Two weeks in Canada

Two weeks in Canada had been in the planning for over a year. Trying to organise a family get together and find dates that suited  everyone was tricky but in August this year we finally managed it. We had planned a week in Vancouver, followed by a week in Whistler. The first week was to spend time with family and the second was more of a holiday.

When we arrived in Vancouver they were in the middle of wild fires. You could tell as there was smoke everywhere. The mountain views that you can normally see from the airport were hidden in thick clouds of smoke, but we were determined not to let it dampen our spirits and to make the most whilst we were there.

Having arrived in the evening our body clocks were taking some getting used to the time distance, so my eldest and I decided to go for a run around the block. Just to familiarise ourselves. We stumbled upon a local park and it was just beautiful. Worth the early morning start, we didn't see any bears though!

Once everyone had woken up and had breakfast we were off for the first of many planned activities, a trip to Stanley Park. There is just so much to do in Stanley Park, we could have spent the majority of our week there and still had plenty left to do. I love to stand in the park surrounded by the huge trees and look across the water to see the huge skyscrapers of the city, it is such a contrast.

Stanley Park will now forever hold a special place because it was the place where my Grandma met her Great Grandchildren for the very first time. 

We decided upon a family visit to Vancouver Aquarium, which is situated within the park, as it was something for the children to do and something they could do with their Great Grandma too. The aquarium is lovely with some many exhibits. 

Little Man took great pleasure in pointing out all the fish to his Grandad and the girls would not leave their Great Grandmas side. It was lovely watching everyone bond and the girls getting to know their Great Grandma.

After our aquarium visit we wanted to make the most of the day and so took a tour of the park on a horse drawn carriage. I would highly recommend this tour. We learnt so much about the history of the park, the children loved it and the horses seem to be enjoying themselves too.

Granville island was the destination for our second day. It was incredibly busy with cars, yet didn't seem busy with people. The area is a large market which sells every single type of food you can imagine, and probably some you cannot. We had planned on buying food and having a picnic but we basically ate our way around the market and was so stuffed we didn't want any lunch. 

Granville island also has a free splash park. There are two sections to the water park one for the younger children, which Little Man loved and then one for the older children which the girls had loads of fun playing in. There was also a water slide which the girls really enjoyed.

We shopped, ate and played our way around Granville island. We went for a walk to see what else we could find and discovered a pirate boat. Unfortunately we had missed the last sailing as the tour sounded fantastic. I guess it is something to add to the list for next time.

An early morning start to visit Capilano suspension bridge. We arrived early to avoid the queue for the bridge and we had no waiting at all. I am absolutely petrified of both heights and bridges so this was a huge challenge for me. It was worth it though as the views were fantastic.

There was plenty to do from woodland walks to high tree top adventure. The girls also took part in a Forest adventure where they had to find clues hidden in the forest and answer questions. We learned about black squirrels some of whom tried to hit us with pine cones they threw from the tops of the trees.

The suspension bridge and sky walk terrified me but it was still good to experience them. I had to conquer another fear and that's cable cars, I absolutely hate them too. The family however were not keen on the hike up Grouse mountain and so cable car it was.

The top was fantastic though. Unfortunately the views were limited due to the smoke pollution but I could have stood and watched Coola and Grinder all day. They had such fantastic characters, I may still look at the bear cams to see what they are up to.

We watched the lumberjack show twice, the girls really enjoyed it and I had no complaints watching it a second time either. Highly recommend watching both shows were slightly different. 

There is also a bird of prey show which we arrived a little late for so were stood at the back. I would recommend getting there early if you do want to watch it as we struggled to see. What we did see though was really good.

Before leaving we had dinner in the restaurant which had the most amazing views, just a shame about all the smoke.

A Saturday morning parkrun fix was on the cards too, we located one close to were we were staying and it would have been rude not to. A great course which my youngest did over half and my eldest completed with me. Everyone was really friendly and super welcoming. 

Canada has so many amazing places to explore. There are loads of trails and hikes, and I love it for its outdoor lifestyle. I had seen Lynn Canyon Country park and we headed over there for the day.

The park is free, and we spent all day exploring. Loads of great walks and hikes. We even took a picnic and had lunch in the woods. Our hike took us to some fresh water streams and lakes. The water was freezing cold. People were jumping in from the cliffs above. Little Man loved the water, splashing in it and playing with the pebbles. The girls trying to brave up the courage to swim in the water. It was simply the perfect day.

It was the end of our first week and time to say goodbye to family and move on to our next adventure in Whistler. To break up the journey from Vancouver to Whistler we decided to stop on the way. With no real plan of where, just whatever we saw on our route. Around lunch time we passed Lighthouse park and so decided to stop and stretch our legs and have another picnic.

We sat on the rocks and watched the boats pass by. You could imagine on a clear day the view would be absolutely fantastic. There were lots of routes you could take through the park and even one leading to a beach, instead we stayed on the rocks and took a good look at the views. There were lots of old army barracks to explore too which were really fascinating to look around.

During our travels we stumbled across the BC mining museum so we decided to take a look inside. It broke up the journey even more and gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs.

As part of the museum you get to experience a tour underground. Little Man loved this as he got to go on a train!

The mine was used to mine for copper in the mountain and it was really interesting to hear the process involved. I struggled to get the girls and Little Man away from the sifting for treasure part of the mine. This is where all the waste product from the copper mine, it looks like sand, is placed in water and you use sieves to filter the sand. The girls found some gold flakes, fools gold and even some precious gems. Whatever you find you get to keep too, which they thought was amazing!

The museum was amazing and I am so glad we stumbled upon it. Not only did we learn loads but it was so hands on and family friendly. The girls would love to visit again.

We arrived in Whistler around dinner time and after checking in we headed out for something to eat. Whilst Whistler might be better known for Winter sports and Winter Olympics it is just as much fun in the summer. There is so much to explore and see.

We handed the car back once we arrived in Whistler as we did not need it. Instead we made the most of exploring the local walking trails. There are so many all over Whistler. In the winter I think they are used as cross country skiing. The views and scenery are just amazing. 

Our week consisted of walking, exploring the forests and watching the skateboarders. Having picnics and making the most of the outdoors.

We hired bikes and rode along the trails around Whistler. Exploring the lakes and discovering lots of parks to play in in the nearby area. 

There are plenty of areas dedicated to the Olympics and whilst we didn't go to visit the Olympic experience we certainly never felt we missed out. I would like to visit again when the girls are bigger and experience the bob sleigh and see the park but we were happy this time just exploring.

If I could I would move near to Whistler. I love the outdoor lifestyle, I love how much there is to explore and I simply loved we spent all of our time outside. Whistler is just beautiful.

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