Our second day in Canada started slow and easy. Our original plan had us getting up ridiculously early (5am) so we could do the Sea to Sky Gondola first thing, but neither of us was really feeling it. We had wanted to do the 1-1.5 hour drive early, arriving shortly after it opened and hopefully get it done before the crowds arrived, but we were up super early the day before and ended up staying up way later than we’d planned. By the time we got back to the AirBnb the first night and were making out plan for the second day, we were both so exhausted and did NOT want to get up at 5am. We also had to make some adjustments so we could still go to Playland and also do a temple session, so we moved a bunch of stuff around and decided to get up at 7am and leave for Capilano Suspension Bridge at 8am instead.
As expected, we got up and moved a little slow. Not too bad, but we didn’t end up leaving until 8:15. We were on vacation, there’s wasn’t a huge rush. The only time-sensitive thing we had was getting to Playland in the afternoon, so we decided to let ourselves have an easy morning.
It took about an hour to get to the bridge, not the 30 minutes maps said. But we hadn’t accounted for 8am traffic, but that’s okay. We arrived a little before 9:30, found a good parking spot just across the street from the entrance, found a parking pay station maybe 30 feet from where we parked, and there was no line at the entrance. Talk about the perfect start to our visit. Another bonus was that they let me use my student ID for an admission discount. Score! That’s the first time I’ve ever used my student ID to get a discount somewhere. I usually never ask, but this time I did. Hooray!
We were both pretty excited to get inside, even with the weather. The day was a little overcast and drizzly, but it wasn’t ‘raining’ yet. We took umbrellas, just to be on the safe side, and grabbed the free ponchos they were handing out at the entrance. We didn’t put them on, but we tucked them in Holly’s backpack so we’d have them, just in case, and used the umbrellas for a little bit.
Just inside the entrance was a semi-interactive exhibit with signs and buttons for audio along with some really neat replicas of totem poles and other First Nation artifacts. There was a tour group there, so we didn’t stay for long. It was neat seeing all the replicas, though. We also learned where the name ‘Capilano’ came from. It was originally spelled Kia’palano and was the name of a Chief from the Squamish Nation in the early 1800s. The name means “beautiful river” and eventually became anglicized into “Capilano.”
While we were doing our short exploration of the exhibits, we had a little bit of a mishap. Holly dropped her phone and she screen shattered in one corner. Thankfully, it wasn’t the whole screen and it was her old phone as she’d decided to leave her new one home because her old one has a better camera. Thank goodness for that. And that her phone was still able to take pictures. She just had to be careful when touching the broken area.
After we got through the exhibits, we made it to the bridge! It was pretty exciting. The day was still overcast and foggy (makes sense since it was only about 25 minutes since our arrival), so there was a surreal view of the bridge disappearing into the trees and the fog. Made it look like the bridge went on for forever.
It was interesting to learn about the evolution of this bridge. When George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, moved to the area and purchased land around the current Capilano bridge in 1888, he built a small bridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks to cross the river. His associate, August Jack Khahtsahlano, went across the river with horses to pull the rope across and secure the bridge to the other side. Can you imagine crossing the 450ft (137m) distance on a rope bridge???? Man, I would be scared out of my mind. But Mackay’s friends thought it was neat and a lot of them would visit just for the opportunity to cross the bridge. By 1893, they referred to the bridge as Capilano Tramps, since ‘tramping’ was the term used at the time to describe hiking through the woods. In 1903, Mackay’s descendents replaced the rope bridge with a wire cable one.
In 1910, Edward Mahon purchased the property and started turning it into a tourist attraction and then added additional reinforcement cables to the bridge in 1914. He sold the park lands in 1935 to “Mac” MacEachran, who invited local First Nation natives to place totem poles in the park. The park was then sold to Henri Audeneau for a short period of time before being sold again to Rae Mitchell, who famously rebuilt the entire bridge in 1956 over five days. Mitchell is also responsible for converting a tea shop into the gift store and developing the trails on the far side of the bridge. Mitchell eventually sold the park property to his daughter, Nancy Stibbard, in 1983 and she has had incredible success in turning the park into a world-famous attraction.
