Archives by Tag 'british columbia'

Alberta and British Columbia 18 Nights Itinerary (without a car)

By DD - Last updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

calgary to victoria mapFrom April 29th to May 17th 2016, Mama D and I went on a trip to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the British Columbia Sunshine Coast and Vancouver island. It was a lot of fun to plan and so much more to experience! The itinerary was built around the train trip and everything went smoothly, and as planned. We were very happy with all the accommodations chosen; I did a lot of research before hand and in some cases, changed my mind and got a bigger room i.e in Calgary, Banff and Victoria. We did not regret our choice to go bigger as it made an even more memorable trip! Customer service and cleanliness were excellent in all seven accommodations, including the train.

This 18 nights itinerary starts in Calgary, Alberta and ends in Victoria on Vancouver island in British Columbia. If you travel light, you could add a float plane trip from Vancouver to Sechelt or Victoria, or from Sechelt to Victoria. I hope this inspires you to plan a wonderful trip! Please don’t be shy to post any comments or suggestions you might have for us or other travelers.

Calgary, Alberta
3 days and 4 nights in Calgary
Stay at Best Western Plus Downtown Calgary in a 2 bedroom suite (Breakfast included)
Day 1 Travel to Calgary
Day 2 (Saturday) Glenbow Museum with lunch at the Devonian Gardens in Stephen Street Mall
Day 3 (Sunday) Calgary Tower in the morning, lunch at hotel, Lougheed House in the afternoon
Day 4 (Monday) Calgary Zoo, pack a lunch, arrive before opening and book a Behind The Scenes tour

Mama D and DD with the Calgary Tower MascotCalgary Tower and GlenbowLougheed HouseCalgary Zoo MapRock HyraxBehind the Scenes Calgary Zoo



DD Feeding a Carrot to a GiraffeCalgary Zoo Dinausaur and Hoodoos





From the airport, you can take a shuttle to the hotel, a taxi or a luxury Sedan which is what we opted for, for not much more than 2 shuttle tickets. Train is free in downtown Calgary and if you need to travel outside the free zone you can purchase tickets at train stations in automated machines. Safeway and London Drugs are a short walk from the hotel.

On day 1 you could if you wanted to not pack a lunch and eat instead in one of the many fast food restaurants at the food court that is right in the Devonian Gardens, on the 4th floor. On Day 2, you could have lunch in the restaurant of the Calgary Tower that includes the visit or you could opt for the Sunday Brunch at The Fort of Calgary, a few train stations away… apparently it’s one of the best kept secrets in town and it does include the Fort’s admission entry.

Banff, Alberta
3 days and 3 nights in Banff
Brewsters bus from Sandman Hotel in Calgary to Banff Hotel
Stay at Rundlestone Lodge in a family suite (No Breakfast)
Day 5 (Tuesday) Lunch in Hotel Lobby, Whyte Museum
Day 6 (Wednesday) Banff Gondola, lunch on top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff Hot Springs
Day 7 (Thursday) Shopping and laundry (3$ per machine)

Banff Whyte MuseumBanff GondolaBanff View from Sulphur MountainPath to Banff Hot Springs




Day 8 (Friday) Sundog Banff to Jasper Tour (10 hour)
Discounts for CAA-AAA members
An amazing tour across the rockies if you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive. There are many stops along the way to take pictures, for washroom breaks and for lunch. Do the Glacier tour and the sky walk, it’s worth it! Bring a super large bottle or two to fill with absolute pure and fresh glacier water!

Lake LouiseRocky MontainsRocky Montains2Mama D and DD at Columbia Icefiled CenterDD taking Glacier waterGlacier Bus



Columbia Icefield SkywalkAthabasca Falls





The reason why Banff Hot springs is crossed is that we had planned to go but because of the high content of chlorine we decided to opt out and took the bus back to the hotel instead. The Roam Public buses are so convenient. Buy a day pass for $5 right on the bus. We could have visited the Banff Park Museum had we known they had opened earlier in the season than planned because of the nice weather and crowds. There is lots more we could have done but needed a rest so we took it easy.

Jasper, Alberta
1 Day and 2 Nights in Jasper
Stay at Columbine House Bed and Breakfast (breakfast included)
Day 9 (Saturday) Sky Tram with free shuttle from Mount Robson Inn Hotel, lunch at launch center, shuttle back downtown, Whislter’s Inn Museum, Jasper Museum where they sell super cute animal puppets!

