Thursday, June 10, 2010

24 Hours, One City, My Whole Family.


My parents had plans to visit my sister in Seattle for Memorial Day weekend. Jeff and I were disembarking the Coral Princess in Vancouver and were leaving the next morning by train for LA. So a plan was hatched for a mini-family reunion in Canada.

The Coral Princess docked in Canada Place, the cite of a Worlds Fair and now one of the worlds largest docks. We were booked at The Fairmont:Waterfront, thanks to a family and friends discount from Jeff’s Cousin, conveniently located across the street from Canada Place.

We stowed our baggage with the bellman and went to explore Vancouver. With my parents still working their way up from Seattle we walked through the light mist (which is normal Vancouver weather) to the Gaslight district to see the Steam Clock. The Steam clock was built in 1977 and uses both a steam engine and electric motors. The clock announces the quarter hours with a whistle chime that plays the Westminster Quarters. I was less then thrilled to be walking through the rain to see a clock – but when we arrived I who wanted to wait another 25min to hear it play again.

The meet up with my parents turned out to be rather complicated. It included me going into the ladies room of the Fairmont, which my parents assured me contained my sister, calling my sisters name and being silly in general only to find a rather sassy old lady. Turns out there are four Fairmont’s in Vancouver and they were at a different one. We did finally find each other and Jeff and I scrambled into their car at a red light.

We decided to spend the morning on Grandville Island. Grandville has a farmers market and so many little shops you could easily spend a whole day here. On a previous trip, with better weather, my parents took bikes to Grandville and around the city. On this rainy day we parked in the public parking lots on Grandville and explored the island (that is actually a peninsula.) The Farmer’s Market is a must. We could have spent hours wondering around looking at all the produce and flowers.

We stopped by the Grandville Island Brewing Company for a tour. The tour will run you $10/person – so if that seems steep just stop in for a brew. The tour includes 4 beers to taste and a comprehensive explanation of how beer is made. The brewery’s main operations have moved away from this location but they still make seasonal brews here that you can only get at this location.

After a brief lunch of fish tacos we were off to Stanley Park. Typically you could enjoy a walk around the whole park on the seawall,but due to the weather we decided to drive around the park with intermittent stops. The totem poles are a must see, even in the rain.

We also drove over to Vancouver's Olympic Park. Again the rain thwarted our plans to explore the city- but we still got to see all the venues in BC place from the car.

We ended our Vancouver vacation with dinner in Gastown and a stop at a little shop so I could get the Olympic Mittens I have been craving since the Winter Olympics!

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