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Posted by Cayla Capri
British Columbia Au Naturel
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B.C. is a dichotomy of breathtaking beauty - totem poles and stone carvings, marinas rippling with yachts and toot-tooting tugboats, lanky-legged dog parks and wind-whistling lakes – this magnificent province is home to a youthful and gorgeous ladder-climbing clientele of wine-and-diners and fervorous outdoor zealots, each with a passion for piping hot dragon bowls and a second-hand fashion edge.
Whether you help yourself to one of the finest servings of ‘burbs thanks to the quaint Kitsilano, the booming arts scene of Vancouver, or the deep-rooted backcountry that is the Okanagan Valley, there’s something for every couple in search of the Canadiana way.
the romance
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An evening spent lounging in a 1920’s timber lodge, or a sandy cove hideaway with a fleece blanket and flask of port makes for a fine time, but if your legs need stretching, a stroll through the densely wooded Stanley Park, where live performers rappel up the marvelous monster-sized trees, is just the ticket. If the moonshine sways of the tides come beckoning, venture down past the stony seawall and have a seat on some oversized driftwood. There you and your sweetie can stare off into the glassy abyss of the Pacific Ocean, that is, if you can tear your eyes away from each other’s.
In B.C., sushi can be a super cheap, super fast, undergrad event, or an haute couture-esque chopstick event - think wild salmon sashimi, chopped scallop roll, and seared tataki, topped off with high fired, murasaki glazed cups of warm imported sake. Doused in the delights of far-off lands reinvented, cherry blossom lined streets, vegan cafes, steamy yoga sessions, and mirages of mountains in the distance, make beautiful British Columbia the chart-topper of all getaways.
the setting
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The Pacific Northwest is a mysterious expansive terrain, captured in the swirling emeralds and chocolate browns of painter, Emily Carr. It is both the rugged peaks of The Rockies, the ancient redwoods below, the paw of the shy puma, and the rumbling growl of the black bear. Magical arbutus trees, regal rock-hugging firs, stunning vistas and snow-capped peaks are all icing on the cake –at least until you catch a glimpse of an ethereal wing-tipped eagle mid-flight. Cruise the Sea to Sky highway where you’ll find a meshed pastiche of B.C.’s interior ecologies, or zip along The Sunshine Coast for a fresh batch of memory-making.
the attractions
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Earthmuffin-escaping Vancouverites enjoy Robie street for some tantalizing window shopping and ooey-gooey pizza gobbling. Gastown is all about the kitsch and cool – think cobbled streets, costume jewelry, and a steam powered clock, while Granville Island offers fabulous improv comedy, bawdy buskers, dandy hand-made crafts, and a bustling market full of maple syrup, spring rolls, marble fudge and seaweed ice-cream.
Perched atop the Harbour Center, The Vancouver Lookout pans across the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle and back. For a more up close and personal take on the town, there’s always Davie Street for a little push of the rainbow-colored envelope – famed for its revved up nightclubs, annual Madonna nights, foodie parlours, sex shops and cutesy flower stands. For extra petal-power, visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, located at the heart of sensory-heavy Chinatown. Modeled after those found in the 15th-century, this garden is replete with its very own bamboo forest and koi-filled turtle ponds.
the adventure
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There is no shortage of stuff to get your ticker tick-tocking – from caving to kayaking, mountain biking to power-boating, take advantage of a booked tour complete with experienced guide. Snap a flurry of photos paparazzi-style as a pod of orcas breach, co-pilot a seaplane, snowboard at Whistler, pit-stop at a nearby surf shop, or fish for freshwater salmon – the possibilities are endless. If you’re a baby beginner, opt for English Bay where you can canoe, fish, or scuba dive in learner’s permit peace. Here, both partiers and beachcombers alike have a wide array of lifestyle paces to choose from, and some even sway both ways.
the secrets
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Hornby Island is a must - home to quirky little resorts, wild herds of deer, and the rare environmental phenomenon of bioluminescence. For hordes of flowers, festivals, and tender-hearted elegance, travel out to Victoria and take in the fantastic works by local First Nations artisans. Check out the little eco-arty surf-central wonder of Tofino, where production for the Twilight installment of ‘New Moon’ just called ‘that’s a wrap.’ Vancouver is a great daytripping adventure for the avid flickster, having been used as a locale during the makings of X-Men Origins, Wolverine, Juno and Fantastic Four – it’s easy to catch a glimpse of a starlet, extra, or random camera boom.
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