I am departing for Canada in just a few hours, intially visiting The King Pacific Lodge which requires a bi-plane flight to reach it. Several days will be spent in the awesome city of Vancouverbefore taking a journey on the Rocky Mountaineer to the mountain resort of Whistler.
It promises to be an amazing experience and I hope you follow my adventures on twitter using the #EpicCanada and #ExploreCanada hashtags.
Thursday 2nd August
Departure from Terminal Three, London Heathrow Airport on Air Canada direct to Vancouver
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission
Transfer to The Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel – Telephone +1 604 207 5200
Complimentary wifi and local calls – plus much more – courtesy of Fairmont President’s Club (FPC) which is Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ exclusive recognition programme, which offers frequent guests of the luxury hotel brand an enhanced level of service and special benefits and privileges designed around individual travel preferences and passions.
Light Fairmont BMW bike ride along the dykes near the airport – fantastic scenery and bird-watching
Rest of day at leisure.
Friday 3rd August
Check-out of Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and meet King Pacific Lodge representative in the hotel lobby. From here-on in, you are in the hands of KPL (until 6th August!)
Depart South Terminal, Vancouver Airport for private plane. A light meal will be served onboard. Arrive at Bella Bella Airport and switch to a float plane to fly direct to the Lodge.
The north coast of British Columbia in Canada experiences a varied climate from warm weather to liquid sunshine! Temperatures during the season range from 60°-80°F (17°-25°C) in the day to 50°-60°F (10°-17°C) at night.
am Arrive at King Pacific Lodge
Champagne reception and welcome briefing by the King Pacific Lodge staff. There will be time to settle in and explore the lodge or sit on the deck and take in the surrounding wilderness.
After lunch there will be a choice of afternoon activites.
pm There will be a short slide show presenting in more detail the many activities offered at the lodge. This will help you to plan your adventures.
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission
Evening Dinner is served. Enjoy your first of many exquisite meals prepared by the chef.
Sat Aug 4 – Mon Aug 6
King Pacific Lodge – your activities will be planned each day in conjunction with the lodge guides and Lodge Manager, Leanne Lalonde. Your choice of activities includes hiking, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, and of course relaxing on the dock with a book and a glass of wine.
Hiking: Walk amongst 1000-year-old hemlocks and fern-clad canyons, stroll along a deserted beach to watch the porpoises play or take a short jaunt to a waterfall. Guided hiking tours are led by experts who will tailor the trip to your skill and endurance level. Learn about the indigenous plants and animals of British Columbia while keeping an eye out for the elusive white Kermode Bear.
Kayaking: Paddle silently beneath ancient cedar branches on a private exploration of ocean beaches and centuries-old shipwrecks. Wind your way through the secluded sea inlets and fjords of BC’s Trutch Islands. This is one of the finest places in the world for kayaking with Orcas (killer whales), dolphins and bald eagles. Kayaking trips vary from a short paddle to Cameron Cove just around the corner to full-day excursions.
Ocean Fishing / Fly fishing: Chinook and Coho salmon, halibut and ling cod are abundant in the Pacific Ocean waters of Northern British Columbia. June and July are an excellent time for Chinook salmon fishing. The Chinook is the largest of the Pacific Ocean salmon species and can grow to sizes of 50 pounds or more. Catching one of these fish is an exhilarating ocean fishing event regardless of your experience level. August marks the peak of the Coho salmon run. The Coho are abundant in the waters surrounding our luxury fishing lodge, and the action can be fast and furious. Halibut and ling cod are caught throughout the season and are valued for their excellent table qualities. (The lodge’s halibut conservation policy suggests that guests limit their take-home catch to one halibut that is less than 40 pounds.)
Whale watching: You’ll find a dizzying array of wildlife to watch -from orcas and humpback whales to eagles and otters. This is also the only place in the world you will find the endangered white Kermode or Spirit Bears (black bears with a rare double-recessive gene). Guided wildlife viewing tours of the surrounding wilderness give you unparalleled access and understanding of the special creatures that live in this part of BC.
