Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

Check-in at Horseshoe Bay


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Ferry to Vancouver Island – 21 September 2017

Thursday dawned and it was time to say goodbye to Thistledown House and Vancouver. We were heading to Vancouver Island and Victoria. As with our previous visit to Vancouver Island in October 2012, we took the BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Departure Bay, Nanaimo.

The ferry terminal is very easy to reach from North Vancouver as it is a short drive along the Trans-Canadian Highway, with it having its own exit. After check-in and paying the remainder of our fare (we had previously booked and paid our deposit before we left the UK), we joined the lines in the marshalling area.

Vehicles lined up at Horseshoe Bay

Vehicles lined up at Horseshoe Bay
21 September 2017

Our ferry was Queen of Oak Bay, which we had seen the previous evening when we visited Horseshoe Bay. The layout of the ferry terminal means that the ferry is not clearly visible whilst waiting. Boarding was speedy with two lanes on the upper deck and two lanes on the lower deck loading simultaneously. We were soon on our way into Howe Sound.

Looking north up Howe Sound

Looking north up Howe Sound
21 September 2017

Shortly after turning to pass round the south of Bowen Island, the ferry from there – Queen of Capilano passed by heading for Horseshoe Bay.

Queen of Capilano transiting from Bowen Island to Horseshoe Bay.

Queen of Capilano transiting from Bowen Island to Horseshoe Bay.
21 September 2017

The journey from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay is around 1 hour 40 minutes. Approach to Departure Bay is heralded by the sight of Brandon Islands.

Brandon Islands on the approach to Departure Bay, Nanaimo

Brandon Islands on the approach to Departure Bay, Nanaimo
21 September 2017

At the Departure Bay terminal two ferries were moored awaiting their next duty, Queen of Cowichan and Bowen Queen.

BC Ferries Queen of Cowichan (left) and Bowen Queen (right) at Departure Bay

BC Ferries Queen of Cowichan (left) and Bowen Queen (right) at Departure Bay
21 September 2017

All to soon we were approaching the left-hand berth for off-loading,

Approaching the berth at Departure Bay, Nanaimo from the upper car deck of Queen of Oak Bay.

Approaching the berth at Departure Bay, Nanaimo from the upper car deck of Queen of Oak Bay.
21 September 2017

As we were close to the front, we did not wait long to drive off the ferry and head south from Nanaimo to Victoria.

Guest Lounge


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Thistledown House, North Vancouver – 16 to 21 September 2017

The last few time we have been to Vancouver, we have stayed at Thistledown House in North Vancouver. Rex and Ruth have been wonderful hosts and when planning our 2017 trip we made contact to book another visit. However our email was responded to by Brian and Virginia who have taken our the business following the retirement of Rex and Ruth.

Garden Entrance to Thistledown House

Garden Entrance to Thistledown House
20 September 2017

Due to our flight from the UK being late, we had been given details to self check-in on arrival. When we arrived at the Capilano Road establishment, it worked a treat. As with our last visit, we had booked the Mulberry Peak room.

Mulberry Peak

Mulberry Peak
17 September 2017

Mulberry Peak has an en-suite shower room and a small walk-in closet. It also has french doors out onto a balcony over the front porch.

Brian and Virginia have continued the three course gourmet breakfasts with fresh artisan breads.

Cherries n' Kirsch

Cherries n’ Kirsch
17 September 2017

Steelhead Trout with saffron risotto, anise butter and sea asparagus

Steelhead Trout with saffron risotto, anise butter and sea asparagus
21 September 2017

One thing of note with the breakfasts is that you sometimes come across a dish you have never tried before. Some you like and others you are not so keen on. With the wide selections of breads and the availability of cereals as an alternative, you do not go hungry – far from it.

Breakfast Menus from our visit

Breakfast Menus from our visit

One thing we had never done was explore the garden, which we did this time. Enclosed by hedges, it is a secluded site with many features to discover.

