October 30, 2007 | Podcasts >
100 Mile House, Festivals & Events
Excepted from Margaret's weekly radio segment on "All Points West", a CBC Victoria show heard every weekday from 4:00 - 6:00 PM.
Podcast for October 26, 2007.
Halloween Festivities throughout the province:
- 100 Mile House - Medieval Fest and Mask
- Fort Steele near Cranbrook - 23rd annual Halloween event
- Barkerville - Ghostly Town Tour
- Castlegar - Haunted House and Haunted Trails
- Prince George - Halloween Spooktacular, Rotten Pumpkin Festival and more
October 29, 2007 | Tips from Travellers >
Mackenzie, Bear Watching
I sit in the passenger seat of our comfortable rental vehicle as my colleague drives along a bumpy back road in Mackenzie. The late afternoon light is turning the leaves a brilliant golden colour and I feel the crisp autumn air as I step outside. I haven't seen fall colours like this since growing up in Ontario. The sound of crunching leaves under my feet takes me right back to being a child and the thrill of jumping in newly-raked leaf piles. We have arrived at Alexander Mackenzie's Landing: a spot where in 1793 Scottish fur trader Alexander Mackenzie along with French- Canadian voyageurs passed by en route to the Pacific Ocean. The first thing I notice is the silence. Just last week I was in Bangkok (not well known for its silence!) and now I stand before a crystal clear lake surrounded by forest and hopefully a wild animal or two. This morning I caught a 9am flight out of Vancouver and was having lunch in Mackenzie by 1pm, after an easy drive from Prince George. On the highway, my eyes scoured the roadside lakes and marshes for the rack of a bull moose, but I had no luck.
I am in town for a planning session with tourism stakeholders and I find out when I arrive at the meeting that one of the participants saw MY moose just yesterday while he spent the spectacularly sunny day fishing at a nearby lake. We set our next meeting for November and I am keen to return and see the very deep snow that this part of the world is known for. Maybe I will even find myself on the back of a snowmobile for the first time…
The day of our meeting is filled with blue sky and brisk temperatures. After we wrap up, we jump into the car again, crank the heat and head out of town. My eyes again search the roadside for signs of anything wild. I am rewarded with a mama bear and two cubs! This is my first bear cub sighting and I am absolutely thrilled. I am sure the locals driving by smile to themselves as the city slickers in the rental vehicle sit in awe of something that residents in Mackenzie see on a regular basis.
October 28, 2007 | Tips from Travellers >
Last night I stayed at the renowned Fairmont Empress Hotel, in Victoria BC. I have never experienced a more comfortable bed. The pillows were perfect. The service was second to none. We had our breakfast served in our room. Both the young lady that delivered and the one that took it away again, were both extremely curteous. Everything about our stay was five stars out of five stars!!!
October 27, 2007 | Tips from Travellers >
North Vancouver, Train
View a larger image on flickr.com
This train ride was one of the most memorable of our visits to B.C.
Starting off in the railroad yard just out of Vancouver, early one morning my wife and myself were to start a journey paid for by our son / daughter and partners.
We had been in Vancouver for two weeks holiday last year (2006) enjoyed every minute, seen a lot of the surrounding areas and the great city.
Now we are waiting to board this special train for a ride along the coast and then following the sea to sky highway towards Whistler.
Two engines arrived pulling carriages which included the observation car,we were entertained by the train staff to a song and a wave goodbye, we then boarded and found our seats, very comfortable with a table.
Out of the railyard the train pulled, with a wave goodbye from the staff. We then made our way slowly along the twisting railway through the built up areas of North Vancouver, waving to the occupants sitting on there balconys having breakfast.
We were served breakfast at our table,which was very enjoyable. Now i was ready to find the open observation car, with my camera set ready to get some shots.
The scenery was great as we had the road on one side and the sea on the other, the train was only travelling slowly so it gave a good chance to take some great photos, you were told when you are going to come across a place of interest and the train would come to a virtual walking pace.
Watch out for Howe Sound,Brittania Mine,Shannon Falls, Squamish and then Brackendale and its Bald Eagle population. This open observation car is ideal for those of you who have a camera. The train now heads into the backwoods climbing almost 2,000ft through the coastal mountains and heads over a trestle bridge, the train stops and all staff appear on the outside of the two engines for a photo call!!! all above the rapids below.
Off we go again with Mount Garabaldi in the distance and approaching Brandywine Falls the train slows again for photos.The scenery is spectacular in every way you look and this is scenery you would not see from a road trip to Whistler.
