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British Columbia Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

The Grand Canyon beckons

Three Ottawa, Ontario area kayakers won the lottery for a time slot on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Small problem. Their kayaks were in Vancouver, BC, 2200 kms away from the launch point. They needed someone to transport the kayaks to Las Vegas, Nevada. I volunteered for the task and so, here I was at 5:30 AM waking up to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Vancouver. This time around, I was flying Air Canada, but plenty were also there at that time of the morning to board the Westjet flight boarding at an adjacent gate.

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I was flying with point redemption so, as is normal, the only spots that tend to be available are the flights that leave early in the morning or arrive very late at night (or have multiple stops along the way). Since flying from Ottawa to Vancouver takes about 6 hours non-stop, it was the non-stop flight that I wanted to be on. Not interested in extending that part of the trip by stopping for a chat or plane change in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg or Calgary which made up all of the other options and would have added another hour or two to the travel time.

Before we could take-off, our pilot had to taxi the jet to the deicing area so that a solution  could be sprayed onto the wings.  While waiting for the deicing process to be completed, the couple sitting next to me began a discussion of the costs of the deicing process both in terms of the cost of time as well as the cost of the deicing fluids and the manpower and machinery needed to apply the stuff and clean up the excess fluids. That led to discussion of how coatings based on nanotechnology might some day eliminate the need for deicing altogether.

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I was looking forward to visiting with my brother in Vancouver before loading the kayaks and heading south to Las Vegas. The slight difference in temperature between Ottawa and Vancouver was an added bonus of flying to Vancouver. When we were boarding the plane in Ottawa, the outside temperature was hovering around -25C while the forecast temperature in Vancouver was +8C and sunny.

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The flight with Air Canada went well with just a touch of turbulence as we approached the foothills of the Rockies near Lethbridge, Alberta. I was lucky to have a young couple sitting beside me on the plane who were involved in the mining industry in Peru. Although they had lived in places that I might only wish to visit some day (Chile and Peru), their Canadian roots in Squamish and Whitehorse (two places that I have visited) were locations of which we could share some knowledge and stories. Who knows, in this small world, my middle son’s career in Geophysics might some day lead him across their path on some flight in the future. Having interesting flying partners can certainly make the flight seem shorter.

As we flew along the 49th parallel, I could look south to see all sorts of mountains and patterns whenever the cloud cover thinned to allow a glimpse or two at was below.  Soon we were back on the ground at Vancouver International Airport .

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After my brother met me at the airport, we did a quick tour of Vancouver’s Gastown (cobblestone as demarcation from nearby Chinatown) The steam clock was an interesting piece of engineering.
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As we walked from place to place a number of different signs caught my attention as did Vancouver’s Flat Iron building which is a backdrop in many of the large number of films produced in Vancouver.
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Plenty of food establishments in the Gastown are but we finally decided on one with an interesting wall 🙂
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After my brother headed back to work, I wandered around Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown area. Overhead the skies were clear blue and the sun shone brightly. Rather an uncommon sight in Vancouver in the winter.

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, British Columbia

UBC Museum of Anthropology

UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, British Columbia

Many of the totem poles in the Museum came from the village of Ninslits (Skungwa’ai) on the Queen Charlotte Islands which is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Update: In 2009, the Queen Charlotte Islands were renamed Haida Gaii (“Islands of the People”) as part of a reconciliation agreement between government and the Haida people.

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

Ottawa to Vancouver on Westjet

Ottawa to Vancouver on Westjet

Today was a traveling day as I and my father headed to Vancouver to visit with my brother. As we left Ottawa we flew over Britannia Beach area of the Ottawa River and then over Kanata, Ontario where I live.  It was nice to follow this flight path with good visibility.

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

Lion’s Gate Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

Lion’s Gate Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

It was nice night with only a very slight breeze blowing so my brother and I headed out to Brockton Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park so that I could get some night shots of the lighthouse and the North Vancouver shoreline lights. I got my Manfrotto tripod set up, had the camera settings all figured out and was just about to press the remote shutter release when two vehicles pulled up, one of them a big stretch limo, throwing beams of light across the shoreline. I hoped they were going to just drive by but, instead, they just sat there for awhile. I wasn’t sure if I should wait or just pack up and leave. We waited. They left. I got my shot.

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Vancouver, B.C.

The George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Vancouver, B.C. The weather was a perfect Autumn one. Beautiful blue sky. Nice temperatures and very little breeze. A perfect day to visit the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. My father (89 y.o.) wasn’t sure that he would be up to all of the walking, but once he got out there with his walker to sit on if he got tired, he had a great time. My brother and his friend Laura were along with us. While everyone else was enjoying the weather and the outing, my focus was definitely on pressing the shutter whenever possible 🙂

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia

Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia

This particular morning, my brother decided that catching the water ferry over to Granville Island for brunch would be a good idea. The ferry arrived and off we went on another adventure.

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Aquariums British Columbia Canada Explorer

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C.

I had traveled to Vancouver to visit my brother and had hoped that Vancouver weather, being generally warmer than the rest of the country, would give me a bit of an extension on the season, with respect to photographing my favourite wildlife subjects. As is evident from my other blog entries for this Vancouver trip, I found lots to photograph but it wasn’t pretty butterflies. When my brother asked me where we should go today, I suggested the Vancouver Aquarium where I could photograph in slightly warmer, drier surroundings. It had been a number of years since either of us had been to the Vancouver Aquarium so we agreed that that would be our destination of the day and off we went.
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C. Porpoise in air

The Vancouver Aquarium is located on the edge of Stanley Park in a beautiful setting surrounded by towering Douglas Fir. It has an indoor portion as well as outdoor areas where dolphins fly through the air and put on quite a display for the visiting public. With plenty of seals and walruses and a Beluga Whale tank, it would have been easy to spend most of our time just looking at the outdoor exhibits.

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Inside the main building there are vibrant displays of colour in the Marine tanks and a large assortment of creatures in the freshwater aquariums. Jelly fish intrigue me and they certainly had lots of jelly fish to look at.
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Seeing a large display of starfish brought memories of a long ago visit to the Tofino beach area on the west coast of Vancouver Island And the indoor reef displays were excellent.
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, B.C

After I spent a bit of time photographing the coral reef displays we headed back outside to wander around Stanley Park.

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British Columbia Canada Explorer

Bald Eagles, Brackendale, British Columbia

Snowy Mountain Peak

Bald Eagles, Brackendale, British Columbia

Just one of many dramatic views of snow covered peaks along the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Squamish and Whistler, B.C.