Jasper SkytramJasper View From Whistler's Mountain2Trail to Whistler's Mountain TopWhistler's Inn Museum




At Columbine House you will be welcomed with open arms by Karen. 2 nights minimum stay with breakfast and snacks included and replenished in your mini fridge daily. There is a microwave but no stove top. Comfortable king size bed and queen size sofa bed with view of the Sky tram! We would have liked to go on a Maligne Tour with Sundog on Saturday morning but they were fully booked. We should have booked ahead… Our original plan was the Maligne tour in the morning and the Skytram in the afternoon but then we wouldn’t have had enough time to see the museum and get the puppets!

Via Rail on The Canadian
Day 10 (Sunday) Via Rail Train from Jasper to Vancouver in Sleeper Cabin for 2
.5 Day and 1 Night

Mama D and DD at Jasper Train StationVia Rail PosterMother's Day on The TrainVancouver Train Station




The sleeper cabin for 2 includes all meals, tea, coffee and snacks. Snacks consist of cookies, muffins, fruits with teas and coffee. The food in the dining car is excellent. We had soup, salad, main course and dessert. The train leaves in the afternoon and we were fortunate that our train was on time and arrived an hour earlier than planned in Vancouver which gave us lots of time to get to our next destination. Ask for cabin F when you make your reservation for extra room.

People from all over the world come to Canada to experience this beautiful train ride through the Alberta and British Columbia rocky mountains.

Sechelt, British Columbia
2.5 days and 3 nights
Stay at Above The Inlet B&B, Leopard Suite (breakfast is extra$)
On day of arrival we went grocery shopping at The Independent for PC points!
Day 12 (Tuesday) walk to Sechelt marsh, Birthday Buffet lunch in our suite, lounge in the sun
Day 13 (Wednesday) Walking and shopping

BC FerriesSuitcases On The FerryOn The BC Ferry To SecheltHeron At Sechelt MarinaSechelt MarshGeese at Sechelt MarshSechelt High School TrailMama D and Mama J on High School Trail








Sechelt inlet is a small town north of Vancouver only accessible by ferry boat. We like to go there to visit family. There are not many things to do but there is a lot of beauty to take in and it’s the perfect place to unwind. The views from the B&B are amazing! There is a nice short hiking trail from the top of Trail Avenue to the high school and there is the Sechelt Marsh near the marina. You could easily spend more time than we did.

The easiest and fastest way to get to the Horseshoe Bay ferry dock is by taxi. Ask where to check your suitcase before heading to the waiting room. This is a 45 minute ferry ride. There is a restaurant on board. Once you get off in Langdale, you can either get a taxi or ride the public transit if you don’t have too much luggage like we do… There is a new shuttle service that wasn’t yet available when we were there. We love staying at Above the Inlet where Patricia and Peter are like family to us. The views are amazing. You could spend one day in Sechelt going to the marina, the marsh, do a little shopping, walk on the ocean front and walk the high school trail. A second day can be spent in Gibsons, using the public transit. We did a bit of shopping in Gibsons on our way back.

Vancouver, British Columbia
.5 day and 1 night
Stay at Residence Inn by Marriott, 2 Queen Suite, (Breakfast included)
There is a Safeway walking distance but we didn’t go because we were having dinner with a friend who lives in Vancouver and came to pick us up. We decided not to stay in Vancouver because we wanted to spend more time in Victoria and Sechelt instead. This was a stepping stone and a little rest before the last leg of our trip.

Victoria, British Columbia
3 days and 4 nights
Stay at Best Western Inner Harbour, 2 bedrooms Penthouse Suite (Breakfast included)
Day 15 (Saturday) Douglas park, Petting zoo, lunch at hotel, laundry ($1.50 per machine)
Day 16 (Sunday) Gorge taxi boat tour, shopping, lunch at hotel, Hollywood movie at IMAX
Day 17 (Monday) private tour in rural Victoria, IMAX movies in the afternoon, Dinner with family.
Day 18 Travel back home.

Rododendrons at Victoria Beacon Hill ParkHarbour Tours VictoriaMama D and The Goats at Beacon Hill Petting ZooPeacock at Beacon Hill Petting ZooBeacon Hill Park Fountainhop on hop off victoria petting zoo




Goldstream Provincial ParkMama D and DD at Kinsol Trestle Bridge




The best accommodation of our trip was in Victoria. There is a wraparound wooden deck with gorgeous views of the harbor and the Washington Mountains. We’ve been to Victoria twice before so we had seen most of the museums and attractions. We love the fact that you can walk to almost all of the major attractions. There is a magical feel not unlike what we feel when we visit Walt Disney World in Orlando and stay in a deluxe villa at Boardwalk although the price is so much better!



Victoria, British Columbia: Musical Penthouses

By DD - Last updated: Saturday, May 23, 2015
On our way to Victoria, British Columbia on BC Ferries

On our way to Victoria, British Columbia on BC Ferries

After visiting Sechelt for a special 3 generation Mother’s Day and a very special birthday, Mama D and I (dd) were on our way to Victoria on Vancouver Island. After a 3 hour ride on Malaspina Coach including a ferry ride, we hopped on a Pacific Coach bus for another 3 hour ride including another ferry ride. It was a 9 hour trip in total from door to door.

