Vaca Part I: Vancouver

Happy FRIDAY!!

Let’s get this vacation recap rolling! As I mentioned previously I’m going to have to break down these recaps into about three posts since we covered so much ground. Today, I’m going to start off with the Canadian travels: Vancouver Island, Victoria, and Vancouver. Here we go!

We flew into Seattle, rented a car and immediately started our drive up to Canada. After insane traffic due to a five lane highway being brought down to one lane, a missed ferry, having to wait two more hours for the next ferry, arriving in Nanaimo, and driving another 2.5 hours to Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet, BC, and arriving to our hotel by 12:30 am, I was more than ready for bed.

ferry vancouver

vancouver island


Black Rock Resort is an absolutely stunning hotel and I highly recommend it. Check out the views from our room.

vancouver island vancouver island

Not only were the outdoor views fabulous, but the inside was just as great. It was warm and cozy with fireplaces, stone walls, heated floors….I really wanted to just hang out in the hotel a lot of the time! But of course I wanted to get out and explore the area too so that is just what we did.

We sported our raincoats all weekend because as the weather forecast had anticipated, it rained the whole time we were there. Well, about 90% of the time at least. The one time the weather forecast is actually correct, right?!

Anyway, since we knew it was going to rain, we weren’t disappointed about it. We went on a bunch of beautiful hikes and saw some neat looking trees.

vancouver island

vancouver island

The town of Ucluelet is surrounded by water so everywhere we looked there was amazing sights of the Pacific Ocean.

vancouver island  We went to the local aquarium where they showcase local fish and then after a month they release the fish back into the wild. That was a fun thing to do on a rainy afternoon!

We ate some killer food while we were there. The area is all about local and organic food so of course I was in heaven.

Pictured below: the Kokesch Poké bowl and lentil veggie soup from Ukee Juice.   vancouver food

Miso soup, polenta fries, and fish tacos fro Sobo in Tofino. I asked for maple syrup to dip my polenta fries in, and OMG so good. Sweet and salty is my fav!

vancouver island vancouver island

Prosciutto wrapped halibut from Northwoods.

vancouver food

vancouver food

We also had the most fabulous salmon and veggie sushi another night right at the restaurant in our hotel but the room was too dark to take a photo.

We had made reservations to go whale watching on our last full day in Ucluelet, but our plans changed when we received a call from the whale watching group telling us the waters were too rough to go out. The waves were at 21 feet! They said the boat would be able to handle it, but the people wouldn’t. I know in fact that I wouldn’t have been okay on that one. Anyway, instead of whale watching, they offered for us to go bear watching, because we stay in a bay and it is more calm. We were bummed we wouldn’t get to see the whales but we accepted the modified tour! I was still excited to see some bears!

vancouver island

About 20 of us headed out in a decent-sized boat with a few guides. They offered us hot chocolate, coffee, and tea and we all peeled our eyelids back so to be sure not to miss any bears!

Sure enough, within a half hour of boating, we spotted the first bear.

vancouver island

And then another (I think this is a photo of the second one?)…

vancouver island

It was so neat seeing the bears in their natural habitat. They didn’t seem to mind us much gawking at them. The tour guides did say that we had to keep enough distance from them though just in case they get pissed. Apparently they can swim really well and no one wanted a wild bear getting into our boat. No thanks.

On the bear watching tour we also saw a bald eagle, porpoises, an otter, and a salmon farm. It was such a fun experience.

On our last day we decided to take a 4.5 hour car ride over to Victoria, BC to check out the very well-known Butchart Gardens. A friend of mine told me about these gardens and since we didn’t know when we would be back in the area, we decided it would be worth the haul to go see them. Of course, being that it was fall when we went, the gardens weren’t in full bloom, but even still they were absolutely stunning!

vancouver island vancouver island vancouver island

butchart gardens victoria

After our visit to Victoria we hopped back on the ferry with our car (this time we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time in case traffic was bad and we actually made it on the earlier ferry!) and made our way back to the city of Vancouver.

We spent our last night in Canada in the city of Vancouver. We got dinner and I ate the best brussels sprouts of my life and then we walked around the city, found the Vancouver Convention Centre where the Olympic torches were glowing in the night. They weren’t lit on the top but they still changing colors. Gorgeous.

brussels sprouts vancouver vancouver

And then we went to bed. That was the short and sweet version of our time spent in Canada. I fell in love with the country while I was there. Everyone we encountered was so kind, and it felt like everyone just wanted to be at peace with each other (at least where we were at, at least). Put Canada on your bucket list everyone!!

This Post Has 16 Comments

    1. Melanie

      Yes it was pouring when we went there but then the sun came out for a little while! They are so beautiful.

    1. Melanie

      They were polenta and parmesan cheese and that’s all I know. They had served them with caesar dressing but I asked for maple syrup and OH-M-G. I loved them!

  1. Caroline

    That food looks unreal!! Not to mention the scenery!… I could get used to that 🙂 Was that your first time in Canada? I’ve been to Montreal once and loved it. It was so European!
    Caroline recently posted…What I’m loving lately: Friday FavesMy Profile

    1. Melanie

      It was technically my second time to Canada. The first time though we had just canoed in the boundary waters and happened to canoe into Canada. This was my first time on civilized land in Canada. 🙂 Where we were at they spoke only English but everything in the stores was written in both English and French and I loved that! I even took a photo of me holding a couple of boxes of cereal. I’m such a tourist.

  2. Canada is definitely on my places to go list and your post just made me want to go there next week!! Even raining it looks amazing. That ocean, the food!!! Wow. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip. 🙂 HUGS!!!
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…Friday Favorites: 10/11/13My Profile

    1. Melanie

      Yup you pretty much can’t avoid the rain but it doesn’t matter! It’s so worth it!

  3. Tina Sundeen

    I used to live in Seattle and have vacationed in Victoria and Vancouver BC. Such a spectacularly beautiful place! I am happy you got to experience British Columbia, Mel

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