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I see a lot of SA'ers are from the Vancouver BC area.  I and the family (wife and 3 kids 12,13, and 16) are heading to Vancouver on March 31st for a week.  

We are are going up to Whistler for 2 days of skiing on Thursday and Friday and then driving back for our flight home on the 7th.

For the first 4 days we are staying in downtown Vancouver.  I've been there twice for business and fell really liked it but have only explored downtown.  We plan a day in in the city, a day trip to Victoria, and want to check out some of the hikes/suspension bridges in North Vancouver.

Does anyone have recommendation for other things to be sure to do or see?  We have an "open" day and/or could be convinced to change things up.

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A day trip to Victoria? I assume you're planning to take the ferry there and back? If so, I think trying to do that in one day, especially with 3 children, is impractical. You definitely want to include Victoria in your itinerary, the ferry ride alone is great, but grab a hotel there for the night and make it 2 days.

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in victoria,  the butterfly garden was nice,  Beuachart Gardens is a must,  downtown High Tea at the empress for the wife..  trip out to the redwood forests is good..    for you the schooner brewpub on the outskirts..   haven't been to the aquarium but they have one..  museum of natural history was very good...      too bad they decided to bring cruise ships into victoria..

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1 hour ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

in victoria,  the butterfly garden was nice,  Beuachart Gardens is a must,  downtown High Tea at the empress for the wife..  trip out to the redwood forests is good..    for you the schooner brewpub on the outskirts..   haven't been to the aquarium but they have one..  museum of natural history was very good...      too bad they decided to bring cruise ships into victoria..

Agreed, one day with two ferry trips does not make sense for Victoria. You'd spend the day traveling with an hour downtown in between. The ferry ride is great, lots of beautiful scenery and a chance at seeing orcas. Two days is minimum, more if you want to check out up-island for the giant cedars.

That's "Butchart Gardens", but close. Wonderful place, especially in midsummer; still lots to see there in transition/shoulder season. High tea at the Empress is not cheap, some of the smaller places like James Bay Tea Room have high tea at much more rational prices.

The aquarium is in Sidney and I was amazed how little they had there. I thought I was in the entryway and discovered I was at the end.

The Royal BC Museum downtown is superb and right in the middle of the Inner Harbour experience, it's also right next to the Empress. Four or five blocks south and you are on the Dallas Road waterfront, always a nice walk if the weather is clement. The Ogden Point breakwater at one end of Dallas Road is a great walk out into the ocean, plus the cafe at the inboard end is pretty decent.

Gotta go, more if I think of it.

 

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Thanks for the thoughts on Victoria.  I was under the impression there was also a faster ferry (1hr.).  We were thinking of taking a seaplane either there or back.

Yes some time on Granville for the kids is a good idea.  

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Don't go near the Empress Hotel.

One of the biggest scams on the planet. A shitty hotel with shitty rooms and an overpriced tourist trap everywhere else.

We spent the worst night in a hotel of our lives there years ago.

However, if you are impressed by shabby pretentiousness, don't miss it.

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24 minutes ago, Passport111 said:

Thanks for the thoughts on Victoria.  I was under the impression there was also a faster ferry (1hr.).  We were thinking of taking a seaplane either there or back.

Yes some time on Granville for the kids is a good idea.  

The BC Ferries take 1 1/2 hrs to do the crossing. Add in waiting on the tarmac for a possible sailing wait plus the drive to the ferry and the drive from the ferry to downtown, X2. Sundays and Mondays are the worst, midweek is usually no problem.

Seaplane works well and lots of choices, Helijet way more fun and $. http://helijet.com/scheduled-airline/

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if there's ever a sunny day in vancouver, catch the sunset at English Bay, downtown.   It's worth it.

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Shhhhhhhhhh

Please find and post Pix of Victoria's Secret 

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1 hour ago, couchsurfer said:

if there's ever a sunny day in vancouver, catch the sunset at English Bay, downtown.   It's worth it.

From the bar at the Sylvia hotel

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3 hours ago, Passport111 said:

Thanks for the thoughts on Victoria.  I was under the impression there was also a faster ferry (1hr.).  We were thinking of taking a seaplane either there or back.

