Journey into the Canadian Rockies
Part I: Vancouver

by Swee Ong, Wu

Vancouver, voted the number one city in the world (Year 2000), naturally becomes the gateway for my journey into the Canadian Rockies. It is a popular destination, with plenty of tour packages and so, getting a decent deal on airfares and accomodation is not difficult. (Summer being the peak season, getting a cheap deal would have been really difficult...)
Before embarking on the drive into the Rockies, we have a day and a half to explore Vancouver city. On arrival, we wasted no time and took to the streets once we have settled our luggage and stuff. Our first stop, Stanley Park is a world renowned park, and is the largest city park in Canada. It boasts 1000 acres of forest, lakes and meadows. Needless to say, we do not have the luxury to fully explore this beautiful park. However, we did take a leisurely stroll in this park and is indeed an enjoyable pastime!

In one part of the park lies several totem poles that belongs to the First Nations. They are the aboriginal people who first settled in this land that is now called Greater Vancouver & its regions. Many of the decendants still practise their traditions and their history and culture have certainly enriched Vancouver.

Besides Stanley Park, another place for a nice leisurely walk would be along the beaches - from English Bay to Sunset beach; it's something akin our East Coast Beach area, with young folks roller blading, cycling and beach goers suntanning etc. And esp in summer, there're quite abit of activity about.

We have a short halfday city tour as part of the package the next day. There're plenty of attractions around the city. Basically, this half-day of guided tour serves as a reference point for further exploration. Highlights include a stop at Granville Island, Gastown etc to name a few. These are all part of Vancouver's attractions that you'll find in any guidebooks or websites. For the sake of a little bit of trivia, here you'll also find the world's thinnest office building; the Sam Kee Building is only 1.8 metres wide! As the coach cruised across, I managed only to get a glimpse of it. Well, the front of the building looks like any other.... So, did not react fast enough to take a snapshot.... If we had spare time, we could come back.......

We took what little time we have left to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Spanning 450 feet (150 metres) and 230 feet (75+ metres) above the Capilano River, the current bridge is in its fourth incarnation, where the first was built some 100 over years ago. The wire cables used in this bridge is encased in 13 tons of concrete at either end, and as trivia goes, is able to support a Boeing 747!

As the day comes to a close, we checked out our car rental location so that early next morning, we will lose little time setting out our journey proper!

Part II: Kamloops

Text and pictures >copyright 2001-2002 Swee Ong, Wu