Eric and I headed to Killarney Provincial Park for a birthday hike! I’ve been eyeing up this hike for awhile and it was awesome. The Crack is one of Killarney’s most popular (probably THE most popular) hikes and is the first part of La Cloche Silhouette trail (a 7-10 day backpacking trek – added to bucket list). We’ve hiked Killarney’s Chikanishing Trail (a moderate 3 km trail) in the fall a few years ago and it was beautiful. We need to take advantage of how close we are and explore more of this park!
From the road, it wasn’t very obvious where the trail-head was. Luckily we turned into the first parking lot on the right after entering the park and the trail-head was there. It was $14 for a park day pass and you just pay and display your ticket from a machine. We got there early-ish (just before 10AM) and there were three cars in the parking lot. We only encountered a few other hikers on our way there, but the trail got a lot busier on our way back. By the time we made it back to the parking lot, it was crammed full of cars. So definitely go early to beat the rush.
The website recommends you plan for about 4 hours, but it only took us around 3 with a snack (of course) and rest break at the top. This difficult 6-7ish km out-and-back hike started off easy, nice and flat jaunt through the woods. I think around 30 minutes in, the terrain changes drastically and that’s where the fun starts. You get to climb up some rocks! We didn’t find the scrambling as tough as Camelback but you should be prepared regardless. You get a beautiful view of Georgian Bay once you’ve made it through “the crack”. Just make sure you turn back around or else you’re in for that 7-10 day trek.
The bugs weren’t too bad until a bit later on and we were definitely glad we wore long sleeves and pants! In case you aren’t aware of how buggy this area gets (especially beginning of June – what were we thinking??), the answer is: extremely. Use bug spray and keep covered up to minimize suffering and maximize enjoyment.
We finished our hike around 1:00, just in time for lunch. Like many locals and tourists alike, we went to Herbert’s in Killarney for a post-hike fish and chips. It was a 10-15 minute drive out of the way, but it was definitely worth it! And it was a gorgeous day to sit outside by the marina.
We also picked up some fresh strawberries and asparagus from a local stand. It’s just the beginning of strawberry season, but they were still pretty tasty mmm.
I definitely want to do this hike again…probably in the fall sometime. And one day, I’ll tackle that Silhouette trail!
I didn’t venture too far this week: all the way to downtown Sudbury for lunch one day. I’ve been meaning to check out Motley Kitchen ever since it opened a few years ago. It has an interesting concept and (as it turned out) really good food! It’s not only a bistro, serving brunch and lunch, but also does catering and serves as an event space and “kitchen incubator”. They rent out commercial kitchen space for businesses/individuals that want to sell food but don’t have their own commercial kitchen on site.
I don’t have pictures because I wasn’t planning on this being my mini-adventure of the week, but you can see the menu here. I had the kale salad and my friend had the fish taco. My salad was simple but tasty and the taco looked (and was reported to be) delicious. The special that day was a spicy falafel burger, which I probably would have gotten if I wasn’t going to be having almost the exact same thing for dinner that night!
The staff was very friendly and helpful and the dining space itself had a nice welcoming and open vibe. I loved the healthy, fresh ingredients they used and they did have vegan options (I noticed a vegan chili on the menu – will try that next time). As we were leaving, we noticed a brunch menu by the cash register. It also looked really good and I was eyeing up the stuffed french toast. Another reason to return for sure.
I’ve noticed a pretty big change in Sudbury’s restaurant scene since I moved here around 5 years ago (and those who have lived here longer probably notice an even bigger change). I really like how a lot of the local restaurants and cafes offer something unique: Motley Kitchen has a “Dinner and a Show” series, Respect is Burning has dining spaces on three levels filled with interesting artwork plus the attached Red Fang Tavern is a great option for grabbing a drink after dinner and catching some live music, Kuppajo Espresso Bar has a cool colourful piano and showcases local artists’ paintings that are available for purchase. And I should mention 84 Station, a fun place if you want to grab a drink and play board games, watch sports and/or chill on the patio.
There are also a lot more healthy and/or vegan options popping up like Frubar, Tuco’s Tacos and Beards Coffee Bar and Bakery (which I have not been to yet). And I’m excited that Salute opened a downtown location – they have great coffee and food (mmm the scones are SO GOOD).
I guess the takeaway is: Motley Kitchen was good and I’ll be back. Downtown Sudbury is changing and I like it.
