It was so good to be back in BC for a few days! I’ve definitely missed my mountains (and of course the people here too). It was definitely a weird dynamic, however, to be a tourist in the place I so recently called home. I stayed with my former roommates, so I was in my old apartment without being able to call it my own. I did find some of my food still in the cabinets that I was able to cook though so that was nice ;P I had a great time being a tourist though! I was able to catch up with friends and do some fun things in the Lower Mainland.
Day One – Fort Langley
My first day in town I headed down to Fort Langley to catch up with one of my good friends, Tiani, whom I went to college with in the UK. Fort Langley was always one of our favourite places to go since it’s just up the road from Trinity. It’s a cute little town with lots of great coffee shops and little boutiques. It’s a great place to hang out!
When Tiani and I arrived there was a Shakespeare in the Park version of Taming of the Shrew about to start, but we didn’t end up sticking around for it. Instead we went to a park near the eponymous fort. There we had a small picnic and played bocce ball. It was my first time playing and I was pretty bad.
Day Two – North Vancouver
North across the river from Vancouver is a city named North Vancouver (crazy how they come up with these things!). My friend and now host Nathalie’s family was visiting from the East Coast and were staying with family friends in North Van, so I decided to tag along on their family outing this day.
We went for a short hike in a cute little area called Deep Cove which is a small town right on the water. Our hike took us to Quarry Rock which overlooks the area. It was less than 4 km round trip but had a decent view at the end and some interesting up and down. Definitely a great beginner hike for anyone coming to the area!
The view from Quarry Rock
After our hike, we lunched at a small cafe in Deep Cove and then headed back to the family friend’s home. It was fun just sitting around her deck and listening to stories of her and Nathalie’s mom and their shenanigans. I hope I have good stories with good friends to entertain the young some day.
Day Three – Canada Day
This was my first Canada Day in Canada! Last year, even though I stayed in BC for the summer, I spent the first week in July in Oklahoma for Ada Connection, our every five year family reunion, so I missed Canada Day. I was definitely excited to celebrate it.
A group of us headed out on public transport and headed over to the Lonsdale Quay first. There, we hit the group of food trucks and musical groups that were set up there. There were also some markets we browsed through for free samples. Lonsdale Quay has the best view of downtown Vancouver, so it was a great place to take pictures. I actually handed my camera off to my friend Ryan and he took most of the pictures from today.
Downtown Vancouver as seen from Lonsdale Quay
Next we went to the Canada Day parade in downtown. It was so cool! Not only did it feature your standard parade fares such as police officers, firefighters, local businesses, dancers, etc. it also had various cultural groups in their respective traditional dress doing dances or other things representative of their home culture. For example there were Chinese groups with paper dragons and Afghani dancers and many Latin Americans. All of them also waved Canadian flags and often shouted things like “We love Canada!”. It was really cool to see a celebration of multiculturalism, just showing that Canadians come from all kinds of backgrounds and becoming a Canadian doesn’t mean giving up your native culture and practices. It was definitely a nice reprieve from all of the xenophobia that seems to be pervading the world today.
After the parade we headed out to Stanley Park to find a good spot to watch the fireworks. There were quite a bit of people out so spots filled up fast. We found a great place to watch though looking straight at Canada Place. Unfortunately for us, the fireworks were being shot off somewhere else so they were partially blocked by a tree… But oh well it wasn’t that big of deal. After the fireworks, we headed back home and hung out there for a while longer.
Day Four – Movie Day
Today was a lowkey day of recovery and watching lots of movies. It was good to catch up with friends though!
Day Five – Bye Bye 😦
On Sunday I took the bus down to Seattle to fly out of SeaTac. I’ve taken this bus a fair number of times so I’m pretty used to it by now. It definitely felt like a bookend to my time spent in Canada, since the first time I arrived I flew into SeaTac and then took the bus up. I’m definitely glad I got to spend these past few days in Canada. I feel like I got more closure than my rushed exit from the country in May.