Well, that was one magical February that I will not forget! After so long in the planning, I had finally the chance came to get the chance to go and explore Canada and visit a friend of mine Yvonne who I have been promising for many years to go and visit. So, on Valentine's day 2018, I had unusual dates with Heathrow and British Airways to take to to this magical world of Canada!
First impressions was pure admiration upon arriving at Vancouver International where the airport was clean and felt like going through a high end hotel or mansion. Very immaculate and welcoming. First thing that really struck me was the immense feel of the city life at night whilst heading through Vancouver. The Streets, the lights, the sense of activity was a buzz, and then on my first morning, seeing the sunrise coming over the Vancouver area and unveiling the mountains was another wonderful feel to absorb and sense. The city was basically surrounded by mountainous landscapes and the Pacific Sea! To me, it felt like pure paradise!
And so, the big adventure began in earnest with exploring Vancouver for a start. The city felt like New York City, but it had a more happier and friendlier feel. Also explored Burnaby Mountains Park which has quite spectacular views of Metro Vancouver and the surrounding areas including North Vancouver. There was another small park of Kushiro Park which has various totem pole like structures that makes up the park also. The park represents the special relationship of Vancouver and its sister city Kushiro in Japan. It felt like the gods were walking amongst us in my view and was certainly very special, especially that I had visited Japan for the first ever time two years ago.
The snow dominated the landscapes and weather patterns over the time I was there. Although luckily the weather was mostly Sunny with just certain days is over cast and snow, this is what I had been wanting for most of the photography work.
Exploring North Vancouver, it was an area with a unique blend of town and countryside. The quaint town streets like Deep Cove, which has that seasonal 'sleepy' feel. But did achieved something unusual and new though...
British Columbia is also highly renowned worldwide for skiing and also its beautiful Sea To Sky Highway. I had been to visit The main three mountains of Vancouver which are Mounts Seymour, Cypress and Grouse. On one day, to access a particular area on a beautiful snowy day, I had to snowshoe through the woodlands and parts of Seymour Mountain which was very special as it felt like a true winter wonderland. It certainly is one that will keep you fit however! the snow very deep but elegantly fluffy and spirit raising. The trees standing proud and formed for some to become a snow ghost. Some of the trees I had found interesting that just due to the sheer volume of snow weighing them down, especially the coniferous trees had transformed into various still life like creatures. To me it was like walking along a seabed of prawns and shrimps. A very surreal world.
The Sea to Sky Highway had so many surprises along the route which is regularly used to reach the famous skiing resort of Whistler. Beautiful, but with lightning speed changes of weather! From beautiful sun to winds that flew by you faster than light with piercing wind chill had put on a huge challenge! Standing out in winds strong enough push a truck to tipple point was a fair challenge to get the perfect shot!
Going up to the top of the mountains was one of my dreams to do. The closest I had done at this point was to go up the hills and mountains back at the Lake District UK. The mountains at Whistler was very awe inspiring and a very rare perspective to see the landscape in a different way to what I am used to. The unusual opportunities Canada has brought to me has meant my Hasselblad has had a fun adventurous time with taking the shots as well. The most the camera has been very busy at is at the small settlement of Britannia Beach, where the views were just purely something out of a movie or similar views of TV Dramas. Part feel of desolation part feel of isolation and that feeling of peace and tranquility got me absorbed into its beauty and especially with the only railway line going through the settlement, even though there is a mining museum just there also.
The Camera set up in various locations as well as a view down the railway line at Britannia Beach.
The whole area was a feat to explore including seeing the Sea-To-Sky Gondola with wide ranging views across Howe Sound and parts of Squamish. Again, the views were purely breath taking after a walk through the woodlands in snow which I did comfortably with normal hiking boots on. It was quite interesting to see some tourists walk round in just trainers! Next to the Gondolas is also Shannon Falls, which was a very unusual experience to see a frozen waterfall, which to me is rare to find.
Overall, Vancouver and British Columbia have really absorbed into my heart and inspired so many things to me. It is an experience I had never imagined becoming infectious like Japan had done to me. I shall definitely return to Canada! So watch this space in the future!