Mon Aug 6
am Breakfast at your leisure before departing King Pacific Lodge for Vancouver.
Transfer on the new Canada Line Rapid Transport to Fairmont Pacific Rim. The new Rapid Transport however is special experience and only takes 22 minutes to get to the heart of town and is obviously, a greener travel option.
Check into Fairmont Pacific Rim – Telephone +1 604 695 5300
Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels
Tuesday 7th August
am Breakfast at Giovane Café
- Yaletown. Once full of redbrick warehouses, the Yaletown district has been transformed by swanky condo towers, lounge bars and chichi boutiques. Today it’s considered Vancouver’s “little Soho.”
- Gastown. Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood was originally called “Gassy’s” after the saloon proprietor Gassy Jack Deighton. Today, with its cobbled streets and restored Victorian buildings, Gastown is home to some of the city’s top restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.
- The West End. Vancouver’s West End comprises tree-lined boulevards, endless stretches of boutique shops and diverse cafes and restaurants. The main thoroughfares are Denman Street, dominated by independent stores; Davie Street, packed with Bohemian coffee bars; and Robson Street, with its trendy designer shops.
- Chinatown. Soak up the scents and sounds of North America’s third-largest Chinatown, located in downtown Vancouver. Find your Zen at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden, check out the displays of crimson barbecued duck and coils of spicy sausages hanging in butchers’ windows and pop into the many shops selling silk, jade and trinkets.
Dinner on your own. Suggestions for restaurants located in the hip and happening neighbourhood of Gastown:
The Irish Heather – Phone: 604.688.9779
Located in the heart of historic Gastown, this gastropub has garnered many accolades for its top-notch service, rustic food and unparalleled ambiance. In a world filled with “Plastic Paddy” establishments, the Heather stands out as a beacon of authenticity.
Judas Goat Taberna – Phone: 604.681.5090Judas Goat is a cozy, Spanish-inspired tapas bar located in Gastown’s historic Blood Alley. The ever-changing menu features European delicacies perfect for
L’Abattoir is located in the heart of Gastown between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley. The restaurant was built in the 19th century, and was formerly the site of Vancouver’s first jail. Originally buttressed to the city’s main butchery and meatpacking district, the restaurant is set in a refurbished brick-and-beam building that combines classic French tile work with industrial fixtures, natural wood and glass -and-steel finishes. The bar and lounge are complemented by an elevated dining room and plush, sun-soaked atrium.
am Architectural Walking Tour, compliments of the Architectural Institute of B.C. Canada. The tour lasts approximately two hours Meeting point: AIBC Offices [email protected] – Phone: 604.683.8588
Exploring Vancouver’s contemporary architecture on this guided tour of the city’s business district. I’ll observe modern and historical landmarks, view the tallest buildings in B.C. and learn about Vancouver’s world-class architectural style.
Hungry? Check out Vancouver’s explosive street food cart scene!
It’s been more than a year since the launch of the pilot project that expanded Vancouver’s street food from hotdogs and roasted chestnuts to freshly prepared international fare, and since then the number of carts on the city’s streets has skyrocketed. Street eaters can now locate the nearest food cart at the touch of a button with the FREE Vancouver Street Food App for iPhone, iPad and iTouch. Otherwise, here are some options:
- Fresh, Local, Wild. Corner of West Hastings and Burrard Streets (oyster sandwiches, poutine). www.freshlocalwild.com
- Feastro the Rolling Bistro (prawns, fish & chips). Corner of West Cordova and Thurlow Streets. www.feastro.ca
- Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck (gourmet grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup). Corner of Howe Street and West Georgia Streets. www.momsgrilledcheesetruck.com
pm Coffee at Caffè Artigiano with Jayne Lloyd-Jones, president of Spectacular Ink. Jayne will meet you at the café.