It was a bit of a trek to get from downtown to North Vancouver, where Lynn Canyon is located. I opted to take the sea bus from Waterfront station to Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore. It was easy to find the correct bus that would take me to Lynn Canyon once I got to the Lonsdale terminal, but it was a pretty long ride and then I opted to walk about 15-20 minutes instead of waiting for a transfer to another bus.
Lynn Canyon has a bunch of nice trails and a suspension bridge, which is smaller than the more popular Capilano bridge but a) free and b) less crowded. I did some hiking/running here and then headed over to Deep Cove.
This is where I hopped in a random line for, what turned out to be, delicious Honey Doughnuts. Worth it. Deep Cove is a cute harbour town; it’s mostly residential but has a street or two with little shops, galleries, and restaurants. You can rent kayaks, canoes, etc. and paddle around, enjoying the mountain views. It was a chilly grey day and tourist off-season, but I can see how this area would be popular in the summer.
I loved walking around downtown. It was really easy to get around (grid layout + maps everywhere), making it pretty much impossible for even me to get lost. There were lots of neat buildings and shops and it was fun to people watch. If you’re walking around the waterfront, it’s hard to miss Canada Place, which served as the Canada Pavilion during Expo ’86 and was designed to look like ship’s sails. I heard the “Fly Over Canada” ride here was really cool but didn’t get around to trying it out. This is also where the cruise ships dock = prime people watching location (but also very busy). There are restaurants and interesting plaques along the boardwalk…good place to go for a stroll.
After Victoria, I hopped back on the ferry to Vancouver. I loved this city – it really only has two things against it: rain and $$$. If it rained money then it would be perfect. I stayed at an Airbnb in Arbutus Ridge area which was in between Kitsilano Beach and UBC. This is going to be a bit of a long post, sorry!
Kitsilano Beach & Stanley Park
On my first day, my cousin and I ran/walked around Kitsilano Beach and Stanley Park. We covered a lot of ground and it was a great way to see the city and take in the gorgeous scenery. I love how you never feel out of place if you’re wearing workout gear – I think I mentioned that Vancouver contains 90% of the world’s kale but it is also home to 95% of spandex and 99% of Lululemon apparel. Facts. Anyway, both of these places were beautiful and running or walking along the sea wall is amazing – do it.
This was a great park and really close to where I was staying. I walked a lot again this day, starting with a nice stroll through Pacific Spirit then meandering around UBC and down to Wreck Beach. Everything was so green in this park! Another highlight was the sheer volume of dogs – some areas were off-leash and there were so many dog walkers (commercial walkers had to wear vests – sweet job though) with up to six dogs each! I had a little dog friend named Kiefer walk with me for a bit (but I think he really just wanted to hang out with this cute girl dog that was also near me). Really though, how can you not be in a good mood when you’re surrounded by this scenery and a million (slight exaggeration) well-behaved dogs?!? I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time haha.
University of British Columbia (UBC)
What. A. Stunning. Campus. And to think that I stayed landlocked with zero mountains for university… both times 😦 There are a few museums on campus, including the Museum of Anthropology, which is supposed to be really good. I would have liked to visit but there just wasn’t enough time for everything! There’s also the Beaty Biodiversity Museum (didn’t go) and one I did pop into – the Belkin Art Gallery (it was free – that was the main determining factor, not going to lie). “Candle” – the Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition – was…interesting. My favourite was a video of a guy sliding a trombone on repeat for like 15 minutes. The explanations of these pieces made my brain hurt – “….negation qua critique is nothing but an attachment to modernity’s ontological impoverishment; moreover, it is negligence in practice – of the surround; of what lies beneath the Ground that conditions the agony of your critical agency”. Um, I’ll take your word for it. Also, that’s a really long sentence.
Follow the looong staircase down to this nude (ahem, clothing optional) beach! It wasn’t exactly what I would consider “naked temperature” today, but that didn’t deter some people. This was a really nice spot, a good place to hang out (hehe). I feel I can’t really say much without my words getting misconstrued so I’ll just let you look at some (appropriate) pictures:
Meh. Went here on a rainy day…it was alright. I think Toronto’s is better to be honest (more sharks) plus I’m not a big fan of zoos or aquariums in general. I would much rather spend my time outside but you could go here if the weather is crappy. Things I liked: 4-D ocean predators ride was kind of fun (and included in the admission price) and the otters were cute (they held hands, awww). That’s my ringing endorsement…kids would probably like it (I’m guessing? This is based on observation – I don’t really know much about these small humans).
