Exploring Vancouver with Di

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Em Then Now When

I figured while I'm curled up on the couch sick (again, for like the twelve thousandth time this year) I should dig through some of the (very few) photos that Diana and I took on our trip to Vancouver this past weekend.

When Di found out she and her boyfriend Robbert would be heading to Canada this winter she excitedly told me and we started planning a long weekend together before they continued their trip across the country. I was able to take a couple of days off work and landed a sweet flight out of Orange County just a couple of weeks before takeoff. (Again, I cannot get over how cheap it is to fly on this coast!) I dusted off my passport, packed my carry-on, and took off to British Columbia last Thursday afternoon.

Vancouver was an interesting city that we repeatedly tried to define during our visit. There were three times as many tall buildings as in Downtown LA, but the feeling was that of a small city like Charlotte, North Carolina, or maybe even Salt Lake City. Everything seemed modern, clean, and trendy, from the local eateries to the public transit. True to the stereotype of the Pacific Northwest, it rained the entire time we were there and a thick fog hid the tops of buildings and obscured our views of everything across the bay.

A truly international city, every sort of language and accent could be heard in crowded areas. A favorite feature of mine was the sneaky slip of a British-accented word into seemingly accent-less sentences by the locals. I also loved that French was a second language there and was included on everything.

Another thing I loved was the exchange rate! The Canadian dollar was equal to between $0.80 and $0.81 USD while we were there, which was an immediate 20% discount on everything. My favorite (and most necessary) purchase were a pair of Aldo rainboots, which were worth every cent after sloshing around through puddles in my ankle booties for an entire morning.

Our hotel in Coal Harbor, The Pennacle, was conveniently located within walking distance of everything we wanted to explore. We wandered a few blocks south to Robson Street, and a few blocks east to Gastown several times. A short bus trip dropped us off on Granville Island, a peninsula across the river full of farmers markets and other little shops owned by local artisans, and a tiny ferry took us back across to Yaletown where we were able to catch the train back to the waterfront.





Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Em Then Now When



Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Em Then Now When
Di... is this blurry pic the only one we took together, really!? We have to do better next time! ha!

Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Em Then Now When

Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Em Then Now When

We did a lot of walking and ate a lot of great food. Here are some of the places we visited that I highly suggest should you make it to Vancouver:
  • Cafe Medina: (780 Richards St) A trendy little breakfast spot with fresh fare, tasty waffels, and a great vanilla latte.
  • Catch 122 Cafe Bistro (122 W Hastings St) Another great breakfast place with hearty house-cured bacon and everything else a southerner would want to start their day... plus beans, because England.
  • Tap & Barrel (1055 Canada Place) Tasty burgers and brews... or in my case, a crisp hard cider with grilled cheese and tomato bisque... yum!
  • Bella Gelateria (1001 W Cordova St) A local Canadian gelato place that even beat Italian gelato in Florentine competitions... the hazelnut was incredible!
  • Lee's Donuts of Granville Island (1689 Johnston St) Need I say more?
  • The Mill Marine Bistro (1199 W Cordova St) A waterfront eatery with a really good pulled pork sandwich.
I would definitely like to revisit Vancouver, especially during a time of year when the weather is better. I've heard September is really nice. I'd really like to visit Stanley Park and take in some of those gorgeous Northwestern views I've heard so much about!

Unfortunately, we only took photos with our phones because of the weight of our actual cameras and because of the weather. Time for a new (smaller) DSLR!

A video posted by EmS (@embusyliving) on

6 comments:

  1. Awesome pics. It reminds me of the bigger cities in The Netherlands. They have a very similar vibe to what you describe.

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  2. Thanks! Yes, I've visited Utrecht and I can see how it had the same feel... large but small at the same time. Hope you're doing better!!

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  3. Canada seems like such a beautiful country to visit. Both its large cities as its nature appeal to me. Your friend is one lucky lady to be able to travel across it! I always had the idea that there was no place cheaper to shop than the USA, haha. The Euro-Dollar rate is almost always in my advantage 20-30% when I order from stores like J.Crew. Love that! xo

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    1. I know! She is having a blast and the photos she's Whatsapping me are amazing! I would really like to visit Toronto and Montreal now, maybe whenever we find ourselves on the East coast again!

      Yes on the Euros. Those numbers look so inciting, but they're high price in disguise! Di got an even bigger sale than me in Canada! (She's Dutch)

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  4. to be honest, i haven't thought of vancouver as a vacation spot before, but now i want to go!

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    1. You really should! I never really considered it either, but I'm glad I went. I guess one reason I never really considered it is the lack of a "thing," you know? There's no Statue of Liberty, boardwalk, or something like that that you've heard about and just HAVE to go see. But it was really enjoyable; very quiet, take-your-time, chill kind of place.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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