Vancouver For The Fall

Vancouver For The Fall in British Columbia BC.jpg

Vancouver For The Fall Slowly Won Our Hearts

Vancouver for the fall certainly gave us a much better impression of this great city on the west coast of Canada.

I must admit I may have been one of a small number of Canadians who did not love Vancouver. Over the years, I visited Vancouver for both business and pleasure. David lived in various towns on Vancouver Island  – Victoria (Esquimalt), Sooke and Qualicum Beach – for many years. From there we took the ferry over to Vancouver.

The mountains around the city were beautiful in the sunshine.  But it always felt as if rain and dull grey were alway right around the corner. I was not sure I could live in the grey and often damp cold. But the Vancouver for the fall changed our list of this!

Winter Visits To Vancouver

Our first visit of 2015 was for two weeks at Christmas. One of our kids went to university in Vancouver and the other two grew up in British Columbia and headed back every year at Christmas. All 3 of the children would gladly call Vancouver home.

We spent much of the two weeks huddled in our hotel room and escaped with the kids when the rain stopped long enough to wander aound town.

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Travelling to Vancouver at Christmas was really expensive.  We vowed that the next time we would spend the money to go someplace warm instead. We figured we could take the 3 kids south with us and spend not much more than we did for our 2 weeks in Vancouver.

Vancouver With No Rain

In June we flew to Vancouver for the first of many visits to support our 22 year old son who had just been diagnosed with cancer. That is another journey to write about – but a tale for another day.

Booking last minute, we were dismayed when we found there was not a reasonably priced hotel room to be found in the city.  So we got exiled to Langley.  It was up to an hour drive east of Vancouver for the first week of our stay.  While it was a major pain to drive into Vancouver every day, we explored the Fraser Valley.  There are now many spots for return visits when we are in Vancouver.

We had not previously been in Vancouver for a long visit in the summer.  This year the weather was hot with no rain during our whole stay. Our view of Vancouver improved on this visit. Maybe there were parts of the year that were not grey and wet!

An Extended Stay In Vancouver For The Fall

We flew back in July for a week of physician consultations.  Then in August returned for an extended stay while our son went through chemo.

Since we knew we would be in Vancouver for at least 10 weeks, we decided to drive across the country from Toronto. Choosing to take the U.S. route rather than drive through Canada, we enjoyed the road trip across the Midwest U.S., did a detour to see Mount Rushmore, stopped for 2 days in Spokane and then pushed on to the Pacific Coast.

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Mt Rushmore Drive Cross Country.jpg

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In Vancouver we booked a great Airbnb condo in the walkable local area of False Creek for the extended stay.

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Our First Attempt To Return To Toronto

It was a long 10 weeks in Vancouver in the fall.  But by mid-October we packed the car and headed for home. We enjoyed our expended stay as a local in Vancouver.

The weather in August through October remained warm and sunny. Our condo location let us get out to explore. Since we drove across, we brought our bikes with us and learned to appreciate how truly bikeable Vancouver was! It should not be surprising that our view of Vancouver improved!

While we were in Vancouver we even slipped away for a long weekend to visit Albuquerque and we saw the amazing hot air Balloon Fiesta. It was a quick visit but something that was on our list for some time.   Fall festivities like this often got missed because we normally travelled in Europe in the fall.

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Balloon Fiesta Albuquerque Weekend.jpg

Little did we know that 3 days out of Vancouver we would get a call to come back to Vancouver. Chemo had been unsuccessful and a major complicated surgery was needed.

The Tourist Route Back To Vancouver

Since we had a few weeks before our son would be recovered enough from chemo to be operated on, we decided to take the long loop back.

We returned to Spokane and enjoyed the Chinese Lantern Festival.  From there we continued on for a U.S. National Park tour through the diversity of Yellowstone, then both the North Rim and South Rim of the Grand Canyon and finally a detour through Yosemite.

It was a quick tour and one shadowed by fear and sadness.  But it was great to get a taste test of these outdoor treasures.

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Spokane Fall Visit.jpg

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Yellowstone National Park.jpg

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Back In Vancouver For The Fall

Since we were back in Vancouver for another 6-8 weeks, we went back to the same Airbnb condo. It was a neighbourhood we knew well and was close to the hospital. With 2 bedrooms there was room for all of us post-surgery.

The weather turned wetter and our mood was more grey and gloomy.  But the great mountain view out of our condo window offered changing scenes all day and night.

We became true Vancouver locals.  We did not hide indoors in light rain but bundled up for walks along the seawall and enjoyed the False Creek neighbourhood we had come to know. When the sun came out, we with everyone else went out and walked, biked or sat huddled under the large heaters on outdoor patios. We learned that even in the “off season”, Vancouver could be enjoyed.

The Vancouver We Came To Know

We were in Vancouver for the better part of 6 months this year.  This trip included travel around the west coast of Canada and the U.S. as summer turned to fall.

While we were in Vancouver to deal with the most awful thing that parents could face, we tried to enjoy our adopted city and not hide away and wallow in despair. We needed to enjoy the time with our son and to keep living. While we waited for test results, a surgery slot, the next chemo appointment and for a long surgical recovery, we took advantage in our down time to explore Vancouver and the surrounding area:

1)  Whistler in off season

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2)  Touring Vancouver in many different ways

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3)  A ferry day trip to Gibsons Landing

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BC Ferries To Gibsons Landing  - Vancouver For The Fall in British Columbia BC.jpg

4)  Day trips to Steveston for whale watching and to enjoy this quaint fishing town

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5)  A whole series of day trips to Vancouver’s North Shore – North Vancouver, Lynne Valley Canyon, Deep Cove and Horseshoe Bay

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6)  Day trips to the Fraser Valley

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7)  A day spent at a skydiving drop zone reminiscing about the things that I used to do

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8)  One longer trip to enjoy eagles, hot springs and the Sasquatch in the Harrison area

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9)  A lot of time exploring Vancouver by bicycle

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10)  And got to love the False Creek area of Vancouver

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Vancouver For The Fall Taught Us To Love This City

As early December rolled around, our son was able to manage on his own and we were ready to pack once again and start our road trip back to Toronto. But we were sad to be leaving Vancouver!

Vancouver for the fall improved our view of the city so much during our 6 months.  We even wondered  whether Vancouver and the west coast might be our next major relocation. At this point we were not ready to give up our newly renovated lake front condo in Toronto.  But when we moved next, we would consider following our kids to the west coast.

Vancouver – do you love it or hate it? Would Vancouver for the fall change your view? 

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About TravelAtWill 608 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

2 Comments

    • Hi Larry. Since we knew we were going to be in Vancouver for several months, we decided we would drive from Toronto to Vancouver and back. We put our bike carrier on for the drive. With a few good locks we felt quite comfortable leaving the bikes on the carrier when we stopped for the night at hotels. We had considered taking them on the plane as checked baggage as the airlines do have special bike rates but you also need to find a bike box if you go that way. Hope this helps. Linda

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