Whistler and Sea to Sky Highway
This drive was beautiful! It was gray and raining on our way up to Whistler so we didn’t get to see too much, but the drive back was clear and sunny 🙂 It would have been nice to take more time to do this drive and hike and/or camp along the way but was still worth it for a day trip. We made stops at Brandywine and Shannon Falls, which were gorgeous, and stopped to eat our treats from Purebread in Whistler (yummmmm) at lookouts along the way. Whistler was nice too; it was off-season so wasn’t too bustling. It was very tempting to shop at all the outdoor/athletic gear stores. I was excited to introduce my Welsh friend to poutine here, but was also nervous since I didn’t know how the quality would be. The curds could have definitely been squeakier (that’s the most important part!!!), but the fries had a good crisp to them. The gravy was mysteriously dark. Conclusion: the Alban chip stand does it better (obviously).
That’s about it for this week! I have a few more things to talk about but I’ll save that for Week #20 (where does the time go?). Thanks for reading!
I was in B.C. over weeks #18,19 and 20 so that’s enough adventure for three posts – welcome to the first installment 🙂 You might have already read about the fabulous food, but (believe it or not) I did more than just eat while I was out there. I flew into Vancouver (West Jet flies out of Sudbury now and I couldn’t resist an amazing deal) then hopped on the ferry over to Victoria. It was a beautiful clear day when I flew in and the views from the plane and the ferry were stunning!
It is quite a trek to get from Vancouver to Victoria – and I was warned about this. From the airport, I had to catch the SkyTrain then transfer to a bus (#620 for anyone planning this journey) and finally get on the ferry. A woman gave me her transit pass as I was leaving the airport so that part was free! I arrived at the Tsawwassen terminal with plenty of time but still almost missed the boat because I was dawdling around the market and casually drinking coffee. Everyone else was doing the same thing! But, unlike me, they were waiting to get into their cars. Note: if you are a foot passenger, you do not walk on with the cars haha – and the gate is pretty far from the market/vehicle area so some hustle was necessary. I made it just in time and was only slightly out of breath.
As soon as I arrived in Victoria, I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was! I’m jealous that people get to live here. All the colours were so vibrant and the scenery is amazing – does anyone get tired of ocean and mountain views? “Ew mountains” – nobody ever. I regrettably didn’t have a ton of time here, but fit in a lot of stuff: a Camino wedding, watched my friends sell their house (and learned about how insane the housing market is here), ate delicious food and did some sightseeing. Here’s a recap of Victoria!
This museum was awesome and a great way to start my trip. It gave a good introduction to B.C.with exhibits on natural and modern history, a First People’s gallery, and a Terry Fox exhibit (where I spent most of my time). I was kind of surprised with how many people had no idea who Terry was (“who is this guy?””I dunno, he ran?”) but then again they were non-Canadians (I assume/hope) so I’ll cut them some slack.
This is a beautiful building and it’s free to wander around inside (always a bonus).
I spent a lot of time walking around down by the harbour, watching seaplanes take off and enjoying the scenery. Many of the tourist attractions were in this area – boat and plane tours run out of here, the Empress Hotel (I’m coming back for you Miniature World), museum and Parliament building are clustered here. Red Fish Blue Fish (yum) and my favourite pink building were also along the water.
Spring was a great time to see all the pretty flowers. These gardens were so beautiful, you have to go here if you visit Victoria – I promise you won’t be disappointed! I won’t bore you with words, here are some pictures:
More sights around Victoria:
In summary, Victora = awesome and everyone should go. I’ll be back and would love to explore more of the island! Stay tuned for my hot takes on Vancouver – again, I did (a bit) more than just eat my way through the city.
I will eventually get around to uploading pictures and writing a post on Weeks #18 and #19 , but I felt an urgent need to talk about all the glorious food I ate in B.C. last week. If you love food (and mountains, oceans, etc.), you need to get out to the West Coast. Go right now.
Victoria is serious about food. It has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America – only San Francisco has more. I also appreciate Victoria’s love of breakfast and brunch, clearly the best meals of the day. And yes, second breakfast is a thing.
This was my favourite restaurant of the entire trip. I wouldn’t stop talking about it and recommended it to everyone I met who made even a slight mention of Victoria. They had amazing vegetarian, gluten-free and/or dairy-free options (welcome to B.C.) and the restaurant itself was so cute.
