It’s no secret we love Canada. We have been there twice this year, once as a family and the second time the kids and I spent 10 days there with my family. The people are so incredibly friendly and the country is full of so much beauty. If I spent as much time photographing landscapes as I do photographing babies I am sure I could have captured some incredible images, but this portrait photographer did the best she could do!
HOW WE DID IT
FLIGHTS: Both times we chose to fly direct from Sydney to Vancouver with Air Canada. Yes, it sucks. 15 hours on a plane with kids is torture. BUT the staff are amazing and handed the kids a little pack to keep them busy and to be honest they sat like zombies watching the kids movies for most of the trip. On our most recent trip back the kids were even allowed up in the cockpit and chatted with the pilots once we landed. Our flights landed between 7am-8am on the way there and back and if you can stay up all day it works really well to combat jet lag.
From Vancouver we flew to LA and spent 7 days at Disney and 5 days in Hollywood. By flying with Air Canada we were able to add the flights easily and they weren’t very expensive at all.
TRANSPORT: The first trip we decided not to drive. Let’s face it we argue just driving through the Sydney CBD so no-one needed that kind of stress on holiday. We found it so easy to Uber, taxi and use public transport. We utilised tours from Vancouver to anything further out of the city and found them to be reasonably priced… just don’t forget to tip.
We found Uber a great way to talk to locals, find out what they do and where their favourite spots are. One of our drivers was a magician who had a boot full of magic tricks!
The second time we hired a van to fit the 5 of us and traveled the countryside National Lampoons Vacation style. Lots of funny memories made in that people mover!
ACCOMMODATION: Airbnb is honestly the most amazing thing! This was our first ever time using it and there was a bit of anxiety around the possibility we might be homeless once we get there. BUT everything worked perfectly and we had access to a really beautiful 3 bedroom apartment within walking distance to shops, restaurants, 7/11 etc.
Whistler. We were able to see Whistler in Summer and Winter which was so interesting. In February it was freezing and covered in a thick snow and in August it was dry and covered with BMX bikes!
Peak to Peak Skyway – amazing views at Whistler
Drive through the mountains from Vancouver to Hope and Hell’s Gate. Lots of waterfalls, tunnels and stunning scenery.
Grouse Mountain – see bears, ride the skyway, see bird shows, have lunch and go for a hike.
Victoria – take the ferry to Victoria and see the incredible architecture, take a horse drawn tour, have a yummy lunch and visit the markets. The museum there is also worth a look.
Granville Island – home of the BEST hot chocolate and gourmet food market EVER! The maple walnut gelato is to die for!
Science World and The Space Center – perfect for rainy/cold days or for when you want to stay close to the city. The kids both LOVED these and we have been both times.
Most importantly – do NOT ask for Lemonade. If you have kids as fussy as mine this will be your biggest mistake! Lemonade in Canada and the US is a sour lemon squash. Ask for Sprite or 7UP.
If you are traveling to Vancouver in Winter be prepared to see a LOT of homeless folk. Vancouver is one of the warmest cities in Canada (it is still freezing) so it is the preferred location for those sleeping rough. Be prepared for some confronting scenes especially if you have kids. We found them to be incredibly friendly and had no issues when walking around, but it can be quite uncomfortable.
We found eating out to be quite cheap compared to Australia. We chose to eat out most meals instead of cook. A lot of motels do not offer a breakfast option so be prepared to make your own or go out. 7/11 is everywhere and have a huge variety of pre-packaged foods.
Tips are expected between 10-20% depending on the service. Add this to the bill when you eat out, go on a tour or use anything service based.
If traveling in winter be sure to take water-proof clothing. We had to buy new jackets and shoes as we were not prepared for how wet and cold it would be (sounds silly when we live in Bathurst but this is really next level stuff!!). Air Canada allows 2 x 25kg checked bags per person so a bag of boots and jackets wasn’t a problem at all.
Don’t expect coffee to taste the same.
And possibly the biggest issue I have with Canada – they don’t have chicken salt…. like AT ALL!!! Someone needs to start importing that stuff STAT!