Vancouver & Vancouver Island 2021

We were invited to a friend’s wedding in Vancouver in September 2021, so thought we would take a week off and spend it on the West coast.

You can check out some pictures of our trip HERE in my web album.  And I’ve done a summary of our trip below – which I will be updating as we go.

Day 1 – Afternoon Flight to Vancouver

We were flying on a non-stop flight to Vancouver from Edmonton, leaving at 3:30pm. We had purchased an Economy Flex fare, but we were able to use Randy’s upgrade points to upgrade to business class. We were flying on a 737-MAX, which I had already reviewed on our 2019 trip to Zihuatenajo.

We headed to the airport just before 2:00pm. Once at the airport, we met up with some of the Air Canada gate agents and the concierge for a little visit. With all the travel that Randy used to do, he got to know a lot of the staff, and they were very happy to see him again.

After chatting for a bit, we headed through security and went straight to our gate. Not long after, it was time to board. The flight wasn’t very full, so the boarding process went by very quickly. We took off on time, and headed west.

As we were seated in business class, they did come around with a cold snack of smoked salmon and a chocolate cookie. We were also offered some wine. I had a glass of white wine, and Randy had red wine.

Business class snack

The rest of the flight was uneventful. Because Randy had a busy week at work, he ordered a second glass of wine (which the flight attendant gave a generous pour). We arrived in Vancouver just after 4:00pm local time.

The wedding we were attending was in Langley and we were staying at the Coast Langley City Hotel. We ordered an Uber to get us to the hotel (which was about an hour from the airport). Randy’s parents had already checked in to the hotel, so once we checked in and dropped our things in our room, we went to their room (which was next door) for some drinks.

For supper, we decided to try the Katsu Cutlet House – which was just across the parking lot from the hotel. I had noticed it as we approached the hotel, so I thought it might be a good option. It was a small place, but there was a table for 4 available. We all ordered different types of katsu, and it was all very delicious. The prices were very reasonable, and you got a lot of delicious food for the price.

Chicken Katsu cutlet

It was about 8:30 by the time we were done, so we waddled back to the hotel and we pretty much went straight to bed.

Day 2 – Patti and Vern’s Wedding

We took our time getting up and headed downstairs for breakfast around 8:30am. Before COVID, the hotel used to offer a free breakfast buffet with the room. But, since the buffet was not open, we had vouchers to use at the Starbucks in the lobby. Just after ordering our food, Harold and Lil showed up, so we sat down and had breakfast together.

The wedding wasn’t until 3:30pm, so after breakfast we took a walk around the downtown area of Langley. It was almost 10:00am at this time, and it was interesting that there were a number of coffee places that were not open, however the hair salons and barbershops were open. Around 10:30am, we hopped in Harold & Lil’s car and we drove to Steveston to have fish and chips for lunch.

It took us about an hour to get there and it was overcast and threatening to rain. We parked at Garry Point Park and thought we would have lunch at Pajo’s before it started to rain (as there is just outdoor tables there). Randy and I shared a 2-piece halibut fish and chips, and it was as tasty as we remember.

Enjoying Pajo’s fish & chips ant Garry Point Park

After lunch, we decided to walk over to the marina (which is about a 10 minute walk). It started raining, so we had a quick tour to see what the fishing boats were offering, and then we headed back to the car. We drove back to Langley and then had some time to chill out in our room before heading to the wedding.

The wedding was held at the Langley Golf Course – which was less than 10 minutes from the hotel. There was the ceremony, followed by a cocktail hour, and then a reception. For the ceremony, the maid of honour was escorted by Patti and Vern’s dog, which was very cute. The dog was very excited to see all these people and got lots of pets going down the aisle. Then when it was time to exchange rings, the groom realized he forgot the rings. The bride was not impressed, but due to some improvisation, the ceremony was able to proceed.

The happy couple (and their dog)

There was food served during the cocktail hour, and there was a buffet for the reception, so by the time we finished with dessert, we were very full. Due to the COVID restrictions, the dance portion of the evening was held outside on a patio. I was extremely full, so we didn’t stay for the dance, and left around 9:00pm.

Once back at the hotel, we got out of our fancy wedding clothes and just went to bed early.

