Thursday, August 14, 2014

British Columbia, Canada Part 1: The Mainland

In August of 2000 I left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I went to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah first and was there for just a few weeks before heading out to the most beautiful place I've ever been-- Beautiful British Columbia. There's a reason that's written on their license plates, people. I was there for 19 months and loved it.

I lived in various cities while serving my mission: Victoria, New Westminster, Nanaimo, Kelowna, and Kamloops. I met so many fabulous people and learned so much about my Savior and His gospel. I always wanted to go back and visit the places and people.

Finally, this summer, Nathan helped make it happen. Usually he plans our family summer vacations, but this one he let me do. Let me tell you, I will gladly hand that job right back to him next year! Stressful :)

Here are some pictures from our vacation.

We started off in Langley to see the temple. The temple wasn't there while I was serving, but I remember fasting and praying for a temple every Fast Sunday. It was a really big deal for the members of the church there.
Vancouver BC temple

Then we went to Vancouver, to Gastown. Really we just wanted to see the Steam Clock. It runs on steam and is really cool! Unfortunately, we picked a bad day. The city was setting up for a bike race or something and half the city was blocked off. We couldn't take our direct route to it and ended up in a really unsavory part of town. We did eventually find it, took a picture, and practically ran back to the car :)  Vancouver didn't look like I remember it; every time we drove around I looked for familiar sights and came up with nothing, so I think the area I served in must have been closer to New Westminster than downtown Vancouver.
Gastown Steam Clock

Burnaby Living History Museum
In Burnaby there's a living museum. It was so much fun I considered skipping some of our planned stuff the next day so we could go again. They had a train, this antique car, a blacksmith show, a milking demonstration, all kinds of stuff. It was really cool. And free!

Campsite :)
We camped for nearly the entire trip. Good thing our family loves camping! This campsite was called Dogwood Campground and was for RVs and tent camping. It was a nice campground, and we were close to a playground. It was nice that we could set up the tent and watch the kids play at the same time. My only complaint is that it was really close to the highway, so while we were surrounded by trees, we could hear the cars. However, it was probably as "out in nature" as we could possibly get that close to Vancouver.

My one regret is that I didn't get pictures of two of my favorite moments. I got to see two of my friends, John Russell and his daughter Eliza. I didn't get to see the rest of their family, but John actually showed up at our campsite one night and we got to talk for a while. It was great to see him again. He was my "mission dad" and did so much for my companions and me. I got to see Eliza on the island when we drove down to Victoria.

University of BC Gardens
At the University of British Columbia there are a bunch of different gardens and they are beautiful. Jeremy loved swinging on the vines and got excited when he correctly identified "the Strangler" vine on some trees.

University of BC gardens

In another part of the gardens there's a tree canopy walkway. It cost extra to go on it, but compared to the another tree canopy place in Vancouver, this was a steal. It was amazing to walk up high in the tops of the trees. Poor Emma. She was terrified but she held it together and managed the whole thing.

Tree Canopy at University BC gardens

Tree Canopy at University BC gardens

We saw a couple hollow trees. These pictures are backward, I think. The first picture I think is from the University's gardens. The second is from Vancouver's Stanley Park.

University of BC Gardens

Hollow Tree at Stanley Park
 The Queen Victoria Gardens

The Maritime Museum just outside Vancouver

flemishing the rope

 This was an awesome museum. So many things for the kids to do!

The fish stick man!

Outside the museum there was a beach so we took the kids down to it and let them look for shells for a bit before we had to leave for our campsite.

Megan with her shells

On the ferry to the island. the sun was in their eyes, hence, Jeremy trying to keep his eyes open.

 They had an awesome program on the ferry. They had a marine biologist (?) who did a presentation on the sea life in the Salish Sea (that's the name for all the bodies of water in that area. She let Link play with her stuffed animals.

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