Vancouver in a Day: Stranded in Canada

IMG_8932Just like another typical morning in Seattle, it was rainy. We woke up a little before midmorning, had bagels for breakfast, and my friend drove us all the way across the border.

He had never driven in a foreign country before, and thankfully we entered with a full tank of gas. The roads were in kilometers and the gas stations were per liter. The foggy day was a great change of scenery from California.

Lynn Canyon or Capilano Suspension Bridge?IMG_8976

When I first saw photos of Vancouver that another friend had taken, I thought that the suspension bridge in Vancouver was really beautiful and definitely something to see. It also costs more than $30 USD.

We decided for our first time, to see Lynn Canyon Bridge, which was less well-known but just as good. We drove into a ritzy neighborhood and followed the GPS onto the road to the mountains. The rain had just died down when we got out of our car.

No one ever tells you how refreshing it is to walk into the wood after spending days and days in the city. The woods and the fresh rain had made the air so clear and refreshing that I felt alive.

We walked on the wet dirt, our footstep creating the crunching sound of small rocks. The map quickly led us to a tall white waterfall beyond the olive trees. It felt so tropical with the vibrant green ferns growing in the forest.

When you spend most of your life in warm Los Angeles weather, you need a break, and this was the perfect break. The river rushed under the bridge. We decided to take a side route and walked down the wet greyish-brown wooden staircase into the forest where we met the river, and we walked toward the river on pebbles to the huge rocks at the edge.

We played at the water’s edge and touched the leaves as we hiked back to the bridge where we took photos when the other hikers were gone. The rope suspension bridge was huge, going from one side to another, and on each side of the bridge were the leafiest and most green leaves you’ve ever seen that encloses this bridge that ran across white and emerald green water.

The 30-foot Pool

IMG_9040Moss grew on the tree and the exposed roots. After slushing in the dirt path and almost losing my friend at one point because he decided to go ahead, we found the 30-foot pool. The water looked deep and dangerous. We walked all the way to the edge of the dark-green pool. It was slippery and wet on the grey rocks. We walked back up and suddenly a huge golden retriever came bouncing up to my friend as I sat on one of the low tree branches. It was absolutely idyllic.

We ran up flights of stairs, continuing onto the trail to the Pipe bridge. This bridge ran with the water pipe and across the rushing river. From there, we ended up in the upper-middle-class neighborhood, where no house can disappoint.

It wasn’t until months after when I was listening to the Disney songs from the Descendants that I found “If Only” and immediately knew that Lynn Canyon and the 30-foot pool was the filming location. The place was so beautiful that it didn’t even need to be edited. My friend and I fell in love with Vancouver at once.

End of the Line General Store

After walking down to the main street, we saw a quaint red and brown general store and decided to wander in. It had all the cute souvenirs. My friend and I were thrifty, so we didn’t spend much but it was a nice store close to the trails.

Stanely Park

IMG_9135We took the car and headed down toward Stanely Park, but we missed the exit, ended up in the downtown area, and drove back up to Stanely Park. We stopped at the Vancouver Seawall to look at the harbor. It was getting dark at 4:30pm but we wanted to see the city light and as much as we could. You could see the Lions Gate Bridge glow.

We ended up at Prospect Point and took photos of the bridge. I ended up getting souvenirs–a maple pin and a postcard.

When I walked outside, my friend was gone and so was his car! I figured it must have been because we were being thrifty, and he had driven his car out and was going to come back after circling the island.

The rain started to pour again. A car came and went. Headlights entered the parking lot, and I stepped toward it, only to realize it wasn’t my friend. I over my shoulder at the store. It was glowing, but the bar area was already closed. There were only probably about thirty minutes before it closed, and the weather grew colder.

My friend had left me in Canada!

I’d think he’d be back but each car came and went. I hoped to call my friend but he couldn’t take any international calls. Was I stuck here?

I took out my phone, flipped open Facebook and tried to message him. At one point, I called and texted anyway and left a voicemail. I tried to keep warm and away from the rain.

The only thing I could do was just wait. I must have waited almost an hour before another car pulled up into the parking lot and stopped. I ran over to it.

I peered through the windows. I sigh a relief as I opened the door and scrambled away from the rain. “What happened?” I asked.

He explained that the parking enforcement came, and he had driven off, not realizing it was one way only, and he had to drive to downtown and back.

Downtown Vancouver

We made our way into downtown Vancouver and parked on the street. Since it was December, we saw the streets decorated with lights, and we ran into a festival celebration. It was the gay-pride celebration with a parade. We joked about joining the parade, and we wandered into the festival to see the light and this exhibit that made music when you walk around it.

We went into a hotel to keep warm, and there was a lamp on top of a horse. After, we went across the street to see a decorated hospital. The lights were glowing all around it and at the entrance.

After wandering the streets, we found a place to grab poutine. It was gravy and meat over french fries, and it tasted good and warm. We had Canadian bacon and cheese as toppings, and it was good after a long day.


Since it was so dark already, we rushed to Gastown. The parking wasn’t so good and there were streets that were sketchy. Finally, we ended up at a metered spot on West Cordova Street.

This was the place to explore at night with its unique black lampposts and spherical light bulbs. We walked into Steamworks restaurant after wandering. I had a seafood noodle, and we had some drinks to go with it. The restaurant was a good pick–good food, a nice atmosphere, and it was bustling with people.

Outside, Christmas light shined on trees. At the end of the cobblestoned sidewalk was a huge grandfather clock with steams coming out from the top. We saw statues and beautiful buildings. A dome-shaped building and a glass-walled coffee bar with lots of lights shining from the metallic ceiling that accentuated the silver staircases. This was beautiful. Finishing our adventure with a busy nightlife town was great.


We probably got home past midnight. I remember dozing off in the car as my friend drove and wearily handing him my passport at the border. We had a great day. It was one of the reasons why we decided to explore British Columbia the following year.

If we did this day again, it would be to start earlier, around 7am and arrive by 10am to do the morning hike. Then head to Stanely Island for lunch at 12, Granville Island Public Market at 4pm, and back to Downtown and Gastown by 7pm, eat dinner in Gastown, maybe even go to a club if we had the time and just stay there for the night. Or head back around 9pm.

Vancouver is a very beautiful city and worth visiting again. Maybe stay a few more days.

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