To catch you up a little bit on our adventure to Vancouver, a tropical June escape turned into an Alaskan cruise. (You can check out our Alaska cruise here!) One of the swaying factors when Joel presented the Alaska option was that we’d be able to add on a weekend trip to Vancouver and Victoria along the way!
We only had a day and a half to explore Vancouver, but we got to check out some pretty amazing stuff! Such as….the world’s narrowest (commercial) building, an unexpected Chinese oasis, our favorite North American public market to date, and a coliseum library.
I will say that traffic was pretty insane! Since we had a car and stayed outside the city, we drove our car into the city instead of taking public transportation. Whew! It does remind me why I appreciate living in a small city, as vibrant as big city culture is.
And it was raining, of course, as we left Victoria and headed into the city for a late afternoon wander. It was just a drizzly rain, so it didn’t slow us down too much!
We stopped to check out Nemesis Coffee in downtown Vancouver. Yum! Just what a dreary, rainy day needed.
Most big cities have a Chinatown, but there’s always something cool about them anyway. We didn’t spent long here, but we did find…
…the world’s narrowest building! The Sam Kee Building is less than 5 feet wide. It’s that tall, dark gray building you see in the picture below. The story goes that the city took over most of the city block to widen the streets. Sam Kee refused to sell that little remaining piece, so he built a skinny little building on what was left over. Since then they’ve built next to it, but his stubbornness earned a claim to fame.
We were headed out of Chinatown after finding the Sam Kee when we stumbled across a quiet little oasis right in the middle of the city. We wandered through the open door and found such a peaceful spot of earth in the middle of the hustle bustle.
We headed over to Gastown to explore this upscale shopping district and find some food. It felt like walking into a different world after downtown and Chinatown. Totally different vibe!
This is Gassy Jack and the famous Gastown Steam Clock. Gassy Jack was the original settler of Vancouver and the inspiration for Gastown’s name. It appears that back then, “to gas” meant to talk a lot. Evidently Jack talked a lot because the nickname stuck. The Gastown steam clock is one of the only steam clocks left in the world.
After finding some pizza and salad at an Italian restaurant (yum), we braved the traffic to get out of the city and onto our AirBnB.
Saturday morning back back into the city for an amazing breakfast at Small Victory Cafe. This was recommended to us by our photographer friend Brady from PEI (thanks, Brady!), and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
Saturday morning was super crowded, but we found a seat right at the bar where we could watch the action. This place was hopping, but nobody had to wait long for their stuff. It made Joel’s efficiency-loving, industrial engineer heart happy.
The coffee was on point, too! Definitely a favorite.
After breakfast, we went off in search of Vancouver’s famous library. Most of our city exploring this day was in Yaletown. It was one of our more favorite places we explored in the heart of the city. We were sooo happy for some sunshine, too! It was one of the few sunny days on our trip, and we soaked it in all day long.
Joel sometimes takes pictures of cars. I humor him. :)
This is their library! So crazy. It is definitely worth a detour to go see. Inside the actual library was pretty typical (we still dream about Halifax’s library!), but the architecture itself is a work of art.
This was inside the corridor, before you entered the actual library. It’s Saturday morning, and there’s a 50 person line waiting for them to open.
You can check out musical instruments! That is such a cool idea.
And we’re off. We said goodbye to downtown Vancouver and headed out to Granville Island.
Granville Island was a highlight of our time in Vancouver. The public market was epic (pictures to come). There were little shops and restaurants everywhere, and the views of the city across the river were amazing.
The Public Market was huge. Fruits, vegetables, cheese, food stalls, soup stock, preserves. They had everything.
We learned a lot about fiddlehead ferns on our trip to Prince Edward Island, so it was kind of fun to see them here again.
One of each, please…
We collected our picnic lunch and went off to check out some of the other little shops around the island. Lots of local art and handcrafted items.
Check out the $13,000 price tag.
They were having some kind of pirate show or something, and it was hilarious. The pirates would chase after boats and hit them with squirt guns.
We took our picnic lunch to Stanley Park and found a bench in the sunshine. This was what we did in Europe, with our little bread/cheese/fruit picnic lunch in the park. Sooo good.
This was our picnic lunch view.
We didn’t have a lot of time, so we decided just to walk around part of Stanley Island instead of biking all the way around it. If you have time, though, rent a bike and spend a whole afternoon there!
This is “Girl in A Wetsuit”. You stumble across art in the most random places sometimes.
We detoured through the rose garden on the way back to our car. I loooved those purple flowers! It felt like walking through Dr Seuss land.
My Dr Seuss flowers.
We hopped back in the car and headed over to North Vancouver to Capilano Lake and the Cleveland Dam. Capilano Lake was beautiful! This was another highlight of Vancouver. We took some extra time to just sit and relax here after we explored. And to soak in that sunshine, of course!
There was a wedding, and it was so hard not to crash it. Goooorgeous backdrop, though!
The next morning was cruise day! We didn’t need to board the ship until early afternoon, so we drove out to New Westminster for a Sunday morning church service. We dropped off our car, grabbed some lunch at 49th Parallel, and headed off to the cruise terminal!
A doughnut for dessert. I also just really liked taking pictures of the turquoise cups!
They were having a yogo convention near the cruise terminal. We don’t know all that much about yoga, and it was really fascinating listening in for a few minutes.
And onto the ship! If you haven’t already, you can check out some of our favorite Alaskan cruise memories here. Even if you only scroll down to the pictures of Glacier Bay, you won’t want to miss it!
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