Left Coast By Design

Tag: Vancouver (page 1 of 3)

Fly Over Canada or Some Of It

This past week, I was fortunate to be invited to join my friend Jay to check out FlyOver Canada (and AboveUSA just before it).

In what I can best describe as an immersive experience that engages many of your “senses” to simulate your flight through the Canadian skies, you won’t find me complaining about the fun I had during our 8 minute journey. That’s because our tickets were free.

As an aside, there may be spoilers below.

While I can see FlyOver Canada provide some value as a tourist gimmick, it trip seemed to be lacking in content. For instance, Canada is pretty darn big and an 8 minute flight doesn’t do it justice. In fact, if someone knew nothing about Canada they will learn that there are very few metropolitan cities worth flying over – more than one, less than three. We also learn that cottage country is also as big as the prairies, give or take.

What’s crazier? I think I saw more of the US in the AboveUSA bit than I saw of Canada in the main event.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty cool how FlyOver Canada is set up and immerses everyone in the experience. Heck, my fear of heights nearly got the better of me a couple of times. But for $20 a visit, I’m not sure I could ever come to the conclusion I got great value for my money.

Have any of you flown over Canada? What did you think? Cool? Cool but expensive? I’m curious.

Tips for a First Time Cruiser

Can you believe that I’ll be boarding a cruise ship in California in just a couple of weeks? I sure can’t.

Grand Princess

Courtesy of Mircea Gola


But you see, this will be the first time I’ve been on something bigger than a BC Ferry and I’m told that I shouldn’t consider the Queen of Surrey to a cruise ship.

So off to Twitter I went looking for some tips. And tips were exactly what my friend Dixon sent me. In fact, he sent me ten of them. Continue reading

A Trip for the Soul

When I first introduced the idea of funemployment to all of you, I spoke about my desire to view this sudden change of scenery as an opportunity.  In fact, I believe I said this:

I’m going to take the next few weeks and do things I never thought to do before. I’m going to be going on a short cruise. I’m going to fly somewhere on a lark and simply enjoy the destination. – The Opportunity of Unemployment

So as a man who looks to keep his word, the first trip on this journey of funemployment has been booked. While the original idea was to hop on a short cruise and take a few days to simply recharge my soul, my wife and I decided to make it a little more than that and to create a week of adventure.

Amtrak Cascades

Courtesy of Stephen Rees

The first step on our week long journey will be riding the Amtrak Cascades train line from Vancouver down to Seattle. While the whole concept of a passenger train is not entirely foreign to the two of us – we rode them in when we went to the United Kingdom a while back – we’ve never taken in the ride locally.  And as I am a transportation junkie, this could be one of the most exciting parts of our entire trip.

jetBlue Plane

Courtesy of cclark395

Then there is the second leg of our journey, flying from Seattle down to Los Angeles. Neither of us has ever been to this massive city and figured we’d be good to spend at least a day down there before our cruise home. While we still haven’t figured out what we’ll do, we did decide on flying with jetBlue after hearing from friends of ours that the airline is a pretty solid choice. And it also helped that they fly into Long Beach which is essentially where our ship will leave. Or is it San Pedro? I don’t know – Los Angeles is just that big.

Grand Princess

Courtesy of MA1216

Last, but not least, is our sail on the Grand Princess from Los Angeles back home to Vancouver. This is also a new experience for the wife and me, so we’re viewing it as a practice trip to prepare for our much longer sail to Hawaii later this year (I know, I know. I’m a jetsetter).

While the trip is essentially a repositioning cruise with our only ports of call being Los Angeles and Vancouver, you’ll likely find us either on our balcony watching the ocean or poolside relaxing. I get that the temperatures are likely not what one would expect to experience on a cruise, but this trip is really about helping me find that soul of mine that has gone missing.

This adventure is about something new and untravelled. It’s about fun and excitement. It’s about rest and relaxation. It’s about the experience and that’s pretty darn exciting!

Want to come along?

I Ate This – Hamburger 285

I have to admit I was worried about the quality of a $2.85 hamburger that could be purchased from a nondescript food truck. Is it really beef? Days old buns? Soggy tomoatos?

Yet having just consumed their cheeseburger today, I’m no longer a sceptic. I’m definitely a believer!

Located just off the corner of Granville St. and Pender St. in Downtown Vancouver, Hamburger $2.85 gives you just that – a hamburger. Or if you’re like me and want some choice, you can grab yourself a cheeseburger for $3.50. Beyond this, the only other menu items are pop & iced tea, while condiments (mustard & ketchup) are also available.


The burger you receive is a good size and comes with a tonne of lettuce, a solid slice of tomato, terimayo sauce (teriyaki and mayo), cheese if you ordered it (like I did), with a beef patty on a toasted white hamburger bun. Juicy and filled with flavour, I’m glad I didn’t add ketchup as I normally do. And while I did order two burgers – don’t judge, I was hungry – I’d probably be safe ordering only one in the future!

About the only drawback is the popularity of the food truck. I arrived just after noon and the lineup was a good 10 people deep with a dozen or so people already waiting for orders. All-in-all, it took about 15-20 minutes for my order to come up and I’m definitely thankful the weather was decent today – I’m a fair weather food truck consumer!

Anywho, I’m totally putting this food truck on my “visit again” list. Sure I had to wait a good amount of time to pick up my eats, but I really can’t fault them for their popularity with such great value!

Hamburger $2.85 on Urbanspoon

Finally made it to Hamburger 285

A post shared by Natasha (@natashacarpio) on

Whitecaps FC – The Renniesance

You’ve probably seen me rant, rant again and rave about the Whitecaps FC before – I figured its my right as a season ticket holder y’know – so how do I feel about this season? Cautiously optimistic.

Whitecaps FC vs Impact Montreal FC

Courtesy of the Whitecaps FC

Extending their un-defeated season home opener streak to two games, the 2-0 triumph over the expansion Montreal Impact is a good start. What I hope it’s not is a similar false sense of security we felt after last years win against the Toronto FC. But I shall again, remain cautiously optimistic.

So what of the match itself (for those not wanting to watch the highlight pack above)? Nothing too special in my opinion, though I did have a few thoughts:

  • The Y.P. Lee Fan Club – Lee was solid on the back line. In fact, the use of his head is the sole reason the clean sheet remained intact. Regardless of all that, if the number of fans cheering his every move (including a throw-in) and holding up posters of him at every opportunity is any indication, the Whitecaps FC have found a new demographic of fans.
  • Sebastian Le Toux – His first half goal is down as the earliest score in an MLS opening match ever, just so you know. Moreover, his responsible play looks to be the perfect complement to the bombastic Eric Hassli.
  • The Atmosphere – Either the Southsiders have signed half the stadium up or the fans have become quite a bit more savvy. And it was loud. Very, very loud. That said, definitely a shame that the roof remained closed at BC Place.

Were you there on Saturday? What did you think?

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