I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday 20 June 2022

Our Canadian Dream - Days 37 & 38 (Vancouver)

Friday 17th June - Vancouver

We didn’t have too much of a rush as I had arranged for a 10am drop off, but in the end we left 15 minutes before we needed to – which was just as well!  It was a lovely drive with the mountains looming behind Vancouver.

About 10 minutes away from the depot I told Richard to take a turning which looked to me to be the correct one on the satnav.  It was one big road works and I suddenly realised what I had done.  However, the poor old sat nav couldn’t work out where we were and she ended up taking us to a housing estate!  I reset her and finally we got back on the right road.  We arrived at the Canadream depot spot on 10am – I was so glad that we had left early!  

At Canadream we unloaded all our belongings and it looked like we were moving house!  Mokey II was inspected and all was in order.  We had even done less than the kilometres we had bought so I got my full deposit back – not like in Toronto.

Bye bye Mokey II

We ordered a taxi and waited, and waited, and waited.  The receptionist in Canadream phoned four times and each time it was that the taxi was 5 minutes away.  After an hour a city taxi arrived with some new RVers and he took us into the city.

Our hotel, the Listel, is in Robson street which is a shopping street.  We were given a room where we could see the harbour – as long as you didn’t look at the soup tureens on top of the roof opposite.

I had a quick unpack and then we went to find some lunch.  We found a café next door but one to the hotel and had a snack!  You got it – the meal lasted the rest of the day!!

We decided to walk down to the harbour and see what was what.  We ended up by a marina which had some big motor cruisers in but also had some lovely quirky house boats within the pontoons.  A great place to live.

We walked along the harbour front to the sea planes and booked a tour for Sunday afternoon.  This had been my main must do.  Penny and Jim had had one booked when they were here 15 years ago but the day dawned foggy and they were unable to go up, so I wanted to do it for them 😁

A gentle stroll back to the hotel and then we both collapsed on the bed and Richard was asleep in no time.  I just chilled!

In the evening, as we didn’t want more food, we managed to connect my phone to the TV in the room so we watched more of my Netflix downloads.  I still have loads left which are mainly films.

Saturday 18th June - Vancouver

We woke up to light rain. We were booked to go to Capilano Suspension Bridge. I had booked it through Viator but they didn’t tell me where we were to meet or go. Our hotel staff were very helpful and found out that there was a shuttle bus that picked up just down the road. We found the bus and made our way to the bridge. When we arrived our Viator tickets wouldn’t scan. Not a good start.

There is an interesting history behind the bridge.  There is an interesting history behind the bridge. In 1888, George Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, arrived in the young city of Vancouver in Canada. Mackay purchased 6,000 acres of dense forest on either side of Capilano River and built a cabin on the very edge of the canyon wall. In 1889 he suspended a footbridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks across the canyon with the help of August Jack Khahtsahlano and a team of horses who swam the ropes across the river. The ropes were then pulled up the other side and anchored to huge buried cedar logs.  The bridge, and Mackay’s cabin, became a popular destination for adventurous friends, dubbed Capilano Tramps, who made a long journey by steamship before ‘tramping’ up the rough trail to Mackay’s property. After his death, the hemp rope bridge was replaced by a wire cable bridge in 1903. Edward Mahon purchased and developed land and businesses on the North Shore, among them Capilano Suspension Bridge. In 1910, 48 year old Mahon met and fell in love with Lilette, the 19 year old daughter of his deceased friend, James Rebbeck. He arranged for Lilette’s mother, Elizabeth to manage his bridge property. The plan worked – he married Lilette a year later. Mahon built the Tea House in 1911 and continued to improve the Capilano Suspension Bridge property, reinforcing the bridge with additional cables in 1914.  Elizabeth was lonely after Lilette married, until she met a handsome young forest ranger, “Mac” MacEachran, who was 20 years her junior. Mac swept her off her feet and they married in 1921. Mac was an aggressive promoter, advertising the bridge as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. In 1934 Mac announced to Elizabeth that he had a 19 year old daughter, Irene, whom he wished to bring to Capilano. Arrangements were made to build a new and larger house across the street from the bridge but sadly, Elizabeth died. Mac purchased the Bridge from Mahon in 1935 and invited local First Nations to place their totem poles in the park. In 1945, he sold the bridge to Henri Aubeneau and moved to California.  In 1953 Rae Mitchell purchased the bridge property from Henri Aubeneau and aggressively promoted his attraction world-wide. He completely rebuilt the bridge in 5 days in 1956, encasing the cables in 13 tons of concrete at either end. He developed the trails on the west side of the bridge and converted the Tea House into the Trading Post Gift Store.  Nancy Stibbard purchased Capilano Suspension Bridge in 1983 from her father Rae Mitchell. Her goal, to elevate the park from a mere stop-off to a destination attraction, was realised in less than ten years. Once involved in the management and operation of her own business, Nancy recognised the need to serve and advance tourism in the province. Nancy’s success has included induction into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in 2000.