Caffè Artigiano – Phone: 604.915.7200
Caffè Artigiano is an Italian-style coffeehouse that opened in Vancouver in December 1999. Coffee aficionados are invited to join Caffè Artigiano’s experts and champion baristas for an exclusive coffee tasting event, and achieve a better understanding of how experts taste and select the top coffee beans from around the world. Hosted at Caffè Artigiano’s Hastings Street café, guests will enjoy delicious pastries, lattes and coffee drinks while learning from the best in the industry how to develop their coffee palates.
Afternoon suggestion: Hop aboard an Aquabus to Granville Island
Granville Island is a vibrant urban oasis that buzzes with life from dawn to dusk. Start your visit by exploring the Public Market, where the city’s top chefs source local ingredients from an array of vendors selling fresh produce and gourmet goodies. Afterward, sample house-made beer at the Granville Island Brewing Company, then browse the unique shops, restaurants and galleries. Transportation suggestion: consider getting to Granville Island on one of the rainbow-coloured Aquabuses that jet across False Creek (consult your Tourism Vancouver map for pick-up points).
Granville Island highlights:
- The Public Market for fresh produce, gourmet ingredients and local craft sellers. Don’t forget to visit Edible Canada, a store that only sells products made in Canada.
- The Net Loft for unique shopping. Check out The Hat Shop, Paper-Ya and Circle Craft.
- Granville Island Brewing Company for beer sampling.
- Fine dining restaurants like The Sandbar and Bridges.
- Performance art at The Arts Club Theatre and Vancouver Theatre Sports League.
Wednesday, August 8
8.45 am Tackle the Grouse Grind at Grouse Mountain. My hiking partner is Ronan Barrett, regional executive of public relations for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Leaving directly from the Fairmont Pacific Rim taking the shuttle up to Grouse Mountain.
Hiking the Grind on Grouse Mountain – the Peak of Vancouver
This popular 2.9-km (1.8-mile) trail to the top of Grouse Mountain is commonly referred to by locals as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” Every year, more than 110,000 hikers take on the challenge of this rugged terrain and steep climb. By the time you reach the Grouse Mountain lodge at the top, you will have ascended 853 metres (2,800 feet) – one-and-a-half times the height of Toronto’s CN Tower! Average completion time is usually 1.5 hours, with the fastest recorded time at just over 26 minutes. The best part: once you reach the top the views will be great while enjoying a beer. Then I’ll take a tram back down to the bottom.
On return, go to the Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Pacific Rim – for a treatment developed for helping the muscles used in hiking – it is part of the Van-Active Line.
I can take a five minute walk or transfer with Fairmont Pacific Rim’s BMW service from Fairmont Pacific Rim to The Fairmont Waterfront– Telephone: +1 604 691 1991
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commissionh the top, you can enjoy a much-deserved beer, take in the stunning views, then take the tram back down for just $10.
Dinner on my own. The suggestions for restaurants serving excellent wine are:
Blue Water Café – Phone: 604.688.8078
Awarded the gold prize for “Restaurant of the Year” and “Best Seafood” by critics in Vancouver magazine’s annual Restaurant Awards, Blue Water Cafe is celebrated as the city’s definitive destination for seafood and offers a top-notch sushi and raw bar. From the dynamic “East meets West” kitchen, executive chef Frank Pabst crafts captivating seafood dishes using fresh wild fish. Enhanced by one of the country’s finest wine collections, Blue Water Cafe is housed in a handsome brick-and-beam warehouse conversion in the heart of historic Yaletown.
LIFT Bar and Grill – Phone: 604-689-5438
LIFT is a dynamic, sexy and sophisticated oceanfront property located in Coal Harbour. Situated along the seawall with views of Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains, LIFT has some of the best views in Vancouver. The restaurant recently introduced an innovative iPAD ordering system for its a la carte menu, which can be translated into several languages.
