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Lake Cowichan view from our dock.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Celebration Holiday Tour Part 1 - North Vancouver

Tuesday, July 25

We are also calling this week the "Gondola Tour".

This next week is a holiday for Ray and I to celebrate both of us turning 60. Ray's birthday was in November and I turn 60 tomorrow. We also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary July 2nd. Originally I'd planned to book an Alaskan Cruise, but with Ray's Mum's condition I was worried something would happen while we were on the ship. So .... I booked 3 nights at the Lonsdale Quay Hotel on the water in North Vancouver and then 4 nights at the Cascade Lodge in Whistler Village to explore and give Ray an opportunity to play with his camera. The trip will also avail us to great food.

We left Surrey and made it to North Vancouver by noon. Ray had an appointment scheduled with the Funeral Director at 2:15 where he would meet up with his brother Ryan so we went for lunch at the Raven Pub in North Van and then spent an hour relaxing in Deep Cove to waste time before the meeting. What a lovely spot. I sat and enjoyed people watching and the comings and goings out of the harbour while Ray walked around getting some pictures.

The Raven Pub. My "Selfie" ... I'm not too great at this.
Pictures of Deep Cove, North Vancouver. As a kid, my family visited this area a lot as my grandparents summer home was one cove on the left up Indian Arm. I was there every summer until  I was 12 or so.

Lots of kids in day camp at the clubhouse getting orientated before lauching these kyaks. 

This lady looked ready to "pop" at any moment!

While waiting the last few minutes for Ryan and Paul to show up for the appointment, Ray and I walked the grounds of First Memorial. A beautiful location and very peaceful. Ray's Mum's ashes are to be spread in their rose garden, the same that was done for Ray's Dad in 1986. Seemed fitting for them to be together.

After the appointment we headed to the Lonsdale Quay Hotel. When I'd booked this trip 2 weeks ago, I mentioned we were celebrating, and to our great surprise they upgraded our room to the best suite they have, The Carrie Cates Suite, on the top floor with 180 degree views of Vancouver Harbour. Wow! The room also includes a two person jacuzzi. This room normally goes for $200 more per night than we paid. :) We sure lucked out. Great way to start our weeks adventure.

Look how huge it is!

Two huge yachts moored at the Washington Marine's dock. Our room is to the far right, the top floor with circular glass windows.

Dinner at Pier 7 Restaurant a stroll away from the Hotel

Our room at the top.
Wednesday, July 26
Happy Birthday to me. Ray and I woke up at 6 am watching the changing view out the windows from bed. We left the curtains open purposefully. Two cruise ships came in across to Canada Place, and several freighters were coming in, going out or just readjusting their anchoring positions. Lots to watch.

At 7:30 am we were off to the coffee bar outside the Market for a muffin and coffee. Another lovely warm sunny day. We walked around the Market and did a little scouting outside for good locations to take some pictures. We had lunch on the patio of the Tap and Barrel, located next to Lonsdale Quay.

The Tap and Barrel has the biggest patio in the area and it's plaza is all being upgraded for events. A lovely walk near the water.

After lunch we decided to go do the Capilano Suspension Bridge as the clouds had come in, so taking pictures from the top of Grouse Mountain would not be as nice and best left until tomorrow when the forecast was for much sunnier skies (or so they said, stay tuned to this station).

Ray and I arrived at the park at 1 pm. and managed to find a parking spot quite quickly as someone was leaving. Good thing as the rest of the parking lot looked pretty full. The attraction was packed with tourists. We hardly heard any English spoken.

First up was the Cliff Walk.

At the end of the Cliff Walk you get back up to the top of the ridge and follow a winding path back to the ticket office. Here are some pictures along the way back.

Next we did the Suspension Bridge. It's hard to walk on it with so many people and of course all the kids did their best to rock it. Definitely hard to take pictures but Ray managed to.

Then the Edge Walk which begins on the other side of the suspension bridge.

An example of an old cabin.

We also passed Rapter's Ridge where they had two live birds of prey sitting on the arms of the staff.

The trail from here led us through the Plaza on the way to the Treetops Adventure.