Yes some time on Granville for the kids is a good idea.  

Yes the seaplane is an excellent way to get a good look at the area,  on a sunny day it would be awesome. Well worth the trip.

Just a wander around Victoria is great too, lots of little shops and cool buildings. 

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In Victoria we have stayed at the Empress Hotel a few times and enjoyed it.  The Maritime Museum is great.  The exhibits include Tilikum (Voss) and Trekka (Guzzwell).

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Blue Water Grill and the Town Lift.  Your welcome.

 

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Not spring break,  and only Vancouver-adjacent , but today I booked 5 nights at the Dogwood Campground in Surrey, sort of a placeholder for a few vancouver days after two weeks in Orcas and then Vancouver Island (Ucluelet).    We've had good luck in the past with funky local campgrounds, particularly Carnation, east of Seattle, and will be ready for the amenities of decent showers etc and good location for day trips. Is Surrey cute or just basic Canadian suburbia with big parks every few miles?   We do plan on going into the city for a couple of our days there and will be watching this thread, so thanks. 

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1 hour ago, Keith said:

 

Just a wander around Victoria is great too, lots of little shops and cool buildings. 

yeah, wife and found a hole in the wall sushi place in "japan town" , went back years later when I accompied my dad on a cruise, sadly it was gone.  freshest sushi I ever had..

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1) The free suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon park, North Vancouver. Good for thrills for teenagers. Lots of hiking in the park. Avoid if really raining. It's not called a rain forest for nothing. Then drive up to the top of Cleveland Dam and look over the spillway. 

(The Capilano Suspension bridge is a bit higher but not anywhere near free!) 

2) +1 to Granville Island. 3 hrs free parking and then you get a ticket 5 mins later. Lee's Donuts - the Honey Dipped. Smoked salmon for snackies.
Have lunch there. Enjoy all the little shops there. Lots of artsy stuff to see and buy. Buy snacks for later. Avoid seagulls which steal your lunch if you go outside not paying attention.

3) From Granville Island dock take one of the False Creek Ferries up the creek for an inexpensive water view of all downtown Peninsula. Or rent a kayak from Ecomarine on Granville Island and paddle it yourself. Keep within the Creek unless it is calm or you know how to kayak.

4) Denman & Georgia Street have about 4 or more bike shops renting bikes. (Both regular and e-bikes). IF it is not raining: Rent a bike each and bike around Stanley Park. 1-2 hrs.

5) Aquarium in Stanley Park is decent, but no whales anymore. Good exhibits of BC coast fishies.

6) Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Truly excellent exhibits of First Nations cultures in BC, amazing building, and lots of other indigenous cultures around the world.

7) Whistler: Audain Art Museum. Pretty new, admission is FREE for <18. Amazing collection of Emily Carr art (look her up). If you have time after skiing. Really worthwhile.

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10 hours ago, Owen said:

Not spring break,  and only Vancouver-adjacent , but today I booked 5 nights at the Dogwood Campground in Surrey, sort of a placeholder for a few vancouver days after two weeks in Orcas and then Vancouver Island (Ucluelet).    We've had good luck in the past with funky local campgrounds, particularly Carnation, east of Seattle, and will be ready for the amenities of decent showers etc and good location for day trips. Is Surrey cute or just basic Canadian suburbia with big parks every few miles?   We do plan on going into the city for a couple of our days there and will be watching this thread, so thanks. 

:lol:

What do you call a 18 year old boy in a suit from surrey?  the defendant. badump bump.

 

I haven't been through there in a long while so it may have changed but Surrey is a huge area and used to be mostly bush interspersed with trailer parks and Monster Houses.  So it used to be a huge park with housing scattered every few miles.

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Ha!  I wiki'd it this morning and gather as well that the scent of curry is strong in Surrey.  We will be camping, tent trailer, two teen daughters and two poodle mutts, so I wanted to ensure that we have at least something lined up. I saw that there's a beautiful riverfront campground...somewhere, but it's not reserve-able.  Tips for alternatives are welcome.

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13 hours ago, valis said:

In Victoria we have stayed at the Empress Hotel a few times and enjoyed it.  The Maritime Museum is great.  The exhibits include Tilikum (Voss) and Trekka (Guzzwell).

