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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island is one of the must-see places in British Columbia.  Come here to enjoy views of the coastal range across the strait from the east coast, towering massive trees in the centre and most importantly, Pacific Rim National Park and the ocean on the west coast

See also related post Canadian Rockies Spectacular Scenery

Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay
Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay
One of our favourite places is Vancouver Island, which is the size of Belgium!  Huge ferries operate to bring tourists and trade 30 nautical miles (1:40 hrs.) across the Strait of Georgia.  You are blown away by the contrast of mountains, islands and sea.  The ferry departs from Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver and arrives at Nanaimo, famous for its Nanaimo Bars.  This is the ferry for going to Pacific Rim National Park.  A separate ferry travels south to Victoria, the capital. 

Cathedral Grove Cedars
Cathedral Grove Cedars

 Cathedral Grove

The road to the west coast is about three hours so take a break at Cathedral Grove Trail in MacMillan Provincial Park.  A short walk takes through a forest of towering Douglas fir trees – some more than 800 years old!   On the south side are giant Douglas firs up to 9 metres in circumference. On the north side are ancient Western red cedar as shown in the photo. 


Pacific Rim National Park 


Pacific Rim NP Beach
Pacific Rim NP Beach
Pacific Rim National Park is one of the must-see places to go.  There is a great campground, if you can get a spot.  There are easy hiking trails.  But most importantly are the rocky headlands and beautiful and very long white sand beach called Long Beach.  However, no one is swimming in the frigid water.  If only the landlord would turn on the heat! 

Pacific Rim Sea Star
It's a Sea Star not Starfish

But the most special thing is to check for low tide and visit the tide pools with interesting sea stars (aka starfish) and sea anemones. 
For more wildlife, visit nearby Tofino and take an orca (killer whale) tour.  

Pacific Rim Rocks
Pacific Rim Rocks


Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens View
Japanese Tea Garden becomes Tourist Mecca
Another must-see place is Butchart Gardens, 23 km north of the capital, Victoria. After Robert Butchart exhausted the limestone used in his cement factory, his wife Jennie, converted the pit into a Sunken Garden. Next they created a Japanese Garden.  In 1907 a 65 year old garden designer, Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama, came to build the Japanese tea garden.  This gorgeous garden is open from 0900 to 2200 hrs. in the summer and is busiest from 1100 to 1500 hrs. . 
Butchart Gardens Flower
Butchart Gardens Really Close-up

 I just realized how few photos I took in the old film days.  With digital cameras one can go wild.  Make sure you bring plenty of memory cards for your trip to BC.   



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