Travel future

Travel future: City life meets wildlife in British Columbia, Canada

Bear watching in Canada

Canada has been top of my travel wishlist for so long – and with good reason. It’s the perfect combination of modern city life meets wilderness wildlife adventure. Though with over 5000 miles from coast to coast you’d need a while to see it all. So I’m starting with a province which brings together some of the country’s best features in a much smaller area (by Canadian standards at least) – British Columbia. Along with fellow bloggers Travel with Kat, Quirky Traveller and Tips for Travellers, I’ll be spending a week exploring the coastal area around Vancouver Island – home to Vancouver and Victoria, two cities on the edge of nature. This part of Canada has some of the country’s most accessible wildlife, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for grizzly and black bears, as well as orcas, humpback whales, moose, beavers, wolves and eagles as we travel around the island. So here’s what my first trip to Canada has in store…

British Columbia map, Canada

Our destinations around British Columbia

Victoria

Our first stop is Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The capital of British Columbia is a historic city built around the waterfront, and we’ll be spending two nights at the Grand Hotel Pacific, right on the edge of the harbour. Victoria has Canada’s mildest weather so I’ll be hoping for some sunny days for my exploration of the city. I’ll be taking part in The Pedaler’s Eat, Drink and Pedal cycle tour, where we’ll be filling up on stops at local food producers before burning it off on the bike. And there’ll be yet more eating with dinners at Victoria restaurants Canoe Brewpub and North 48.

Victoria harbour, Canada

Victoria’s harbour – photo credit CTC

Campbell River

Next we leave Victoria behind and head north up Vancouver island towards the small town of Campbell River. We’ll be passing through pretty harbours, deserted beaches and ancient forests along the coast on the way. We also stop off at the Blue Grouse Winery, a vineyard on a hillside in the Cowichan Valley, where we’ll be tasting some of their wines. In Campbell River we have one night at the Comfort Inn, and will be spending the afternoon at Painter’s Lodge, where we’ll be taking a wildlife-spotting boat trip around the harbour before dinner at April Point, across the water on Quadra Island.

Painter's Lodge in Campbell River

Sunset on deck at Painter’s Lodge – photo credit Painter’s Lodge

Great Bear Lodge

From Campbell River we head on north to Port Hardy, almost at the top of Vancouver Island, where we pick up a sea plane for a flight over the Queen Charlotte Strait to Great Bear Lodge. This floating lodge is set amidst Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest – over 70,000km² of cedar and spruce forest that’s home to grizzly, brown and Kermode bears. We’ll be spending two nights at the lodge, heading out by boat and on foot to spot bears. At this time of year they’re coming out of hibernation so will hopefully be slow enough for me to get some good photos! The lodge has its own biologist who’ll be teaching us about bear behaviour and we’ll be sleeping on the water in a cosy eco-lodge miles from anywhere.

Grizzly bear, Great Bear Rainforest

Face to face with a grizzly – photo credit Tom Rivest/Great Bear Nature tours

Vancouver

From the wilderness we head back into civilisation for our last destination – the city of Vancouver. We just have one night in the city (I already know I’m going to want to go back), where we’ll be staying at retro-style boutique hotel The Burrard. We will be exploring Vancouver on a breakfast, coffee and food truck walking tour with Tours by Locals before getting back in the saddle for tour with Cycle City Tours that takes us past some of the city’s best architecture and street art. Then our final stop is at Sandbar seafood restaurant on Granville Island before we board the plane and head back home.

Vancouver, Canada

Cycling around Vancouver – photo credit CTC

Inspired? Discover more about what Canada has to offer at www.keepexploring.ca. I’ll be posting updates live from the trip on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – look out for the #ExploreCanada hashtag.

I’ll be travelling to British Columbia as a guest of Destination British Columbia for the #ExploreCanada Spring Watch project supported by the Canadian Tourism Commission in partnership with Travelator Media.

Do you have tips for things I should see and do in British Columbia?

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

38 Comments

  • Reply
    Darlene
    May 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Wow! You have a great trip ahead of you. You will love Vancouver Island. Vancouver isn´t on Vancouver Island but on the mainland. One day will not be enough but it will give you a taste and I know you will return. Can´t wait for the posts. Enjoy!!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks Darlene, yes it’s just going to be a taste of Vancouver this time – already got my sights on a return trip followed by the train up to Banff and Lake Louise!

      • Reply
        faultlessfinish
        May 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm

        There’s no better way to see Canada than by train, and the journey from Vancouver to Banff is absolutely breathtaking! Enjoy 🙂

  • Reply
    Ayla
    May 28, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    This sounds like an incredible trip Lucy! Canada has never really been high on my list of places to visit but it’s gradually working its way up there as I keep hearing more and more great things. The Great Bear Lodge sounds especially exciting – I would love to stay there! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      The Great Bear Lodge does look amazing – I just bought a zoom lens for my camera so I should hopefully be able to get some bear pics!

  • Reply
    Nim Singh
    May 28, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Looking forward to seeing you at the airport tomorrow morning Lucy. One thing to note is that Canada has provinces not States like the States.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks Nim, I’ve updated that now – learnt something new already! Look forward to seeing you tomorrow too.

