Keeping Busy in Vancouver

There is so much to do in Vancouver. It really is a great city – it reminds me a lot of Seattle. The parks are beautiful, the surrounding mountains are gorgeous, the water surrounding the city makes for a lot of on-the-water activities, and also keeps the city compact. The neighborhoods are different and eclectic and interesting, and there is no shortage of restaurants or shopping. Needless to say, I am having a great time exploring Vancouver and taking advantage of all it has to offer.

After returning from California last Tuesday, the first line of business was to visit the Granville Market and pick up some food stuffs for the rest of the week. Granville Island is a small piece of land that juts out into Falls Creek, the body of water that separates the southern part of mainland Vancouver from downtown. Granville is not really an island, but it is surrounded by water on three sides, so I guess it sort of seems like an island when you are on it. You can take a little water taxi there from downtown, or access it by car or bike from the mainland side. There is a great public market there, like Pike Place Market in Seattle, where we stocked up on produce, salmon, bagels and all sorts of other goodies. The rest of the island is sort of an artists’ enclave. There are tons of studios and galleries and shops, which we didn’t really have time to explore, so that is on the agenda for next week.

On Thursday I had a completely girly day. I watched a chick flick in the morning, then went and got a pedicure and rode my bike up Main Street to visit a couple of yarn stores in the area. Then I made dinner for myself. Lovely!

On Friday Ryan and I finally had the opportunity to bike over to Stanley Park, which I had been looking forward to since we arrived. Stanley Park is a huge park on the northern tip of the downtown peninsula. It is surrounded by water on three sides and has gorgeous views all around it of the mountains and northern Vancouver. There are beaches on the western coast which are great places to watch the sunset. The park has a bike/walking path all around it called the Seawall, and also many interior trails. We biked all around the perimeter and then explored one of the interior trails. It was a gorgeous day. The park is truly one of the most magnificent things about Vancouver.

Northern coast of Stanley Park

Northern coast of Stanley Park

Totem poles

Totem poles

One of the beaches

One of the beaches

Lilypads on Beaver Lake

Lilypads on Beaver Lake

We found a sushi boat place for dinner on Friday – rounding out a great day!

Saturday and Sunday were the usual two-show days, nothing spectacular to report.

On Monday we got up early and rented a car, and drove south to the ferry station, where we boarded a ferry to Victoria. I’ve never driven a car onto a ferry before – that was pretty cool. It’s amazing how many vehicles those boats can carry, including tour buses and semi-trucks! We ran into Graham and Cara on the boat, on their way to do the same thing as us – visit Butchart Gardens and downtown Victoria. The ferry ride was beautiful – it took about an hour and a half, but just flew by. The scenery through the islands was spectacular, and just walking around the ferry was pretty neat too – it came complete with a cafeteria, lounge, gift shop, video arcade, and lots of different seating areas. There was also a wildlife presentation  given by a guide on one of the decks.

On the ferry

On the ferry

When we got to Victoria, we set off to Butchard Gardens, stopping briefly to eat a picnic lunch. The Gardens were amazing. They were originally the site of a limestone quarry and cement factory, but the wife of the guy who owned the factory gradually started beautifying the land. When the factory closed the gardens grew and eventually became a tourist destination. Besides walking around all the opulent gardens (there is an amazing sunken garden, as well as a rose garden, a japanese garden and many others), you can also get high tea at Butchart. 

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After visiting the gardens, we drove down to the southern part of Victoria where the downtown area is. We were a little underwhelmed by the actual town – I think we were both expecting it to be different than it was. I had read that it was a very English town, with lots of little shops and pubs. Instead we found it to be very touristy with lots of shops selling t-shirts and things, and not as historic and quaint as we had hoped. There were a few cool buildings though, including the parliament building and the Empress Hotel. We had dinner at a pub, and then headed back north to the ferry terminal.
The Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel

Victoria Parliament Building

Victoria Parliament Building

We wanted to time out the return ferry ride with the sunset, and we did just that – the sun going down was amazing, and I got a lot of great pictures. As we were snapping shots, Ryan all of a sudden yelled, and I looked to see two pods of killer whales in the inlet we were sailing through – there were about twelve of them. It was crazy to see them out in the wild, and soon there was a big crowd watching them. I forgot all about snapping any photos until it was sort of too late, but I have a few of fins and tails sticking out of the water. It was a great end to the day.
Whale fins

Whale fins

Sunset from the ferry

Sunset from the ferry

On Tuesday we had plans to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but decided that we needed just a resting day instead. We’ll try and get to the bridge next week. At work that night we had a visit from one of general managers from New York, who had a meeting with all of the company to talk to us about various things on the horizon – like our engagements in Alaska and California, the couple of lay-offs that we have coming up, and also the re-tech of the show in October with a new set that will be easier to travel. It was all very informative and nice to have the information that we have been speculating about for months out in the open. It was also reassuring to hear that the changes to the physical production of the show will not be as dramatic as rumor had made them out to be. Hopefully they will just make load-ins and load-outs easier on the crew, and will cut down the truck numbers.

Yesterday a large group of us from the show went to North Vancouver, to Deep Cove, to go kayaking. It was a beautiful place to be out on the water, and it was a wonderful day. Kayaking is hard work though! We were out for three hours, and getting back in against the wind took all our strength and stamina. There were a lot of pooped company members at the show last night!

Deep Cove

Deep Cove

Today we have understudy rehearsal, so I have a break from all the activities. I can’t believe we only have a little over a week left here! The time has flown by. There is so much more to do…I’ll have to see what I can do to cram it all into next week!

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