The heart shaped bed at Point Ellice House

The heart shaped bed at Point Ellice House

We spent a day with Auntie CJ. She brought us to Point Ellice House and gardens. It’s a beautiful place to visit but because it is between two dump sites the smell is unbearable. Maybe they were composting sites, I thought it smelt like strong fermented Kalamatta olives. After the House we went to the Fol Épi bakery and bought some bread, pâtisseries and checked out the small water garden with the birds having a bath among the water lilies and the string algae.

Oliver the goat petting me!

Oliver the goat petting me!

On another day we went to the Beacon Hill petting zoo where I spent some time with Oliver the goat, he was so affectionate! He let me give him kisses and rubbed his head on my face like our cat Alaska does and he licked my nose and my fingers.

Mama D under the giant tree at Beacon Hill Park not far from the petting zoo.

Mama D under the giant tree at Beacon Hill Park not far from the petting zoo.

We also went twice to see two IMAX movies at the Royal BC Museum. We saw Wonders of the Antarctic, Journey to Space, Gold Fever and Journey to the Pacific.

Can you see Craigdaroch Castle?

Can you see Craigdaroch Castle? This was the view at the Airbnb Penthouse.

Our penthouse in Victoria was not as polished and shiny as it was hyped to be. I found it through Air BnB and even though I am not crazy about modern decor, I thought the layout and space would be perfect for Mama D and I, having each our own bedroom and bathroom. I was so uncomfortable there that I don’t even have a single nice picture, only of a hole in the ceiling, cigarette butts in empty bottles on the terrace, cigarette ash around the bedside table, a toe nail, a dirty washing machine, dirty this and dirty that, and I kept mostly all my stuff in my suitcase. We were supposed to stay 8 nights but after a chaotic morning, Mama D and I looked at each other and agreed to just leave. I had been awake for a couple of hours and waiting for Mama D to get up before having my breakfast. The microwave had just broken down on us and as I turned the oven on to reheat my frozen muffin and pancake, the oven started to smoke and it triggered the smoke detector. Mama D and I were waving tea towels frantically and after opening the windows and door things finally quiet down. As it was Victoria Day weekend there was only one room left at the Harbour Towers where I had previously booked and cancelled for the stupid condo. We went ahead and booked it and by 9:30 we were out.

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Now that’s what I’m talking about! View from Harbour Towers Penthouse suite 1213. This picture was taken on Victoria Day and the boats were giving us a mini parade as the action was all happening on Douglas Street and we were watching it on TV!

While I was away from home, our business was turning into a monster and Dami was overwhelmed. My netbook was useless to help as it was too slow. To top it off, the TV cable went out, the laundry and kitchen drain clogged, the power went off and his father had a stroke!

Thios is the trolley they got out after the bus we were on got a flat tire the previous day.

This is the trolley they got out after the bus we were on got a flat tire the previous day!

After settling in to our new quaint penthouse with harbor view, we went thrift store shopping: we were now penthouse poor LOL!

Mama D celebrating! We made the right decision as it was the last room available in the hotel and it was perfect for us!

Mama D celebrating! We made the right decision as it was the last room available in the hotel and it was perfect for us! The Penthouse suites are situated on the 12th and 13th floor of the building and our room number was 1213! The bedrooms and bathroom are on the 12th floor and the kitchen, dining and living rooms are on the 13th floor. No superstitions here… like Stevie Wonder’s song says superstition ain’t the way!

The next day we bought a 2 day pass for the Big Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. We visited Oak Bay and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria where we had lunch in the quiet zen Japanese garden. After the Victoria Day Parade we went to The Robert Bateman Center and I really connected with his work and his philosophy. I agree that the world would be a better place if everybody was a bird watcher.

A lot of work was put into the restoration of the Emily Carr house.

A lot of work was put into the restoration of the Emily Carr house.

We visited Emily Carr House and Gardens and I was disappointed I didn’t get a connection with her and with her work. I couldn’t feel it even though they put a lot of work restoring the house. I really enjoyed the gardens outside though.

A peacock warming up in the sun at Beacon Hill Park.

A peacock warming up in the sun at Beacon Hill Park.

We had an awesome 2 week vacation in British Columbia with lots of twists and turns and that’s what life is all about. When things don’t turn out the way we plan, we get proactive, we move on and do what we must to shape our vision. The weather was on our side again and while we were away, our service berry tree started blooming for the first time so that means we’ll have berries! Finally after 3 years! Update: Let’s say the birds or squirrel got to them first…