Vancouver/Vancouver Island trip report 2023

Boston Onion here, visiting Van/Vancouver for the 4th time. Last time for us was in 2019–it’s been way too long. We’ll be here for 2 too short weeks. Quite warm here, unusually so. Today (Monday) is cool and overcast, which is not unwelcome.

Saturday 15 July
Long day of travel. Got up at 5 am Boston time and arrived in Vancouver @ 11:30 am. Took the train and bus out towards our place in Hastings-Sunset. East Hastings is in even rougher shape compared with our last visit. Lots of people on the street. You could feel the hopelessness. We can’t check in until 4 pm, so we stopped at Strathcona Brewing for lunch. We’d visited on our last trip and really liked the place, although the pizza was just adequate. The food was not quite to even that level on this trip (granted, they were also hosting a shower of some sort so the kitchen may have been taxed). We got the Diablo pizza (almost too spicy for B), garlic bites (probably the best dish; chewy and crispy, almost pan-fried gnocchi-like), potato wedges (they were under), kids cheese pizza. Good sauces for both the wedges and garlic bites. Friendly service and good beer.





We check into a cute modern cottage. I head over to the only market in the neighborhood to stock up on staples and it turns out to be a good one, McGill Grocery. The prices are on the high side but I don’t mind supporting an indie biz. B and Spring Onion (SO) head to the local outdoor public pool and I head to Hastings for wine/beer and a burger at DQ for SO’s dinner. I happened to see Tama Organic so I stop in. It’s owned by a very friendly Japanese lady, who tells me she’s been in business for 20+ years. I think she may be struggling based on all the inventory she has stacked everywhere and overflowing freezers/fridges. Many products are handmade by her and her assistant. I want to buy 1 of everything but I can’t. I leave with kale, big cremini mushrooms, miso soup, tamari, and a chili oil from Salt Spring Island (where we visited back in 2014). She has bento boxes that are popular for lunch.



Dinner at home of leftover pizza and some Asian-y noodles and we finally pass out.

Sunday 16 July
Breakfast at home. We take the Seabus to North Van from Canada Place, where there are 3 monstrous cruise ships awaiting 1000’s of passengers. The Shipyards is bustling and fun (SO is especially enamored with the splash pad). We walk out to the breweries away from the Shipyards but unfortunately, none offer food so, verging on hangry, we hastily choose Raglan’s because SO wants a burger. It turns out to be a fun pseudo surf shack with cool friendly servers and ska music playing at a pleasant volume. Burger for SO (we got the bacon on the side for SO but he found the Canadian bacon to be “suss,” chicken bacon avocado club for B, and falafel burger for me (a little mushy but ok). Really good potato side and the hot sauce is so good, we buy a bottle to-go. We bring home half of my sandwich, while order of potatoes, and the bacon home.

We stop into the Lonsdale Quay market for a loaf of sourdough bread and a baguette.




Dinner of pasta and more Asian-y noodles at home followed with another pool visit, which was a lot of fun.


Oh good!! A @digga trip report for our reading pleasure!! :smile:


Our last day in Vancouver before our seaplane flight to Tofino via Nanaimo. I’m afraid we ate quite poorly—basically generic pub food the whole time. SO’s recent obsession with burgers is really messing up our meal plans. And we were always eating lunch late, so by the time dinnertime rolled around, no one was hungry enough for a meal out. We didn’t have a car, which was great, but we were staying a good distance from the city and taking the bus back-and-forth took a lot of time. We came home each evening, tired but happy.

Monday 17 July
Spending several hours at Science World will sap one’s energy and move one well on the way to hangry territory. Tap and Barrel Olympic Village was a 5-minute walk. It’s a big chain of pubs. We didn’t know it was a happy hour, which was a happy accident. We sat on the pleasant patio. A tofu bowl for me, steak frites for B, and a side of salmon for SO. We averted hangry-ness. Afterwards, we took the Aquabus to Granville Island, where SO enjoyed the kids market. B bought some beer from a nice wine and beer shop. Lunch was so late, we stayed in and grazed on stuff at home.



