Canada – In the eyes of a child

I took my family to experience a Canada fly drive holiday in the summer.  It was full of activities and my 9 year old (at the time) daughter decided to write a blog of her experiences.  It’s fascinating reading and great to see her holiday from her perspective.  Read below.

Day 1

Here we are in Vancouver after a long day (up at 4am). The flight was a long 10 hour flight but I watched three films and read a book so it wasn’t too bad, and now we are here it was worth it! Just had a little rest at the hotel and now we are going to watch some fireworks!!!

There are a lot of weird things in Vancouver like pink bins on the street and rainbow zebra crossings. The most peculiar thing though was when we were walking to the fireworks we saw a man with pink and yellow hair who had a parrot sitting on his shoulder pecking at his t-shirt and wolf whistling. His t-shirt was completely covered in holes, but he didn’t care. He was also the hairiest man I’ve ever seen. There was also a street band with a drummer, two xylophone players and a tom tom drummer. They played really fast African music – AMAZING!

When we arrived at the hotel a kind man who works here let us choose a toy from a treasure chest. I chose a cuddly lion. I thought our room would be quite small, but when I stepped inside there was a bathroom with a complicated shower, a lounge, kitchen and two bedrooms. My bed is really comfortable and warm. We have a TV in our room, although the remote control is really difficult to understand.

Day 2

Busy day today. We went on an old fashioned trolley bus. It took us around the city and up to Stanley Park where we saw lots of totem poles. These were really interesting. My favourite one had two children poking their heads out from a bears ears. We saw lots of huge Cedar trees (my class at school was Cedar!) – one had two new trees growing out of it. Another that had been blown down had plants growing out of its stump and another was a huge hollow one and had been nailed together as it was 1000 years old.

We went on the beach and saw lots of shells.  I saw loads of really tiny crabs. One nipped my finger but daddy caught one for me to hold.

We hopped back on the bus and headed to Granville Island. We passed a window cleaner on a tall building who was swinging down on a rope from the roof like Spider-man.

The bus doesn’t go on to the island so we boarded a tiny ferry. That was fun. Granville Island was very big and full of markets including a kids market! I bought a bendy stick man and a squidgy Hulk. We had lunch there and ice cream (raspberry and white chocolate – yum, yum.) Granville Island is like a mixture of Covent Garden and the South bank in London with all its street performers and markets. I saw a REAL pirate getting on to his boat – he had a REAL wooden peg leg!

We had pizza for dinner outside Vancouver Art Gallery and listened to street music. We found a big statue in the shape of a head with loads of chewing gum stuck to it. People are allowed to add the gum they are not being naughty. I stuck some on his neck in the shape of an S. Someone had put some gum on in the shape of a ghost head. If you look at the statue too long you start to feel sick!

We saw a TV series being filmed – The Flash!

We also saw people practicing their dancing on the ice rink (no ice in the summer) including some epic break dancing and robot dancing!


Day 3

We walked to an area of Vancouver called Gastown and ate a delicious cranberry and orange muffin with a strawberry and banana smoothie – the best way to start the day!

In Gastown there is a steam clock that is run by steam. Every 15 minutes it lets off steam and plays music! The music is the same as Brownie Bells which we sing when we say goodbye at Brownies.

We then had a friendly lady pick us up and take us to Horseshoe Bay where we were going on a sea safari with Sewells Marina. We had to wear special suits to keep warm and keep us floating if we fell in the water, but the suits were incredibly big.

We jumped into the speed boat and it took us out to sea. It was really fast. At one point Daniel the driver asked us if we were hungry and would we like a doughnut. Everyone shouted yes and he then drove around in tight circles with the boat on its side nearly tipping the boat over – that was EPIC! He slowed down so we could see the harbour seals, bald eagles, sea caves, posh houses and the Lions (mountain peaks). We saw a house on an island that the owners could only get into through a small tunnel carved in the rock.

Sewell Marina Tour

Day 4

We were leaving Vancouver today and we woke up really early and daddy went to collect our car. It was black and shiny and the steering wheel was on the left hand side – strange. Daddy then drove on the wrong side of the road – strange again.

