Dear Aussie friends,
Happy Canada Day! Or according to Australia’s PM Tony Abbott, Happy Canadia Day! In celebration of this, I present to you my favourite place in the world– Vancouver, aka my version of Canada.
Here are 9 reasons to love Vancouver:
1. Dragon Boat Paddling
Dragon boat paddling is not a tourist activity, but it makes me who I am today– a more outgoing, care-free person with goals and appreciation for life. The friendships I make– of all ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality and age– is more than one could ask for. It’s reflective of Canada, our diverse culture, and our inclusive nature.
Last week, my dearest dragon boat family participated at the Rio Tinto Alcan festival and it brings me joy just thinking about their hard-fought efforts and accomplishments. Congrats and NFW!
2. Seawall at Stanley Park / Science World
I walk along the seawall year-round, in icy March, in wet November, and definitely throughout the breezy, warm summer days. It doesn’t snow often in Vancouver, contrary to the belief most foreigners have of Canada.
Melbourne/Victoria offers a lot of great hikes and scenery, but deep inside, I still prefer the grand evergreens that we have in British Columbia. Here are just a few:
Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver – One can hike the famous Grouse Grind (once considered the top 10 most dangerous hikes on Earth) or the more enjoyable BCMC Trail. Same spectacular view at the top, and a $10 gondola ride down.
Twin Falls, Lynn Valley, North Vancouver – With a suspension bridge nearby, it is always fun to bring friends who are afraid of heights.
Buntzen Lake, Anmore – great for families and swimming with the Canadian geese. It’s not your typical white sandy beach, hands down to Australia for that.
Golden Ears Park, Maple Ridge – one of my favourite hikes from last year. There aren’t a lot of viewpoints for the portion we hiked, but the journey, the ups and downs, rivers and bridges, is a rewarding workout.
Garibaldi Lake, between Squamish & Whistler– a magnificent turquoise lake. Photos show only half its beauty.
Mount Seymour, North Vancouver – Never fails to amaze me. This time, snowshoeing in the winter.
Vancouver is known for seafood, salmon, maple syrup & derivatives, and a variety of western and ethnic foods. We also have a festival, “Dine Out Vancouver” (it will be held in Jan/Feb for 2015), where restaurants feature set menus at fixed pricing ($18, $28, or $38) to showcase their culinary passion.
I have seen a growth in vegetarian restaurants, but in my opinion, we need some more. Nonetheless, there are good options.
5. Working with the greatest people
The toughest thing to leave my last job are the people. They are also the best thing that happened.
6. Harmless wildlife
We don’t have dangerous animals roaming our backyards. Our wildlife consists of toads, slugs and lizards – totally harmless.
Okay, I lied. We have black bears and coyotes, but they’re nothing compared to what Australia offers.
7. Boating at Deer Lake Park, Burnaby
Outdoor concerts are also held here during the summer months.
8. Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate Frisbee is a self-officiated game. It has taken me quite a few seasons to really learn and enjoy the game. Now, when I see someone with a disc, I want to practice my throws. One thing I really like about being part of the VUL (Vancouver Ultimate League) is to play at fields I didn’t know even existed (like Trillium Park. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo).
The game is played in Melbourne too, but not many people know about it (of those I’ve spoken to). I played with a recreational group this past weekend. Fun group. I will definitely go again.
9. Fireworks at the Celebration of Lights
So there you have it: a snapshot of Vancouver, a snapshot of Canada. Diverse, harmonious, scenic, lively, gloomy and rainy, sunny and snowy, funny and silly, multicultural, patriotic, glorious and free.
My Canadian friends, anything else to add?