Friday, December 12, 2008

Grouse Mountain

Recently two work colleagues from Safeway and myself went up the "Grouse Grind". This is basically a steep path up to the resort near the top of Grouse Mountain; one of Vancouver's local peaks.

Even though the path is very steep, it isn't overly long. We completed the ascent in about 90 minutes. However, the record is something like 25 minutes!

So you know how you're progressing there are markers at quarter intervals.

Once we finally reached the top we sat down and had a coffee (don't get to do that when going up mountains usually), and then took a stroll around the top. There was plenty of snow around, which gave the place an almost enchanting feel. However, the most exciting thing was the bears, and thanks to an electric fence between us we could get pretty damned close! Then there were the reindeer, not as exciting, but still a first for me.

After watching some Christmas singers in the resort we took the aerial tramway back down to base of the mountain. On the way down we were treated to a spectacular view of Vancouver.

And finally, what you've all been waiting for, the video. Be careful, it's a long one!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ice Hockey

Last week I went on a SWAP organised event to see an ice hockey match. The "Vancouver Giants" were playing the "Chilliwack Bruins".

However, getting to the stadium became a bit of a mission. This is because the bus we needed to get to the stadium was completely full 3 times in a row. At this point we tried a different bus at a different bus stop and succeeded. However, there was a guy (who I'm pretty sure was on weed) that I sat next to who suddenly, and without warning decided to tell everyone to have a "happy happy day", and then started to sing "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands". Weird!

Anyway, we finally arrived, and had only missed a few minutes of the start of the match in which 'The Giants' had scored a goal. The game was good, but the constant deluge of advertisements at every possible opportunity can get a little annoying. However, the beer helped!

From watching a couple of matches on TV I was expecting far more violence than there was in this game. I know, I shouldn't want more violence, but I do, I'm only human! Well, the final score was Giants 4, Bruins 1. It seemed very one sided, Vancouver rocks!

After we all left the stadium we had to wait for a bus, which took a while at that time of night, but we did have a laugh.

And here is the video, enjoy!

P.S. You may have noticed a new section on the right hand side of this page entitled "Vids & Pics". This is available wherever you are on my blog, and provides links to the vimeo video album, and each photo album that I've uploaded to facebook. These photo albums contain all the photos that I take (including those not added to the blog) and are of a higher quality than the blog pics.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beaver Lake

The other day I was going to visit horseshoe bay, but I missed my bus and didn't really have time to get the next one as I was going to an ice hockey game that evening (more about that in the next post). Anyway, I decided that it was too nice a day to waste it, so I made my second venture over to Stanley Park.

Last time I voyaged over there I hadn't really planned it, so there were features that I missed which I wanted to see this time round; the main one being Beaver Lake. After ambling around the general area of it's location (I hadn't brought a map with me), I finally found it.

It was getting fairly late in the day and the sun had started to set. This meant that the lake came across as being rather eerie. This was exacerbated by the fact that there was hardly anyone around at the time. I quite like the atmosphere of the photos that I took.

I then headed south through Stanley Park towards Vancouver's Downtown area where I was to meet the SWAP group for the ice hockey, and came across a statue of the park's namesake and an awesome view of the dusk cityscape.

"To the use and enjoyment of peoples of all colours, creeds, and customs, for all time, I name thee Stanley Park."
Lord Stanley, Governor General, October 1889

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Guided Tour

This video is a short guided tour of the shared house that I'm staying at in West Vancouver. As usual you can either:

  1. View the video on this page.
  2. View or download the higher quality version here.
  3. View any of the previous videos here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Well, I've finally sorted out a job. I'm a meat wrapper at a local Safeway supermarket.

Yeah, I know, it isn't glamorous (at all), but it's money, and I'm already in the process of sorting out something better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stanley Park

The other day it was particularly sunny, so I decided to visit Stanley Park. There really are a lot of squirrels, and that's not just in the park! It was mid-afternoon when I arrived, so I didn't have time to see everything I wanted, but that just means there'll be more to see the next time I go.

Below are some of the pictures I took, as well as a video.

And here's the video. As usual you can either:

  1. View the video on this page.
  2. View or download the higher quality version here.
  3. View any of the previous videos here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arrival Video

Sorry it's taken so long to get this video together; there were some technical issues. Anyway, this is a music video of my arrival to Canada.

You can either:

  1. View the video on this page.
  2. View or download the higher quality version here.
  3. View any of the previous videos here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Finally sorted out a new laptop, so here is my first blog post from Canada!

It has been a very hectic week, as you can imagine. The flight wasn't as gruelling as I originally thought it would be, and the other BUNAC travellers were very friendly, but the in-flight entertainment was a bit rubbish. The movies themselves weren't that bad (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Sneakers), but the problem was that the screens were shared, and I was quite far away from mine. Anyway, after 10 hours, and a few questionable airline meals later, we arrived in Vancouver.