We drove through Stanley Park and over Lionsgate Bridge and arrived at Capilano Suspension Bridge. First of all we saw the totem poles and pretended we were one. Then we went on the suspension bridge. This is a really, really long bridge that is made from cables and wood and is really, really high up over a canyon. It was really, really wobbly and I nearly fell over a few times. It was so high that I touched the top of a tree!

Once over the bridge we went on a tree top walk, with walkways between the trees, then we went on a nature trail and saw two Douglas squirrels. They were really cute and fast.

It was really busy when we left, the queue to get on the bridge stretched back almost to the road! I am glad we arrived there early so we didn’t have to queue!

Then we carried on our drive up to Whistler along a lovely road called the Sea to Sky highway – its starts along the sea and heads into the mountains! We arrived at a posh hotel called the Westin Resort. We have a big room with a big bathroom, a bedroom, a living room, kitchen and even a balcony viewing the swimming pool.

Whistler is a very big and exciting place with lots of things to do, although it is not that busy compared to Vancouver. In the town square there was music playing and there were beds and comfy sofas to sit in while listening. I love it here!

Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver and arriving in Whistler

Day 5

Today we went zip-trekking. We had to wear a helmet and a harness. I felt so nervous I kept biting my nails. I have done Go Ape in the past but these were longer and higher! We zipped on five wires and after the first one it was lot easier as I was more confident. My favourite was the free style at the end as we got to do our own positions. I laid down like I was asleep. I quite liked the longer one which went on forever and you could see lovely views. I really want to go on the harder zip trek as it was even higher and we could see people above us doing it.

Day 6

Whistler is amazing! It has lots of different things to do and see. It’s a village surrounded by tall mountains towering over us. Today we went up Whistler mountain on a gondola. These are boxes going up into the sky on large cables that look down over the trees. It took about twenty minutes to get to the top of the gondola. We had breakfast here next to a large stone statue called an Inukshuk, which is lots of rocks shaped into a human. These statues were supposed to guide the way home for the native hunters when they went out. It was beautiful sitting munching an apple and oatmeal muffin, looking at the mountains and being visited by the Clarks Nutcrackers birds and the chipmunks (they were so cute).

We then went up to the very top of Whistler mountain on a chair lift – which is just a seat for 4 people with a bar coming over you, like on a roller coaster. That was pretty scary – I thought I was going to fall off. It was like a hat graveyard beneath us as everyone seemed to have dropped their hats! We held on tight to ours. At the top we could see areas of snow yet I felt very warm. I didn’t even need to wear a jumper.

Afterwards we went back down the chair lift and took the Peak to Peak gondola over the creek to the next mountain called Blackcomb mountain. Then we went on an Alpine hike over rocks and through the trees. On the way we made Inukshuks. It was an epic walk with beautiful views. We all got very dirty shoes, ankles and legs!

When we got back down to into Whistler we wandered around and got to go on a water “hamster wheel” ball. We crawled into a big plastic tube which was on water and we rolled around pretending to be hamsters. We even rolled right into daddy who was sitting by the edge.

I really love Whistler. I will be sad to leave.


Day 7

We are currently in Alpine Meadows Resort near Clearwater staying in our very own big log cabin with a balcony overlooking the lake – it’s amazing here. We arrived yesterday, and to get here we had to cross a river. There was no bridge just the tiniest ferry I have ever seen. It was basically a wooden raft that could fit just one car on and we floated across! Weird!

Once we had arrived we explored our cabin then headed down to the lake. Daddy went in first and swam around and then Belle and I joined him in the water. It was very cold and there were lots of small fish nibbling around my legs. We then went out on a rowing boat and then discovered the canoes and kayaks. At first I was a bit nervous of falling out of my single kayak, but after a quick lesson from daddy I was soon paddling my way across the lake all by myself.   I even got to touch a bullrush which is very soft. After that we discovered a giant hot tub which we had to ourselves. It was so big we could actually swim around in it.

We are now relaxing on our balcony drinking coke and eating caramel pop corn. Tomorrow we are heading off to Jasper and the Rocky Mountains.

Alpine Meadows Resort in Clearwater

Day 8

We left Clearwater and starting heading towards Jasper. On the way we went on a River Safari trip and saw a mummy black bear and an adorable little bear cub. We followed them along the shore for ages with the guide, Digger, rowing us at the front of the boat instead of using the engine so he didn’t scare the bears away. I am so happy to have seen the bears, it was the main animal I wanted to see on this holiday. We have also seen deer, elk, and rabbits.