Tuesday 18 July
Biked Stanley Park on another glorious day. B wants to go to Stanley Park Brewing, a sentimental favorite of ours (we first went years ago, before a Wilco show in the park…we were sitting there, hours before the show and it was just us and the guys from the band, who were enjoying a beverage and catching up on emails, etc). It’s crowded but the line moves. Rather sad fish tacos for me, I think a grilled chicken sandwich for B, and guess what for SO. :wink: I stopped taking photos of his meals.





Again, something for dinner cobbled together at home.

Wednesday 19 July
Our last full day. We spent most of it in Kitsilano, visiting the beach and the big pool there. I had a slightly stressful work situation pop up :expressionless: so it was particularly pleasant, hanging out by the ocean, emptying my mind. We had yet another late lunch at yet another pub chain, Local Public Eatery. Unnecessarily loud music indoors, and looking at the older annoyed-looking folks sitting near us made me secretly crack up laughing inside. I went out on a limb and got the fried chicken ramen (chicken came in the side, which we took home and B happily ate for dinner), yet another chicken sandwich for B, and another :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: burger for SO.




SO just had an A&W kids burger before our seaplane. I love the fact that the root beer is served in big glass mugs and the food is actually prepared with care. We don’t pick up our rental car in Nanaimo until 4 pm so B and I will probably eat lunch at…wait for it…The Lighthouse Pub which is at the seaplane terminal because we’ll be stuck with our bags. I’ll report back, of course!

Despite the boring meals, we’ve had a fabulous time in one of our favorite cities. Here’s to hoping we eat better in Tofino/ Ucluelet.


Can’t edit my post. Tofu bowl at Tap & Barrel didn’t upload.



I 100 sympathize with you about the best laid plans of mice and men. Countless times, I’ve researched and planned and plotted, only to not go to many of the places that I wanted because something (someone) else interfered. I feel you! That said, was the water park open at Granville Island? We haven’t been in years but it used to be fire. They had 2 waterslides and everything. Tofino is beautiful. If you possibly have time and $$, I highly rec the boat tour that takes you bear spotting. I don’t recall the outfit, but it was so cool. Less cool was going out onto the beach to relax and 5 minutes later having a bear amble out of the woods at the beach’s far end. But that’s an us problem :slight_smile: I don’t recall memorable food there, but the scenery makes up for it.


B and I have learned to stop planning too much and going with the flow so while there is some mild disappointment when we don’t achieve our dining dreams, we’re ok with it, too. :laughing:

It’s been a long time between dispatches…here goes. I write this from Ucluelet (Ukee), a favorite place of ours. This is our 3rd time staying here.

Thursday 20 July
We checked out of our place in Vancouver and headed to Canada Place for our seaplane to Nanaimo, where we grabbed a quick lunch at the Lighthouse Pub right at the terminal (we should have gone to an old favorite, Gabriel’s, but we might do that on the way back). It was fine - BIG bowl of chowder for me, a salmon sandwich for B. What the heck did SO eat? I can’t recall. Something, I guess. :rofl:

LOONG drive to Tofino. Highway 4 is undergoing a lot of work so there are timed closures (which we were warned about by our Airbnb host) but even still, we sat for 1.5 hours. Luckily, we had Uno so we happily played while waiting. We checked in wicked late and cobbled something together for dinner. This was our first time staying in Tofino (we usually stay in Ukee). It was fun being at a place where we could walk into town.

Friday 21 July
The weather was glorious and B wants to go to an old favorite, Long Beach Resort’s casual seaside Sand Bar, which is open to the public. I got the tofu quinoa bowl topped with hummus (tasty, light, and lemony), fish cake banh mi for B (he swooned over it), big surprise…the burger for SO. SO did not approve of the fries, which are the hand-cut, slightly cooked over style that he turns his nose up to. Superflux beer which summed up our feelings.

Random dinner at home.

Saturday 22 July
Another sunny day, another late lunch at the Sand Bar. Several rounds of Uno Flip. Tuna tostadas for me (just ok, salty, felt very 90’s), yet another burger for SO, pulled pork sandwich for B. Thank goodness we’re relatively fit and trim - but still, we need to maintain our bikini bods and all the fried products are not helping. Weird photos because we were under a red umbrella.

Something for dinner at home.

