Holiday in British Columbia

This summer, we decided to go to Victoria and Vancouver for a holiday. We have been there before but it has been few years since we went as a family. Both places have a sentimental value for my wife and I. We were married in Vancouver and had our honeymoon in Victoria.

I remember those days quite well. We were both working hard to finish our studies and training. That was the time when we could not afford much.

My wife and I had several family members in Vancouver. But much has happened since our wedding. We have had two children. They are now teenagers and close to finishing high school. And we have had some losses. My father, brother and sister have passed away. And my wife’s parents have left this world.

But still there are number of other relatives who are there. For them Medicine Hat is not an exciting place to visit. So we thought it is time for us to visit them. It is good for family bonding, especially for children. Besides that we wanted to visit universities in B.C. in case our children decide to go there.

Victoria, of course, is a very beautiful city. It has 150-year history. It is British Columbia’s oldest city and provincial capital. In 1908, it had a population of 25,000. Now the population is 326,000. The horse-shoe shaped Inner Harbour is the hub of activity during the day as well as at night. Besides the marine activity there are street musicians and artists who entertain and draw crowds of onlookers. It is a very lively and busy place.

The downtown has excellent walking and shopping areas and multitudes of restaurants to cater to almost everybody’s needs. The city boasts of several beautiful golf courses whose green fees run into three figures. And there are lots of recreational activities of all kinds.

We spent fair amount of time in and around the Inner Harbour and downtown area. We also visited the Butchart Gardens which was celebrating 100 Years in Bloom (1904-2004). We spent a day at the University of Victoria and took a campus tour.

The University was founded in 1963. It is located on 160 hectares in residential Greater Victoria. It is a 15-minute drive from downtown Victoria. It has 12,014 full-time students and 6,022 part-time students. Tuition: $4,271.

Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city where you can hike, ski, or golf by day, and enjoy lavish accommodations, live theater and fine dining by night, says a tourist brochure. And that is the truth.

Vancouver is Canada’s third largest city. The city of Vancouver has a population of 571,708. But Vancouver and its 18 surrounding municipalities (Greater Vancouver) have a population of 2,028,996. Besides doing some sight seeing we did lot of walking and eating. We also took campus tours at the Simon Fraser University (SFU) and University of British Columbia (UBC).

SFU is situated at the summit of 400-metre-high Burnaby Mountain. It is 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver. It opened its doors in 1965. It has 12,104 full-time students and 9,580 part-time students. Tuition: $4,174. Every high school student with a 90 percent or higher admission average automatically receives a $3,500 entrance scholarship.

UBC is like a city in itself with 40,000 students (full-time 28,091, part-time 11,141) on a 402 hectares land and 412 buildings. It is 20 minutes drive from downtown Vancouver. UBC has students from 114 countries. Tuition: $4,036. It is one of the most beautiful campuses I have seen. UBC was established in 1908.

It was an interesting holiday. Weather was perfect until the last couple of days. The experience was diverse. Visiting institutions of higher learning was quite an experience for our children. We hope it will be a positive factor in their future planning. We had lots to eat. And I put on five pounds! Time to get on my treadmill!

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