Canada Vacationing in British Columbia & Alberta

A Journey through British Columbia and Alberta

September 2015

Canada is a country in the northern half of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada's border with the United States is the world's longest land border.

Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains; about four-fifths of the country's population of 35 million people live near the southern border, and the population is about four-fifths urbanized. The majority of Canada has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southerly areas are warm in summer.

Canada has more lakes that the rest of the world combined.

After flying in from Scotland the first few days were spent in Vancouver.

View from Stanley Park, towards the Vancouver Skyline at dusk.
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia. It is the most populous city in the province, and the fourth most densely populated city in North America behind New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
Night view of downtown Vancouver over False Creek, with BC Place Sports Stadium to the right hand side.

Science World at Telus World of Science, Vancouver is a science centre located at the end of False Creek.

click on the images to view full size
Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver
Night view from the top of Grouse Mountain.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a pedestrian suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in North Vancouver. The bridge is 140 metres (460 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the river. The bridge was originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer. On the west side of the bridge lies a Boardwalk and the 'Treetops Adventure' which consists of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees, forming a walkway up to 30 metres (98 ft) above the forest floor. As well as the bridge and Treetops Adventure, the park also features a Cliff Walk, a heart-stopping cliffside journey through rainforest vegetation on a series of cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River.

Capilano Suspension Bridge


Treetops Adventure

Cliff Walk

From Vancouver we headed south taking the Ferry to Vancouver Island, to stay in Victoria. We'd been to Victoria years before and on that trip we had one the best ever whale watching trips we've ever had. So we took a trip with the same company again, and were not disappointed, seeing both Orca and Humpbacks.

Humpback Whale

Orca Spy Hopping

Port McNeill

From Victoria we took a 7 hour drive north to Port McNeill for another whale watching trip into the Johnstone Strait, where we were treated to so many Humpback sightings that we lost count.

Three Humpbacks cruising together

Back to the Mainland

From Port McNeill we headed back south to overnight in Courtenay before taking the early morning ferry to Powell River, and along the coast to Saltery Bay where we took our second ferry of the day to Earls Cove, and from there, onto Langdale, to take our final ferry back to Horseshoe Bay on the mainland.

It wasn't the sunniest day that we had on our vacation but we did see some more whaleumphs.

We stayed at Squamish overnight, intending to take a trip on the Sea to Sky Gondola however we were too late in getting in and had to give this a miss. After sightseeing around Squamish the following day, including our first bear sighting, we headed north on the Sea to Sky Highway on a two day journey to Jasper National Park, via Kamploops.

Oh and while I remember let me introduce you to our guide

Monty the Moose



What the Beavers can do with trees is amazing, some of their dams are truly enormous!

We were lucky enough to have several bear sightings on the road north.

Seton Lake
Some of the landscapes are very Wild West
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies

Jasper National Park

Jasper is a municipality in western Alberta, Canada. It is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies within the Athabasca River valley.

Sunrise at Patricia Lake with Pyramid Mountain in the distance.

Pyramid Mountain Reflecting in Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake, Pyramid Island, and Pyramid Mountain.

From Jasper we headed south towards our next destination at Lake Louise.

Athabasca Glacier Bus Trips...!
Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier

Mount Edith Cavell is a mountain located in the Athabasca River and Astoria River valleys of Jasper National Park, and the most prominent peak entirely within Alberta. The hanging Angel Glacier spills over a 300 metres (984 ft) cliff on the north face.


Some of the wildlife

Hoary Marmot


Banff National Park

Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885. The park encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes.

The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south. The main commercial centre of the park is the town of Banff, in the Bow River valley.

Peyto Lake is a glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The lake itself is easily accessed from the Icefields Parkway. It was named for Bill Peyto, an early trail guide and trapper in the Banff area.

The Icefields Parkway is a 230 kilometres (140 mi), long road connecting Lake Louise to Jasper.

Lake Louise

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinctive shade of blue. The colour is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis. The view of the lake from the top of the rockpile is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada.

Bow Lake

Kootenay National Park

And then it was time to start the journey home...

On the way back to Vancouver we came across a Moose family, mum, dad and junior peacefully relaxing in a lake - it could have been a very special experience but a human family (mum, dad and several juniors) drove by in their pickup and started yee ha-ing loudly, needless to say the moose headed for the hills. I wanted to say something but felt that the next thing I would have seen would have been a gun. Cue banjo music... !

Beaver swimming in his channel outside his den.
Fall starting to kick in.
Waiting for the ferry on one of the inland lakes.

Supermoon Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse 2015

On 27 September 2015, a rare Total Lunar Eclipse of a Super Blood Moon was visible from most of North America, South America, Europe, West Asia and parts of Africa. And luckily for us .... people in the United States and Canada would have some of the best views

Supermoons occur when the moon reaches its full phase at or near the satellite's closest approach to Earth, and appears abnormally large and bright as a result. Total eclipses of Super Full Moons are rare, they have only occurred 5 times in the 1900s – in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982., and the next won't take place until 2033.

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish.

On our last day we took a detour to go back via Squamish to go up the Sea to Sky Gondola and this time the weather was in our favour.

It was a little bit scary.


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If you enjoyed this photo story, then you might like to view our Iceland adventure:

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Scott Masterton


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