Canada Day 2: Vancouver

We only had one full day in Vancouver and woke early due to a bit of jetlag. The hotel was close to the seaplane terminal on the harbour and we watched a range of seaplanes taking off and landing in the fantastic harbour. With a regular flow of yachts and ferries passing the terminal, it’s impressive to see the seaplanes finding safe water to take off and land.

Seaplanes taxiing from Vancouver‘s seaplane terminal.

Having briefly considered a sightseeing flight, we focused on finding breakfast. This was easier said than done; 0800 on a post-pandemic October Sunday meant that few places were open and those that were had a wait for serving. We headed away from the harbour into Gastown in the hope of finding alternatives, but nothing that was open really appealed. Gastown itself is a lovely part of Vancouver and the steam clock is an impressive piece of mechanical engineering.

Gastown’s fabulous Steam Clock

After failing to find any appealing breakfast venues, we headed back to the harbour front to a place that had been closed when we had first visited. It wasn’t fantastic. It was a sports bar, so wasn’t really somewhere we’d normally choose but it was filling and fairly tasty. It served well for brunch; we were booked in at a restaurant that night and so didn’t need much more.

The weather had improved through the morning and so we took the decision to walk along the sea wall around Stanley Park. This is quite a walk – both for scenery and for distance. With good weather on a Sunday afternoon in October, the Stanley was busy with cyclists, joggers and fellow walkers. The walk passes a large marina before snaking around past the rowing club, the HMCS Discovery base on Deadman Island, under the impressive Lions Gate suspension bridge out to Burrard Inlet, which leads out past Victoria and Vancouver Island to the Pacific Ocean.

After our walk, which was about 10 miles in total, we headed back to the hotel for a quick rest, before heading out for our Rocky Mountaineer checkin at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. This required a lateral flow COVID test in advance of our train journey and took an hour so to queue, get our test and get boarding passes for the next day. We were both nervous; a positive test here would lead to quarantine in a hotel and a big problem for the trip. Thankfully our test was negative and we headed to the bar of the Fairmont hotel to celebrate with a cocktail and wine.

We then had a booking at Black and Blue restaurant at 8pm – steak here is known to be legendary and they do a passable imitation of a Sunday lunch too (Complete with Yorkshire puddings!). The food and wine was indeed excellent, but both of us found the service a little frosty and forced. The ambience wasn’t quite right, although we still had a great night there.

After our meal, it was back to the hotel for an early start to catch the Rocky Mountaineer the next morning – check in at the terminal was at 0715.