Sunday 23 July
An unanticipated busy day of eating. We had lunch at Tofino Brewing from the permanently-parked food truck, Toki Doki. B had the seafood okonomiyaki (I’m not a fan, so I didn’t try it but he was happy with it) and folks, I had the pork katsu rice bowl (some Onions know that I don’t usually eat meat so I was going out on a limb; the last time I had pork was in the Canary Islands in April). It was delicious - crispy, not at-all greasy, perfectly-cooked white rice. SO didn’t want anything from there so we got him a smash burger from nearby Soul. Really nice beers, particularly the Spruce, which is made with Sitka Spruce tips.

We ambled a bit and decided to check out Shelter, fully expecting we would put our names in and wait for an hour or so. Well, we were told there was a table available right then. We internally groaned a little because we were still full from our late large lunch + beers but we decided to take the table, uncertain of the wait if we passed. Plus, we were checking out of Tofino into our final place in Ucluelet on Monday and we didn’t want to drive all the way back-and-forth (nearly 40 minutes each way). We were initially confused because the original Shelter was gone and opened in a new waterside location. Then we heard from the bartender that it had burned down in December 2022 and re-built in the new spot. Weirdly, our server shushed our bartender away while she was telling us about the fire, almost as if the server was afraid the bartender was going to go off-script. It was really awkward - we searched for news about the cause of the fire and couldn’t find any. Anyway, we started with brussels, which were fine, but way too oily, as if the pan or whatever they cooked them in wasn’t hot enough. I went with a bowl of chowder, which was good but not mind-blowing. The accompanying grilled bread was way too oily, just like the brussels (you can see the oil in the photo). B had the Tofino surf bowl with salmon, and SO had the kids salmon meal. Both guys loved their meals. None of us could finish our meals, so home they went with us.

Monday 24 July
Checked out of Tofino and into Ucluelet, which is a town near-and-dear to us. Much more our speed (not that Tofino is fast-speed, but a little more commercially-developed than we like). After some activity, we headed pronto to a new-to-us place, Ucluelet Brewing. We had gotten SO a hot dog + mac and cheese from Ukee Dogs. We had a fun bar snack of “nuts and bolts” (their take on Chex mix), some kind of grilled chicken sandwich for B, falafel wrap for me (good, but too sweet from an abundance of beets, which are one of my least favorite veggies to eat; dousing in hot sauce helped; couldn’t finish - took half home).

Dinner was something at home…tacos for B, some ramen for me with chickpeas, ramen and dumplings for SO. But I zhooshed up my meal with a delicious mushroom crumble that I bought in Tofino and hot sauce we bought in North Vancouver. I will be on a mission to find this at home in Boston.

Tuesday 25 July
Lunch at Jiggers, a place we first ate at in 2014, when it was still a food truck operation. Still some of the best fish and chips we’ve had (although B needed salt while I appreciate that the food is not oversalted). Huge double burger for SO. For us, fish and chips once on a trip is enough - whew! Lots of leftovers.

Dinner at home of leftovers.

Wednesday 26 July
Lunch at Ukee Dogs. Veggie chili for me (I liked it, but a tad too tomato-y than I like). Brisket burrito for B (he kinda grunted his approval, but I have a feeling it wasn’t great), plain dog for SO. Spruce from Tofino Brewing, which made us both happy. Plus, good eagle-watching.

Dinner of Jiggers leftovers at home, B wrapped his in tortillas.

Thursday 27 July
Picnic of cheese, crackers, croissants, wine, and beer at Florencia Bay beach. We decided to make a proper dinner at home so stopped at Fishfull Thinking seafood market. B got a big chunk of coho salmon to grill for him and SO, and I got some beautiful manila clams for a pasta dish. I love this little shop but I don’t love that everything is wrapped or vacuum-packed in plastic, which the lovely shopkeeper acknowledged when we declined a plastic bag to tote our goodies. Anyway, the clams made an incredible sauce - boatload of butter/garlic/lemon + hot sauce + white wine + jarred artichoke bruschetta + sprinkling cilantro/mint (I’ve been carting the latter 3 ingredients around since Vancouver so glad to finally use them up). B added salmon to his bowl. Good fridge cleanout meal. SO enjoyed the salmon with some mac and cheese (first time I’ve ever bought the blue box!).