Seating in the garden

Seating in the garden
20 September 2017

Garden Door and Bird Table

Garden Door and Bird Table
20 September 2017

Planters on the decking

Planters on the decking
20 September 2017

Brian and Virginia have bought the adjacent property and are intending to develop it into another B&B. We look forward to seeing developments on our next visit to Vancouver.

Troll's Restuarant, Horseshoe Bay


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Horseshoe Bay – 20 September 2017

On our way back from Squamish and Porteau Cove we were discussing were to eat, and decided to go into Horseshoe Bay. Apart from being the ferry terminal in West Vancouver for Vancouver Island and Bowen Island, there is a small village there.

We selected Troll’s Restaurant to eat, were we had fish & chips followed by fruit crumble and ice cream. The food was delicious, so much so that is was not until we were well through our main course before we realised we had not got a picture of it.

Fruit Crumble at Trolls

Fruit Crumble at Trolls
20 September 2017

After we had eaten, we went for a short walk to the edge of the inner harbour and viewed the sunset.

Sunset over Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay

Sunset over Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay
20 September 2017

Before we left, we watch the BC Ferries Queen of Oak Bay set sail for Vancouver Island. This would be the ferry that we were to travel on the following day.

BC Ferries Queen of Oak Bay leaving Horseshoe Bay

BC Ferries Queen of Oak Bay leaving Horseshoe Bay
20 September 2017

It was then a case of heading back to the Trans-Canadian Highway for the short drive back to North Vancouver.

Looking north over the diving reef.


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Porteau Cove Provincial Park – 20 September 2017

Travelling south from Squamish along the shore of Howe Sound, you reach Porteau Cove Provincial Park, around 40km north of Vancouver. It is the site of a mothballed BC Ferry Terminal, with parking, diving reef and campsite. It is a relaxing place to stop with views north and south along Howe Sound.

Howe Sound shore south of the linkspan

Howe Sound shore south of the linkspan
20 September 2017

Looking south west from the linkspan is Anvil Island.

Anvil Island

Anvil Island
20 September 2017

The ferry terminal is retained for strategic purposes in case Highway 99 – Sea to Sky Highway – is blocked due to landslips, as occurred in July 2008, at Porteau Bluffs. The pier can be used by visitors, with the linkspan protected by a locked gate.

Porteau Cove Linkspan

Porteau Cove Linkspan
20 September 2017

Along the shore line south of the pier is a campsite and cabins, which were built by BC Parks as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics provision. North of the pier there is a diving reef.

Porteau Cove Reef Information

Porteau Cove Reef Information
20 September 2017

As well as diving, there is a slipway to launch boats, picnic sites, electrical hook-ups, toilets and water supply. Other activites that are available are Kayaking, Cycling, Fishing, Hiking and Wildlife Viewing. Further details are available on the BC Parks web site on Porteau Cove.

North end of Howe Sound


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Sea to Sky Gondola – 20 September 2017

Opened in 2014, the Sea to Sky Gondola is at the north end of Howe Sound near Squamish. The Gondola takes you from sea level to 885m in around 10 minutes.

Taking the Gondola from the bottom.

Taking the Gondola from the bottom.
20 September 2017

Gondola to the top

Gondola to the top
20 September 2017

At the top there is the Summit Lodge with shop and catering facilities.

At the Top, viewing platform and bridge

At the Top, viewing platform and bridge
20 September 2017

At the top there is an extensive network of trails, and we were provided with the Sea to Sky Trail Map before we boarded the gondola. From the viewing platform we crossed the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge to the Spirit Trail Viewing Point and then walked round the short Spirit Trail.

View of Sky Pilot Mountain from the Spirit Trail Viewing Point

View of Sky Pilot Mountain from the Spirit Trail Viewing Point
20 September 2017

The Spirit Trail took us back to the Summit Lodge. We then headed out on the Panorama Trail to the Chief Viewing Platform. Clear skies meant that the surrounding mountains – Garibaldi and Atwell Peak – were clearly visible.