We arrive at Whistler having been aboard this spectactular train for about three hours, it all went to quickly for my wife and myself,this was by far the best morning we had spent in Vancouver, and one of the most memorable we have spent in over ten years visiting B.C
We would reccomend it to everyone if they get the chance to visit North Vancouver.
Regards Mac and Chris.
October 15, 2007 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Hiking
View a larger image on flickr.com
It's a nice fall Saturday in Vancouver. I'm at home, minding my own business when my friend Chris calls. He wants to go hike the Grouse Grind
and have a beer and some Nachos on top. Sounds good, I haven't done 'the grind' in over a year and I can use the work-out. You don't hike the grind for the scenery.
We drive over to the North Shore and park the car in the free parking lot (on the right side). I expected it to be packed but there aren't many people at the starting point. I stretch a bit, check my watch and start. The hike goes up immediately. It's going well. Maybe playing soccer twice a week will help me. Maybe I should increase my speed and break my best time of 55 minutes.
It just keeps going up and up. I forgot how relentless it is. There are no flat parts. It's all stairs and rocks, positioned as stairs. My heart rate is going up rapidly. I have to look down to find the right place to put my feet. But I'm not slowing down and I'm not stopping. I need to get 'into the zone'. But I don't. Instead, I'm getting really tired. My heart is pounding fast. What was I thinking? I can drink beer and eat Nachos downtown, no need to go up this crazy hill.
Slowly, my mind is turning off. It's almost like meditating. I breathe and step in a rhythm. Up and up it goes. Once in a while a switchback. I'm passing people, that feels good. I also get passed, but by young people who look very fit. I'm in my second wind, I'm feeling good. Then there's the sign, I'm 1/4 of the way up. This is the point where you want to give up and turn around. I knew it was coming but I still can't believe I have to do the same distance 3 more times to reach the top.
I check my watch, it's been 18 minutes. I don't want to stop and I reach for my water bottle and have a zip of water. I try to forget how far I have to go still. I'm telling myself they put that sign up at the wrong place. I must be higher. I pass tourists in jeans. This is not a leisure hike; if you want a nice hike and breathtaking views, you won't get it until you reach the top. And a gondola will take you there in 5 minutes. Instead, this is the best workout Vancouver has to offer.
It feels a less steep now. I'm getting back in the zone. My mind wonders off. "You should write about this experience on the HelloBC blog". "When was the last time you called your mother?" Up and up it goes. I look back for my friends who have fallen back. I can't see them. I hear the soft zooming of the Gondola to my left. It's torturing me, it's telling me I'm nuts.
The 1/2 mark comes sooner then I expected. I check my watch. I'm 30 minutes under way. It feels like an hour. But it's a moral victory. This feeling subsides when a man at least 25 years older than me races by. I tell myself he must do this every day. There are a lot of people on this part of the trail. Mostly tourists, so they're standing on the side of the trail resting or taking pictures. They want to be able to complete the trail and buy the t-shirt. It's like climbing the Eiffel tower, you're nuts to do it, but it's one of those things you have to do. They keep cutting in front of me though and I have a hard time passing them. But I don't care. They're the ones who I owe my paycheck to. I wonder how many have visited HelloBC.
The 3/4 sign comes and goes. My heart is still pounding. It's been telling me to stop for a long time but I'm not listening. But my legs are starting to tell me the same story. They start to feel like spaghetti a dente. It's getting harder to keep my pace. I look up. In between the trees I can see patches of blue sky. But I also see people way up the trail. It's still a long way to go. I'm not thinking about anything anymore. All I do is tell myself to keep going, every single step of the way. My legs are starting to shake. Keep going, keep going.
Then, all of a sudden, there it is. The top. People are sitting in the sun on the rocks. I make my way up and see that I've completed this nightmare in exactly one hour. Not bad, all things considered. I drink some water and wait for my friends who are a little bit behind me. We walk inside to get our tickets for the ride down. Hikers get a deal to go down. Only $5. There's a TV displaying the top times for the day and the season. Somebody hiked up in 32 minutes. The top time for women over 70 is... one hour exact. I need a beer...
October 05, 2007 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Dining
I had a bit to eat in a new restaurant that opened inside the old Canadian Pacific Railway station on the border of Gastown. The building is now serving the Waterfront Station Skytrain, Seabus and West Coast Express. The restaurant looks great. They did a good job capturing the atmosphere of days gone by. Definitely worth a visit.