Wednesday, November 30, 2022


The tour begins at the CPR Steamship Terminal Building, located across the street from the BC Parliament Buildings pictured here. ©SueFrausePhoto

What better way to see the sights and taste the delights of Victoria BC than on a culinary walking tour in December? Off the Eaten Track (love the name!) is offering a Cozy Christmas Self-Guided Food Tour this holiday season.  

Included in the $45 passport are seven foodie stops along the 1.5 km downtown route plus a downloadable audio tour. Walking time is approximately two hours, but there's no time limit. Spend the day in BC's capital city while leisurely doing your tasting tour.

The tour begins at the CPR Steamship Terminal Building on Victoria's Inner Harbour, where you'll pick up your passport, GPS-triggered APP (they'll help you get started) and some savory Nuts & Bolts party mix. From there you'll walk along the Inner Harbour and up Government Street to Rogers' Chocolates for peppermint cream. The company was founded in Victoria in 1885.

The Festival of Trees at The Bay Centre features 70 decorated trees.

Then it's on to Bon Macaron Patisserie for holiday-flavored macarons, followed by a stop at nearby Artisan Wine for a festive glass of wine or soda. Pop inside The Bay Centre to take in the colorful Festival of Trees, followed by the Dutch Bakery & Diner for some traditional spiced shortbread. The last two stops include cheese from L'Apero Wine and Cheese Bistro, followed by the final stop at Chocolat & Co. for truffles.

  • Offered thru Dec 31, 2022 (closed Dec 23-26)
  • Available Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30AM to 5PM
  • App works on both Apple and Android phones

Friday, November 18, 2022


Mayne Queen arrives on Saturna Island
©SueFrausePhoto (2006)

BC Ferries' Mayne Queen will make its last official full-time run on Saturday, November 19, 2022. The ferry first entered service 57 years ago in 1965, and for the majority of that time served the same run through the Southern Gulf Islands

Locals know it as Route 5, a tentacular connection between Vancouver Island, Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Saturna Islands. According to BC Ferries, crew aboard the Mayne Queen are family and "quick to jump a car that won't start or return to work in emergency situations." Island legend suggests "the Mayne Queen may have even reversed course a time or two for a backpack, accidentally left behind by a child rushing to school." 


The Mayne Queen will be at the following ports on Sunday, November 20. Community members are welcome to board the vessel as walk-ons for a short visit, but must disembark before it departs for its next stop. No passengers or vehicles will be carried from port to port.

Otter Bay (Pender)            1:50-2:20 pm

Lyall Harbour (Saturna)    2:55-3:25 pm

Village Bay (Mayne)         4:00-4:30 pm

Sturdies Bay (Galiano)      4:55-5:25 pm

Photo courtesy BC Ferries

Wednesday, November 09, 2022



Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver (2017)

Bye-bye Trump, Hello Paradox! Former U.S. President Donald J. Trump no longer has free room and board when he visits Vancouver. The Trump International Hotel, which opened in 2017, closed its doors in 2020. 

In April 2022, the Paradox Hotel Vancouver made its debut in the former Trump property. Located in downtown's Coal Harbour, it is the flagship location for Paradox Hotel Group, whose other properties include the Summit Lodge and Aava Hotel in Whistler, plus locations in Phuket and Singapore. 

Located in the 63-story twisty tower designed by the late Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson, the hotel features 147 guest rooms on the lower portion of the tower.  Among the amenities at the hotel on West Georgia are an indoor pool and walk-out whirlpool, fitness center and Xylia Natural Spa.
A hotel room at the Paradox Hotel. 

Dining options at the Paradox include Karma Lounge (open daily at 11AM); Mott 32 (a modern approach to Chinese Cuisine) and the Mansion Night Club (open Friday-Saturday evenings). In-room dining is available via Karma Lounge.

1161 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC

During the week of 11/06/22, a check on the hotel's website lists room rates starting at $236.55 CAD ($175.49 US).  

hotel room at the Paradox Hotel Vancouver.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022



The re-envisioned Lumiere Festival returns with an expanded footprint across Downtown Vancouver this year. Running November 17-27, 2022 the festival will not only brighten the city but shine a light on local artists. With the theme Dream the Future, elements of light, art and storytelling weave together to redefine winter as a season of inspiration and connection. 

Locals and visitors are invited to follow Lumiere through Downtown Vancouver, the West End, Gastown and Yaletown to discover 55+ artists/performers, illuminated Dream Beacons, pop-up performances and workshops/demonstrations. There will also be neighborhood parades during the 11-day festival. 

Kicking off the Lumiere Festival on Thursday, November 17 is an open -air spectacle at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square (formerly Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza). The Festival wraps up in the West End's Morton Park on Saturday, November 26 showcasing artists, light and performances. 

