Sunday, November 6, 2011
If you have a small car, renting your ski or snowboard equipment in Whistler might be more convenient than bringing your own. Its also quite affordable, especially if you book your rental early. There are numerous rental shops around Whistler Village. Price shop before you go and decide what the best option is for you. While rental shops rent equipment, don’t forget to pack the rest of your gear (gloves, jacket, hat, goggles, and snow pants).
There are several options for purchasing lift tickets for Whistler and Blackcomb. Tickets are available directly at the slopes, but are cheaper if you book in advance. Alternatively, you can buy your tickets online and receive a 10% discount. If you’re only skiing for one day, you can find single-day discounted tickets at 7-Eleven stores in Vancouver or Squamish. The 7-Eleven in Whistler does not sell discounted lift tickets, so make a quick pit-stop on the drive to the slopes. Other options for discounted tickets include EDGE Cards for BC and Washington state residents, and Season Passes.
Have we missed anything? Leave your own suggestions below.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
For those who live on the pacific side of British Columbia, you know what storm watching is, or have at least heard of it. Extremely popular, storm watching is an outdoor activity (although some places are built for indoor viewing) with wonderful visual rewards. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience.
I'd say it's an add for the bucket list. In BC, storm watching takes you head to head with nature, and you're front and centre for the whole event. Some seasoned storm watchers will sit back, relax and observe the magnificent waves from a resort, while others will opt to participate outdoors, disappearing into sheets of ocean spray.
The pacific side of British Columbia is home to over 6000 islands and during the winter and early spring months the shores on the west coast erupt with waves and winds firing on all cylinders pounding the coastline.
There are waterfront resorts that allow you to enjoy the sounds and sights of a pacific storm while staying safe and dry inside behind large protective windows. You can spend hours watching the waves toss beach logs about, it's mesmerizing.
If adventure travel is more your cup of tea, you can suit up in head-to-toe rain gear and rubber boots, waterproof the camera and prepare to walk the beachings alongside the thundering waves and ocean sprays. Some resorts will supply guests with this kind of gear - you can always ask ahead for what's included before planning your trip!
While this is a fun experience, any one who ventures outside during a storm of this magnitude should be smart - there's strong, unpredictable winds, rogue waves that have the capacity to knock you down, and occasionally flying logs. While being outside is exciting, try to stay a minimum of 50 feet away from the tide line during these storms.
The most recognized locations for storm watching is in the Pacific Rim area on Vancouver Island - Tofino and Ucluelet - and also, off the northern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. The unprotected coastline fronts the open ocean and receives the strongest of the incoming storms. Many accommodations in the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet offer storm watching packages.
Exciting and a way to do it for those who play it safe, and those who are more adventurous! Start planning your trip today.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Photo by: PoYang_博仰
City walks and hikes
One of the best ways to enjoy the fall foliage is with a walk around the city.
• One of the most popular walks is around the Stanley Park Seawall. Alternatively you could go for a stroll through the park or around Lost Lagoon and admire the changing colours.
• Another favourite is the walk from Olympic Village to Granville Island. Walk along the water and enjoy the views of the harbour and downtown Vancouver. Once you reach Granville Island, treat yourself to a coffee and a pastry from the market.
• If you’re looking for more of a workout, check out the Grouse Grind (make sure to check the weather conditions first). If that’s a little too intense, the UBC Endowment Lands are always beautiful.
Festivals and Events
There is always something going on in Vancouver, and fall brings with it a number of different fall festivals and events.
• VIFF is the Vancouver International Film Festival. It happens every year and is on now until October 14, 2011. The festival showcases films from around the world and is not to be missed!
• If you like a good scare, check out Fright Nights at the PNE. This Halloween event is on from October 14 - 31, 2011. There will be 5 haunted houses and several rides to enjoy.
• The Chocolate Festival is an absolute must for chocolate lovers! Unfortunately, this annual festival may not happen in 2011, but make sure to check it out in 2012.