The Maritime Museum is a faint shadow of its former self. No full-size boats on display, two rooms of models and pictures. Very sad.

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1 hour ago, Owen said:

Ha!  I wiki'd it this morning and gather as well that the scent of curry is strong in Surrey.  We will be camping, tent trailer, two teen daughters and two poodle mutts, so I wanted to ensure that we have at least something lined up. I saw that there's a beautiful riverfront campground...somewhere, but it's not reserve-able.  Tips for alternatives are welcome.

When I lived in Vancouver we had a joke about Surrey 

What's the difference between Surrey and yogurt??

Yogurt has culture 

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1 hour ago, Owen said:

Ha!  I wiki'd it this morning and gather as well that the scent of curry is strong in Surrey.  We will be camping, tent trailer, two teen daughters and two poodle mutts, so I wanted to ensure that we have at least something lined up. I saw that there's a beautiful riverfront campground...somewhere, but it's not reserve-able.  Tips for alternatives are welcome.

The south asian community loved surrey because they could build big houses for multigenerational households.  the humble potato  is a feature of many ethnic cuisines but NOBODY does the potato better than the Indians.

It may be instructive however that no SAers who actually live in the lower mainland are chiming in here!

 

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I have a Japanese friend who says sushi in Vancouver is the best in world if you find the right place. Not sure about best but it is not hard to find great sushi places. now that "The Only " is gone I can't recommend another great fish restaurant.   

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13 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

yeah, wife and found a hole in the wall sushi place in "japan town" , went back years later when I accompied my dad on a cruise, sadly it was gone.  freshest sushi I ever had..

If you like it fresh Ikizukuri is the way to go, the freshest sashimi possible.

 

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I live in Vancouver :).  Sushi is great in Vancouver. So is all Asian food. The population of the city of Vancouver itself is about 40%+ Asian (south asian, japanese, vietnam, korean, indonesian, chinese, malaysian, etc.) heritage. And what do new immigrants keep doing when they arrive? The less well off ones open a restaurant, with their own cuisine in the starring role.

We also have some French people who we allow to open restaurants sometimes, because they know their food. Being polite Canadians, we mostly put up with their rudeness. But sometimes we fire them :)

https://jezebel.com/a-french-waiter-got-fired-for-being-rude-and-is-now-sui-1824111394

Yes, Surrey has a lot of folks from India, Pakistan etc. Also SE Asians who have relatives in Fiji. When we visited Fiji and said to taxi drivers (Indian heritage) that we were from Vancouver EVERY ONE said they a relative in Surrey !

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46 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I live in Vancouver :).  Sushi is great in Vancouver. So is all Asian food. The population of the city of Vancouver itself is about 40%+ Asian (south asian, japanese, vietnam, korean, indonesian, chinese, malaysian, etc.) heritage. And what do new immigrants keep doing when they arrive? The less well off ones open a restaurant, with their own cuisine in the starring role.

We also have some French people who we allow to open restaurants sometimes, because they know their food. Being polite Canadians, we mostly put up with their rudeness. But sometimes we fire them :)

https://jezebel.com/a-french-waiter-got-fired-for-being-rude-and-is-now-sui-1824111394

Yes, Surrey has a lot of folks from India, Pakistan etc. Also SE Asians who have relatives in Fiji. When we visited Fiji and said to taxi drivers (Indian heritage) that we were from Vancouver EVERY ONE said they a relative in Surrey !

that's hilarious!

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5 hours ago, Owen said:

Ha!  I wiki'd it this morning and gather as well that the scent of curry is strong in Surrey.  We will be camping, tent trailer, two teen daughters and two poodle mutts, so I wanted to ensure that we have at least something lined up. I saw that there's a beautiful riverfront campground...somewhere, but it's not reserve-able.  Tips for alternatives are welcome.

...hmmm, be sure to bring a large tarp, so you can camp in some dry space.  :mellow:

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Oh, we're july 11-16, so should be close to o.k., but yes we're weatherproof.  I just jumped on the spring break thread, which would probably feature some more interesting weather.  Of course I just jinxed it...