Day 3 – Ferry to Vancouver Island

Woke up to rainy, dreary weather. Today we were taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island to spend some time with our neighbours James and Judith.

We went down to have our breakfast with Harold and Lil around 8:30am. We hung out in the lobby for a while just visiting, as there wasn’t anything to do until it was time to head to the ferry. We planned to take the 1:00pm ferry so that Harold and Lil could drop us off before heading back to Coquitlam for a 2:00pm get-together at the bride’s mother’s place.

We headed out to the ferry around 11:30am, and the weather cleared up as we drove. We boarded the ferry and then had a nice relaxing cruise over to Vancouver Island (it took 1 hour and 35 minutes).

On the ferry

We were met at the other end by our friends James and Judith. Then it was a short drive to the Port Sidney Marina – where their sailboat was. It was nice and sunny, so we sat outside with some drinks and snacks.

Port Sidney Marina

Later on, we decided to go to the Surly Mermaid restaurant for supper -which was right next to the marina. They had an hour wait, so we went for a walk along the water while waiting for our table. Once our table was ready, we headed back to the restaurant and were seated outside. They had outdoor heaters, so it was quite cozy during our meal. I had the seafood linguini (with mussels, shrimp and salmon), and Randy had a crispy chicken sandwich. Both were delicious.

After supper, we went back to the boat and visited for a little while before heading to bed.

Day 4 – Port Sidney Marina

Today was a pretty chill day. We took our time getting up and eventually wandered down to Starbucks for some beverages. We wandered around some of the shops and picked up a few groceries for lunch. When we got back to the boat, it was nice and sunny, so we made up some sandwiches and sat out in the sun. The boys sat out on the back with some beer, and Judith and I lay down for a nap (Randy joined me a little later). It was a great nap.

Later on, we did a wander around the marina to see some of the other big boats, then walked to another grocery store to get some more provisions as we were going to head out sailing the next day. When we got back we had some snacks in the cockpit area before a cool breeze forced us inside.

Judith cooked up some lovely fish tacos for supper, then we watched some TV. Earlier in the day, we had been talking about children’s books, and Judith mentioned the book The Wind in the Willows. Neither Randy nor I had read it before, so when we were wandering around Sidney, she actually came across a copy of it, and decided to read us a chapter from it (just like a bed-time story). It is quite a fun little story. After that, I was tired, so I went to bed. Randy stayed up for a while longer watching TV with James.

Day 5 – An Attempted Sailing

Today we woke up to cloudy skies and drizzling rain. We took our time having breakfast and getting ready. The winds were supposed to be decent, so we were planning to sail to Salt Spring Island and spend the night. While James and Judith got things ready on the boat, Randy and I walked over to the Sidney Bakery to get some more buns. We had been told that the cinnamon buns were really good, so we got some of those as well.

Baked goods at Sidney Bakery

We left the marina just as it was starting to rain. James had me and Randy help out with some of the sailing things like bringing in the fenders. I’m not sure how helpful we actually were (I kept forgetting how to tie the correct knot).

Once we got out of the marina, we noticed how foggy it was. We started heading towards Salt Spring Island, but there wasn’t much wind, it started to rain harder and we didn’t know if it would get even foggier. So, we made the decision to just head back to the marina.

After tying the boat back up, we changed out of our wet clothes and Judith made us a lovely soup (from scratch!). That definitely helped warm us up. Once we were warm and full, we decided to lay down for a nap. I mean, what else does a person do on a cool rainy day?

After the nap, we found out that it was probably a good thing that we turned back as there was going to be winds of 70 kph later in the evening. If the weather was going to be nicer the next day, the plan was to try again.

Day 6 – Sailing Weather

Woke up to sunny and clear skies. We took our time having some breakfast and getting ready for the day. Later in the morning we walked over to the Sidney Bakery and got some more delicious baked goods. This time we got a chocolate-dipped donut, an apple fritter and a raspberry turnover – which were shared between myself, Randy and James.


While we were in the downtown area of Sidney, we noticed that there were some Christmas decorations set up. A local told us that a Hallmark Christmas movie was being filmed (apparently they film a lot of Hallmark movies in Sidney). The name of the movie was “A Christmas to Remember”. So, keep an eye out for it in the future! Note: we did not actually see any of the filming take place (it looked like it was done during the night). Unfortunately, all we saw was the decorations.