• The Farmer’s Markets are still on for the first few weeks in October. Head down to Trout Lake, Kits or Lonsdale Quay for amazing produce and other yummy treats.
Photo of Stanley Park by afcone
It’s Vancouver, so it’s liable to rain. When it does, head inside - there’s still loads to do!
• Get cultured at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The gallery has a wonderful collection and always offers interesting and innovative exhibitions. Right now you can check out The Distance Between You and Me, featuring 3 artists from Vancouver, Los Angeles and Guadalajara. (On until January 2012)
• If you’re visiting Vancouver with kids take them to the Aquarium, Science World or the Granville Island Kid’s Market.
• If you’re an avid reader, head down to the Central Vancouver Library downtown.
• Eat! Vancouver has tons of different restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. Whether you’re craving Dim Sum, Italian, sushi, Mexican or something else entirely, there’s a restaurant to accommodate you.
Fall means the start of the hockey season. Catch a Canucks’ game at Roger’s Arena or a local sports bar.
Have we missed something? What are your favourite fall activities in Vancouver?
Friday, August 19, 2011
From the air, Vancouver Island appears like a giant bird in full flight. It seems to hover over the ocean, approaching the mainland but stopping short. The island is rugged, rich and lush, and its cuisine is inspired by the wild foods of the First Nations inhabitants.
Pacific waters provide most of the island's dominant fare, namely wild salmon, halibut, oysters, spot shrimp, mussels, clams, crayfish and Dungeness crab. Inland, Cowichan Valley is the island's fertile heart. Farmers, vintners and culinary artisans ten the raw ingredients that serve a growing eco-gastronomy scene with an international reputation. In the forests, professional foragers and woodland enthusiasts collect chantrelles, morels, shiitake and lobster mushrooms.If you're interested in experiencing the culture and beauty that is Vancouver Island, you have many options for places to stay. From short-term vacation rentals on Vancouver Island to countless B&Bs and hotels, there's definitely a place for you to stay! Talk to an experienced travel specialist today and they'll help you plan your perfect trip!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
When people think of the coast of British Columbia, they usually think of Vancouver when it comes to cities. Vancouver is fabulous, but the smaller city - and also the capital of the province - is located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Culturally rich, beautiful and enticing, Victoria is one of the most beautiful places in the world! It's easily accessible by a number of ways, including an international airport, ferries from both the lower mainland and Washington state, staying in Victoria allows you to explore Vancouver Island and soak in some of the island lifestyle. What are you waiting for? The city is extremely tourist accessible, there's even an iPhone app by Tourism Victoria that can be found at the Apple iTunes App Store.
It's hard to boil down all the great places to see in Victoria, but there are definitely a couple "must-sees" for a first timer. Beacon Hill park is known for it's beautiful gardens and many areas to stroll - there's ducks in the ponds, and a ton of places for picnics. The Buchart Gardens are world renowned for their beautifully designed gardens. For information on their tours and pricing, visit their website. You can't miss walking along the seawall either, and while you're there - take a peek at the Parliament buildings, they're absolutely gorgeous.
Victoria is home to the Royal British Columbia Museum, that has quite an incredible permanent collection, and the shows that go through there are absolutely phenomenal. The art collection is fabulous as well. There are also small art galleries around the city that showcase some of the great Canadian art there is available. The island is truly full of art and artists, so artisan products of all types are available in small boutiques downtown Victoria. The Royal BC Museum is also home to the IMAX theater which does incredible shows. Don't forget to also check out Craigdarroch Castle! Craigdarroch Castle historic house museum is a "must see" on your visit to Victoria, B. C. The wealthy Dunsmuir family saga and the mansion they built is a key piece of British Columbia's history. Designated as one of Canada's National Historic Sites, this Victorian Castle is a legendary tourist attraction.