I’ll let you drool over these pictures for a second, take your time:
My friend and I each got an almond milk latte and it was the best thing ever. We asked our waitress how they made it so deliciously creamy, but didn’t find out the secret. Guess I’ll just have to go back. We split the “Benny’s Gone Nuts” – poached eggs over kale (so much kale everywhere), mushrooms and baked sweet potato with a cashew turmeric sauce. We also shared the “Morning Scramble” – butternut squash, shallots, and arugula over red lentil hummus with seedy crackers that were soooooo goooooooood. To top things off, we had cashew cheesecake with rhubarb (not picture, because it got devoured immediately – breakfast dessert should always be a thing) that I also couldn’t stop talking about. Takeaway: definitely go here. And bring me some when you do.
My friends had recommended this place and then I came across it as I was wandering along the harbourfront. It’s a little chip stand with some seating overlooking the harbour and was super delicious. I can see how it would get really busy in the summer and I was lucky to only have to wait about 20-30 minutes. I ordered the jerk fish tacones and a salad – although I kind of regret not trying the chowder since it’s supposed to be really tasty. The tacones were awesome; the fish was so fresh. I chatted with some Australian women as we chowed down and of course recommended they hit up Nourish for brunch the next day hehe. 10/10 would return to Red Fish Blue Fish…and try the chowder.
We went the Roost for lunch before I headed to the ferry on my last day in Victoria. This restaurant had a vineyard on site and a nice bakery. I got the veggie wrap, which was massive and tasty and a cranberry orange cookie for the ferry ride. They had so many delicious-looking treats – will have to try the peanut butter or nutella cupcake (or both) next time. Can you tell I’m already planning a return trip??
I also want to share this picture of these awesome doughnut skewers from my Camino friends’ wedding:
Where do I even start. There were soooo many restaurants (and lots of healthy veggie food) and I don’t think I ate anything I didn’t like here. I’ll start with sushi.
I ordered the spicy salmon maki and a piece of the tuna and salmon nigiri (I love salmon OK?) with a seaweed salad. It took me about 30 minutes to eat this because I didn’t want the experience to end. This was by far the best sushi I’ve had – so fresh and look how bright that salmon looks!! So bright. Who would have thought Vancouver’s sushi is better than Sudbury’s?? (Extreme sarcasm) The restaurant itself was cute; you order at the counter and then sit at the communal table. I like places with seating like this when I’m on my own; less lonely than a table for one hehe.
I went for a sunset run and got hungry on the way back to my AirBnB. I generally don’t (i.e. never) eat a full dinner mid-run but it was just too tempting. I stuck with vegetarian rolls (avocado, yam and inari) this time since I’d been eating a lot of fish and thought it would probably sit better on my post-dinner run.
We popped into this place as we waited to get into Rodney’s for dinner. The New Oxford, located in the upstairs of the Tavern in Yaletown, had an English pub vibe going on (complete with large leather armchairs that made me feel important/like a boss). The crispy cauliflower with a citrus honey jalapeno sauce was reeeeally good and the taro root chips with hummus were OK (but nothing special compared to everything else). Even if you’re with someone who prefers a real chicken wing over a vegetable facsimile, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by the cauli. I promise.
This place was really busy and we had to wait awhile to get a table, but it was worth it. Sidenote: you’ll get used to waiting for food out here. I was on the fence about the oysters, but Rodney’s seemed as good of a place as any to give them a try. And they were delicious. I also got the halibut (was potato encrusted on the menu but I requested it just be seared) which came with vegetables and was, again, so fresh and tasty.
Omg. This place is right up there with Nourish but wasn’t as keen on making things healthy hehe. I also keep recommending/dreaming about my breakfast from here. Red Wagon is a tiny diner on East Hastings St. and it fills up really quickly. We got there 20-30 minutes before it opened to make sure we got a spot! My friends raved about (and ordered) the pulled pork pancakes, but I ordered the special that basically had my name on it: chocolate chip banana peanut butter pancakes. It also came with bacon so I got it on the side for the others to eat – would have been a bit much even if I did eat meat. It was filling enough to skip lunch, which isn’t typical for me. I’ll just let the pictures and my excited face speak for themselves:
These pancakes fueled me for a long-ish run later in the day and I didn’t eat anything until I came across the next place at around 4:00….