The far side of the bridge is actually pretty neat. There are raised walking paths through the trees and multiple ground trails. We stopped at a little cafe and got some drinks (hot chocolate for me and apple cider for Holly) before heading off to do the raised walkway first.
The raised walkways in Treetops Adventure were pretty cool. They were a lot more sturdy than the suspension bridge (makes sense) and some of the platforms have informational signs, while one also has a cool weather station with an old-timey barometer. The suspended walkways are 110ft (33.5m) high and not actually permanently attached to the trees (nails, screws, bolts, etc). The platforms are made to move and expand with the forest as it grows, which is pretty cool. We had a lot of fun wandering through the treetops and enjoying the views from up high while learning more about the forest and how the park cares for the trees.
The ground trails in Nature’s Edge Boardwalk were pretty enjoyable, too. There was a fun little mini cabin by a pond, a ‘slug crossing’ area that actually had slugs (unlike the ‘deer crossing’ areas that never seem to have deer………), various signs explaining about the trees and other foliage, beautiful views of the forest, and a lovely symphony of birds and the wind through the trees. I loved it. It was so peaceful there. I probably could have stayed all day. But, we had plans, so we moved along after we finished.
Funny story, though. So, I had lost my voice the day before and it wasn’t back yet, so I was still having trouble talking. It was fine, though, we could still communicate and we both had fun making fun of how I sounded. At one point on the trail, there is a board with wingspans on it so people can see how long their arms are in comparison with different birds. Holly’s arms are just shorter than the Great Horned Owl and mine are just longer than the Great Horned Owl. I told Holly I was claiming the Canadian Goose length because that’s what I sounded like. A guy was standing near us, looking at the board, and he busted out laughing when I said that. It was so funny. We were all laughing about it and commenting about how I did, indeed, sound like a goose. It was fantastic.
One other super cool thing we saw before heading back to the bridge to go back to the main side was birds! There is a section called Raptor Ridge were people with an owl and a hawk were sitting by the path. They talked about the birds for a bit and about the conservation program. It was pretty neat.
We both wanted to get gifts, so we stopped by the gift shop to check stuff out. There’s some pretty cool stuff in there! Holly bought some maple syrup for her husband, some fudge, and different candies for her kids while I opted for postcards and a little bridge replica. I really wanted to buy a ton of candy, but I was good and didn’t get any. There were also some really cool wallets that I reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally wanted, but I didn’t get those, either. Holly liked the peacock ones, but they were a bit expensive, so we passed.
We hadn’t realized there was another section to the park until we were by the gift shop. There’s a walk that goes along a cliff face, which was pretty cool. We did that one pretty quickly since we were getting to the end of the time we’d alloted for the bridge park. I actually didn’t think we’d be there the entire time, but there was a lot more to do than I thought there would be.
The cliffwalk was short and sweet. We walked on a very narrow wooden path high above the river. I’m glad it was sturdier than the suspension bridge. I’m actually surprised I wasn’t more scared of the experience, being that I’m afraid of heights. It’s didn’t really bother me at all, even seeing what was holding the bridge to the cliff and the glass section. If it’s strong enough to hold several killer whales, I think me walking on it will be fine. lol
The last thing we did before leaving was stop by Guest Services. There was a little paper you can get stamps on for each section of the park you visit and when you complete it, you get a certificate. We both got our certificates and then we were off to Stanley Park!
Stanley Park is a little island park on the bay. We decided to eat the lunch we packed in the car and rest for a few minutes before wandering around the park. We wanted to see the totem poles and just wander around for a bit. Both of us were pretty tired from the night before, so we were still moving a little slow, which was okay because we still had plenty of time before we wanted to be at the amusement park.
It was actually pretty funny getting to the park because GPS didn’t tell me I need to be all the way right until it was time to turn and then it was too late, so we had to drive across the island until we could find a place to turn around and then go back to the island to get to where we wanted to go. We got a little turned around with the directions, so I just decided to park. It’s not a huge island. We were both fine with walking across it.