Victoria offers many great restaurants but one of the most incredible things to do is have high tea at the Empress Hotel. Steeped in tradition, The Empress has been serving Victoria's grandest tradition of Afternoon Tea for over a century. The majestic lobby of this landmark hotel has played host to England's most beloved ritual - the taking of Afternoon Tea to famed celebrities, dignitaries and royalty alike. A bit pricey but an afternoon you won't soon forget. All throughout the downtown area, you'll find tons of quaint local restaurants as well as popular favourites from throughout North America.
Shopping in Victoria is fabulous! Whether you are just window shopping or on a major shopping spree, in Victoria you can browse quaint shops, local markets and major shopping malls to find your heart's desire. Victoria offers everything from antiques to the wares of local artisans and the designs of the hippest trendsetters. The city's layout encourages strolling and exploring the many side streets at an easy pace. From the Inner Harbour, wander up Government Street to find the perfect gift or souvenir. Four blocks along Government Street, turn right into Trounce Alley, one of Victoria's best-kept secrets. European fashions and gift shops await. Across the street from Trounce Alley, find Bastion Square; once the site of Victoria's Court House, Law Chambers, a brothel and several hangings, Bastion Square is now animated with shops and restaurants.
And so much more is available in Victoria. Depending on where you want to stay, a knowledgeable travel specialist can help you get to the island as well as find a perfect hotel for you, or there's also a wide variety of Victoria vacation rentals!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Vancouver Island is the paradise of British Columbia. Situated approximately forty miles from the mainland, Vancouver Island stretches from it's furthest northern point 300 miles to it's southernmost tip and capital of British Columbia, the city of Victoria. Vancouver Island offers so much for visitors. The best way to explore the area is through a vacation rental on Vancouver Island, giving you time to explore everywhere from Victoria to Nanoose, and towards the west coast of the island in Tofino or Uclulet. There are many wonderful areas along the way!
Long Beach in Tofino is an experience like no other. West Coast beaches along Vancouver Island have a peaceful quality about them. Heading south, Cathedral Grove is located north of Parksville and Qualicum and is packed full of old growth forests and beautiful canopies. It's one of the most beautiful aspects of the island. Parkville vacation rentals as well as Nanoose vacation rentals are both fairly central on Vancouver Island and allow you to explore the surrounding area quite easily while still having a place close by to spend the night.
If you want to explore the capital of British Columbia, there are plenty of Victoria vacation rentals to choose from. Victoria is a year-round tourism destination that offers a friendly, safe haven for all visitors. With a clean environment and charming ambiance, it is no surprise that Victoria is one of the world's favourite destinations.
What are you waiting for? Planning a trip to Vancouver Island, BC awaits you!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Okanagan Lake, Photo: Kyle Pearce on Flickr
There are an endless amount of activities in the Okanagan - from watersports and golf to wine tastings and delicious food – there is something for everyone. The Okanagan is famous for its fruit orchards, vineyards and wine. Wine tastings and vineyard tours are an absolute must for wine lovers. The popular Mission Hill Winery, beautifully situated on a hill overlooking the lake, is a definite favourite. The patio at Quail’s Gate Winery is a great place to have lunch after touring vineyards.
Water sports, boating, biking and hiking are just a few of the exhilarating outdoor sports that it has to offer. Many visitors enjoy renting sea-doo’s and trying their hand at wakeboarding on the lake. If you’re a little less adventurous, there are many spots along the lake to relax under the sun and enjoy a good book!
The Okanagan also serves as the ultimate spot for anyone who loves live music as it is hosting a number of summer events. In addition to the small local events that come alive in the summer, 2011 brings with it some major festivals as well. Among these festivals is Centre of Gravity - three days of live music, fashion, and world-class sports along the lake. Additionally, the Nakusp Music Festival, the top rock event in all of Canada, will also take place in the Okanagan.
Whether you’re looking for a summer adventure or a relaxing summer escape, the Okanagan can accommodate you.