LUMIERE FESTIVAL ~ Nov 17-27, 2022

Click on the link for location-specific performances, light installation details and more 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Beautiful views of British Columbia aboard Amtrak Cascades from Everett, WA to Vancouver, BC. 

The last time I visited Canada was in the summer of 2018. Which means it has been four years since I've visited our neighbor to the north. Oh, Canada, how I've missed you! 

But with Amtrak Cascades service resuming daily service September 26, it's full speed ahead for me to take the train from Everett to Vancouver, BC (I've already booked my ticket for a couple nights in November). Here's updated information about the resumption of train service between the two countries

Fun letters in Robson Square during my last visit to Vancouver BC.

In other upbeat news, Canada has removed all COVID-19 border requirements beginning October 1, 2022. That means you no longer need to show proof of vaccination or don a mask when boarding a train or plane.

View from the Wedgewood Hotel of the Vancouver Art Galley at the corner of Hornby and Robson. 

Planning Your Trip


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Amtrak Cascades resumes service between Seattle and Vancouver BC

It's what many Vancouver BC bound travelers have been waiting for! With Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver suspended since 2020 due to the pandemic, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and gave a virtual fist pump when I discovered the trains will roll again between the two cities on September 26, 2022. 

The reason for the delay in resumption of service is that Amtrak was working in conjunction with WSDOT, ODOT, VIA Rail Canada and other federal agencies. Lots of chefs in the kitchen!

The first Amtrak Cascades train north to Vancouver will depart Seattle at 745AM on Monday, September 26 -- stopping at its usual five cities along the way (Edmonds-Everett-Stanwood-Mount Vernon-Bellingham) and arriving in Vancouver at 11:45AM. The southbound train will depart Vancouver at 5:45PM and arrive in Seattle at 10:10 PM. 

A single roundtrip is offered daily, with a second daily trip added in the future as Amtrak staffing and equipment allow. The popular Amtrak Cascades route also offers three daily round trips between Portland and Seattle, two daily round trips between Eugene and Portland, along with two daily buses between Seattle and Bellingham and four daily buses between Seattle and Vancouver BC. 

In addition to the standard entry documentation requirements, the Canadian and US Governments have several additional requirements for travel into Canada and the United States. Those not meeting the criteria will not be allowed to cross the border. 


All passengers must use the ArriveCAN app before travel and wear a mask in Canadian stations and on board trains while traveling through Canada. Non-Canadian citizens must be fully vaccinated and carry the vaccination record that was uploaded into ArriveCAN. See details on the Government of Canada and Via Rail websites.


Non-US citizen passengers must be fully vaccinated with a U.S.FDA or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine. Details on the US Department of Homeland Security website. 


Travelers may purchase tickets online at and or by calling 800.USA.RAIL.

Monday, August 08, 2022

'World's Best Donut Tour' launches in Vancouver BC, its first location in Canada

Vancouver's Olympic Cauldron is located next to Canada Place and was built for the 2010 Winter Games. The cauldron is occasionally lit for special events. ©SueFrausePhoto

The Underground Donut Tour (aka 'World's Best Donut Tour') launches its first tour in Canada, specifically Vancouver, BC. The seven-year-old tour company currently runs in 11 cities in the US, UK and Ireland. 

"Vancouver has always been on our list of cities we wanted to open and when we saw the incredible selection and styles of donuts available, everything just clicked," said Jeff Woelker, founder of the Underground Donut Tour. 

But not to worry, the tour is not underground! As the company explained, underground is meant to be 'secretive' or 'in the know'. So now you know.

The walking tour includes four of the best donut shops in Vancouver. A tour guide shares the history of each location, along with local sights, sounds and tastes of the area. 
The Underground Donut Tour takes place primarily in historic downtown neighborhoods, Coal Harbour, Gastown and the West End. Local architecture is highlighted, including the 83-year-old Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Canada Place and the adjoining Olympic Cauldron, and the donut shops along the way. 

"We're so excited to launch this tour and show off Vancouver's natural beauty, architecture, history, and of course the donuts," said Ainslee Dalzell, manager of Underground Donut Tour Vancouver.

The Vancouver tours begin August 12 and run every Friday-Saturday-Sunday at 9AM and 12PM, year-round. The company expects  additional days and times will be added soon. 

Tickets are $40CDN for adults and $25CND for ages 10 and under. Tickets may be booked for Vancouver at Underground Donut Tour beginning August 8, 2022.  


The tour begins at the CPR Steamship Terminal Building, located across the street from the BC Parliament Buildings pictured here. ©SueFrause...