Garibaldi and Atwell Peak

Garibaldi and Atwell Peak
20 September 2017

Once we got to the viewing platform, we were treated to views of Squamish and the peaks on the other side of Howe Sound.

Squamish for the Chief Viewing Platform

Squamish for the Chief Viewing Platform
20 September 2017

Mountain west of Howe Sound

Mountain west of Howe Sound
20 September 2017

Heading back to the Summit Lodge, we had an afternoon snack. Whilst eating, we were visited by a chimpmunk.

Chimpmunk on the picnic table

Chimpmunk on the picnic table
20 September 2017

On the trip back to sea level, we identified the Squamish terminals which are used to transport commodities by sea.

Squamish Terminals

Squamish Terminals
20 September 2017

Once we reached the bottom, a visit to the shop was in order to by souvenirs.

Britannia Mine Museum


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Britannia Mine Museum – 20 September 2017

On a glorious sunny day we headed out of North Vancouver taking the Trans-Canadian Highway west to Horseshoe Bay and then Highway 99 – the Sea to Sky Highway – north towards Squamish along the east shore of Howe Sound. Our first stop was at the Britannia Mine Museum around 50km from Vancouver.

Leaving the highway, we noted that there was maintenance taking place on the adjacent railway. Not something you would see on a Wednesday morning in the UK as there would being trains running, however the service on this line is sparse, with only one passenger train each way a week, the Rocky Mountaineer from Jasper to Vancouver via Quesnel and Whistler. I am not sure if there is any regular frieght traffic.

BC Rail track maintenance at Britannia Beach

BC Rail track maintenance at Britannia Beach
20 September 2017

The Britannia Mine was, at one time, the largest copper mine in Canada (and in the British Empire). Copper Ore was mined from Mount Sheer. The most prominent feature is the Mill No. 3 (the third Mine Concentrator). The mill ground the copper ore to remove This was a gravity fed mill that processed the copper ore. The original mill (concentrator) dated from 1904 and its purpose was to take the material that had been mined and remove some of the none-copper based part prior to it being shipped to the smelters. In 1914/15 Mill 1 was replaced with Mill 2, at the same time lower quality ore was being mined requiring more waste to be removed prior to shipping. In 1921 Mill 2 was destroyed by fire. By 1923 Mill 3 was operational. In the 1920s is was the most productive copper mine in Canada, also producing some silver and gold. Until 1955 all the ore had to be dispatched by sea as there was no Highway connection. The mine remained operational until the 1970s.

The site is now a museum. The visit starts with either visiting the displays and view a video history or take a train into the mountain and seeing how the copper ore was mined. As we arrived just before a tour, we took that first. After a safety briefing our guide took us into the mountain. The first display was how the ore was mined, firstly by pick and latterly by drill, to creat holes for explosive to be inserted.

Miner's Pick

Miner’s Pick
20 September 2017

Pneumatic Drill

Pneumatic Drill
20 September 2017

Once the blasting had taken place, the spoil had to be removed, and the next vista showed a spoil dumper.

Spoil remover and waggon

Spoil remover and waggon
20 September 2017

One of the challenges of working underground was being able to see. At one time candles were used, however these did not give out much light. The next development was acetylene lights, this was demonstrated by our guide.

Acetylene lighting

Acetylene lighting
20 September 2017

Coming out of the mine on the east side, we then walked to Mill 3 to appreciate the size of the building.

Inside Mill 3

Inside Mill 3
20 September 2017

Incline in Mill 3

Incline in Mill 3
20 September 2017

Before the tour ended, we were given a demonstration of how the copper ore was separated. There was then the opportunity to visit the other displays, and view the video (we had missed at the beginning).

Giant Truck

Giant Truck
20 September 2017

Visiting the shop upon leaving, a souvenir mug was purchased.

