Leaving Cowichan, Valley-style

My husband and I left the Valley last weekend. We had tickets to the Sledge Hockey final at the Paralympic games, which happened to coincide with our wedding anniversary so we made a weekend of it in Vancouver. Except this time we did it Valley-style: relaxed and schedule-free.

The game was entertaining (though would have been more so if Canada had played), the food was delicious and plentiful (Italian Kitchen on Alberni Street if anyone needs a fun place for dinner), and the Art Gallery was free. And, of course, no trip to Vancouver is complete without sore shopping feet. We did it all.

What kept us grounded is we did it without a car. After a 45-minute drive from Maple Bay to Departure Bay (so quick!), we parked the car at the BC Ferries’ long-stay lot; $25 covered us for 2.5 days. After an enjoyable ferry crossing with sun shining on our faces and Mount Baker on the horizon, we hopped on a TransLink bus from Horseshoe Bay to Downtown Vancouver.

There’s the express bus that takes the highway into Downtown Vancouver, and the scenic bus that goes along gorgeous Marine Drive (and only takes an extra 10 minutes). Both run every 20 minutes or so, depending on the day. Both cost $3.75 per person. (There is another option: the Greyhound offers travel into the city for $15 per person, though after taking the transit, I wouldn’t bother.)

We chose the scenic route. Not having to drive meant we could hold an uninterrupted conversation while peeking over the hedges at the posh houses and ocean vista. Nor did we have to wait for an hour at the Lions Gate bridge (the bus gets through more quickly in the commuter lane). We disembarked two blocks from our hotel, so we weren’t even burdened with luggage for very long. The ferry crossing and bus trip set the tone for a restful weekend away.

Maybe next time we’ll take the car out of the equation entirely. A short walk along the beach to Maple Bay Marina and we can hop on a float plane. We could be Downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!


  1. Small world! I was at two games before yours: the 5/6 playoff and the Bronze medal round (with Canada). It was (too) exciting… except for the silent last two minutes!

    By the way – you can buy a Translink Day Pass for $9 while on the ferry and then you don’t need to fuss with coins anymore getting on the bus.

  2. After being at the Games and taking the Canada Line/Buses to events/fun stuff/eating we will do this but from the Ferry terminal the next time. I guess it took the Olympic Games to get us out of a ‘car only’ mindset….buses, rapid transit and heaven forbid taxis if you need them what a way to go!

    1. Insane to say this out loud, but we even considered selling the van when the kids no longer need car seats. Might have to ask our friendly neighbours for a ride to the grocery store every now and then….

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