Since Vancouver is on the air route from Sydney to Toronto, our family planned a five-day stopover to visit the west coast family, and partially adjust to the cross-Pacific time zone change. One of the first sightseeing activities was a drive up to UBC — considered a family jinx, with two parents both dropouts from the university! Our sons didn’t show much jet lag on the view over Spanish Banks.
Back towards the city centre, we returned to a favorite haunt from our past: Granville Island. We negotiated the usual traffic jams to park on the dock, facing the Burrard Bridge to the northwest. The place essentially hasn’t changed much in 25 years.
Looking to the east, it’s possible that all of the towers in the West End weren’t there in the 1980s.
Inside the Granville Island Public Market, the berries and fruit always look great.
We made a habitual stop to Seafood City for cold barbequed salmon. It’s local cuisine out west, and a treat for visiting Easterners.
A less obvious tradition was buying sausages at Turkey Stop, which endured for over 25 years to close in 2010.
We had a great dinner that night. The next day, Bruce hosted the cousins and some friends to Paintball in Tsawassen, in a town south of Vancouver. They each signed forms waiving liability, and got instructions on rules and techniques of paintball.
The cousins had their own suits and guns, while our sons borrowed theirs onsite. The loaded the guns with paintballs.
Helmuts on, and they went behind the fences to play against other teams.
I stayed outside the fence, and talked with each of the players after they were eliminated and walked out of the shooting area. After a few hours, everyone was sufficient tired, and retired to compare welts.
For the rest of our stay in Vancouver, our sons slipped into jet lag, and we didn’t see them much in daytime. DY and I went to visit some old friends. I contacted Keith and Faye, and we drove north over the Lion’s Gate Bridge to visit their apartment in West Vancouver. Looking southwest, they have a great view of the Spanish Banks, and the peninsula (which is UBC) facing west to the Strait of Georgia.
On the Sunday, DY and I went to English Bay for lunch to relive our first date 25 years earlier. The original restaurant has now become a bar, so we found an alternative nearby.
Walking along the beach, we saw the barge for Celebration of Lights fireworks festival scheduled for that week.
After five days visit in Vancouver, we were scheduled for an afternoon flight home to Toronto. On the way, the natural route took us to Richmond — the suburb with the highest Asian concentration in Canada — and we made a lunchtime stop to the Yaohan Centre.
Our sons wanted their final gorge of sushi, and picked up trays from the supermarket.
DY and I left them to the raw fish, and chose Chinese lunches from the food court instead.
On July 27, we returned home in Toronto. We had left for Sydney on June 30. This was the longest family vacation that we’ve ever had, and could be the one that we’ll remember as with our sons all together without children of their own.
daviding April 23rd, 2011