Souvenir Britannia Mine Mug

Souvenir Britannia Mine Mug

Returning to our car, we took a closer look at the waggons and the pneumatic locomotive.

Pneumatic Locomotive and Wagons

Pneumatic Locomotive and Wagons
20 September 2017

Killer Whale Bronze Statue


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Vancouver Aquarium – 19 September 2017

Following on from our Harbour Cruise and seaplane spotting, we walked into Stanley Park to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Outside the entrance is a bronze sculpture of a killer whale by Bill Reid, unveiled in June 1984. After our Harbour Cruise, we had lunch before exploring the aquarium.

Throughout the day, there are a number of displays put on be the Aquarium team. The first after we arrived was the Sea Otters. These animals put on a display to the waiting crowds prior to aquarium staff arriving.

Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium

Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium
19 September 2017

Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium

Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium
19 September 2017

The next display after the Sea Otters was the Sea Lions

Sea Lions at Vancouver Aquarium

Sea Lions at Vancouver Aquarium
19 September 2017

Sea Lion at Vancouver Aquarium

Sea Lion at Vancouver Aquarium
19 September 2017

Before heading inside we checked out the Harbour Seal

Harbour Seal

Harbour Seal
19 September 2017

Inside there are a multitude of exhibits, There is a lovely contrast provided by the jellyfish in front of a blue background.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish
19 September 2017

We came across mating frogs…

Mating Frogs

Mating Frogs
19 September 2017

…and turtles

Turtle

Turtle
19 September 2017

One exhibit of note is the Treasures of the BC Coast, with ten displays of various sections of the BC Coast, including..

  • Long Beach (on the west coast of Vancouver Island)
  • Barkley Sound (also on the west coast of Vancouver Island)
  • Bella Bella (on the west coast of mainland BC)
  • Port Hardy (on the northern point of Vancouver Island
  • Burnaby Narrows (at the southern end of Queen Charlotte Islands
  • Jervis Inlet (on the west coast of mainland BC opposite Vancouver Island
  • Sechelt Inlet (also on the west coast of mainland BC opposite Vancouver Island
  • Botanical Beach (on the south coast of Vancouver Island
  • Quadra Island (between Vancouver Island and the BC Mainland
  • Whytecliff Park (by Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver
Flat fish from Sechelt Inlet

Flat fish from Sechelt Inlet
19 September 2017

Strawberry Anemone in Whytecliff Park

Strawberry Anemone in Whytecliff Park
19 September 2017

The final show that we took during our visit was the Dolphins.

Dolphin Display

Dolphin Display
19 September 2017

Dolphins

Dolphins
19 September 2017

Following the dolphin display we heading to the shop to buy some souvenirs of our visit, then the walk back to our car which we had parking in the Harbour Cruises car park.

Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre


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Vancouver Seaplanes – 19 September 2017

Whilst taking the Vancouver Harbour Cruise, one thing you can not miss is the number of seaplanes that are coming and going. Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre is the busiest water based flight centre in Canada.

Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre

Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre
19 September 2017

The main operator that uses the flight centre is Harbour Air. Whilst taking the Harbour Cruise, we noted a number of aircraft operated by them.

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAS landing

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAS landing
19 September 2017

Harbour Air DHC3 C-FHAD

Harbour Air DHC3 C-FHAD
19 September 2017

We saw three Harbour Air aircraft with special markings, the first is picture landing above – C-GHAS – with “Fly Carbon Neutral” markings, the other being commemorating The Victoria Royals Ice Hockey team and Vancouver Whitecaps FC football (soccer) team.

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAG - The Victoria Royals

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAG – The Victoria Royals
19 September 2017

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAZ - Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Harbour Air DHC3 C-GHAZ – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
19 September 2017

MPV Constitution


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Vancouver Harbour Cruise – 19 September 2017

On previous visits to Vancouver we have taken the Harbour Dinner Cruise on MPV Constitution. As this is the evening activity, we decided this time to go for a daytime cruise.

