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  • Writer's pictureKeef Hellinger

Blog 166 Canada British Columbia & Alberta, 1999 Family Holiday with Doug

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

By keef and annie hellinger, Dec 2 2021 14.21 pm

Between 11th August and 4th Sep 1999 picking up our hired motorhome near Vancouver airport, we had initially stayed in a hotel in a somewhat dodgy area of downtown Vancouver. Keef had booked it online so had no idea... druggies, drunks and hookers (sounds a bit like a Neil Young album title 😉) anyhow once into the old town area which wasn't that far it was fab, totem poles, gas town water street and Gassy Jack's famous exhibit the steam clock, the harbour area, lions gate bridge, sea planes, Stanley park (pretty sure there is an ice hockey cup called the Stanley Cup... who knew 😉, plus Canada Place their attempt at the Sydney Opera house!

If you would like to read the full diary please click HERE or to listen to our adventures as an Audio book if you would prefer please click HERE thanks

See the full site entry HERE

As Moonfruit died on 7th December 2021 my previous HOLIDAY2010 site which contained our trips to Florida in 1997 and our trip to British Columbia in 1997 (plus briefly visiting pals David & Cathy & family in 1999 in Edmonton, Alberta) was migrated by Yell to WIX. I have decided to incorporate it here into my motorhome-travels blog site as an insurance against Yell increasing site charges quite substantially once a year is up, it will then be easy to remove the migrated site.

In January 2022 I decided to work on the HOLIDAY 2010 site that had been very badly migrated i.e it did not work but after quite some effort I am happy to keep it in its new guise, click HERE to see the new version of Canada 1997, enjoy or just carry on with the blog here

CANADA IN A MOTORHOME 1999, British Columbia & Vancouver Island Plus Alberta to Edmonton to stay with Friends, plus we travelled with Doug who was so into fishing at the time esp. around the Kamloops area, not sure he enjoyed my snoring though 😉

Time to see and hear about our trip in 1999

Family Time in a Motorhome with Doug aged 15
Family Time in a Motorhome with Doug aged 15

classic 2000 motorhome
our classic 2000 van hire with doug for travels in british columbia / bits of alberta

Slideshow of Provincial Flags of Canada

1999 holiday slideshows

the 1997 talkies video

Full Diary

Canada 1999 Mostly British Columbia , Some Alberta to Edmonton and back

Summary: We spent 25 Days in British Columbia and a bit of Alberta

We took 185 Photos, all of which are included in the summary slideshows.

Our trip to Canada in 1999 was from 11 August to 4th September, 25 days in our hired All Drive Classic 3000 3 berth motorhome combined with a hire car at the beginning for use to get around Vancouver Island and do the Inside passage loop from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and then back down to Vancouver to swap the car for the camper van, when we had the car we stayed in B&B’s mostly and some motels, clearly once we had the van we stayed at campsites. Initially we started in Vancouver downtown in what was definitely not a nice area but was cheap and afforded us the opportunity to see the City of Vancouver quite easily, then across on the ferry to Vancouver island where we went to Tofino to do some whale watching in the Salish sea, actually saw a pod of Orca's just magical from our boat that left Telegraph Cove, after returning from Victoria, Vancouver Island and picking up the motorhome we went to see the Rockies, then much more of British Columbia eventually travelling up to Edmonton in Alberta to visit our pals David & Cathy & family, magical times with Doug who was 15 at that stage, fishing and chopping logs for our wild camp fire cooking was a true highlight. We stayed in some very remote campsites and managed to avoid the bears!

In summary some of the highlights and places visited were Victoria, Vancouver Island, Vancouver City, Burnaby, West Vancouver, Cypress Provincial Park, inside passage by ferry, Prince Rupert, we drove much on the fab remote Highway 16 thru BC back down through some fabulous scenery to Vancouver swapped car for motorhome and then across to friends in Edmonton, plus we saw at various stages and in no particular order, Prince George, the BC ferry Tsawwassen thru US waters, and various Islands to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen terminal is a 36 km drive from downtown Vancouver and is located at the southwest end of Highway 17 in Delta. Sailings departing from Tsawwassen provide service to Swartz Bay (Victoria), Duke Point (Nanaimo) and the Southern Gulf Islands. Visit the Tsawwassen Quay for shopping and a range of food and beverage options.

