(belated) vancouver travel diary 🇨🇦

In December my family went to Vancouver for a lil family holiday. I took some photos and heeeeere is a blog post about it a whopping four months later! I always feel the urge to apologize when I am tremendously late like this but I wonder if 1) if that is necessary (because like 3 people read this blog, 2 of whom are my cat and my brother, and it’s not like there is a real ~deadline~ with ~consequences~* for my fun time blog) and 2) if it’s annoying (because I get annoyed when YouTubers spend the first eight minutes of a video apologizing for something being late). OK that said, I still feel bad about my travel posts being late because it feels awkward talking about a winter holiday when Vancouver is no longer in winter mode… The next big trip I take is going to be in a couple months to Rome (!!!!!), so hopefully I can make those blawg posts happen in a time frame that makes sense.

The Vancouver airport! I thought the way First Nations art was featured was really cool. To me, the US and Canada are like sibling colonists who killed mass amounts of indigenous people for our new nations, but Canada seems to be doing a slightly better job at respecting indigenous populations than this lovely home of the brave land of the free etc etc.

We arrived at night and took a taxi to our Airbnb, which was actually in Burnaby and not Vancouver itself so it was a bit of a longer transit time than initially anticipated. I didn’t check the address of the Airbnb when I booked because I assumed all the places that popped up in the Vancouver search would be in, you know, Vancouver. Lesson learned, I guess.

We walked around our Airbnb to find dinner and decided on a ramen place. They had dog butts on the walls for you to hang your coat, which I thought was a cute interior decor moment lol.

This trip was over Christmas, so right after my fall semester had ended. Unfortunately, I did a real dumb thing right before finals week and spilled water all over my laptop. Fortunately, the professor for the class that I lost my term paper for gave me an extension, so I spent the first couple days on holiday writing that again. In the afternoon once I finished, I left to meet the rest of my family who had already begun their day of touristing. On this particular day our agenda was to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

And we’re here! All the lights were up for the holiday season, so it was very festive and Christmas-y. We started with a guided tour of some totem poles – I think I remember our tour guide telling us all except a couple of the totem poles inside the park were carved by indigenous people (i.e. not white people co-opting the practice), so that was cool! Some of the totem poles represented clans and some told stories. I don’t think I have a picture of the story I found the most interesting, but it was the origin legend of mosquitoes. It involved, among other things, a giant who carried a basket to put children in for meals, so for the rest of the trip my brother and I would snicker about getting a basket whenever we were around annoying children. I would not be a good babysitter, lol.

Nature! Trees! Walking amongst the greenery!

Once it got dark, the lights turned on and really ~shone~*. (Pun initially unintended). I will say that I’m certain my toes almost fell off from the cold, but it’s probably my bad for wearing slip-on Vans and not, you know, sensible winter shoes.

And that’s the end of our Capilano Park day! Very cold, very pretty, very marvel of technology (but I didn’t read the descriptive plaques on how the bridge was constructed so cannot know 4 sure).

Another day was spent at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was an absolute dreeaaaam. The temporary exhibition they had going on featured Guo Pei, a Chinese fashion designer, probably best known for the huge trailing yellow gown Rihanna wore to the Met Ball a few years ago. Her work is, obviously, beautiful, but I think it’s the combination of Chinese history, legend, and culture with her haute couture that makes it unique.

All of her mannequins were shown with platform shoes in reference to ancient trends in Chinese history.

This jumpsuit is a dragon, and the blue dress is a phoenix.

Another exhibition going on was on Dana Claxton, a First Nations artist. The pieces featured were either by her or other indigenous artists and were really powerful. This picture, below, was from one of those rooms which play a film on loop. I usually take pictures of the descriptive plaques when I really like an art piece, but I forgot for this one :/ It made me tear up, so I wish I had.

This piece is titled Baxwana’tsi: The Container for Souls and was made by Marianne Nicolson, a descendent of the Dzwada’enuxw, a member tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations of the Pacific Northwest. It references the traditional story of Raven, who stole light from a chief who kept it stored in a bentwood box and released it so that it could benefit everyone. Because the box is projected onto the walls around it, it felt like a really immersive and powerful experience.

This series of drawings is by Kim Kennedy Austin and focuses on Abz Love, a member of the British boy band 5ive. Austin “imagined Love as an introspective Budda-like figure whose appearance on the reality television program Celebrity Big Brother […] she portrays as a series of televised tests, the purpose of which is to try and find a potential reincarnatio of a Tulku or a Tibetan Lama”. These were funny and thought-provoking, as well as very hashtag aesthetic.

Sometimes I like to take pictures of a detail, like here with Emily Carr’s Tree Trunk, instead of the whole thing. I really love seeing the brush strokes and paint cracks and where one color edges into another.

We had dinner at this restaurant called Absinthe and it was so delicious! Usually when our family travels together food isn’t a huge priority, but we wanted to have dinner at a couple nicer places this trip. We also all tried absinthe for the first time and I discovered that it was much better after leaving it alone for most of the meal, although by ‘much better’ I mean ‘OK’, seeing as all alcohol tastes OK at best to me.

The view from our Airbnb! I wonder what it would feel like to wake up to those mountains every morning.

I totally forgot to take a photo of the Art Gallery the day we went, but here’s a shitty shot out of the bus window on another day lol.

Off the bus to Stanley Park!

Our destination was the Vancouver Aquarium, as recommended by a Canadian friend I met in China from the area!

We started with a dolphin show and then went to look at the otters, which were muuuch larger than I anticipated.

These names gave my brother and I a good laugh. Vladimir Lenin the seal! Seal the seal! EGGPLANT THE SEAL! My god. Can you believe?

We signed up for a sea lion experience where we got to meet a lovely sea lion (Amak, blepping above) and learn about the aquarium’s work in protecting and conserving their species. The Steller sea lion’s Eastern population, on Canada and the U.S. west coast, is not doing so well, I’m afraid – see picture of habitat below, all empty in 1986 😦 . I love a good mammal and was very excited to meet these guys, feed them, and learn some fun factz. Like, sea otters are more aggressive than sea lions when trying to mate, and have been known to try to mate with dogs and drown them if the dogs don’t do that. I guess that one’s not really a fun fact, but who would’ve known?! What a bizarre animal world!?

We left the aquarium when it closed and they kicked us out, and this was my attempt at a cool night shot. Did it work u be the judge~

This day was a city day! We went to Chinatown, which was less exciting than some other Chinatown’s we’ve been to (although I did enjoy the dragons on top of the street lights), and Gastown. It was Boxing Day, so we spent a fair amount of time shopping, by which I mean trying things on and hunting for deals but not actually purchasing anything. It was on this day that I spotted the Aritzia belt which I would not stop talking about or thinking about until I bought it last month.

Korean restaurant spread feat. Christmas llama jumper that my brother got our dad.

And that’s a wrap on Vancouver! There’s a lot I forgot and there’s a lot of photos I didn’t include, but u get the idea. It was a good time.


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