Next the Treetop Exhibit

All of these exhibits required some stairs, but they have it so well designed you go up a little, then walk flat for awhile before going up again so it was not too difficult. Also with so many people in front of us, you had to stop and go like rush hour traffic! lol As it was a warm, muggy afternoon it was nice to be amidst the trees. We spent about 2 hours wandering around. Ray was toasted after this adventure, as we knew he would be, so we booked dinner across the street from the hotel for 6:30 at an Italian restaurant, allowing him to lie down and have a rest for a couple of hours in our room . I convinced him to have a hot jacuzzi for some relief. There was a yoga group doing their thing on the pier below us with their music roaring for an hour which kept us entertained, especially a little girl who was trying to mimic their poses.

Dinner was excellent. Once back in the room, as the sun was setting, I took my turn in the jacuzzi tub watching the view. Ahhhhh, a lovely way to end our day.

Thursday, July 27th

Ray woke bright and early at 4:00 before finally leaving at 5:00 to take some early sunrise pictures. He was back by 5:30 or so and back into bed for another hour. He said he got some good shots though.

Unfortunately a freighter moored right in front of Canada Place for most of our stay, so some of the lights are hidden.

After we were both up, he ran out to get us some coffee and muffins. By 8:30 we were on the road to Grouse Mountain to miss the crowds ... we learned our lesson yesterday, the early bird catches the worm! Unfortunately the clouds were rolling in off the Pacific (remember I said stay tuned?) so we didn't get as good of pictures as hoped. It was cool seeing the two orphan grizzlie bears though.

Up, up we go. Takes 6 minutes to get to the top.

The top of the mountain where most of the restaurants are and where the Grouse Grind terminates.

Climbers reaching the top of the grind.

We followed the trail towards the Grizzley Bear Habitat. There were lots of wood carvings along the path as an "Ode to Loggers and the Wildlife"

The habitat area for the 2 orphan grizzlies is very large. They seem to not be bothered by hoards of people staring at them.

Who is looking at who?
You can get to their newest attraction  via a chairlift called "THE EYE OF THE WIND" from the Grizzley Bear Habitat.
"Inspiring and revolutionary, this is the world’s first and only wind turbine that allows you to stand in a clear glass viewPOD at the top of the tower, three metres from its massive, rotating blades. Stand in awe of 360-degree views as you come face to face with the future of responsible energy."

We opted not to bother as it was $20 more each. Next we walked over to the other side of the peak towards the "Grouse Cut", the ski slope that you can see from downtown Vancouver. Unfortunately the clouds paid havoc again with the pictures.

The Pollination Garden

They also offer helicpoter tours of Vancouver.

The Lions at the head of the Capilano Reservoir

After walking around for an hour or so it was time to go back down the mountain. Good thing we came up early ... look at the crowd of kids waiting to go up. They have quite a few kids camps at the top of the mountain. They also have a birds in motion exhibit but we did not stay for the show.

This is only 1/3 of the total group of kids! The mountain will be crawling in orange!

Once down the mountain we stopped at the Cleveland Dam and Capilano Reservoir for a quick walk about.

Once down the mountain we headed to the Pemberton Station Neighbourhood Pub for a bite to eat. Today wings were on special, they were pretty good. It definitely was the place "where everyone knew your name". The building was formally a train station.

Back home to the suite by 1 pm to have a rest from all of our walking so Ray is able to go out for dinner tonight. Not hard to do with the view of the water! We were starved by 5 pm so walked to the nearby sushi restaurant and then went across the street for some icecream for dessert. Another lovely day.

And so concludes our North Vancouver adventures. Tomorrow we move to Whistler.


  1. Wow...you guys packed a lot in in a short time! Quite the room you had. I wonder what the load limit is for the suspension bridge. Glad your having a blast, you guys deserve a good break!

    1. Thanks guys. Having a blast. Unfortunately Ray is on his extra strength pain meds as our pace is way too fast for his body, but he said he would not trade the experiences for the world!

  2. I want to say, you did a beautiful job with all of this. I am so over joyed to see and read your blog. Thank you for taking us on a wonderful trip! Your pictures are so wonderful too. what a blast you had, and congratulations on your anniversary and coming of age 60. :) I am age 58. Thank you, and I look forward to traveling with you some more.