After this trip we carried on to Jasper, which is in Alberta. So we said goodbye to British Columbia, Strangely, Alberta is 1 hour ahead of British Columbia even though it is still in Canada, so we didn’t arrive until quite late and checked into our hotel. Our hotel room has the biggest beds I have even seen.

Day 9

We are now in Jasper, which is a small town in the Canadian Rockies. There are loads of shops and loads of trains. I counted one train that had 227 carriages! Most of the trains are freight trains however I did see the Rocky Mountaineer train which carries people. This morning we woke up to our first wet day, but it didn’t matter as we were going water rafting any way and were bound to get wet.

We were taken about 20 minutes out of the town to the Athabasca River where we got on the raft. As it was raining we had to wear yellow ponchos so we all looked like bananas. We had to sit on the sides of the inflatable raft which was bright orange.

Our guide was called Brad and he kept rowing us into the rapids so we got wet. We had to hold on tight. Near the end of the trip after the rapids, Brad said I could have a go at rowing the raft, but we managed to get stuck on the rocks so Brad had to jump out of the raft and push us away. It was awesome.

After the rafting we headed to the Jasper sky tram which took us up Whistlers mountain (nothing to do with Whistler!). We went right up into the clouds and I could even touch them. We saw a tiny animal called a Pika – it had round ears like a mouse and no tail. This inspired the pokemon character Pikachu. We didn’t stay up the mountain that long as there was a storm coming in and we didn’t want to get stuck up there as they close the sky tram as storms pass over.

View from Whistler Mountain over Jasper – Rafting the river

Day 10

Today we headed to Banff along the Icefields Parkway. This is quite a long drive but it was very exciting with amazing views of blue lakes, rivers and the mountains. We saw one area where there had been a forest fire and all the trees were brown and burnt but still looked impressive.

We first stopped at the Athabasca Falls. This is the same river that we rafted on yesterday, luckily we didn’t raft over the falls! It was very strong and you couldn’t even see the bottom.

We then drove to the Columbia Icefields where we boarded a snocoach which took us out onto the Athabasca Glacier. We had time to walk around on the ice – it was very cold. The coaches wheels were as big as me! The Glacier itself was huge but it had melted a lot since the Victorian era – about 10 metres a year! We had to be careful where we walked as there were some huge crevices in the glacier that you could fall down. We stayed in the “safe zone”

After this we went on the Glacier Skywalk which only opened a few months ago. It was a walk along the mountain edge which then went onto a big glass and steel hoop that went out over the valley and trees. It had a glass bottom so you felt like you were walking on air. We had a radio system that we carried around listening to and I learned that nutcracker birds only eat a few seeds in the summer and store most of them away to eat in the winter. I thought the views were amazing and I really enjoyed the Skywalk.

When we arrived in Banff we checked in to our hotel and then headed to the town to find some dinner. We went to a pizza restuarant where you could add honey onto your pizza (they gave you a bottle of honey like it was ketchup). It was weird but delicious.

In the pool at Hidden Ridge Resort Banff

Day 11

We have had a wonderful time in Banff. The last two days have been relaxing and so much fun. Where we are staying (Hidden Ridge Resort) has a great rock swimming pool and we have spent a long time playing around in it. A ground squirrel even came to visit us by the side of the pool and ate some flowers in plant pot. We also got free ice pops from Mr Freezy in the hotel after swimming.

Mummy has been making pancakes every morning in Banff and for lunch in the town I have had snails! Yum!

We went on a chair lift up Mount Norquay mountain and on the way we saw a black bear, a cinnamon mummy bear with her two cubs, two ground squirrels, two chipmunks and an accessory tree which was full of necklaces and bras! It was a busy mountain for wildlife and bras!

We explored Banff quite a bit and did some shopping. They have a candy store full of strange sweets. I got a garfield pack of candy tuna in their tins. We also saw tongue tattoos, which you put on your tongue and suck. There is a gigantic shop full of Christmas stuff and a section on Halloween with a ghost graveyard and dancing ghosts.

We are leaving Banff in the morning and flying to New York! Can’t wait!


Jeremy Timms
Frontier Canada