Friday 28 July
Today. I’ve finally caught up! We’ve been having such a great time and I’m working when we’re not so it’s been tough finding time to report in real-time. Thank gawd for photos to jog one’s memory. We’re lazing at the house but it’s our last full day so we will do what we can to make the most of it, experience- and food-wise.


Glad the trip is enjoyable! It makes me smile to think about a clean out the fridge meal on vacation, because we rarely cook much on vacation. I don’t know if you’d be down but for those long car trips, we started on audiobooks and mostly enjoy that to pass the time. We listened to the Feather Thief in June and I highly recommend. Fascinating tale. Nonfiction.

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Happy to follow along on your trip with your report! We too have seriously adjusted our travel style after having a kid and it has served us well.

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I am stuffed and exhausted after reading the thread. A very active trip for sure. I doubt I have the energy to travel so much any more so glad to read this and get the vicarious benefit.


Funny, B and I both remarked how it was nice that we took it easy on this trip, staying in only 3 places (our average on a typical trip is ~5-6 different places).

We are home now, after a red-eye. We had fun last couple of days in Ukee. Back to Ucluelet Brewing for a bowl of veggie chili, Cajun chicken sandwich for B, hot dog for SO, followed by our first eBike experience checking out the new parts of the beautiful bike path and spent time at Wick Beach.



Friday evening and Saturday, we joined the Ukee Days festivities. Friday, is the traditional big BBQ but we had food to finish at home and packing to do. Lots of tempting food options on Saturday at the fairgrounds, but unfortunately, we had only time to get SO his requisite burger before we had to leave to catch our seaplane from Nanaimo back to Vancouver and then onto our flight home. Forgettable meal at YVR, but B had a decent tuna poke bowl. We had so much fun at Ukee Days and in our trip overall that B already booked a place for next year while we were at the airport!




Next up is a return to Denmark at the end of the summer. We’re all excited!


Some scenery photos to make up for the boring food (credit: B, the family photographer).













Vancouver…BEST Chinese food in North America…and you did not try any??

On this trip, I did not. But, I’m at a point in my life where experiences are more important than food. But I report all the same because it brings me some joy.


As long as you enjoyed the food you ordered and tried…that’s the most important thing!!
I recalled, years ago when I visited my best-man who settled in Tokyo. EVERY ONE of the meals he took me to were ’ non-Japanese '!! Yup! not a single Jaapnese meal during my 4 days stay!..No sushi, ramen, Tempura, Yakitoris…etc. Instead, we ate French, Italian and even Indian!! But Man!! Were they gooood! I can still recall that plate of ’ Home grown Cherry Tomato and Hokkaido Snow crab meat pasta ’ we had for my 1st lunch! Absolutely mind-blowingly delicious! Even beats some of the pasta I had in Napoli, Florence or Rome!!


There are so many ways to eat well in BC. It looks like it was a great trip.

My friend works for the tourism board in Tofino. Her husband is a Frenchman from Burgundy who sells French pastries, breads and gluten-free pastries at the Tofino Farmers’ Market, and takes people fly fishing. She’s originally from Montreal. I was able to meet up with in Montreal for a couple days in July 2018. That 48 hours with her and her 2 daughters was mostly activities focused, with food being a second thought.

I’m not travelling much due to my changed lifestyle, so it’s so nice to read your reports . I used to make 8 or more trips out of province most years up until 2019.

I haven’t been able to visit Europe since March 2019, haven’t made what used to be an annual trip to California since Sept 2017, haven’t made what used to be an annual trip to Saskatchewan since Sept 2018, haven’t made it to a family wedding in NY/ PA/ OH since June 2019 (2 or 3 a year from 2012-2019, and we have missed 2 weddings since 2020). LOL.

My last visit to BC was a trip to the Interior to ski at Big Sky near Kelowna in 2016.

Your trip to Denmark is inspiring me to make a trip to Sunset Villa in Puslinch, ON to pick up some Danish food before the end of the summer! It’s around an hour detour for me on my now typically 3 1/2 hour drive from Toronto to London, ON. :denmark: