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We took advantage of the long 4th weekend to knock out a trip we’ve been wanting to do for a while: Vancouver, B.C.

A sparkly plastic Canadian flag hat | LotsaSmiles Photography

What better way to celebrate an American holiday than to go out of the country?

Our first visit to Canada

Aaron and me holding a Canadian flag in Stanley Park | LotsaSmiles PhotographyAaron has especially been itching to go, but I wouldn’t let Canada be his first international adventure, as it barely counts as international.  Japan, on the other hand?  Talk about different!  Of course, then Aaron booked a flight through YVR to Narita… but he didn’t get a stamp, and we didn’t leave the airport, so that doesn’t count!

We were finally able to visit the city in earnest, and we timed it perfectly!  July 1st is Canada Day, and it marked Day 1 of our short trip.  Canadians sure know how to party!  The entire Vancouver waterfront was packed with revelers, maple leaves, and all manner of red and white.  I had briefly considered seeking out a store in which I could purchase a celebratory maple flag of my own, but I quickly found there was no need; folks were handing them out by the handful in front of Canada Place, the epicenter of the festivities.

A maple leaf fountain in Vancouver B.C. | LotsaSmiles Photography

Visitors to Stanley park posing with a Canadian flag | LotsaSmiles PhotographyThe revelers

We biked around Stanley Park and came across a woman who asked for assistance with taking a picture of her holding a flag.  In exchange, she let us pose with it as well, so we could show our true patriotism to all our Facebook friends.  Meanwhile, we chatted about Calgary and Portland (our respective hometowns), along with the Vancouver atmosphere, pictures, and travel.  I felt so human being able to connect with a perfect stranger so easily!

People wore flags as capes, as shirts, as underwear (you don’t want to see pictures of that).  Red and white adorned the houses, and the streets were lined with people camped out for the parade (I was very glad to be on foot).  I think you find similar in America for the 4th, but this seemed particularly enthusiastic.  It was difficult to not get caught up in the exciting atmosphere.

A Vancouver condo, bedecked in many Canadian flags for Canada Day | LotsaSmiles Photography

The fireworks cruise

We joined a bay cruise that evening (Aaron has a thing for these, as we can’t seem to go on a trip without including one) where we sipped cocktails, enjoyed a buffet dinner, and took in the sites out around Stanley Park and in as far as Science World.

I don’t do anything halfway, so I dove right in with the maple paraphernalia.  Our cruise captain laughed when he saw me, remarking I was “quite the patriot.”  When I replied, “The funny thing is: I’m American!” he was speechless.  He didn’t believe me.  It was a beautiful moment.

We capped the evening off with fireworks before walking back to our rental.  The streets were all abuzz; every bar was packed, and I couldn’t believe how hopping Granville Street was so late at night.

It was an exhausting day, but it was a blast to see how another country celebrates their patriotism.  It was an amazing start to our little trip.  We should celebrate Canada Day every year!  Interestingly enough, we had planned on closing out our long weekend with the local festivities when we got back.  However, we were so tired we ended up crashing, missing the American fireworks (we really are patriotic, aren’t we?).  I’m glad we made so much of the fun in Vancouver; I feel we celebrated enough for two holidays!


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