Hometown Tourists

Grandview-Woodlands, Canada

Thanks to our niece and nephew, Kirsten & Scott, we find ourselves enjoying a staycation. They arrive from Saskatchewan with their parents, Brent & Heather, who hastily depart for a well-deserved and long-overdue kid-free week in Hawaii.

In between the family’s early morning flight from Saskatchewan and Brent & Heather’s late afternoon flight to Honolulu, we fit in a trip to Granville Island and lunch at home. Once their parents are dropped at the airport, we take the kids on the skytrain to Gastown for an Olde Spaghetti Factory dinner.

The Anthropology Museum is next on our long list of must-see sights. The totem poles and other coastal aboriginal artifacts tell the story of a proud people victimized by European explorers and traders. Over lunch at a Fraser River pub, we talk with the kids about this nasty aspect of our history. Later, a visit to the garden shop helps to lighten the mood.

The next outing is to the north shore mountains, where we take in the Capilano suspension bridge, the Cleveland dam, Cypress mountain and Lighthouse Park. The weather cooperates! The deluge of rain we have been experiencing for the past six months abates and we are free to explore the outdoors without umbrellas and hoods.

Science World is the next adventure. I stay home to take a breather (that Craig does not seem to need), and am regaled with stories, mostly competitive in nature, when the crew arrive home. And a moving documentary about the plight of polar bear in the Arctic – the warming and melting Arctic, that is – shifts the conversation we have been having about a new vehicle purchase. “Hybrid” becomes the new buzz word.

The Vancouver Aquarium visit is, for all of us, a highlight of the week. Craig & I have not been there for over a decade and we are amazed at the extensive renovations. The jellyfish displays, in particular, are mesmerizing. A 4-d film about the herring run off the south coast of Africa is an experience that feels almost too real, especially when we are sprayed with sea water.

We take a mid-week break from sight-seeing on Wednesday in order to spend time at the Richmond Auto Mall, where Kirsten & Scott help us buy a hybrid Toyota Rav 4. Next stop is lunch at Whole Foods. And then to Tinseltown in Chinatown for a movie. We see The Boss Baby, a hilarious animated film featuring the voice of Alex Baldwin as a newborn in a business suit.

The following day, back on the tourist track, we indulge Craig’s wish to ride the skytrain to the end of the line in Coquitlam, but nix his plan to change trains in New Westminster and head to Surrey. Instead we head to Lonsdale Quay on the north shore and are treated to a sunny break and great views of the Vancouver skyline. Dinner at the waterfront Cactus Club is followed by a visit to Craig’s office.

We watch the weather forecast all week, hoping for a sunny blue sky day for a trip up the sea to sky highway, and pin our hopes on Friday, which dawns cloud free. Yay!!! The drive is spectacular as the mountains are still snow capped. The highlight of the day is the Sea to Sky gondola. Just south of Squamish, and open since 2014, the ride takes us 850 meters above Howe Sound. It is still winter at the top! The photos say more about the breath-taking view than any words I could write.

Back home, the sun is just hitting our “lanai”. It is a perfect place to enjoy our take-out szechuan dinner and reminisce about the week.

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