Definitely slept in late this morning to recover from last night’s fun! My goal today was the walk the Seawall, see the Olympic Village and Olympic Cauldron, and go to the Vancouver Aquarium. After talking to the desk staff at the hostel, I changed my plan and spent pretty much the whole day exploring Stanley Park and the aquarium.
The walk across town to get to Stanley Park was great, since it was another beautiful day in Vancouver. I took a quick break early on to sit and have breakfast at English Bay Beach. It was a nice spot with a view of mountains across the water and shipping freighters in the bay. The beach also had some great natural benches on it, since someone clearly comes through to arrange all the big driftwood logs that wash up on shore in neat lines that face the ocean!
After breakfast, I cut through downtown to get to the Seawall and aquarium. On the way I passed the Vancouver Rowing Club and lots of marinas full of docked yachts and sailboats. I walked through Stanley Park for a while on the way to the aquarium. It’s a massive green area, almost as though someone took all the Grand Rounds parkway system in Minneapolis and smashed it together into one place. There were playgrounds, gardens, a mini train line, sports fields, and restaurants mixed in with all the paths.
The Vancouver Aquarium was a really cool spot. They’re a non-profit facility with rescue-only animals (no Blackfish breeding program there). They have exhibits featuring fish from the Amazon, tropical areas, Canada’s Arctic (including beluga whales), and fish from the Pacific Ocean in the area off the shores of Vancouver itself. I went to some of the shows they had going, including their shark show and their dolphin show. The dolphin show in particular was interesting because the two dolphins they have are breeds I’ve never seen before: a Pacific white-sided dolphin and a false killer whale, which brings me too…
Weird Things I Learned from Other Travelers (or Aquarium Trainers) Today:
Killer whales aren’t whales at all, just a really large breed of dolphin! False killer whales are just another breed of dolphin that come in somewhere between a “normal” dolphin and the average orca.
The aquarium also had two great specialty exhibits on while I was there, one all about jellyfish and one about stingrays.
I wound up spending so much time there that instead of trying to cram the Olympic Village and Cauldron into the day, I decided to walk around Stanley Park for a bit longer, particular to find the totem poles. I got really turned around and gave up on ever finding them after about an hour, but as luck would have it, I stumbled across them shortly after I resigned myself to walking back to the hostel.I also saw an inexplicable number of black squirrels in the park — literally every single one.
On the walk home it hit me that I hadn’t eaten much of anything all day (my breakfast picnic on the beach was actually just an apple I bought at the Granville Market two days ago). My aunt Erin had suggested Doolin’s Irish Pub to me, and after seeing that it wasn’t very far from my hostel at all I made my way there for dinner. I ordered myself some Magners and food while a local band, The Vagabonds, set up on the stage next to my table. They played a fun little set, mixing Irish artist with groups like The Killers and The Lumineers; they even played “Purple Rain.” Once they got off the stage, I went down to the basement to check it out, since Erin said that’s where the real night life was, but since it was early-ish and Thursday, they were only just warming up.
I wanted to get back to the hostel before it got dark to do some prep so that I can roll out pretty easily in the morning. I’m hoping to tackle the things I missed out on today before catching the train to Jasper at 8:30 pm!