Uva Wine Bar – Phone: 604.683.4251
Enticing cocktails, refined wines, eclectic import beers – Uva Wine Bar, located adjacent to the Moda Hotel, is downtown Vancouver’s enclave for connoisseurs of wines and spirits. From the finest charcuterie to artisanal cheeses and hard-to-find wine selections, Uva Wine Bar is a cosmopolitan yet relaxed interpretation of a true Italian “enoteca.” In 2010, Uva was named Vancouver’s Best Bar/Lounge in Vancouver magazine.
Thursday August 9th – Transder to Whistler via the Rocky Mountaineer
I will be staying in Whistler until – Saturday August 11, 2012 discovering why the resort is consistently ranked among the world’s top golf, biking and skiing resorts.
Whistler, British Columbia, a year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the spectacular Coast Mountains, a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver – is consistently ranked the number one mountain resort in North America. Whistler proudly hosted the alpine, Nordic, and sliding events for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The resort offers natural beauty, epic skiing and snowboarding, the world’s best mountain bike park, championship golf, and a limitless array of activities including ziplining, hiking, rock climbing, biathlon, skeleton and bobsleigh. Annual food, sports, music and arts festivals abound, and the intimate village offers a city-sized selection of accommodations, shops, restaurants, bars and spas. Whistler is also home to an eclectic community of residents who hail from around the globe. These explorers, entrepreneurs, artists and athletes help to make Whistler an original and unforgettable place.
The official website and call to action for Whistler is www.whistler.com.
Saturday August 11th transfer to The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – Tel: +1 604 684 3131
Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels
The hotel is located downtown and I will then have experienced all four Fairmont properties in Vancouver and five of the six in British Columbia!
Sunday, August 12
Check out of The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Morning suggestion: Start the day with an invigorating cycle around Stanley Park or Take Fairmont Canine Ambassador Beau for “walkies”.
One of the largest urban parks in North America (404 hectares), Stanley Park can fill your whole day. Rent a bicycle (Spokes Bike Rentals is located at the corner of Denman and Georgia), or use your own two feet to follow the Seawall around the park. You’ll pass by soaring totem poles, the Prospect Point Lighthouse and Third Beach – a great place to stop for an ice-cream.
Canine Ambassadors – Known for thoughtful and welcoming service, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts offers a distinctive service at select hotels with resident hotel dogs known as Canine Ambassadors. Traveller’s missing their own furry friend or looking for a companion while taking a walk can bring along the resident Fairmont dog for extra security and the comfort of home.
Lunch on your own. Here’s a roundup of Vancouver’s best sandwiches:
- Re-up food cart. Pulled-pork on a warm Portuguese bun and dressed with smoky, chili-flecked barbecue sauce topped with coleslaw. (Hornby and Georgia Streets). www.reupbbq.com
- Meat & Bread. The meat is carved to order and portions are generous at this deli/butcher. Try the herb-sprinkled porchetta on freshly baked ciabatta bread (370 Cambie Street). 604.566.9003
- Finch’s Tea & Coffee House. For fancier fare, try brie, grape and roasted walnut on a crispy baguette (353 West Pender Street). www.finchteahouse.com
Spend a culture-filled afternoon at some of the city’s top galleries:
Roam the Vancouver Art Gallery – Phone: 604.662.4700
Located in the city’s original courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery features Canada’s largest collection of works by Emily Carr, along with ever-changing exhibitions housed in a stunning, neo-classical heritage building. The Gallery is one of the largest art museums in Canada, featuring four floors showcasing artwork by local and international artists and housing a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks.
Learn about First Nations art at The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art – Phone: 604.682.3455
Media Contact : Paula Fairweather, director of marketing
Downtown Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery is home to a rich collection of First Nations art and culture. Visitors can view exquisite jewelry from the Bill Reid Foundation Collection before pondering the artist’s monumental bronze sculpture “Mythic Messengers,” a masterful composition of eleven intertwined figures through which Reid recounts traditional Haida myths. Two rooms feature rotating exhibitions of Northwest Coast art, and the gallery often hosts live cultural performances and lectures.
Depart for Vancouver Airport on Canada Line Rapid Transport toVancouver Airport flying with Air Canada direct to London Heathrow Airport.