One day, two seasons: Spring in Vancouver and our trip to Whistler

Coming from Montréal, we think it’s warm pretty much every single day here. I’m still trying to figure out why I see people wearing parkas downtown . We’ve also noticed that if you don’t like the weather, there is a good chance it will change significantly in just a few hours. It could be raining cats and dogs through the night and into the morning, but be sunny and too warm for your rain jacket by mid-afternoon. Today I left for my errands with my hood up but walked home with my coat open.

Spring flowers in West Vancouver

The most dramatic example of the variable weather we have had so far is when we spent last Saturday in Whistler, site of several events during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. We spent a couple hours in the morning running errands in Vancouver and picking up the rental car before slowly making our way northwest. When we stopped to get coffee in West Vancouver before hitting the highway to Whistler, I noticed daffodils ready to bloom on the side of the road. It’s not that this has never happened in Baltimore before, but it’s normal in Vancouver, which will take some getting used to. Since then, nearly every grocery store has started offering an assortment of plants for sale just outside its entrance. Shorts and swimsuits have started appearing in stores, and I’m getting tired of overhearing people talking about their upcoming trip to Mexico.

As expected, the temperature began to drop and we started to see snow as we approached Whistler. While the valley wasn’t snow-covered, the slopes certainly were, and we had to fight hordes of skiers and snowboarders for parking. We spent the afternoon walking around the Olympic Village, eating a leisurely lunch, and admiring the truly breathtaking scenery. At some point, when we aren’t so poor, we will return to do the Peak 2 Peak experience, where you take the lift up Whistler Mountain, then take a gondola across to Blackcomb Mountain. Out last stop was the Sliding Centre, home to bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton during the Olympics. It was interesting to see it covered in snow as the last time I visited it was July and quite warm. On our way back down the mountain, it actually started snowing.

Our trip back to the city was a slow one, partly because of traffic but partly because we wanted to stop at a few of the viewpoints. The route, called the Sea to Sky Highway because of its path along Howe Sound and its major elevation changes, is truly one of the most beautiful drives in North America, akin to driving along cliffs in Glacier National Park or Yellowstone. We arrived at one particular viewpoint just in time capture the setting sun across the water.

Howe Sound from the Sea to Sky Highway

Even when you live in a city as green and livable as Vancouver, there is no substitute for the occasional trip to see how stunning nature can be. Still on our list for the near future: Vancouver Island (home to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia) and the various islands between mainland Canada and mainland USA.

In our next post, we’ll be sharing a few of our favorite spots to eat, have coffee, and hang out in Vancouver. Until then, enjoy the transitional season we find ourselves in regardless of where you may be.



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