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First timers, need help planning please :)

Montreal, Canada
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179 posts
26 reviews
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First timers, need help planning please :)
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Hi Everyone,

Like most people, we haven't been able to travel because of Covid and now that restrictions are easing up, we're thinking of exploring the Vancouver area.

We are an active couple, late 40's looking at possibly going for 7-10 days in early July. I haven't booked anything yet but plane tickets are super affordable and it's a chance for us to see a part of Canada we haven't seen yet. (We're from Montreal,Quebec).

I'd like to know if most places are now open for business (museums, restaurants (sit-down?), theaters etc.)

Also which neighborhood should we stay in if my husband loves the beach and I prefer cultural attractions?

Is a side trip to Whistler worth it in summer (not into mountain biking or difficult hikes)?

We would also love to do a whale watching tour so if you have any to recommend that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance:)

8 replies to this topic
Laval, Canada
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1,184 posts
41 reviews
31 helpful votes
1. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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Experts will come along but in the meantime…We loved the Times Square suites. Right next to Stanley park and quick bus ride to any part of the city.

Some of the highlights for us were, English Bay, lunch on Granville island (take the water taxi, fun way to see the cityscape)Stanley park( rent bikes) and Kitsalano for the waterfront. We also enjoyed the museum of Anthropology at UBC.

We didn’t go to Whistler but chose Squamish instead, take the gondola up and walk the trails, nice views!

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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Keep some days (3 or 4) to visit Vancouver Island. For Whistler I suggest you rent a car for the day as the drive is magnificent and you want to do it at your own pace. Sea to Sky highway.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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3. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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The provincial restrictions are about to change on the 15th. Here are the current restrictions throughout the province.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions

Here is the Restart Plan for BC effective June 15th. Earliest date for Step 2 is June 15th:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart

Those pages will be updated by Friday.

Individual businesses and attractions are currently setting their own hours within the restrictions. This is mostly to do with whether or not they can find staff to work. They will stay open as much as they can find staff to work. Each business or attraction website will show their current situation.

Worth it questions are not easy to answer. What things would make a trip to Whistler worth it for you?

From Vancouver, you could do a whale watch with Prince of Whales from Granville Island, Wild Whales Vancouver from Granville Island. Steveston Seabreeze Adventures and Vancouver Whale Watch operate out of Steveston (Richmond). They have typically run shuttles from Vancouver hotels to their departure location (35-45 minutes.)

Vancouver, Canada
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39,916 posts
61 reviews
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4. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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For the beach, you want English Bay. Look at the Sylvia (although no air con, but ocean breezes and a great location). I think most of the live theatre productions for the summer have all been cancelled, but there may be some pop up street things as we gradually open up. Museums are mostly open, although I think most of them require you to prebook space because they are still limiting capacity.

Yes, Whistler is absolutely worth the day trip, not just for being in Whistler itself, but because the drive is so very scenic.

Vancouver Island...
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5. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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lookingforanswers...whale watching;

I’m often amused by whale watching responses. Ask about hotdogs or honeymoon hideaways and you’ll get infinite detail, sometimes down to how many bites to the wiener and thread count of the canopy bed. Ask about whale watching and you get a couple of names and locations, offering no more help than if you Googled it yourself.

Since whales have been and are, present in large numbers, in many locations this year, a tour comes down to type of boat, duration and departure location. These images show recent tours from 4 major departure areas, travelling to four different locations, on the same day.

Vancouver

https://tinyurl.com/h9wyjvss

Steveston

https://tinyurl.com/n7dutcja

Victoria

https://tinyurl.com/ej9yrdzj

Nanaimo

https://tinyurl.com/f65z7kbb

From False Creek in Vancouver, you have the choice of Prince of Whales’ large 100 person, floating auditorium or the ubiquitous RIB, commonly referred to as zodiac style, with Wild Whales.

POW

https://tinyurl.com/5pzzj979

Wild Whales

https://tinyurl.com/3j3jy4ye

Size difference is obvious, but trip duration can be quite different; Prince of Whales often sticks to a 3-3.5 hour round trip while Wild Whales frequently hits the 4 hour mark, cruising after whale sightings are accomplished.

From Steveston, the most selected first choice is Vancouver Whale Watch, a long standing, family oriented operator with both large, 47 passenger and small, 12 passenger craft.

VWW Explorathor

https://tinyurl.com/57fh7vy2

VWW Strider

https://tinyurl.com/3kbukc3a

Vancouver Whale Watch are champions of the extra mile and it is not unusual for them to be out for up to 5.5 hours, when others have given up.

In your case, lookingforanswers, staying downtown, a Granville Island departure is the most convenient. However, you might consider making a day of it; a Steveston whale tour, followed by a visit to this historical fishing village and a nice waterfront dinner. You could take advantage of the $15 whale shuttle one way and public transit or taxi, return.

Steveston

https://tinyurl.com/uxuupxu3

The 12 passenger vessels, obviously have limited room to move about, small toilet facilities and come with a caution to anyone with sensitive joints. Even on a warm windless day, you will catch spray and cool air. Layers are appropriate.

All of that aside, I agree with Serge D, a couple of nights in Victoria, would be a welcome treat I’m sure and on a whale tour from there this could be a typical outing; “What a day! Blue skies and flat calm waters paved the way for epic whale sightings! We spent time with transient killer whales, breaching and lunge-feeding humpbacks, elephant seals, pigeon guillemots, harbour seals, our resident otter “Ollie” and feral goats.”

https://www.tourismvictoria.com/

Vancouver, Canada
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39,916 posts
61 reviews
46 helpful votes
6. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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The only whale watching trip I've done was with Stubbs at Telegraph Cove so I dont really have much to say about it that people cant reaserch for themselves.

Vancouver Island...
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5,518 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
7. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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V67, if you are nostalgic, Kuluta is now part of the Five Star fleet in Victoria.

https://tinyurl.com/azarktav

Edited: 14 June 2021, 12:54
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
179 posts
26 reviews
42 helpful votes
8. Re: First timers, need help planning please :)
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Thanks everyone for your valuable responses, it's very much appreciated :)

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