In June 2018, I moved to Vancouver, BC with my boyfriend on a two-year working holiday visa. We came here with certain expectations of what our life would be like. We saw adventures in mountains, weekend camping trips, exploring nature, and visiting all of the scenic lakes we saw in pictures before we got here.
We also came here taking for granted that these are all things that would simply happen. After a few weeks of settling in, we realised it’s not that easy. Most of these experiences will be completely new to us. When you’re new to a city it takes time just to figure out how to get to the closest bus stop, never mind up the nearest mountain.
We started to feel a bit like fish out of water after a few weeks of settling in, and we didn’t know where to even begin. That’s when we decided to begin with a list. You can’t start anywhere if you don’t know what it is that you want to do. On arrival in Vancouver, we had only 18 months of our two year visas left to fill with as many experiences as possible, and this list is how we plan to do it.
About the list
The list is divided into places to visit and activities or experiences to try. Some of the activities and the places are intertwined, while others are things we could do anywhere. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to do everything, but we are going to try.
I hope to be returning to this post again and again to cross off places and activities, share links to blog posts about some of the bucket list items, and upload pictures as we work our way through!
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If there’s anything we’ve learned since starting our research for this bucket list, it’s that virtually nothing is nearby in Canada. Coming from a country as small as Ireland, it can be hard to wrap your head around the distances you need to travel to get to some of the places we want to visit.
With this in mind, we tried to keep our bucket list destinations reasonable in terms of what we can achieve, but we gave ourselves a few more ambitious places to work towards.
Victoria, British Columbia
Vancouver Island, British Columbia (outside of Victoria)
Whistler, British Columbia Squamish, British Columbia
Deep Cove, North Vancouver
White Rock, British Columbia
Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver – Read about Lynn Canyon here
Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta
Canadian Rockies, British Columbia / Alberta
Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver
Bowen Island, Vancouver
Fort Langley, Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver (in every season)
Activities / Experiences
As we work our way through some of the destinations above, we’ll be able to tick off some of this stuff too. This has been divided into winter activities, summer activities, and any-time-of-the-year activities.
Any time of the year
Visit every part of Stanley Park
Visit Science World
Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery
Visit the Contemporary Art Gallery
Visit the Bloedel Conservatory
Visit Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Visit the Museum of Anthropology
Visit the Museum of Vancouver
Visit all of the Puplfiction Bookstore locations
See a film at the Rio Theatre
Have a Beaver Tail (delicious sugary pastries, not an actual beaver’s tail)
Go on the Sea to Sky gondola
Go zip lining
Stay in a cabin
Visit Shannon Falls
Visit the UBC Botanical Gardens/Nitobe Gardens
Visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Visit the Vandusen Botanical Garden
Do a proper hike
Do the Grouse Grind
Go kayaking or do another water sport
Visit the Richmond Night Market
Hike The Chief
Bike the Stanley Park Seawall (again)
Go whale watching
Eat a Honey Donut at Deep Cove
Go for a swim at Lynn Canyon 30 Foot Pool
Find the best hot chocolate in Vancouver
Go to the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival
Go to an event at the Vancouver Writers Fest
Go dog sledding
Go snow shoeing
Go to a hockey game
Take a snowboarding lesson
Go to Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Have you been to Vancouver or BC and feel like there’s something big missing on this list? Let me know what you think of our Vancouver bucket list!
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