Our final day and a half in Canada: Driving from Victoria to Burnaby, near Vancouver International Airport, for our flight back home.
As we had a 9 pm flight to Amsterdam, we wanted to avoid driving around the entire day or needing to hang around the airport for the better part of the day. Therefore, we had booked a hotel in Burnaby, which is about a 30-minute drive from YVR airport.
We had booked the ferry crossing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen at noon but arrived at the terminal just before the closing time of 11 am and were able to make an “on-standby” attempt to go ahead anyway. Unfortunately, there was no space on the boat, but waiting for just 40 minutes was not so bad. Strangely enough, my phone continued to think for 20 kilometers that we were still on Vancouver Island, which did not help at all with the navigation to Burnaby!
Fortunately, we were able to go straight to our hotel room, which had a fascinating view of the construction of a skyscraper across the street (and very good soundproofing). Burnaby is a kind of suburban high-rise Chinatown where there is not very much to do except hanging out in either the Metrotown mall or Chrystal mall. The Metrotown mall proved adequate for some last-minute purchases, and we had also bought tickets to see Toy Story 4 that evening.
To avoid the food court, we had dinner at Cactus Club Café Station Square (6090 Silver Dr) just outside the mall. Despite it being a big Canadian chain, it is a stylishly decorated venue that housed a cocktail bar and a separate restaurant area and patio. The extensive menu that draws inspiration from all places in the world, and everything was very well executed, and the service was a well-oiled machine. Thanks to Happy Hour, the prices were very agreeable, and the food was excellent (arguably the best burger of the entire holiday!).
Chantal had the Butternut Squash, and Mascarpone Ravioli served with a delicious Truffle butter sauce, Pine nuts, and crispy sage. The rest ordered Cheddar Bacon Burgers (smashed Black Angus beef, aged cheddar, smoked bacon, red relish, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard) of which one wrapped in lettuce because of the brioche bread on which it was served. The super crispy yet succulent Chicken Tenders (panko-breaded chicken, sea-salted fries, honey mustard dip) were devoured by our youngest. The kids went for the mocktails again with the Hey Hibiscus (hibiscus, rose, ginger, white peach, lemon, and soda). Bellinis (Bacardi white rum, peach schnapps, sparkling wine, peach, and sangria), and Negronis (Gordon’s dry gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and orange zest) were served for the adults. It was entertaining to see that 10 minutes before the end of Happy Hour it became super busy, and many people quickly ordered extra food and drinks for the lower prices. Consequently, many of them had wine, cocktails, starters, as well as mains on their table at the same time.
The final day was rather uneventful, with us puzzling to pack the suitcases (we had amassed quite a bit of stuff along the way), and the kids spending extended time in the tub with the bath bombs that they had bought at Lush. We also watched some tennis from the Toronto Open.
Lunch was at nearby Trattoria Burnaby (4501 Kingsway #102). Great wood-fired pizza (Funghi with mushrooms, creamed leeks, sprouts, provolone) and pasta: Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs with herbed ricotta and truffle cream sauce as well as Linguine Carbonara (pancetta, scallions, egg, parmesan cheese). We had a final sample of BC’s terrific winemaking stills with the 2015 Célestiale Bordeaux-style blend from Clos du Soleil (Keremeos, BC).
The kids felt that the holiday wouldn’t have ended satisfactorily without a final soft serve, so they headed to Soft Peaks Ice Cream (4603 Kingsway #115) where they came up with this creation:
After refueling a final time at the Husky gas station, we returned our sturdy SUV, checked-in and after a short duty-free tour (a pack of dried sea cucumber snacks for only $400, anyone?!? 🤯) we crashed into the British Airways lounge.
While preparing these blogs the past weeks, the recollections of our road trip were so positive and joyous. The best way to fight the gloomy weather back home. Despite driving just under 2,000km, the amazing thing about our trip is that we still had only seen a small part of British Colombia, and consequently, also a fraction of this magnificent country.
Canada is great, eh?