What is There To Be Grateful For In British Columbia?
Seven years ago, my sister moved out to British Columbia. And just over a year ago, my parents joined her by moving to the Okanagan region. Every summer for the past three years, our family has been going out for a visit. And every time we visit, we fall more and more in love with this stunning part of Canada. Have you ever been out West? What do you love most about the West? There are so many things to be grateful for in British Columbia which helps to mitigate the difficult weather challenges that the province often faces.
What is there to be grateful for in British Columbia?
1.The Mountains. When I was 28 I moved out across the ocean to live and work in Switzerland. That’s when I really fell in love with the mountains and all of the activities that you can participate in. I even overcame my fear of heights by climbing up a glacier. Every time we land in BC, I am in awe of the beautiful mountain ranges that surround Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. There is something so majestic and grounding about being surrounded by the mountains. In Ontario we do have The Blue Mountains, but once you’ve been out west, you realize they are more like hills than mountains.
This trip we also visited Grouse Mountain. I had been there many years ago, but my family had never had the chance to take the SkyRide up to the top. Thankfully, we had a clear and sunny day, with views for miles and miles. Next time I’ll be doing the Grouse Grind with my sister!
One of the most beautiful parts of our trip was the drive from North Vancouver out to Kelowna and Lake Country on the Coquihalla Highway. On a clear and sunny day, it’s a stunning drive up and over the mountains. In the winter however, it’s treacherous and often closed due to bad weather.
2. The Ocean, Rivers and Lakes. The Pacific Ocean that hugs the coastline and the endless beaches! Sure the water is much cooler than further south however you don’t have to drive very far in Vancouver or on the North Shore to find a beach. We visited three different beaches while staying with my sister who lives in North Vancouver. The view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge from the beaches of West Vancouver always takes my breath away.
When you’re on the mainland, you are also spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches, including Kitsilano (Kitts) Beach and English Bay Beach located in Stanley Park.
3. Stanley Park. Bigger than Central Park in NYC, Stanley Park was named the #1 top park in the world by Trip Advisor in 2014. What I love most about the park is walking along the seawall. There are different types of vegetation everywhere you look and it’s so lush and green. I also love looking at Stanley Park from across the bay in West Van.
We also love the large outdoor pool is Stanley Park. With more than 180° views of the surrounding mountains, ocean and forest, it’s a stunning place for a swim workout or playing with the kids.
4. The Vancouver Aquarium. This has always been one of the highlights of our trips to BC. The Vancouver Aquarium is a leading marine science centre – and not an entertainment facility. I encourage you to check out the VanAqua Facts that clearly shows how this is much, much different from most other tourist attractions. It’s key to recognize that the Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit Conservation Organization.
5. The Variable Climates and Vegetation. When we drive from Vancouver to the Okaganan where my parents live, we can see first-hand how the vegetation changes and how different the climate is. Throughout the province you are often only a few short hours away from a completely different natural environment. What I love about the weather in the Okaganan is that it’s hotter with almost no humidity. Compared to the humidity we are used to in Ontario, 30°C doesn’t feel the same as back home.
The downside to the drier weather and heat is that the Interior and the Okaganan are currently battling forest fires. This is very common in these areas, so much that the months of July and August are referred to as Fire Season. Right now, there are thousands of people who are displaced from their homes in the Interior. You can support them by donating to the Red Cross BC Fires Appeal.
6. The Sunsets. For those who follow me on Instagram, you know that I am obsessed with taking photos of sunsets. And I’ve captured some amazing sunsets in my home province of Ontario, however both my parents and my sister have stunning views of the sun setting every night. I think my next home, wherever it may be, will have to have a view of the setting sun.