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If you were there a few days earlier you could do Canada day in Surrey/Whiterock and July 4 in Blaine or Point Roberts! Woohoo!

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16 minutes ago, chester said:

If you were there a few days earlier you could do Canada day in Surrey/Whiterock and July 4 in Blaine or Point Roberts! Woohoo!

On the slight chance they would survive Surrey?

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12 hours ago, chester said:

:lol:

What do you call a 18 year old boy in a suit from surrey?  the defendant. badump bump.

A Surrey Tux - lumberjack shirt with a down vest, greasy jeans, heavy boots and a Cat hat.

A Surrey Limo - a rusty pickup with no brakes.

What's the first thing a Surrey girl says in the morning?

"Call me a cab".

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On 3/28/2018 at 4:25 PM, Passport111 said:

Thanks for the thoughts on Victoria.  I was under the impression there was also a faster ferry (1hr.).  We were thinking of taking a seaplane either there or back.

Yes some time on Granville for the kids is a good idea.  

The fast ferry (V2V Empress) is actually 3 hours each way as it leaves from downtown Vancouver.  And cost is comparable to the seaplane (45 min), leaving from the same place.

The Maritime Museum in Vancouver has the St. Roch which is cool.

If you were here tomorrow morning, you could watch the start of Southern Straits...

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If you want skiing, there are several local mountains within half an hour of Vancouver which are (I believe) significantly cheaper than Whistler.

 

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13 hours ago, Ishmael said:

The Maritime Museum is a faint shadow of its former self. No full-size boats on display, two rooms of models and pictures. Very sad.

Bummer.  I knew they had moved, but the website still shows all the cool stuff they used to have.  I didn't realize that they had gutted it.

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All, thanks again for the great info!!  Will be there in about 40 hours.

Will things be shut down Easter Sunday?  That will be our first full day.  Perhaps we can do the bikes around the park and walk the city and/or go up to the bridges in N. Vancouver.

I missed Surrey in my recent business trips (Langley and Richmond) but think I will use the jokes for an area we have that sounds the same.

 

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Lots should be open. Good Friday is a bigger public holiday. Bikes, yes probably at least one of the 4 clustered together will be open, and the Lynn Canyon bridge is just in a park that wouldn't be closed.

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All, thanks again for the great comments.  We had a great time!!  

All over downtown plus a Mobi bike ride around Stanley Park.

Kayaking and both the free and paid suspension bridges in North Vancouver with the tree tour too.  A drive for lunch up in Horseshoe Bay.

A day trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  We used the Tsawwassen to Swartz  BC  Ferry as it was by far the cheapest.  That V2V was like $800-$1200 for a family of five!  The seaplane would have been cool too but again like $1500.  This was all at the V2V office so I'm sure we could have shopped for a better seaplane like we did with the ferry but ran out of time.Victoria isn't so much what we thought it would be but did enjoy the Parliament building etc.  More time would have been good but not exactly sure what we would have set out to see.

Three days in Whistler.  Great time and we lucked out with the weather.  It was Spring skiing but we had decent conditions.  The morning we left it was pouring rain so we got in our runs just in time.

 

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15 minutes ago, Passport111 said:

All, thanks again for the great comments.  We had a great time!!  

All over downtown plus a Mobi bike ride around Stanley Park.

Kayaking and both the free and paid suspension bridges in North Vancouver with the tree tour too.  A drive for lunch up in Horseshoe Bay.

A day trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  We used the Tsawwassen to Swartz  BC  Ferry as it was by far the cheapest.  That V2V was like $800-$1200 for a family of five!  The seaplane would have been cool too but again like $1500.  This was all at the V2V office so I'm sure we could have shopped for a better seaplane like we did with the ferry but ran out of time.Victoria isn't so much what we thought it would be but did enjoy the Parliament building etc.  More time would have been good but not exactly sure what we would have set out to see.

Three days in Whistler.  Great time and we lucked out with the weather.  It was Spring skiing but we had decent conditions.  The morning we left it was pouring rain so we got in our runs just in time.

 

not sure if they do in van.   if they have a Passbook,  you can get ferry discounts.  we ordered two passbooks from seatle before we went and used the discount coupons for the ferries, we saved quite a bit..

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