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View Full Version : Geeky Things to do in Vancouver BC



Jaxilon
04-18-2013, 03:00 PM
Ravells started this for NY in another thread and I figured it would be a good idea to do the same.

I will be visiting Vancouver BC to see Butchart Gardens with my wife and take a couple vacation days in Vancouver BC area the week following July 4th. We are trying to put together some things worth doing while there.

She's always wanted to see the Gardens so that's a for sure. Other than that we don't know yet.

I'm 46 and it's just my wife and I. If you know of anything that we shouldn't miss feel free to recommend.

Thanks!

Hai-Etlik
04-18-2013, 04:43 PM
It's best not to confuse "Vancouver" with "Vancouver Island" The gardens are in Central Saanich, which is part of Greater Victoria.

Other neat things to see around the south island besides the gardens are Kinsol Trestle (Huge old railway trestle, now used for hikers, cyclists, and horses), Fort Rodd Hill (Historic naval base), Government House (Home of the Lieutenant Governor, or the Queen if she's visiting), The Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, The Empress Hotel, Beacon Hill Park, loads of Wineries in the Cowichan Valley, the Cowichan River (Floating down it on an inner tube is a popular passtime in the summer, but there are also loads of trails along it too). Lots of hiking trails of varying difficulty, often with some very nice views. The murals in Chemainus and the totem poles (and the world's largest hockey stick) here in Duncan. The Gulf Islands (Small islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland) can also be quite interesting, especially if you like artsy, counter culture, neo-hippy types. The west coast of Vancouver Island, or further north in the central or north island also have interesting stuff. Pacific Rim National Park is great, and Strathcona Provincial Park has alpine meadows that are very nice in the summer. There are also kayak trips and whale watching.

Gamerprinter
04-18-2013, 04:51 PM
Been to both Vancouver and Vancouver Island on different visits. I was actually stuck in Victoria for 5 days with no money, after getting out of the Army and driving home. Had my parents send me $500 using overnight US mail express (took 5 days of express to get to me). Still, for being broke, I had a good time - someone let me stay in their house for food and showers, while I stayed in my pick-up parked in their driveway (it was December, incidentally). Still, nothing but good memories of the place.

Hai-Etlik
04-20-2013, 10:54 PM
Here's a quick map of some touristy things: Touristy stuff map (http://draconic.ca/~smithkm/blah.html)

Jaxilon
04-21-2013, 01:27 AM
Cool map Hai-Etlik. I am pretty sure we were planning to be in Vancouver and take the ferry over to Butchart Gardens. I guess we could look into staying on Victoria instead. Stanley park looked like a pretty cool park to check out but based on your map it looks like most stuff is on the island. Hmmm...

@GP - That's a pretty crazy sounding story there man. You would think the army would get you home at least.

Gamerprinter
04-21-2013, 05:08 AM
@GP - That's a pretty crazy sounding story there man. You would think the army would get you home at least.

Well since you mentioned it, it was crazier than you think.

I left in December intent on driving the ALCAN highway home. I got to White Horse, NW Territory, when I realized that it was winter, and every 3rd gas station was open, the rest closed. I was driving on fumes by the time I reached the next gas station - and getting paranoid of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. So I bought a ferry boat ticket with my last traveling funds, then drove down to the panhandle of Alaska. I was out of cash by the time I reached Victoria Island at Port Hardy - somebody and his son paid me gas money to get them to Victoria. I got there broke. Money was being sent to Victoria Police Station, for lack of a better address. The officer offered me money, I said no. I had a cold winter sleeping bag, some peanut butter and bread, and a pickup truck with topper.

I found a hostel, intending to stay, but it turned out Canada had reduced funding on mental institutions and self-turn-ins in Vancouver had to leave, so they crossed to Victoria and were all in the hostels - very crazy where I visited one. An Australian volunteer behind the front desk suggested I stay in my truck if I had the facility to do so. So I did.

The next day, I went to a breakfast restaurant half way across the city to spend my last $6.00 on something to eat. Coincidentally, the Australian hostel desk volunteer was eating breakfast with his girlfriend, saw me, we talked and he offered to let me stay in his driveway, since he already had a house guest.

I window shopped, visited the parks, and went to a toy museum for $.50 entry fee, and a place to 'stay' - I had a good time.

I stayed until the money showed up - left a $20 bill on the dining table of the house I was staying and continued my way home.

My parents went on a private vacation to Victoria the year after that - 1988 - wanting to thank the police officer in Victoria, whom they contacted and set up getting the money there, but the officer retired in 1987.

It was an interesting experience - and a tale I tell to friends. :)

Hai-Etlik
04-21-2013, 06:40 PM
Cool map Hai-Etlik. I am pretty sure we were planning to be in Vancouver and take the ferry over to Butchart Gardens. I guess we could look into staying on Victoria instead. Stanley park looked like a pretty cool park to check out but based on your map it looks like most stuff is on the island. Hmmm...

It's just that I live on the island so I know it a lot better. That's a very biased map. I know the Cowichan Valley really well, Victoria and Nanaimo somewhat less, and then the rest of the Island and the mainland not so well.

Jaxilon
04-22-2013, 01:53 AM
Ah, excellent then, a native who actually lives in the area. I think we are going to be there for only 2 or 3 days so clearly we can't do everything. Butchart is the one "Must see" thing since my wife has always wanted to visit it. Depending on what the weather is will determine what day we go to the gardens and how the rest pans out. I'll have to figure out what specifically is worth doing. Truth be told, I'm pretty content to just chill out and take in a few sights.

@GP - I did that Alcan highway with my grandparents when I was still in High School. At that time it was about 80% unpaved and quite an adventure. One of my favorite trips ever though. Thanks for sharing your story, it does sound like it was an interesting time. I think I'd have been stressed out but then maybe for you coming back from the Army it was nice to just be in civilization or even not have people trying to shoot you :) Sometimes perspective means everything.

Hai-Etlik
04-22-2013, 02:12 PM
Ah, excellent then, a native who actually lives in the area. I think we are going to be there for only 2 or 3 days so clearly we can't do everything. Butchart is the one "Must see" thing since my wife has always wanted to visit it. Depending on what the weather is will determine what day we go to the gardens and how the rest pans out. I'll have to figure out what specifically is worth doing. Truth be told, I'm pretty content to just chill out and take in a few sights.

Well, if you're a fan of any recent Science Fiction TV shows, there are probably plenty of familiar sites to see IRL. Here There Be Lions - Television Tropes & Idioms (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HereThereBeLions)