Since it looked like decent sailing weather, we got prepared to head out to do some sailing (stowing things away, making sure all the cabinets were locked, etc.). Then it was time to head out of the marina and into the ocean.

James was a great teacher – showing us how to bring in the fenders, and helping with the ropes. The wind was decent, so we were able to get some nice sailing in. Randy took over the helm and did very well keeping us sailing correctly with the wind. We had some lunch while out on the water. Judith brought all the fixings for sandwiches up to the cockpit, and I made sandwiches for Randy and I (which he was able to eat while still at the helm). It was great being out on the water.

We sailed towards Pender Island, then turned back to the marina. On the way back, we took a different route through some small islands. We were out sailing for more than 4 hours. It was a lot of fun.

Once back in the marina, we enjoyed some adult beverages to toast to a good day on the water. Starting on September 13th, B.C. implemented a new restriction that you must provide proof of vaccination in order to eat in a restaurant. James and Judith had driven out to the coast a month ago (before the restriction was announced), and James didn’t have proof of his vaccination with him. So, we ordered some Thai takeout to have for supper (Judith had been cooking us meals for the prior few days). The Thai food was really good, but also quite spicy.

After being out in the wind all day, we sat around chatting for a bit before going to bed around 9:30pm.

Day 7 – Back to Vancouver

Today we woke up to more sunny skies. We sat outside in the cockpit area for a bit before making a run to the bakery (again) and some drinks from Starbucks. When we got back, we enjoyed our baked goods (this time we got a maple long john, a chocolate croissant and another cream cheese cinnamon bun. We split the baked goods again, and sat around enjoying the sun.

Just after noon, James and Randy had some beer that James had bought. Then we packed up our stuff and headed to catch the 3:00 pm ferry to Tsawwassen. As we were walking to their vehicle, we had a great view of Mount Baker.

View of Mount Baker from Sidney

We arrived at the ferry terminal around 2:45pm. The ferry was running behind schedule, so they hadn’t even started boarding foot passengers yet. Sincs it was a Thursday, the ferry wasn’t nearly as busy as it was when we came over on the Sunday.

It was another nice, smooth crossing. Once we reached Twassassen, we were able to catch a bus that would take us to Richmond (the Bridgeport Express). It only cost $3.10 each. The hotel we were staying at (Westin Wall Centre) was a 15 minute walk from the Bridgeport station. However, since we had luggage with us, we just walked across the street to the River Rock Casino and caught a cab to the hotel.

We checked in and were told that their club lounge was permanently closed. But for Titanium members like Randy, they did provide snacks between 5pm and 7pm in their restaurant and we could also get free non-alcoholic drinks any time we wanted.

We went up to our room and both had nice long showers. By this time, it was 6:30pm, and we hadn’t eaten anything since our baked goods in the morning. So, we decided to go down and check out the ‘snacks’ in the restaurant, and then maybe go out for some ramen noodles.

When the club lounges were open, the snacks were things like cheese and crackers, maybe some samosas, or chips and salsa. So, we weren’t expecting much. In order to get into the restaurant, we did need to show our vaccination papers (that I had luckily printed out before we left). Once we were seated, we found out that the “snack’ available to us was some butter chicken and rice, and a blueberry tart.

Westin Wall Centre snack for Titanium members

The butter chicken and rice was very delicious. The blueberry tart also had a macha flavour to it that I liked, but Randy wasn’t sure about (he still ate the whole thing). I was more than full after this ‘snack’, but Randy thought that we could maybe go out and get a little something extra.

We saw that there was a sushi place just a couple blocks away, so we walked over there. However, when we got there, there was a notice that they were no longer serving sushi – and they only had larger meals available. So, we went across the road to Foody World (an Asian market) – because we thought they might have some take-out food (like T&T Market at home). However, they did not have any sort of take-out food, so we just ended up heading back to the hotel.

I spent some time catching up on yesterday’s journal, and then went to bed fairly early as I was rather tired.