On Vancouver Island we visited Sidney, Cassidy, stayed in Duncan, Crofton, Swartz Bay, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew, Nanoose Bay, Port Alberni, Beaver Creek, Long Beach, Tofino and then returned to the Islands Capital Victoria which is just such a lovely place with the historic Empress Hotel. We returned via the fabulous Shawnigan Lake, we also visited Sooke on the island where our B&B landlady told us a about the replica Captain James Cook ship the Endeavour on its re-enactment voyage, just wonderful especially as Captain Cook is our hero and we have tried on our travels to visit many of the places he went to , from Middlesborough to 1770, big tick, plus we remember the sordid Patricia Hotel, North Saanich, Cordova Bay, Thetis Lake Regional Park, Esquimalt, Millstream, Squamish, Whistler, Banff, Pemberton, Mount Currie, Lillooet, 70,100,150 mile house, Quesnel, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Gitnadoiks River Provincial Park, Hazelton, Seven sisters provincial park, Chemainus and all the wall murals, bit like the place in New Zealand called Kati Kati, Giant Sequoias, McBride, Athabasca Falls, White Water Rapids, MacMillan Provincial Park , the Canopy Bridge at Grouse Mountain and the Lumberjack games display there, The Fraser River, Gaslight Jack and Granville island, ferries galore, Moraine Lake, Robson Bight, Banff Springs Hotel, talk about posh, Jasper National Park, We camped in Kamloops where despite the time of year one of the residents in a caravan had their Christmas decorations up, bizarre but very festive, Kelowna , the pacific rim national park on Vancouver island was spectacular, we camped at gold river and visited Campbell River (later we discovered Annie has current rellies living there, shame we didn’t know at the time, Strathcona Park.

We then drove up to Port Hardy staying in this old house B&B there before getting up very early to travel on the ferry up to Prince Rupert , this was the famed inside passage, we headed up the coast having set sail from Port Hardy through the magnificent glacial fjords of the Inside Passage to the stunning and wild destination of Prince Rupert. It passes through the Queen Charlotte sound but for us the weather sadly was appalling so we were a bit restricted in what we managed to see. We stayed at the Tall Trees B&B in Prince Rupert run by the lovey Kathy Butterfield who was so welcoming and told us quite a bit about the local area. Travelling back down to Vancouver in the car we stayed at a B&B in 100-mile house having had a quick look around Prince George after leaving Kathy. On the 22nd of August we made our way back to Vancouver having seen Whistler the previous day , remember mountain bikers coming hurtling down the now snow clear mountain sides, frightening, even in my hey day I would never have had the bottle to travel quite so fast, overnight we stayed in a B&B in Squamish, we then swapped the car for the motorhome before heading off to Edmonton. In the motorhome we visited Banff, Lake Louise which is where sadly our water tank came detached from the underside of the hire van, a very kind Canadian stopped and applied a rope he had to it to strap it up enough for us to get back into the town of Lake Louise where we took it to a garage having rung the hire company and had it welded back on, we kept the receipt so we could claim back later, on route we also saw Kootenay, Waterton, Roger’s Pass National Park, Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, Seaplanes over Vancouver North Harbour, Spray Can Art, Bungee Jumping (not us just watching) near Nanaimo, Yoho National Park where we visited and went for a swim in the Radium Hot Water springs pool, it may have been chilly outside but in the water was heavenly. We also saw the Columbia Icefields Park where we travelled on a snow mobile / coach called the ice explorer out to the Athabasca glacier one of the ice fields 5 toes, do remember them specifically telling us all to stay within the perimeter rope for our safety, folk had died falling down the many crevasses, a foolish tourist in our party didn’t follow this advice and hoped over the fence to get a better picture, he was lucky.

We also saw Aspen Grove, Art Ksan at Hazelton, the wonderful Butchart gardens, so loved that what an experience, Cathedral Grove, lots of wildlife along the roadways edge especially in the Rockies National Park, fishing on Nicola Lake outside Kamloops, Glacier National Park, Sulphur mountain which we took a cable car known as the Gondola to the top of , amazing views looking back down at Banff, Keef of course got his Hard Rock Café T-shirt from Banff, why not, smile, we also took the van into Calgary but it was just so busy we decided not to stay long and headed off to Edmonton, remember David clearly saying when we camped some 300 miles down the road, hey you were so nearby, Canadians have a different view of distance, their country is just so huge in comparison to the UK. Also visited West Ed Mall, amazing what was in there, Annie going down the hugely deep-water slide is one memory, the other is denting the side of the van on a bollard in the car park which I didn’t see, oh dear. We eventually drove back to Calgary to hand the van in there and did a deal on receipt against busted water tank and dent in van, so quits no charge for either party, result. All drive hire company gave us a lift to Calgary airport, part of our one way hire agreement and we flew back into Manchester I think via Keflavik in Iceland (but that may have been on the way out, can’t remember) but what I do remember is buying the Reykjavik T-shirt from the Hard Rock Café in the airport tee-hee and then home to Nottingham. A lovely trip with some great memories and shared with Doug in his teenage years, Craig was in Spain with his mates.

That’s all folks, I think its quite enough but memories reconstructed in 2022 by KeefH Web Designs, thanks for listening folks.



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Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Jan 31, 2022


Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
Jan 31, 2022

update 31/1/22 to point to the new improved canada 1999 on the HOLIDAY 2010 site (reworked)

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