My final week in Canada exploring Vancouver and surrounding areas

So today is very sadly my last day in Canada and it’s safe to say the five weeks I’ve been here have been incredible, in a few hours I’ll be flying off to Hawaii. Over the last week or so since my last post I’ve been visiting various places around Vancouver and exploring more of this amazing place so prepare for a lengthy blog post.

So firstly exactly a week ago was Canada Day! Now before my trip I was expecting parties and boozing etc, however to my pleasant surprise that seems not to be what the locals do here. Most Canadians on Canada day actually go to the great outdoors on vacations, camping, hiking, biking and the sort and the city was actually really quiet. So on the day itself we decided to follow suit and have an outdoorsy day. We went to a place in North Vancouver called Deep Cove and kayaked (in sit on kayaks which you can safely say I was far from a pro at… How I didn’t fall in I have no idea) and then hiked up Quarry Rock. Some other eventual parts of the day were my first sunburn of the trip (completely my fault) and secondly representing my Canadian enthusiasm with a shirt reading the slogan ‘Canada, bring your eh game’ which actually got a positive reception amongst Canadian folk.

Another trip was over to Bowen Island, this was pretty spur of the moment and came from me looking at where the Vancouver ferries go to and spotting one port called ‘snug cove’. Now it wasn’t that snug but it was lovely and we spent the day driving around pretty much all of the island (it’s about 5km long) trying to find hidden spots along the way.

Another day we hiked hike a trail called Dog Mountain which starts at the top of the road going up Mount Seymour, it takes about 3-4 hours round trip and you’re rewarded with incredible views of all of Vancouver and surrounding. For under an hours drive from the centre of the city I would definitely put it on your list! Be prepared for bugs though… I ended up being followed by a few over friendly mosquitos before the realised they weren’t fans of copious amounts of bug spray.

Also on the theme of the great outdoors once again we were lucky enough to borrow the Mantei’s camper van for a couple of days and spent a night camping by Hicks Lake (about an hour drive from Surrey still strongly in BC). We had s’mores by the campfire, swam in the lake, had an explore, got some great photos and even got a chance to mess about recording a few songs by the lake in the evening.

Finally yesterday on my penultimate day we decided to road trip down to Seattle, where I’ve been staying in Surrey is less than half an hour from the US border and the total trip should take 2-3 hours. Unfortunately we encountered a slightly ignorant US border officer who made me go to have further checks because of the ‘squiggly lines’ in my passport (I went to Dubai for a week 4 years ago…). Anyway, after that debacle I rewarded myself with a pint of super American Coke and we got to Seattle just after lunch. 
We went to the original Starbucks, that’s right the first ever and had their signature unique blend. We explored the iconic ‘Public Market Center’ that’s right spelt the American way, and it was actually pretty cool, there’s a wall with an American flag made of gum, loads of mystic Meg fortune tellers, men throwing fish about, machines that for a quarter tell you you’re ‘harmless’ in matters of the heart, retro photo booths that give zero warning when they’re about to take photos, cardboard cutout stores and all sorts of weird and wonderful shops and market stalls all over the place. We also went to the (probably more iconic than the market) space needle and popped into the museum to check it out.

So it’s with great sadness that I leave Canada, and some things I’ve learnt:

– Canadian people do indeed love donuts, Tim Hortons is everywhere and if it closed it would probably cause some sort of national crisis

– Canadian people are indeed as nice as you’d think, if not even more so. I’ve been SO lucky to have met the amazing Mantei family who were kind enough to let me stay in their home for a few weeks, they really made me feel at home and I was able to experience what life is like for real Canadians and see the things tourists don’t see.

– Bears aren’t as common to see as you’d think, and also not as scary. They generally avoid people and just keep themselves to themselves unless you’re in between them and food or they have cubs.

– Mounties are not common at all, I mean yes they do exist but I didn’t see one and apparently it’s more of a ceremonial thing. The police are pretty much all in standard police uniform. The picture above with the bear dressed in Mountie gear minus hat was the closest I got.

– Canada is even more beautiful than you’d think and there are endless places to explore and new things to see in the great outdoors

– Canada has a super cool young prime minister Justin Trudeau who’s super forward thinking, take note USA

– Canadian people love golf, there are courses everywhere, I even played a round myself. 

– Some Canadian people love to watch Coronation Street… it must be like us and Neighbours

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