Day 8 – Drippy Day in Vancouver

We woke up to wet, wet, wet weather. The forecast was for a heavy rainfall warning. There was a nearby Starbucks, so we decided to go there for breakfast. We were able to borrow some umbrellas from the hotel for the wet walk over.

After breakfast, we decided to walk to Yaohan Centre to check out an Asian market. We then walked to Aberdeen shopping centre that was next to it, and checked out the Oomoma store. We have this store in Edmonton, but this one was much bigger (2 levels!). This store is like a Japanese dollar store – but much nicer and with very unique items from Japan. We bought a few things, then went to check out the H-Mart store at the other end of the mall. In there we were able to find some Japanese rice seasoning that we use for some meals. At home, there is only one flavour of this seasoning that we can find – but here we found a wasabi flavour and a salmon flavour.

It was raining even harder, so we just ordered an Uber to take us back to the hotel. I spent some time catching up on the journal and letting my shoes dry.

When we were in Langley for the wedding, we had walked by this one kitchen store that had a really nice countertop in their windowfront. Randy contacted that store and found out the countertop was from a company called Fir Stone – which was a few minutes drive from where we were staying in Richmond. As we were looking for ideas to replace our existing kitchen counters, we decided to go check this place out.

So, we ordered an Uber to take us to the warehouse. It was in an industrial area, and not easy to find – but we finally found it. We wandered around this big warehouse full of granite, marble and quartz slabs. We got a few ideas and then ordered a ride to take us to a ramen place for lunch. Luckily, our ride found the place, but I noticed that we were going in the opposite direction from the restaurant. Randy then realized that he had entered in the name of the restaurant, but had selected the Burnaby location instead of the Richmond location. So, we got that all sorted out and were eventually delivered to Marutama Ramen.

There was a small line of people waiting to get in, so we had to stand outside in the rain for a bit (we hadn’t brought umbrellas with us this time). Finally someone came out to seat people. We showed our vaccine records and were shown a seat. We both ordered ramen soup and had gyoza as an appetizer. It was the perfect meal for a cold, drippy day.

Even though this restaurant was only a few blocks away from our hotel, it was still raining quite hard, so we ordered another ride back to the hotel. This time we were picked up in a Tesla Y vehicle. Snazzy. Once back at the hotel, the rainy day and a full belly made for the perfect conditions for a nap. Around 4:30pm we got up and just hung out until we felt like having supper.

Because it was still rainy out, we just went back downstairs to the hotel restaurant to see what they had for the Titanium member ‘snack’. Today was a zucchini soup and salad. This sounded way too healthy to us, so we just ordered off the menu. I got a chicken club sandwich and Randy got a beef dip. Both were quite tasty and hit the spot.

After supper, we went back to our room and packed up to be ready for our flight in the morning.

Day 9 – Flight Home

We woke up early (around 6:30 am), got ourselves ready, checked out and headed to the airport for our morning flight. Today it was overcast, but not rainy like the day before.

Once at the airport, we didn’t have any bags to check, so we went straight to security. Even though there were a lot of cars dropping people off at the domestic terminal, it wasn’t all that busy at security (well, at least on the Trusted Travellers side). We got through security quickly and then headed to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge to have some breakfast.

Through the lounge’s online menu, I ordered some avocado toast, and Randy ordered some pancakes. They were delivered to our seats a few minutes later. Both meals were quite tasty.

We hung out in the lounge for a little while longer, then headed to our gate (which was right at the end of the terminal). It wasn’t a very full flight, and so everyone was boarded quite quickly. Randy had used points to upgrade us to business class again, so we were interested to see what would be served. Because our flight was during a meal time (8:55 am), we were actually served a hot meal. And it was no surprise at all to see that Air Canada’s infamous omelette has made it’s return. (Infamous because this is what they seem to serve for breakfast on ALL North American flights)

With the omelette came potatoes and sausage, a bowl of fresh fruit, a croissant, a yogurt and a chocolate cookie. I paired my breakfast with a glass of apple juice and some tea.

The flight was uneventful – with just a little bit of turbulence as we neared Edmonton. Once we landed, we caught a taxi home.

Overall, it was a nice, relaxing getaway. Got to spend time with friends and family – so that is always a bonus. Hopefully our next vacation will be further afield!