I thought spring back in the UK was nice, but my first few weeks in Canada have been incredible. It is such a beautiful country! As soon as we landed in Vancouver I knew I had made a good decision coming out here. I would of been posting a lot more often but I’ve been struggling with getting wifi and to be honest, I’ve been super busy! Its been a hectic month and I have much to talk about. Let’s start with the fun bits… Immigration and Flights…
Flights & Immigration
We flew from London Heathrow to the Vancouver International Airport. The first flight was straight into Seattle. It was an absolute breeze. I picked my favourite playlist (Sade to set the mood), popped a couple sleeping pills my mum gave me and next thing I knew we were landing. With just enough time for a beer and a sandwich, we got onboard the next plane for our transfer from Seattle to Vancouver. It really was speedy, I think we were in the air for around 35 minutes.
After grabbing our baggage from the claim we headed to the immigration office. Now, everyone hears of other travellers getting turned away for minor reasons and how strict the Canadian border is but for us it was quite the opposite. We were seen to with in a few minutes of sitting down and the Officer inspecting us was actually quite nice. He looked at us and with a half smile asked to see our port of entry and our passports, then politely told us to take a seat. He briefly checked them whilst entering in a few things into his computer and then got up and went out back. Being sat in there we could feel a weird aura, almost felt guilty as if we had something to hide. After a few minutes he came back with both of our work permits. We actually didn’t believe they were done that quick, it literally took about 5 minutes! As he handed them to us he said ‘Yep, its that easy’.
I really think that if you have all your papers in check and have nothing to hide that immigration is a breeze.
And that was it. 2 years granted for Canada!
Just a 20 minute bus ride was what separated us from our Airbnb and downtown Vancouver. We had managed to get a weeks worth of accommodation for £70 each ($125 CAD) which I thought was a bargain. We had a private room in a huge house, with shared amenities. It was great though, the other people staying there were mostly similar aged; there were some uni students and two other couples travelling. Oh, and Tricia the landlord. She was lovely and very welcoming! Helped us out with all our queries.
We wanted to spend our first week in the city so we could set up our bank accounts and our phone contracts. I don’t know much about bank accounts so I kind of just went into the first major bank I saw, RBC – Royal Bank of Canada – and opened up a debit account. It was easy as pie! Next up was a phone contract. Jeees, one thing about Canada I don’t like so far is how expensive data is. For the same price I basically had it unlimited in the UK you can get 1GB over here, it sucked. Couldn’t complain though. I settled for a $50 a month plan but I think Im going to stop the data package completely and just rely on wifi.
The city itself was beautiful. As we were on a bit of a budget we mostly just went sightseeing and spent the days walking around the city. The weather was very nice to us, there was still a very brisk, sharp wind so we had to wrap up most of the time but the sun was shining all day every day. Everyone we spoke to was so nice to us as well, the Canadian’s really are the kindest people, especially compared to us Brit’s!
One of my favourite moments in Vancouver was a walk we did around Stanley Park’s Sea Wall. It’s a 9 km walk in total which loops around the park. The views were incredible and there was such a buzz around the place. Countless people were walking as we were, cyclists, runners, people with their dogs, I can imagine in summer this would be the place to go!
My partners brother was living and working in Sun Peaks, BC. He was over here on the same work visa we are, so what better place to go next! With a few weeks left of the ski season, I was very excited!
Our time in Sun Peaks was awesome. Granted we spent it sleeping in a small lounge room on a dingy old mattress however, we had an absolute blast. The area itself was magnificent. I think there was more snowfall in the first few days then there had been in my whole life in the UK. It was definitely a first for me. We lived off of vegetarian chilli and pasta’s as they were cheap and also very tasty. Our weekly shop cost us around $40-50. Eggs and toast for breakfast and Nature Valley bars for lunch! I would cook up a big ol’ batch of chilli and store in tupamaros for the week.
We spent a lot of time up in the ski village, not actually always skiing, it was kinda nice to just hang out there. There was this coffee shop called Bolacco’s which we loved. Went there most days for our fix. After a while we got friendly with the owner and with no exaggeration, I think its the best coffee on Earth. Especially after a day on the slopes!
The skiing was very good. Im not gonna lie I’m not the most avid skier out there but I fell in love it whilst we were up there. Theres nothing I can compare it to. My partner had never skied before and we both had such a laugh with me trying to teach her, but both of us were pleasantly surprised when my lessons were actually working! A few days and we were up off the bunny hill and onto the chairs!
Sun Peaks is the second biggest ski resort in Canada, behind Whistler of course. It has 4 main ski chairs and a huge back country skiing area. We only stuck to the groomed sections but next time I’m gonna really get out there.
The days we weren’t skiing we were oot and aboot exploring the area. We were living in Whitecroft, a 10 minute drive from the ski village and one day we stumbled across a frozen waterfall a small trek from the house. Id never seen anything like it. As we went there again and again and the fact that it was Spring time, we actually noticed that every time it was becoming less and less frozen.
Towards the end of our time in Sun Peaks, we had started to run out of money and skiing wasn’t really an option anymore. We needed money, and quick. Not only this but we were getting a bit of tired of living in a front room, and wanted to start our own journey and get our own place.
We got very lucky and both got offered a job at Emerald Lake Lodge, where we’ll be staying in staff accommodation. It’s situated in the rockies and looks phenomenal!
We start there next week and are currently road-tripping along the Trans Canada Highway one town at a time! The drive is very picturesque, shame about the weather today – cold and very, very wet – but tomorrow is a new day!
Any advice on places we need to check out , let me know! Cya!