Welcome to the first post of my upcoming series about our recent trip to British Columbia.
Arriving in Vancouver
We travelled to Vancouver via Air Transat, a five hour flight from Toronto. If you’re from the area, you have probably been following the news lately about the gong show that is Toronto Pearson International Airport. Out of all my airport experiences around the world, I’d have to say that Toronto Pearson is one of the poorest in terms of organization and efficiency, but things have become exponentially worse there in the past few months as travel has ramped up post-peak pandemic.
Perhaps most of the bottleneck is on the international side, because we luckily had an uneventful domestic departure from Toronto. We arrived two hours prior to our flight and passed through security in minutes. No delay with boarding, and landed in Vancouver as scheduled. Security lines were longer on our return flight, but we were able to get through quickly using our Nexus (Global Entry) priority access — I highly recommend shelling out the $60ish for this. That, and no checked baggage, made for speedy transit.
Off to Squamish
For our first full day in British Columbia, we met up with a couple friends for a day trip to Squamish from Vancouver. Squamish is a small town approximately 60 kilometres from Vancouver, situated at the north end of Howe Sound. It is about an hour drive on the very scenic Sea to Sky highway.
En route, we stopped at Shannon Falls Provincial Park. As per its namesake, the main point of interest here is Shannon Falls, the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia — measuring 335 metres high.
Up on the Sea to Sky gondola
Adjacent to Shannon Falls is the top attraction in Squamish, the Stawamus Chief. This peak towers over 700 metres (2297 feet), making it one of the largest granitic monoliths in the world.
There are several moderate-difficult hikes that take you to three main summit areas. Mr. Chuckles and I were not physically or mentally prepared to hike on this trip, so we opted for a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola. This brought us up 885 metres above sea level, where we captured sweeping views overlooking Howe Sound.
Once at the summit, there are a few easy walking trails and a suspension bridge to explore.
It started to rain shortly after we reached the summit, so we hopped back on the gondola and went down to town for lunch. We had a delicious locally-sourced brunch at Fergie’s Cafe. I recommend their smoked salmon eggs benedict or classic breakfast. There’s often a line here, but you can occupy yourself while waiting for a table by strolling over to Cheekye River to watch for eagles.
Passing through Horseshoe Bay
On the way back to Vancouver, we made a brief stop at Horseshoe Bay. Located in West Vancouver, this community houses about 1000 permanent residents and serves as a link between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island via the BC Ferries terminal. Interestingly, we saw condos for sale here in the range of $1.6 million. That’s Vancouver real estate for ya!
Next up, a little exploring back in the city.