British Columbia

Staying local: Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

As British Columbia’s travel restrictions remain in place, I continue to discover or rediscover local treasures. Last week’s excursion took me to Queen Elizabeth Park, a horticultural jewel in the middle of Vancouver. As I gazed over the resplendent spring gardens with views to the city skyline and snow-covered North Shore Mountains, I was shocked that I hadn’t been to Queen Elizabeth Park since we moved to Vancouver over 20 years ago.

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Categories: British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

Finding Stanley in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s crowning glory. Its dense rainforest and pristine coastline belie its location at the doorstep of one of Canada’s largest cities. I visit the park often, usually for cycling, but I rarely take the time to truly appreciate how the park came to be and what it has to offer. I realized how little I knew about the park, including who this Stanley guy is. So, last week, I spent a slow, relaxed day in Stanley Park, on and off my bike, stopping at monuments, reading plaques, strolling through gardens, riding along lesser used trails, and finding Stanley, among other notable people.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , , | 49 Comments

Vancouver cycling: Stanley Park-UBC-Fraser River-Arbutus Greenway route

Last weekend, we cobbled together an awesome cycling route around Vancouver’s West Side. The ride provides exceptional diversity: beautiful beaches, rivers and parks, lovely neighbourhoods, giant cedar forests, equestrian centres, First Nations communities and the University of British Columbia (UBC). It’s mind-boggling that we saw all this, and more, in only a 46 km (29 mi) loop (technically, a lollipop). Most of the route is on dedicated bike paths, and the majority of on-road sections have bike lanes. The unseasonably warm weather and spring blooms added to make this a perfect day on our bikes.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

Why did I never turn right? Hiking in Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia

For year now, when I need an easy, no-fuss hike, I just walk out my door to a trailhead about 10-minutes away. The path immediately gets me into the deep forest above Horseshoe Bay. After 500 m of uphill grunting, there’s an intersection. I’ve always turned left. It’s like I’m on autopilot. Left is to Whyte Lake, a pretty, little lake that makes the perfect one hour, door-to-door outing—a reliable and predictable bit of fresh air and exercise. A few months ago, I bucked the routine and turned right.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

Winter hike to Garibaldi Lake, British Columbia

Garibaldi Lake, located in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler, British Columbia, is a popular summertime hiking destination. A few weeks ago, on a crisp sunny day, I finally got to hike there in winter. Verdict: It’s a gorgeous cold weather outing. The blanket of white adds a simplicity to the landscape making it appear even grander than in summer. And, there’s a peacefulness that comes with the largely monochromatic scene. Strangely, I can thank the pandemic for allowing me to hike to Garibaldi Lake this winter.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 50 Comments

This is winter on Vancouver’s North Shore

There’s an old saying that if you can see the North Shore from Vancouver, it’s about to rain, and if you can’t, it’s raining. Grey skies and incessant precipitation are typical of winter on the North Shore, part of Greater Vancouver separated by the Burrard Inlet. I grumble about the winter weather, but I’ve also learned to embrace it. With its unique geography and micro-climates, Vancouver’s North Shore offers a huge variety of outdoor activities. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can ski, hike, cycle, golf, and play in the ocean in winter—possibly all on the same day. And, when the sun does peek out, it’s glorious!

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Deciduous conifers of Frosty Mountain: Manning Park, British Columbia

No, it’s not an oxymoron. While hiking the Frosty Mountain trail in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, I was introduced to the alpine larch, a deciduous conifer that sheds its needles every fall and grows them back in spring. For a few weeks, in late September/early October, the Frosty Mountain larches become a blaze of golden colour. My hiking buddy Eva and I timed our October 2 hike perfectly for this stunning fall display and learned some cool things about British Columbia’s toughest and oldest tree.

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Categories: British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

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