From the airport we made our way to the hostel in Downtown Vancouver, and got settled. Seeing as it was only early afternoon a group of us went out into Vancouver and wandered down to the waterfront. All the way down the street, and then more clearly when we reached the end could be seen the mountains to the north. A very strange sight when you are used to the London backdrop. We stopped at a bar and had a drink (had to be done), where we came upon a very nice dog who just wanted to play frisbee, and it really didn't care who threw it, anybody who came near was fair game. That evening we all went out for a meal, but it took forever to find a place that everyone wanted to eat at (there were 11 of us).

Sleeping over the week has been a bit off, the jet lag has almost gone now, but I'm still finding that I'm waking up way too early. On the first night I woke up at 3 (understandable I guess seeing as we went to bed at a little after 8).

Day 2 was orientation, which involved going to a presentation at the SWAP offices (SWAP being Canada's equivalent to BUNAC). Here they told us about how things work in Canada (like their culture of tipping for everything), and applying for a social security number etc. After the presentation I tried to use their computers, but they are either ancient or dying, so I couldn't do much more than check for jobs and accommodation. A smaller group of us went out for steak meal that evening at a place called "The Keg". The service was excellent, and it's the first time I've had a steak where I didn't have to eat around huge amounts of fat and bone.

Since then it has been a lot of wandering around Vancouver, handing out my résumé to various places and sorting out somewhere to live. I could have stayed at the hostel for longer, but it wasn't fun sharing a room with 3 complete strangers, especially when one snored like a freight train, and threw up on my bag one night. So I was glad to move out, and into a shared rented house in West Vancouver. The place is in a particularly pleasant area, and for the price is very reasonable.

So far Vancouver has been great. The people are friendly and the views are amazing. Now back to sorting out some money to check out the rest of this beautiful country!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Night Before The Morning After

Tomorrow's the big day! Canada! Awesome! It doesn't really feel real yet, and I don't think it will until I get on the plane. I'm pretty much all packed, and all the loose ends have been tied up here in the UK. So, all that's left is to do is catch my sky chariot (aircanada airbus) to Vancouver.

I'm not sure when my next post will be, it depends on how busy I am, and when I get to a computer; possibly a few days. Also, there probably won't be another video for a few weeks, that'll have to wait until I get a laptop sorted out. However, I will be recording video during that time.

Now the adventure begins!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jobs and Money

Just a quick update. It is now only a little under 11 days before I'll be in Canada. I have sorted out some Canadian cash, as well as traveller's cheques. It was funny when I collected them from the bank, as I had to sign and date each one before leaving; there were 34 of them! Not that I complained too much, as the woman serving me was rather attractive.

I've also applied for a job as a "Computer Rollout Technician" in Vancouver. Not sure if I'll get it, but it's worth a shot.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Vlog

Now, not only will I be updating this blog while in Canada, I will also be keeping a vlog. For those who don't know what a vlog (or video blog) is, then you can find out by clicking here.

Basically I will be recording videos of my adventures and uploading them to the web, I'll then embed the videos in blog posts here.

At the moment I have decided to upload the videos to a site called Vimeo, as they tend to end up being of a higher quality than on some other sites, and I personally find it pleasant to use.

All my Canada vlog vids will be stored in a Vimeo album here. So you can just visit that page and view any of the videos I have uploaded up to that point. Furthermore, Vimeo lets you download the original video file to your computer (the download link is usually found in the bottom right hand corner of the video's page).

Anyway, the first video is an introduction about my year out in Canada. You can either view the video below, or click here to view the higher quaility version, or to download the original file. Enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Flight Confirmed!

Well, I've finally sorted out the flight to Canada, it's booked and confirmed! I will be leaving on Wednesday 8th October 2008, and will return a whole year later! I'll be flying with Air Canada from Heathrow to Vancouver, and will be travelling with other BUNAC participants. So, I'll be able to chat with people who are in the same boat as me (or plane in this case).

However, after looking at the flight times, and accounting for time differences, I'll be on that plane for 10 hours! The longest time I've spent on a plane (not including waiting for take-off) is about 45 minutes. They had better have good on-board entertainment!

Air Canada A330 Cabin In-Flight
Image owned by caribb.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Too Long Now

Well, this is my first post to my Canada blog. I'll be keeping this up-to-date with the highlights of my time in the country of maple syrup and mounties. If you don't know, I will be living and working in Canada for a year. This is through the BUNAC Work Canada scheme.

At the moment I've reached the stage where my work visa application has been accepted, and all that remains is to get my affairs in order here in England, and organise when and how I'm getting out there. The general plan is to move out there at the start of October.

I'm so excited, it's going to be awesome!

The Canadian Flag