Days 33 to 37: Vancouver Island, BC

There’s something magical about watching the land and ocean slip away aboard a ferry. We took the chance to see some of Canada’s wildest reaches on Vancouver Island, with ferry rides bookending our trip, the only way to and from that beautiful landscape. 

Our journey took us from West Vancouver to Nanaimo, where we stopped at Gabriel’s for a delicious Island-grown brunch (with pumpkin spice/peach cardamom gelato at Cold Front afterward), and onward through the island’s craggy coniferous forests to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Clinging to the western edge of the country, flanked by the tiny towns of Ucluelet and Tofino, it was a gorgeous forest adventure with long sandy beaches and rich Nuu-chah-nulth culture and heritage. Tegan seemed to love the windy beaches as they ruffled her ears. 

Hampton made an incredible biscuits-and-chili bowl with the lest vestiges of our propane tank, and we ate well at Shed in Tofino after listening to the cacophonous leaders’ debate in the acrimonious Canadian election (yes, other political things are happening beyond impeachment). Hearthstone Bakery in Nanaimo made incredible Nanaimo bars—Canadian standard desserts, with buttercream frosting under chocolate and atop a coconut brownie base, plus a variation with pumpkin at its core.

Pumpkin spice, and classic, Nanaimo bars.

Look at these amazing foods we got in Vancouver!

We drove to Victoria, BC’s beautiful jewel of a capital, and had a great brunch with my Great Aunt Florance and her daughters Stacy and Alex at Shine Café (try the French toast!). And we laughed and had a great time aboard the ferry back to Vancouver, enjoying the surrounding islands and the breeze over the ocean. One last night in Vancouver, with an amazing dinner at The Acorn and yet another new canine pal for Teegs, Sidney, rounded out the Canadian leg of our adventure. We spent the last afternoon eating donuts and poutine and working in the soaring Vancouver Public Library downtown. 

We’re back into Washington now, with Glacier and Yellowstone in our near future. Off, for now, to sleep, and tomorrow, to drive. 

Follow our trip


  1. i know that jealousy and envy are not healthy and desirable emotions BUT those are real in me when i read/view you posts. Not certain though, if its the FOOD or the SCENERY that evoke the strongest response…..

    Go well

  2. Love, Love, Love It!!! SO many great photos and so many great memories and adventures. Thanks for sharing all of this!! Donchya love the island?? Was also just on that ferry two months ago and it brought back happy, happy memories. Enjoy being back in beautiful Washington state and beyond. You are travelling in the footsteps of your Grandma and Grandpa North: they drove us all across the states and to Yellowstone National Park. I’m sure they would be/are proud of all you’re doing! xoxo

  3. You are amazing! You’re living an adventure that I feel I, too, am privileged to experience. At first glance of the photos, without having yet read the text, I had to do a double-take and head scratch seeing the photo of the dog at Hampton’s feet… Ha! Like Tegan on steroids? The text explained of course… yay that Teegs has companionship! Ha! Too too funny! The diversity of art and scenery and food in this country helps to revive my believe that, even in spite of many tragic events and philosophies of segments in our culture, “America The Beautiful” still rings true! (Including Vancouver and BC)

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