Our boat, as on previous occasions was MPV Constitution. As this just a cruise, without a meal included, there was plenty of space to move around, and we sat on the upper enclosed deck at the stern looking out onto the read paddle wheel.

Rear Paddle Wheel

Rear Paddle Wheel
19 September 2017

The cruise starts in Coal Harbour, and initially requires contacting Air Traffic Control as the first part of the cruise crosses the area used by the floatplanes using Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre.

The first item of out leaving Coal Harbour is a floating filling station.

Floating Filling Station

Floating Filling Station
19 September 2017

Then is was out into Vancouver Harbour. The vista of the North Shore is seen from Loins Gate Bridge to the Second Narrows Bridge (also called Iron Workers Memorial Bridge) and the adjacent railway bridge with a lift section.

Vancouver Harbour North Shore

Vancouver Harbour North Shore
19 September 2017

Second Narrows Bridges

Second Narrows Bridges
19 September 2017

After passing the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, the trip took us across the harbour to the North Shore.

Canada Place

Canada Place
19 September 2017

From the north shore you get a panoramic view of downtown Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver from the harbour

Downtown Vancouver from the harbour
19 September 2017

Apart for the bridges, one way to cross the harbour is by ferry from Lonsdale Quay to Vancouver Waterfront. The two passenger ferry cross the harbour on a frequent basis.

Vancouver Harbour Ferries

Vancouver Harbour Ferries
19 September 2017

Lonsdale Quay

Lonsdale Quay
19 September 2017

Heading east towards Lions Gate bridge, we approached an area where Harbour Seals were resting.

Harbour Seals in Vancouver Harbour

Harbour Seals in Vancouver Harbour
19 September 2017

A prominent feature of the North Shore is the piles of Sulphur awaiting shipment.

Sulphur Piles

Sulphur Piles
18 September 2017

Crossing back across the Harbour towards Stanley Park, we got another view of the Lions Gate Bridge.

Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge
19 September 2017

Heading back to Coal Harbour and the end of the cruise, we past the 9 O’Clock Gun on the edge of Stanley Park.

9 O'Clock Gun

9 O’Clock Gun
19 September 2017

And so back to the dock and the end of the cruise. This short commentary can not do justice to the cruise, however there are more pictures in the Smugmug Gallery from the cruise.

Vancouver Lookout from the Harbour Cruise


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Vancouver Lookout – 18 September 2017

One of the places to see Vancouver from is the Vancouver Lookout. Atop the Harbour Centre (opened in 1977), the Lookout is a 360 degrees observation deck, reached by glass side elevators on the south side of the building.

As we had parked the car in Stanley Park, we got there by the Vancouver Hop-on, Hop-off tourist bus, getting off in Water Street at stop 1 close to the Gastown Steam clock and an tourist shop with a moose and bear standing guard in Canadian Mountie Uniforms.

Moose outside the Tourist shop in Water Street

Moose outside the Tourist shop in Water Street
18 September 2017

A short walk took us to the Harbour Centre, and as it was not very busy we did not have to wait for the elevator to the top. Once clear of the lobby we got a view south from the glass side of the elevator. One place of note if the 1899 Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Holy Rosary Cathedral

Holy Rosary Cathedral
18 September 2017

Once at the top there is a 360 degree view across Vancouver. To the east is the high rise building of Burnaby.

Burnaby

Burnaby
18 September 2017

To the north and west is Vancouver Harbour, including Canada Place cruise ship terminal. To the north west is Standley Park and the Loins Gate bridge.

Lions Gate Bridge from the Vancouver Lookout

Lions Gate Bridge from the Vancouver Lookout
18 September 2017

On the way down we got another view out of the elevator noting a clock on the top of a nearby building.

Clock on building top south west of the Lookout

Clock on building top south west of the Lookout
18 September 2017

We returned to the Hop-on Hop-off stop 1 and travelled back to Stanley Park.