Canada 2002

We arrived in Vancouver after a very comfortable flight with Air Canada.

Enough leg room for JC and a special menu for me.

I excelled myself this time and managed to fall asleep before we even took off (well, what else are planes for?).

The weather in Vancouver was nothing to write home about - but we had a good time and a good guide for our trip up Grouse mountain and round the city itself.

Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Gardens are both places I wouldn't mind spending more time in at some point in the (near) future.

From Vancouver we moved over to Vancouver Island where we spent most of our time. The main objectives of the holiday include seeing wildlife and getting some fresh air after the London pollution (although our back garden's not bad).

We were lucky enough to spot these lovely creatures at the side of the road as we drove along - the deer were not near the bear! The baby deer seemed to think that if he hid behind the blade of grass we wouldn't be able to see him anymore but we watched them for quite a while before they trotted off.

The bear had a cub (or2?) with her and although we got a picture of the cub, it was a bit blurred.

The deer were in Strathcona Park and the bear on the road out of Tofino.

We spent quite a bit of time on the water and were delighted to see both grey whales (from Tofino) and Orcas (from Victoria). The grey whales were in a grey sea on a grey day so the photos were not particularly wonderful but the orcas were there to be seen.

They were not particularly active - no sky hopping or breaching but a few squirts from the blow holes and plenty of dorsal fins.

In addition to the whales, we saw seals and quite a few bald eagles.

The best day for bald eagle spotting was the day we went mini-rapid riding - this was not what we thought we'd booked in the UK so came as a bit of a shock! The movement in the sea and the standing waves were quite incredible to look at and very wet to go through! This activity was undertaken from Campbell River,the furthest North we ventured.

We also approached the sea from the beach. The picture on the right was our favourite view from any of the hotels we stayed in. This was Tofino on the West side of the island, just by the Pacific Rim National Park (rain forest and beach) so plenty of places to walk and explore.
The starfish was at Parksville - a really good beach for walking about on when the tide was out as there was plenty of wildlife to be found - either feathered or swimming varieties.

Apart from the sea water, there was also quite a few waterfalls to visit together with their rivers. It's hard to believe that gushing torrents can suddenly become calm looking rivers.

The noise at the waterfalls was incredible but at least you knew if you were heading in the right direction!

The scenery was no less spectacular away from the sea and waterfalls with lakes, creeks and rain forests to visit - none of which seemed to be a great distance when you jumped in the car.
The trees above form part of Cathedral Grove in the MacMillan Park - the main types of tree are red cedar, douglas fir and hemlock all of which have a good relationship with each other (as rain forest inhabitants seem to).

Our last few days were spent in Victoria - which is a lovely place. We can definitely recommend Il Terazzo restaurant but book if you want to go - and ask for a table outside in the covered courtyard.

The gardens on the left are Butchart Gardens, the Ross Fountain is in the picture. The rose gardens are quite spectacular as are several other areas within the gardens.

Can't wait to go back!

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