That’s correct. My diet was very cake-based that day…I swear this isn’t typical…but maybe it should be. Once I got to Deep Cove, I saw a bunch of people lined up at Honey Doughnuts and Goodies so I hopped in line and then looked into what it was. Spoiler alert: honey doughnuts are their thing. I assumed it was good since it was so popular even though I didn’t particularly need or want a doughnut. Again, with the waiting – about 20 minutes to get to the counter and then another 30-40 minutes for the dang doughnut. But oh maaaaan, it was gooooooood. I went with the classic honey doughnut (how could I not?) and the coffee was also great.
I found Chau Veggie Express at Granville Island Public Market after wandering around for awhile, having some coffee and window shopping. There were so many food places to pick from here and I wasn’t disappointed with my choice. Chau offers Vietnamese-inspired vegetarian (primarily vegan) dishes. I would have been happy to eat anything on this menu, but went with what the girl at the counter recommended: the tropical rainforest bowl (added tofu) and a coconut shake. It was a lot of coconut so it’s a good thing it’s one of my main food groups. Another delicious meal in the books.
I had (very) briefly considered cutting out the sweets post cake-day, but these looked too good. I unfortunately only got one, hmmph. The logo was really funny – how French is that little macaron dude with a beret and mustache?? I think they said they had 60 flavours (again, way too many choices) and I went with the goat cheese fig. Mmmmm. No regrets. Except only getting one – that’s a regret.
I had my last meal in Vancouver with some new friends from my AirBnB. Another vegetarian/vegan place – and this one was open 24 hours! Necessary. I got the Naam vegan burger (tofu, nuts and seeds – before you roll your eyes and/or curse it for daring to be called a burger, give it a try!! And then bring me one). I went for the platter option which came with sesame potato wedges with miso gravy and a salad. The burger was, of course, delicious and the bun was amazing. The sides were pretty good too, especially the gravy and the green dressing. The portion was massive and I took most of the potatoes and salad home.
In summary, Victoria and Vancouver have delicious food (and scenery of course… but I’ll get to that later). It’s nice to be home and now I have some good ideas for food I can try to cook myself 🙂
Eric and I were lucky enough to have a trip to Toronto planned right when the fickle cherry blossoms were in bloom! I say lucky because it’s tough/near impossible to plan ahead since the timing varies from year to year. There are several “cherry blossom watch” sites that you can monitor, but once these babies start blooming they only last 1-1.5 weeks. And the season becomes even shorter if it’s particularly rainy and/or windy. When I lived in Toronto I visited both of the hot spots that we hit up on this trip, but never during blossom season.
High Park is the most popular and busiest place to see the blossoms – thousands flock here every year. The first 2,000 Sakura trees were gifted to Toronto in 1959 by Japan’s ambassador to Canada to recognize Toronto’s acceptance of Japanese people after WWII. Luckily, we were able to go on a weekday morning so the park wasn’t nearly as packed as it is rumoured to be on weekends. We took the streetcar so didn’t have to worry about parking, but the lot looked pretty full. We got off the streetcar at Roncesvalles and High Park Blvd. – a cute little area by the way. The stroll down High Park Blvd. leading to the east gate of High Park was lovely.
An almost naked tree…gotta catch them before they’re gone!
We spent some time walking around and taking pictures (like everyone else). Most of the cherry trees were found near Hillside Gardens by Grenadier Pond. Some tips if you plan on visiting:
Avoid driving right into the park, either take the TTC or park somewhere else and walk
Go early and on a weekday if possible
Know where the trees are (seems obvious, but um we went the wrong way at first)
If you plan on eating while you’re there, pack your own food (not sure how the restaurant food is, but I can confirm there was a loooong line)
Enjoy some more High Park blossoms:
While Eric was being a productive member of society at his meeting, I made the trek to Trinity Bellwoods Park. It was a beautiful day so I wasn’t surprised to see that it was busy…lots of picnicking/drinking as usual during the warmer months. I got a delicious (but obviously overpriced) coconut ice cream from White Squirrel on Queen St. before checking out what Trinity Bellwoods had to offer. Conclusion: also very nice blossoms. The trees were found along the path in the southeast corner of the park near the tennis courts. You can get a nice view of the CN Tower through the trees, which was pretty cool.
Check out these Trinity Bellwoods blossoms:
I definitely was not disappointed with my first Toronto cherry blossom viewings! Some other spots in Toronto to spot the blossoms include Toronto Island, Robarts Library at U of T, Centennial Park and Broadacres Park. And rumour has it that Woodbine Beach Park is going to be getting a cherry blossom tunnel next year 🙂