John climbed Denali in Alaska during June and me and the little one decided to wait for him in Vancouver, Canada. My favourite cousin lives there, so it was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with him. John planned on completing his climbs and then fly out to Vancouver as well to spend some family time in Canada.
The climbing did not quite go as planned. Bad weather on Denali made the ascent really difficult and John had to turn around at 14 000 feet. It is one of the worst seasons that Denali has had in 10 years. It meant that he flew into Vancouver a week earlier than planned. I was not complaining! When he arrived, our Canadian adventure could start in earnest.
Vancouver is a beautiful city. With the ocean on one side and the forests and snow capped mountains on the other, it is lush and green. We had gorgeous weather and could walk nearly everywhere.
It was a busy couple of weeks. We visited the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World and Stanley Park. The colourful fishes at the aquarium kept the little one busy for hours. My favourite part was the playful sea otters who hold hands when they sleep. Science World was perfect for kids and adults alike and we all got lost in the the different experiments.
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The day we visited Stanley Park, it was hot. About 30C and perfect for a picnic. In the shade of the pine trees, we had a blanket, some snacks and a nice relaxing rest. The totem poles in Stanley park was a huge hit with the little one who wanted to just sit down and draw them all. Along the seawall, we saw sea planes come and go. The seawall was full of people walking their dogs, families cycling and locals and tourists enjoying the hot spring sunshine.
Drinking Cider in Canada
Beer and cider was our preferred drink to cool down from the heat. There is a wide variety of ciders and craft beer available in the restaurants and liquor outlets and we tested many different local ciders.
In terms of whisky, I spent many hours dragging my poor cousin through liquor stores. It was fascinating to see the variety of Canadian whiskies available. We also tried quite a few and especially loved the Forty Creeks Barrel Select.
Flavoured whisky from Canada
I was surprised by the amount of flavoured whiskies available. In some liquor stores it felt like there was a bigger variety of flavoured whisky compares to “plain” Canadian whisky. Flavoured whisky is not well known in SA, so we had to try a few. Crown Royal Apple is interesting, like a watered down blend between a whisky and apple sours. We found a Spicebox Pumpkin spiced whisky and just had to try that. It was delicious.
The Liberty Distillery – Granville Island
Proper whisky came on Granville Island. We visited the Liberty distillery.
The Liberty Distillery make vodka, gin and whiskey with British Columbia grown grain. Opened in 2013, the Liberty distillery has been offering draft artisanal spirits to both locals and tourists. The whole process, from grain to glass, happens right on Granville Island.
We tasted both the Trust Single Grain whisky and the Trust Single cask Madeira.
The Single Grain is triple-distilled and aged for 3 years in bourbon barrels. Bottled at 40% ABV it offers gentle spice and warm caramel.. Hints of almond and walnut intermingle, while barley grain notes.
The Single Cask Madeira is aged for 3 years, in Madeira barrels . Bottled at 42%, it has notes of lemon drop, Christmas cake and spice with a hint of vanilla. Both quite nice, but probably a bit young still.
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We did a 2 day excursion to Whistler. What a beautiful drive. What a beautiful little town. And what an amazing experience to go from peak to peak. It smells of pine forest, new grass and spring flowers at the top. We hiked and played in the snow. The views from the top is breathtaking.
During the time we were there, Canada celebrated their 150th birthday. There was parties every where and a wonderful atmosphere around town. We visited the Edmonds Community Centre where there was a big fun day for the kids. The kids had jumping castles and a beautiful gleaming fire truck to play on.
The Sedgwick Family in Canada
I took a few of my favourite South African whiskies with and this little Sedgwick family went on all the fun excursions with us. You can see all that they got up to on my Instagram feed.
It was a wonderful experience. Canada is friendly and beautiful. A vast country that we would definitely go and explore some more in future.
The best part of the trip was spending time with family. There is a 8 hour time difference between Johannesburg and Vancouver and trying to coordinate a Skype call can get tricky. When Vancouver wakes up, I am putting little one to bed. It was incredible to get up in the mornings, make a cup of coffee and have my cousin around to chat. It was amazing to see my child spend time with him and build great memories that will last her a lifetime. He spoilt her (and us) rotten and she (and us) had a great time. We will definitely be back.
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