Our family of six lives in Canada, in the third largest province, the beautiful British Columbia. It’s larger than every US state, except Alaska. Four times the size of Great Britain. Coastal Mountains, Cassiar Mountains, and Columbia Mountains are the three mountain ranges, though driving through, you might think there were many more. So many lakes, so many mountains, so many valleys, islands and canyons.
There is the forested, lost north. The endless trees that continue and continue and continue long into the Yukon.
There are the interior plains of the central, lush Okanagan, where western Canadians frolic and play their summers away.
Semi-arid interior too (yes, feels and looks like a dessert in summer) — the heat enters the 40s, the dryness sucks moisture from the skin, and everyone takes to the rivers and lakes.
We take our beautiful British Columbia home for granted. Because it is where we live. Since it’s not where everyone lives, get your camera ready!
Recently, we travelled to diverse Vancouver. Almost nine hours to the west of us, which is a whole new world, unlike the tiny town in the southwestern Kootenays where we live. Ocean meets mountain expansive vistas in the most populated part of BC: the greater Vancouver area.
My favourite place to visit, which I seem to visit all on my own these last couple years…the Vancouver Art Gallery…
There is art I understand, like the beloved Emily Carr, oil paintings from around our fair province. There is art that reminds me of a teenage girls bedroom, colourful anime, that doesn’t speak to me per se, except that I marvel that from one human is a world of art so unique, and a world of art no one would experience if I were the artist. There is art I would print for my dining room wallpaper or print on placemats, and might possibly already have on a set of china. There are impressionist paintings I wish I could paint, or at least hang on my walls, in them places I would like to visit, or feel as though I already have. The architectural entrance of the Vancouver Art Gallery is stunning enough to draw me to the center of Vancouver every time I go. (And a quiet lunch alone on the gallery café patio also entices).
The kids have had their saturation of highbrow sensibilities. Where they love to go: the Vancouver Aquarium, and we have enjoyed it for years. But bring your savings. This is not an inexpensive visit for a family of six. When you get in, your kids will zoom from presentation to presentation from sea otter to shark to dolphin to big fish to South African penguins, watch the sea urchins & anemones and touch the manta rays.
It’s even a great place for teenagers! Selfies!
And if you’re a homeschool family like us, having scientists do lab experiments for our kids, especially with fire, is enjoyable. Since, we homeschoolers do everything in our kitchens. The Science Center IMAX films are stunning. Borrowed human brains and hearts from UBC to view. Telus Science World, a gorgeous piece of Vancouver architecture, a silver globe sitting atop water. (And selfies with our neighbours from home, the Beaver…can’t get that close on our river at home).
There couldn’t be a more diverse food experience than walking down a city block in Vancouver. Himalayan, Irish, South African, Moroccan, India, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Libyan, French, Burmese, Asian of all sorts, of course, and on and on…right next door to one another. A veritable global village.
You can find whatever you want. Especially fun is eating off the street in hot dog stands and standing in lines at food trucks, sitting on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
We live in a 10,000 person town with remarkable coffee possibilities: Oso Negro, John Ward, Empire, Dominion, Sidewinders, but not a full sized Starbucks. So my teenage girls were excited to visit Starbucks each morning, share their convoluted names with the barista, hoping to confound, and so they did. Starbucks are found on every block in this chronically overcast city. I, on the other hand, found local cafes to sip cappuccinos and write, like this one…
To finish our Vancouver visit, we spent a solid day at the mall. Metropolis Mall, the largest in British Columbia. And though my girls were thrilled to bits, the rest of us were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people searching for stuff. Oh, and we were overwhelmed by the stuff. And that we spent all day shopping.
So I found myself in my favourite place in the whole wide world, a bookstore…
Found in a book are many adventures, but Vancouver is too. Just a few days to explore one of Canada’s largest metro-areas. And we enjoyed every bit.
If you want to learn more about Vancouver visit … https://www.tourismvancouver.com