Our impromptu island-crossing trek took us past some interesting things. We ended up parking by the miniature railway, which we were both interested in, but it was closed. We were sad. The totem poles were on the side of the island where we parked, so we didn’t have to walk too terribly far. Along the way, we passed a Japanese Canadian War Memorial, the aquarium, and a lot of lovely fields. We actually went into the aquarium gift shop to see if there was anything Holly’s kids would like, but we didn’t find anything that Holly wanted to pay for. Sometimes I forget how expensive gift shop stuff is.
At one point we found ourselves along a seawall beach, so we wandered down to pick up shells and see what other cool things we could find. We found a lot of shells and Holly even found a starfish on the sand! It was so neat! We both checked to make sure it really was dead before taking it with us. It was pretty dry. A little girl that was there, too, also found a tiny little starfish up by the wall that was dead. She was pretty excited and didn’t want to let me look at it. lol. It was so tiny!
I don’t know how long we spent at the seawall, but we walked down as far as we could go and got quite a few shells. We both wanted to go as far down as Brockton Point Lighthouse, but the water prevented us about 2/3 of the way down. We’d talked about going to a beach and I had wanted to see one of the seawalls, but hadn’t made plans to do either, so it was nice that we got to do both while on our little trek around Stanley Park.
While we’re talking about the seawall and our fun at the beach, I would be remiss if I did not tell the sad tale of the loss of my favorite sunglasses. *dramatically sad sigh* On our way back from the far end of the beach where the ocean met the seawall, I was standing on a rock while talking to Holly and all the sudden, my feet just flew out from under me and I found myself crashing into the seawall and landing hard on the rock I had just been standing on while my feet were now several inches into the ocean. I have no idea how it happened, I was just standing there, not moving. I whacked my hand on the seawall and my arm into the rock and my poor camera smashed into the rock, too. I’d had it slung behind me so it wouldn’t hit the water while I was picking up shells, but that just made it hit the rocks when I fell. Thankfully, the camera didn’t seem too damaged, just a little banged up from the rock. If my pictures from here on out seem poor, it’s probably because something inside the camera broke. But it seems fine to me. I was okay, too. Got some scrapes on my hand and elbow, but I was wearing a jacket, so that protected me from anything too bad. Ironically, the tiny cut on my hand has turned into a scar.
As we were walking back to the stairs to get back onto the path above the seawall, I realized my sunglasses were no longer atop my head. We both walked back to where I fell, but we couldn’t see my sunglasses anywhere. They were my favorites. I’m guessing they fell into the water when I fell and got carried away while we slowly walked back. *sigh* I’m still pretty sad about that. Those were my favorite. #RIPsunglasses
But, for the sake of my beloved sunglasses, we carried on. We ended up being not too far from the totem poles and quickly walked over since we were just about done with the time we’d given ourselves to be at the park. We wanted to have plenty of time to enjoy the amusement park, so needed to leave the island soon.
The totem poles were pretty neat. There’s a small meadow with a group of really intricate totem poles behind some trees. It almost felt like they were hidden, which also gave it a more sacred feeling, too, since it wasn’t all open to viewing from anywhere. Holly sat and rested for a bit while I took my 50 photos (just kidding, only 25 and half of those were the information signs so I could read them later). Each totem pole has a sign that points out which animals are depicted on the poles, what totem poles are used for, who made each one, and where that person was trained. It’s pretty interesting.
We didn’t stay here too long because we’d spent most of our time meandering through the park and looking for shells. We were there about 8 minutes and then another minute or two to look at the gift shop (i got a postcard and a mini totem pole) before walking quickly back to the car. We took a minute for me to change my shoes and then we were off. Word to the wise: always take spare shoes if you’re planning on going somewhere you may get wet.
Getting to Playland was pretty easy. We’d been there the day before, so we knew what we were looking for. We were a little concerned about the parking lot, though. There was a lot across from the amusement park and a sign indicating a pay station, but there was no pay station. We asked the guy at the ticket counter about paying to park there and he said if there’s no pay station and nobody is in the booth, they’re not charging. So, we trusted the guy and went in.
Yes, those are different sunglasses. Seeing as we were driving to Canada and I could take extra stuff, I took spare sunglasses along with spare shoes. Seems like I made the right choice. But I probably shouldn’t have taken them into the amusement park. I didn’t lose them, but they were in my pocket or Holly’s backpack most of the time. We rode a lot of rides and had a lot of fun. There weren’t very many people there, so we hardly ever had to stand in line, unless the ride was going when we got there. But then we were on the ride within a minute or two. Only one ride ended up being an issue, but that’s because it’s needed a minimum number of people and after standing in line for a few minutes, there were only six people out of the 12 they required, so we opted to go elsewhere and check back.
The first ride we did was Sea to Sky Swinger, a simple swing spinny thing. You know, the one where you sit in a chair and the ride spins in a circle and the chair kinda makes you go on your side? Perhaps a picture will help better than my weird description. lol.
Holly really wanted to get a temporary tattoo, so we decided to get matching tattoos and went off in search of the tattoo booth, which ended up being just around the corner from this ride! We had to wait about 20 minutes, so we were able to carefully consider all the 100+ temporary tattoo options. We looked at them separately and then went through each page together and discussed which our favorites were and narrowed it down to which ones we both had picked as favorites. Then we picked the final design. Well, Holly picked. This was her wish, so I wanted to let her pick as design she really liked. She actually picked one of my favorites of the final 5, so it worked out really well. Took about two minutes each to get the tattoos painted one. They were cute and fun little butterflies.
They didn’t have anything that resembled a peacock, which was what she really wanted, but that’s okay. These were fun and we both liked them. Holly’s ended up lasting a few days longer than mine did. I actually washed the remnant of mine off a few days after we got home because half of it was already gone, but Holly’s was still looking really good, so she waited to wash hers off. Both lasted longer than the lady said they typically do, so we did good taking care of them.
After our foray into the tattoo world, we hit up the rides. A couple of the rides we wanted to do were closed, but we still had plenty of other rides left to choose from. We did (in order of the photos below), Music Express (where a little girl just kept staying on over and over and over because there were so few people she could lol), Breakdance, Enterprise, the Pirate Ship, Westcoast Wheel (we got a fantastic view while on that one), and the carousel. We talked about doing some rides again, but decided not to since we were both pretty worn out and hungry, so we decided to hit up the big roller coaster and then leave. On our way there, we passed a grilled cheese stand, but it was closed. My heart was sad.
So, the roller coaster. I am not a roller coaster person. I’m afraid of heights and the drops on those things freak me out. I also am not a huge fan of being tossed around like that, but I usually end up doing roller coasters anyways because they are fun and I do end up enjoying them. So, I did this one. And I have to say, I’m super proud of myself because I normally close my eyes when it get to the drop, but I only closed my eyes for a second on the upward slant and then told myself I was going to have my eyes open for the entire ride. I am happy to say I kept my eyes open on the drop…..and yes I screamed. Well, I tried to. It came out as silence since I didn’t have a voice. lol. It was a super scary ride because we were both coming out of our seats each time it dropped and when it was going around curves. Afterwards, we both told each other that we’d been afraid we were going to fly off the ride. But, we didn’t. Thank goodness. It was fun and we’re glad we did it, but neither of us wanted to do it again. lol. We decided to buy the picture because we were both proud of ourselves for doing the ride.
You may be thinking, “It’s about 6pm, surely they were done for the day.” Nope. We weren’t. We did sit at McDonald’s for an hour or so to eat food and have a phone break since we hadn’t had wifi for most of the day. We needed to check in with our families and look up some stuff as well as just chill for a bit. I’d been looking for poutine and was super happy McDonald’s had it so I could try some of that. Poutine sounds weird and I thought it was going to taste weird, but it actually tastes pretty good. It’s fries with cheese curds and gravy and strangely enough, the combination works.
After our rest break at McDonald’s we made our way to the last activity of the day: Richmond Night Market.
So, in my defense, every website I looked at described this as a night market with shopping stalls and food stalls. That’s it. NOBODY said this was a party night market that’s basically the place to be. Holy. Crap. It took us about 45 minutes longer than the GPS said it would to get there just because there was such a logjam getting into the dang parking area. Wow. And then we hand to stand in line for almost 45 minutes just to get in. It was INSANE! We had some time to kill, so I took some photos while we were waiting in line. And, yes, those are animatronic dinosaurs. lol.
Once we got inside, we were quite impressed. It was a really big market with a lot to see and buy (map down below). The websites we both read didn’t say this was a cash-only venue, so we were a little bit at a disadvantage in that area. We had cash, but not much at all. We had enough to get in, get a drink, and try a couple snacks. There were a few of the shopping vendors that took cards, but not many and none of the food vendors did. I guess that’s good, though, because we probably would have bought a lot of stuff. lol.
The first thing we did was go get some drinks from Virgin Cocktail. I got a pina colada slush and Holly got a Flirtini slush, which is a watermelon and strawberry combo. Hers came with a free flashing light, which was fun. I thought about getting one, but decided not to. We did get the commemorative plastic cups, which are now home to the shells we got. I thought they were glass and was a little disappointed to realize they were plastic. That’s okay, though. It makes sense that they wouldn’t want glass jars at a function like this. Tons of people, lots of jostling. Broken glass would be very, very bad.
After getting our drinks, we just wandered a lot. There were a lot of neat things to see, food and product wise. Well, products were mostly just things you’d find in any night market or Chinatown street vendors, but it was still interesting to look around. I didn’t take a picture of everything, because that would be weird :D, but I did take pictures of a few things.
Two of the treats we both wanted to try were a donut popsicle and pudding duck. Seriously, the pudding was in the shape of a duck and it jiggled. We were both cracking up so much about it. They also had a pineapple that was cheaper, but it wasn’t as fascinating as the duck. We wanted the duck, so we splurged and got the duck.
The funny thing about when we were eating the duck and donut was that Holly’s duck had a spoon, so sometimes when she would offer me some, I would just open my mouth instead of taking the spoon and she would feed me. We’d had a conversation earlier in the day about how weird it was for her to not hear “Mommy” and not be constantly being asked to help with stuff, so I had been teasing her and calling her mommy and asking her for help. haha. While driving, I would call her mommy and ask for a snack and at this market, I was calling her mommy and asking her to feed me. lol. She would respond in the voice she answers her kids with. We were both cracking up, it was pretty hilarious.
While wandering around, we saw a K-pop group performing on a stage, so we watched them for a little while. I have no idea what they were singing, but it was catchy. We only watched for a couple songs before moving on.
While taking a last loop around, we found a very exciting booth. It was…………………………….onesies!!!! We both have wanted onesies for forever, but didn’t want to get them online because we wanted to try them on, so we were super excited to find them at the market. And this stall took credit cards! Hooray! They charged a fee for using a credit card, so Holly paid for both onesies and we split the entire charge in half.
We had fun looking through their selection. It was pretty big. I found a panda bear and loved it, so I picked that one. Well, after I found the panda bear I looked around for a polar bear, but didn’t find one. I know the panda bear is actually a character from a show, but I have no idea what it is, so I’m just calling it a panda bear. Holly picked Stitch, which looks super cute on her. The tails had me cracking up, they’re so silly-looking. I felt like a dork in my panda bear, but it was also super fun. We both wore them from the time we got home until we woke up the next morning.
The last thing we did before leaving and (finally) going back to our AirBnb was get a grilled cheese. We’d seen a bunch of food we wanted to try, but only had enough cash for one thing, so we decided on that. Yes, we could have gone to an ATM, but we wanted to avoid cash advance fees on our credit cards, so we limited ourselves to the cash we had left for food. And the food we chose was a rainbow grilled cheese, which tasted interesting. I was expecting a regular grilled cheese with food coloring, but each color had a slightly different flavor and they were all sweet. Not like candy sweet, but sweeter than regular cheese. It wasn’t bad, just not what we were expecting. We had debated on the nutella grilled cheese, but we liked our rainbow. It was fun.
After that, we went back to the AirBnb. We put one our onesies and pranced around in them for a bit, caught up on messages, relaxed for a little while, checked out our plans for the next day and made adjustments, and then went to bed. We didn’t get back until super late and then didn’t get to bed until around 1am, but that’s okay. We had a pretty great day.