03 July 2014

Canada Day in Vancouver

Yesterday was a long day. The eight-hour time difference between London and Vancouver meant that when we landed at 2 pm Pacific Time, there was still a lot of day to get through in order to beat jet lag. Although I usually try to avoid travelling on national holidays, arriving in Vancouver on Canada Day was actually really fun. It helped that the weather was beautiful, so after we'd checked into our Downtown hotel, we walked down to Canada Place on the waterfront where some of the festivities were in progress.

Vancouver's waterfront is really lovely. We stopped for gelato — I opted for the patriotic red and white option (raspberry and white chocolate) — and then for a drink at Lift, which has great views of the harbour, the city and North Vancouver. We were too sleepy for a real cocktail, but I had a great piƱa faux-lada in front of the fire pit.

When we walked back to the hotel, preparations for the big Canada Day parade were underway. From bagpipers to dancers wearing colourful kimonos, you could tell how diverse the parade was going to be.

We couldn't see the parade itself at street level, but luckily our hotel restaurant on the 15th floor had a great view, so we went upstairs, nabbed a window seat and enjoyed the show.

The grilled salmon with garlic mash energised me enough to decide to head down to the waterfront for the fireworks. I don't think I've ever seen so many Canadian flags!

The sun sets late here — around 9.30 at the moment — which meant the fireworks didn't start until 10.30. I found myself a spot in the front row, just down from Canada Place and waited patiently (and tiredly) for an hour until finally, the show began. It was worth the wait: the fireworks were among the best I've ever seen, and it was lovely to be surrounded by so many happy Canadians celebrating their national day.

Vancouver, I think I like you!

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