  • Reply
    uhrblock
    May 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    A great trip you have planned – and just the tip of the iceberg for what Canada has to offer. In Victoria, don’t miss ‘Redfish Bluefish’ – an awesome fish and chips place right on the pier. The Blue Fox Cafe is also a favorite of mine for breakfast; both are within walking distance of the Grand Pacific.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks, yes I think this is going to be the first of many trips to Canada! Thanks for the Victoria tips, will try and check them out while I am there.

  • Reply
    Chris (@lyteforce)
    May 28, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Not sure if you’ll have a hankering for chocolate while in Victoria, but if you do make sure to hit up Rogers’ Chocolates and grab a Victoria Creme! Their flagship store is on Government Street just a block or two up from The Empress (the hotel in your picture).

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Chocolate is always a good idea – thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Kathryn Burrington
    May 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Really looking forward to sharing this wonderful adventure with you, Lucy. Not long now!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Kathryn – you too, can’t believe we have finally made it here!

  • Reply
    Heyjude
    May 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Not sure you have time to fit anything else in, looks like a full on fun time there! Not nearly long enough in Vancouver – should go in to Stanley Park if possible. I am very envious…

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Yes we’re going to be pretty busy! Just a taster of Vancouver this time to one to come back to for sure.

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    May 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Looking forward to seeing all your pictures, hope you have a great time in BC

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks Heather – there’ll be lots of photos to come, it’s a seriously photogenic place!

  • Reply
    Sheila
    May 29, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Hope you enjoy being in Campbell River, I’ve lived here for twenty years after moving from Vancouver and I absolutely love it here. Have a wonderful trip. I would suggest seeing Banff if you return again, breath taking scenery.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks Sheila, I’m looking forward to exploring Campbell River. Banff and the Rockies are top of my list for my next trip to Canada – we flew over that way and the scenery looked spectacular.

  • Reply
    Shelley @Travel-Stained
    May 29, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Yay! You’re finally making it to my country of citizenship! The nature in BC is beyond stunning, but 1 week is barely enough time to scratch the surface of Vancouver and Victoria, let alone the whole province! If you get a chance, try to sneak in some sushi, or King Crab (if it’s the season)…it’s delicious and affordable in Vancouver. Have an amazing trip! 😀

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks – yes it’s a bit of a whistlestop tour this time but I’ll be back for sure!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Jones
    May 29, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Your trip looks amazing – can’t wait to follow along 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks Suzanne – lots of photos to come!

  • Reply
    Whitney
    May 29, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    This is so great! I live in Vancouver and I’m obsessed with my city! It’s one of my favourite places on Earth. I am also a travel blogger and I often lament at how few people ever make it over to the breathtaking Pacific Northwest. I hope you love it as much as I do!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks Whitney, I’m so excited to explore Vancouver, I’ve heard such great things about it!

  • Reply
    shazza
    May 29, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I am so jealous. Can’t wait to see your posts. Lots of wildlife please. :0)

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      I bought a new zoom lens for my camera specially so fingers crossed the wildlife will be accommodating!

  • Reply
    Eliz Armstrong
    May 30, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Sounds like a very fun itinerary – and great that you will be able to connect with other bloggers!

    My boyfriend and I went to Vancouver and Victoria two summers ago and loved witnessing the playful duel between the nature and urban settings. If you can make it to Butchart Gardens while you travel between Victoria and Campbell River, you will not regret it! Also, we loved eating a slice of pie from A La Mode in Granville Island’s public market while overlooking Vancouver’s harbor – could be a fun way to wrap up your last day in Canada. Hope you enjoy!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Yes it should be a really nice mixture of the cities and the more remote wildlife areas. Thanks for the tips too – pie sounds like a great idea!

  • Reply
    quirkytraveller
    May 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    We’re finally here in Victoria and it’s certainly living up to our (very high) expectations! Delighted to be sharing our first Travelator Media trip together Lucy 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 30, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks Zoe, yes it’s hard to believe we are actually here! Looking forward to lots more explorations.

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    June 1, 2015 at 9:00 am

    So excited for you Lucy! This sounds like the trip of a lifetime especially the opportunity to see such incredible wildlife and I also love the sound of the quirky food truck walking tour!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 5, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks Shikha, I’m just off the plane and still totally buzzing, it was such an amazing experience!

  • Reply
    Jess
    June 2, 2015 at 6:53 am

    This makes me want to immediately pack my bags and head to Canada. Vancouver has been on my list for awhile now. Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 5, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      I can’t believe I finally made it out there after wanting to visit for so long – it was totally worth the wait though!

      • Reply
        Jess
        June 6, 2015 at 5:57 am

        So awesome. Glad to hear it was! Seeing post like yours make me know it will be worth me waiting a bit longer as well.

  • Reply
    ToursByLocals (@Tours_By_Locals)
    June 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    So glad you were able to make the trip to beautiful BC and get a taste for both our urban and wild sides! Your itinerary is one any traveler would envy. Can you see why those of us who live here love it so much?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      June 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      I certainly can! It was a really memorable trip, and a great taster to the region – I’m looking forward to writing about it all soon.

    Leave a Reply