Canada

After San Francisco we flew up to Vancouver, Canada. In Vancouver we made a stop at the Visitor Centre, to get the standard maps and brochures on attractions in the area, and when we asked how hot it gets during the day, we were told that “it can get quite warm, up to 22C or 23C”. The lady was very serious that this was quite hot, we had a good laugh when we got outside, we were still used to the hot desert weather of Las Vegas, at 38C – 40C, so low 20’s was cold for us.
 
Vancouver was really great, we walked along the main shopping area of Robson St and when we stepped out to casually cross the street at the quiet end, once the cars had passed, not at a corner, or a pedestrian crossing, we found that the cars actually stopped for us and let us cross. This was the complete opposite to everywhere else we have travelled so far – in China, even at pedestrian crossings you have to run, or the cars will hit you, in Japan, you get safety in numbers crossing the street, but don’t try it when you don’t have right of way, in LA it wasn’t too bad, as long as you crossed at pedestrian lights but in Boston, even when we were crossing the street with a crowd of people when we had right of way, we still got tooted and almost run over! Yes, Vancouver certainly seemed a lot more peaceful and laid back.
 
While in Vancouver we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge – a suspension bridge above the Capilano River, it’s 137m from one end to the other. It was a nice walk across the bridge and through the rainforest on the other sides, we even got to see a couple of squirrels – when there weren’t any screaming 3 year olds chasing after them! From Capilano we went up to Grouse Mountain and saw a couple of Black Bears. It was a little bit cold at the top of the mountain and I was grateful that I had my jumper with me, unlike two girls we saw on the mountain who looked like they had hiked to the top of the mountain wearing a singlet and short shorts. They were shivering in the line waiting for the gondola down the mountain.
 
When we got down from Grouse Mountain we headed to Stanley Park and hired some bikes to ride around the park. The ride around the park was about 10km and it was a nice way to spend an afternoon. On our last day in Vancouver, I got Marc’s conjunctivitis :-(, so we didn’t do too much. We just went down to the Gastown area in the afternoon to see the quirky steam powered clock let off some steam.
 
Next stop, Calgary. We spent an afternoon in Calgary, just looking around the shops in the city. From Calgary, we drove to Banff and Lake Louise for the day. Lake Louise was stunning. We first saw the lake from the Lake Louise Gondola. A gondola ride to the top of a mountain that overlooks the lake in the distance. From the top of this mountain we could see some of the snow capped Rocky Mountain Range, the view was spectacular. When we got back down from the mountain and over to Lake Louise we were amazed at the colour of the lake, it was a beautiful teal colour and the mountain backdrop to the lake was amazing; I took a lot of photos.
 
When we had finished walking around Lake Louise we decided to go and have a look at another lake in the area, Lake Moraine. It was just another lake really, but what made the trip out there worthwhile was Marc’s determination to climb a small mound. This mound looked climbable, for sure, the only challenge was that to get to the mound he would have to cross part of the lake – by using floating logs as stepping stones. I did try to tell him that it wasn’t really a good idea, but when my back was turned, off he went. About 3 seconds later I heard a splash as Marc fell off a log and into the icy water (water temperature was less than 10�C). Luckily for him, he only got one leg wet (and one shoe saturated), and after that he gave up on trying to go climbing. I laughed… alot… 🙂
 
From Lake Louise we drove up to Edmonton and spent a day at West Edmonton Mall. Before we got there, we knew that the mall had an indoor water park, indoor amusement park with rollercoaster, ice rink, minigolf, and of course, shops, but the bonus was finding the Casino! This meant Marc had something to do while I went off shopping. While it was a novelty that the shopping centre had a roller coaster and water park, the shopping wasn’t really all that great.
 
After Edmonton, we flew to Toronto. Our first impression of Toronto wasn’t that great. We went for a walk along the main street, but it was really noisy. There was a small park area with a very loud protest going on and straight across the road from that was a guy making the most horrible noise on drums and not 10 metres from him was a small group of people attempting to play music. Things got better when we drove out to Niagara Falls for the day. It was a beautiful morning, great for seeing the falls. We went on the Maid of the Mist boat which drives past the American Falls and right into the horseshoe falls. The view from the boat was amazing. We got a bit wet from the horseshoe falls, but it didn’t matter, it was hot enough to dry off pretty quickly. We also went on a helicopter ride over the falls. The flight only went for about 20min, but it was definitely worth it. Flying over the falls was great, I got some great photos! In the afternoon it rained so we did the Journey Behind the Falls. This was not what we expected. It was basically just a lookout beside the Falls and a couple of porthole views in behind them. But, we did it, and it meant that we saw the Falls from all possible angles. Once the rain cleared we saw a rainbow emerge over the falls, it was a great way to end the day.

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