Capilano Suspension Bridge is Vancouver’s original visitor attraction with the original bridge built over 130 years ago! The name is actually an indigenous name belonging to the Squamish Nation and originally spelled Kia’palano, meaning “beautiful river”. Kia’palano was the name of a great Squamish chief who lived in this area in the early part of the 1800s. Over time “Kia’palano” was anglicized into “Capilano”: a word that has become the namesake of our bridge and park as well as the river and surrounding area.

The current bridge is 460 ft long and 230 ft above the river.

Here is a little story about the bridge.  In September 1999, a woman dropped her 18-month-old child with Down syndrome off the bridge. She claimed she stumbled accidentally and the child slipped from her grasp. The child was not seriously injured. The woman lost legal custody of her child to the child's father as a result of the incident. The woman took legal action against the owner of the bridge, her ex-husband and the Federal Department of Justice. The case against the owner of the bridge was settled in 2004.

We decided to have a coffee before braving the bridge, but it was awful 😣.  I asked for extra milk then more milk but I still couldn’t drink it - bitter and far too strong. Even Richard didn’t enjoy it. 

The crossing of the bridge was an experience!  It wobbled and swayed and some people had real fear in their eyes 👀. We were very brave and got to the other side but it took us a while to get our equilibrium back!  

On the other side is a rain forest with a walkway (on terra firma). We saw the rainbow trout being fed - there was quite a scuffle for the food. Next was a Great Horned Owl and a Harris Hawk. The lady with the hawk was very knowledgable and told us how they live in family groups but only the dominant female can lay eggs. If the others want to have their own families they have to go off and form their own group. Mama Hawk doesn’t move off her eggs and the rest of the family feed her. Once the eggs are hatched the family then feed the babies!  Mama can have you to 3 clutches of eggs in a year and is 30% larger than the male! 

We then wandered through the rain forest. It seemed to be a perfect day with the light rain. There were some lovely big trees. 

Back across the bridge and this time I was a bit braver but still only looked where I was going!  
Before leaving Capilano we had a light lunch, if you can call a blueberry muffin (me) and a packet of crisps (Richard) as lunch!!  While we were on the shuttle bus back to the city we booked tickets for the hop on hop off bus. Both the shuttle and hoho buses use the same stop. 
The hoho bus was almost full, but there were seats for us.  Our bus was quite old, well actually it was just plain OLD!  The driver apologised about the squeaking brakes and assured us that she wouldn’t be driving it was unsafe!  

We did a short trip round Stanley Park with it’s 3,500 rose bushes, sadly it was too early for the roses to be out as spring had been cold in Vancouver, and its 12 pairs of eagles.  Stanley Park is 1,001 acres and  is about one-fifth larger than New York City's 840 acre Central Park and almost half the size of London's 2,360 acre Richmond Park.  Stanley Park has a long history. The land was originally used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonised by the British during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city. For many years after colonisation, the future park with its abundant resources would also be home to non-Indigenous settlers. The land was later turned into Vancouver's first park when the city incorporated in 1886. It was named after Lord Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, a British politician who had recently been appointed Governor General.

Up and down and around streets, it was a quite a complicated route, but we did get to see quite a bit.  The city is mainly made up of tower blocks which gives it an amazing skyline.  We crossed over False Creek which, in fact, isn’t a creek at all!  George Henry Richards named it during his hydrographic survey of 1856-1863. While traveling along the south side of the Burrard Inlet, Richards thought he was traversing a creek; upon discovering his error, he gave the inlet its current name.

We got off the bus at Granville Island.  It isn’t in fact an island but a peninsula which was originally used by the Musqueam First Nations as a fishing area.  Apparently the city of Vancouver was called Granville until it was renamed in 1886, but the former name was kept and given to Granville Street.  The island is famous for it’s market which I was reluctant to got to as I knew that I would see things I wanted to buy and couldn’t!  The were lots of take-away stalls and fruit and veg stalls.  I so wanted to buy some fruit.

We went back to the bus stop and saw this

We waited for about 40 minutes as each bus that came along was pretty much full.  We had to wait for 4 before we got on.  We were told that there were 10 people at the next stop who had been waiting for 2 hours – not sure I believe that.  We finished our tour and got off where we started.  The tour was excellent and we saw and learnt a lot – I’m just not sure about the buses though 😕

We decided to find somewhere to have an early dinner and I saw a burger place called Red Robin, so we gave it a go.  It had a good menu and the food was good too, but not as good as the burger we had in Victoria.

Back to our room for more Netflix.

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