by Susan Ponting

Perhaps you’ve already visited British Columbia, with its wonder-filled, seaside, Canadian destinations. But, if you haven’t been for a while, need a refresher, or by chance still haven’t visited spectacular British Columbia – I’ve just returned and have some ‘must-see’ things to do. It was a whirlwind vacation for me and my hubby, Ron. Our trip lasted only six days, but we packed a lot into a short time.

We started out in Vancouver, rented a car, and headed on to Victoria and be still my heart, Tofino, which did not let us down.

We were there mainly to see our niece Sam and her beau, Morgan, but thanks to a West Jet seat sale ($1,216.14 round trip), it turned out to be ‘old home week’ as we connected with former Toronto, blues guitar player, Pat Axe, his wife Genoa, her sister Tracie, my step-brother, Carlo; and a good friend Alison, born and raised in B.C., and who we met when she lived in Toronto.

As I lived and worked in downtown Vancouver in my early 20s, touring the city and outlying areas years later was, to quote Oprah’s now overly used, but still effective maxim, “a full circle moment.”

The first time I went was to escape my life in Toronto – was it Margaret Atwood who said, “BC is the end of the road?” At the time, I went because it was far enough away, and so I left for the coast. It was not easy as a young 20-something working at McDonalds, and adjusting to life in a new city.

The next time I passed by Vancouver was with a friend on our way to California. We had the travel bug and drove across Canada through the Rocky Mountains, which still have a grip on my heart. But we didn’t know what we wanted to do with our lives, yet, and so the stay was, again, “the end of the road.”

This time, and many years later, the trip was pure natural joy. We got to see Sam and Morgan, walk along the beach, and eat at scrumptious food places. We stayed in fancy hotels like the Century Plaza with great views, and a kitchenette, ($168.92 taxes included booked on We also stayed two nights at the Sandman Suites ($345.15 two nights including taxes also booked on hotels had kitchenettes. The Sandman had a balcony overlooking the ocean, and the Century Plaza looked out high atop the mass of condominiums.

Instead of worrying or working, this time I was able to soak in the mountains, ocean, and this bustling city that is, in a way, like Toronto used to be – a city with a small-town feel.

In celebration of Pat Axe’s birthday we had a scrumptious dinner at O’Doul’s on Robson. The food was wonderful, the service excellent, (our waiter was a dead ringer for Aidin Quinn), and of course the company, was divine.

The food was beyond succulent at Joe FortesSam, who’s a true foodie, and I still talk about the crème caramel we wished we ordered three of. And the calamari melted in our mouths. Ronnie even said the steak was as superior as the PEI Blue Dot Grass fed we buy in Ontario.

After three days in Vancouver, we hopped in our rented Hyundai 4 x 4 (Enterprise $208.42 including taxes, unlimited kilometers, for a five day rental) and headed for Victoria. Stay tuned for details of that leg of our adventure.


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