dirt road for a few more kilometers to access the second entrance (East). We opted for the East entrance, only because I vaguely recalled a recommendation in my pre-trip research. This worked well as there are numerous wooden trestles immediately upon entering the trail from this end. The East parking lot is also quite large, making it the best bet for peak-season summer visitors. In the end either entrance will get you into the park, so it’s not something to really worry about too much. Don’t panic if you see the entrance signs and don’t know what to do, either option will get you to your goal. With numerous trestles, tunnels, and some incredible views of Kelowna and the surrounding hillside, the park is incredibly scenic and there is always something to grab your attention. For me, the dry, desert sections of the trail felt like I was pedaling through the Wild West, and the wooden trestles only elevated this sensation. In August 2003, lightning sparked a fire in the nearby mountainside. The fire grew rapidly in strength and size and engulfed many portions of the Kettle Valley Railway between Penticton and McCulloch Lake. When the fire was extinguished over a month later, 12 of the 18 trestles within Myra Canyon were lost, as well as countless homes in the area. The B.C provincial government announced that it would rebuild the damaged and destroyed trestles and bridges, a process that took the better part of a year and saw additional safety improvements undertaken as well. The trestles have since been completed and the trail is fully open to the public. Despite the reconstruction evidence of the fire is still visible, with many badly charred trees still standing, slowly being overtaken by new growth along the forest floor.
Downtown Vancouver is home to two of Canada’s National Historic Sites – Gastown and Chinatown. Gastown is known as the birthplace of Vancouver and is home to some of the city’s liveliest markets and boutiques. There are plenty of diners and galleries to make winding through picturesque cobblestone lanes worthwhile. If you’re keen on shopping, you will find West Coast Native Art to tourist wares and everything in between.
The second most populous island of Canada and the largest Pacific Island, Vancouver island is quirky and colorful. The views of the ocean and islands are gorgeous, you might even see Killer whales (Orcas) on the way. Victoria, the Capital of British Colombia is situated on this island and is quite an interesting city itself. It is a nice, small city with gardens, restaurants, museums and parks, with a dash of England. Getting to the island on the ferry is quite a wonderful ride. Whale watching is a popular activity on Vancouver island and Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet and Telegraph Cove make good bases. The island also has great hiking: the incredible seascapes of the unmissable Pacific Rim National Park, the mountainous vastness of Strathcona Provincial Park, and the popular West Coast Trail are all highlights.