Canada is a land filled with big things. The mountains, the animals, the houses, the suburban sprawl, the roads, the cars and even the trees are bigger than anywhere else I’ve been. The weather is also more extreme, with lows of minus forty degrees Celsius during winter and thirty degrees plus during the summer. All this largeness and these extremes only make this amazing country even more beautiful.
Lachie and I arrived in to Calgary where we were picked up and delivered to a bed, thank goodness because was asleep on my feet! I’m not known for my ability to deal with time zone changes. The next day we headed to Canmore, on the border of Banff National Park. This would be our base for our stay. A party later and we headed off on a road trip.
Ten hours on ginormous roads later we found ourselves in Vancouver. Vancouver is a cool city with lovely parks and so many trees changing colour (or fall to my Canadian buddies). Gastown has to be my favourite area we visited, full of old buildings and nice cafes. There’s a “market” island called Granville Island too. I’d say the novelty of getting a tiny ferry to the island was more fun than the actual island but, it was a nice day trip.
Soon we headed to Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is the same size as England but in terms of Canadian standards is tiny! The ferry ride is worth every cent. The scenery is spectacular, even shrouded in mist the atmosphere was eerily beautiful. Not to mention a whale came to visit us! And that is why tours of waterways will always be my favourite kind.
Our first stop was Victoria. Victoria has a lovely town centre and a nice port. However my favourite place on our road trip was Tofino. Tofino is a surfy town in the middle of a national park at the end of a peninsula. It boasted multiple forested surf beaches lining the highway. The beaches are long with islands just off the coast or rocky formations close enough to walk to at low tide, making excellent locations to explore. Just make sure you’ve got an eye on the tide!
Tofino brought out my active side, running 5km for the first time in about 6 years and surfing with a 5mm (felt more like 1cm) wetsuit and both a hood and booties! Coming out the water I couldn’t even feel my hands and suddenly I had an awful lot more respect for the locals who surf these breaks all year in the Artic conditions.
Before too soon it was time to head back to the Rockies. I was looking forwards to being dry again! The west coast is very wet! It rained every day we were there! Note to self bring an umbrella.
Soon, may be not soon enough, due to a landslide we were back in Canmore in time for Halloween. I was Black Swan and Lachie was Wayne from Wayne’s world. Nights out in ski towns are always fun and Banff was no exception.
Our final days in Canada were spent viewing mountains and for me tracking down old friends.
I feel I have more to do in Canada and I am sure that soon enough I will return. Canada, you and I have unfinished business.