Posted by: travelrat | September 1, 2015

Vancouver

Photo by Kris Eichler

Photo by Kris Eichler

When I started reading up on Vancouver to prepare for our coming trip, the first thing I came upon was a fact I hadn’t realised before. Vancouver ISN’T on Vancouver Island.

The island took its name from explorer Captain George Vancouver, who first visited the area as a midshipman on Captain James Cook’s Resolution in 1778, when Cook, in the true contemporary explorer fashion, planted a flag and claimed the territory for the King.

But, the Spanish had other ideas, and, when Vancouver returned to the area in command of Discovery in 1792, he found a large party of Spaniards in residence. He was received cordially by their commander, one Juan Francisco Bodega y Quadra, and they agreed to let things stand until they received further instructions, and meanwhile call the island Quadra and Vancouver Island … in time, the Spanish influence declined, and it simple became Vancouver Island.

The island’s main city is also the capital of British Columbia; Victoria, which Rudyard Kipling once described as ‘Brighton Pavilion, with the Himalayas as a backdrop’. Some friends who recently visited agreed this was a very good description, and I’m hoping that time and purse-strings will allow a visit.

Over on the mainland, a settlement grew around a sawmill. It was initially called Gastown, and doesn’t seem to have been the kind of place you take your Mum for a Mothers’ Day treat. But, with the arrival of the railway, it became an important transport link, and a little more couth, so they changed its name to Vancouver, after the nearby island.

Searching the web produced countless lists of ‘things to do’ in Vancouver. We have no hard and fast plans in place at the moment … but I think we’re going to be hard put to try anything but the smallest fraction of them. I think we’re going to like it!

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