Pacific Northwest 2012

Pacific Northwest Day 5: Vancouver

Today we woke up at a more reasonable time and decided to start our day with some delicious bagels and cinnamon spread that we had scored at the WalMart the previous day. I think it might be addictive it was so good. We did some research on the Imperial Cinnamon Spread and were sad to discover that it is only a Canadian product and is not currently available in the US. We are going to have to enjoy it while we can!

Steam Powered Clock in Gas Town

One of the things on our to-do list was to see the famous steam powered clock located in Gas Town. Since it wasn’t that far away, we decided to head down to the site of EXPO 86 – literally down the street from where we were staying. One thing I noticed was the renovations to the BC Place Stadium compared to what it looked like back in 1987. We walked along the shoreline of a little inlet and headed over to take some photos of Science World British Columbia, one of the few iconic buildings left over from EXPO 86. Looking at the map, it seemed like a short walk to the Steam Clock from Science World, so we headed down Columbia Street and discovered that we had walked into the seedy underbelly of Vancouver.

There was another tourist who we saw just after she left the Chinese Cultural Museum. We walked together for a bit down the street and I could tell she was nervous since she was on her own, and I made sure to keep an eye on her as we walked through a few groups of crazy addict looking types. We made a left on Powell St which turned into Water Street and took us to the clock. Our timing was great as we arrived at 1145, just 15 minutes before the steam clock was set to go off. We enjoyed some free wifi courtesy of Starbucks while we waited so we could post some Instagram shots and tweet a few messages. Amazing we managed to survive so long without data! As 1200 approached, the crowd gathered in anticipation of the noon steam clock going off, but then there was a brief tone from the clock and that was it. Apparently there was not enough steam to do the entire 1200 Westminster chime. Overall, it was a disappointment of a tourist site.

We then headed over to Canada Place to see if the Disney Cruise Ship, the Wonder was in port. It was and it was the first time I had ever seen one of the Disney Ships in person. We were in luck, because a Princess cruise ship, the Dawn Princess, was docking at the same time. One of my co-workers was on the Wonder, so I called him and we waved to each other – me on the dock, him on the Wonder. I found out later that had I called earlier, he might have been able to arrange a visitor pass for us – I guess I will just have to go on a cruise to see the inside of the ship!

Capilano Suspension Bridge

It was time to walk back to the apartment and figure out what we were going to do the rest of the day. We decided to take a quick rest after the walk, and then head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It was a touristy thing I remembered from long ago, but I was eager to see it again. Now experts at driving in Vancouver, we got to the bridge fairly quickly with plenty of time to explore before it closed. We spent a good two hours there walking across the bridge and exploring the Tree and Cliff walks to see the rainforest and the canyon below the Suspension Bridge. It is really a mom and pop feeling place as you can see condos and houses right up against the perimeter of the site. Daniel and I got some great photos and afterwards decided to head up to see how much it cost to take the Grouse Mountain tram to the top. Again, it was reasonable so we decided just to take the tram to the top as it was too late to do any other optional activities.

View of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

I really liked the area at the top, and can imagine it must be awesome in the winter as well. We went looking for the resident Grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, and despite it being 45 degrees outside we were rewarded for our effort by spotting both bears. After some bear and scenery photos, we headed into the warmth of the building and watched the movies in the Theater in the Sky. We spent an hour in the theater and watched a story about the bears, and one about Tyto’s Triumph and another about British Columbia from the sky. All in all it was a good time and we finished it off with a wonderful sunset and some hot chocolate and a snack before we decided to head down the mountain.

We headed down the mountain and back into Vancouver and met back up with Jonathan who had been busy since we had been in Vancouver, so we all decided to head down to Yaletown to see if we could find something to eat. We ended up at a place called B.B.Ques which, while empty due to the lateness (around 9pm), had a great burger. After hanging out and chatting, we decided to call it a night and head back to the condo. It was back to the USA tomorrow and to our flight back home. Thankfully, our flight wasn’t until 4 so we had plenty of time to relax.