Ellie's Bucket List Trip to Western Canada | Miles Morgan Travel
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Ellie's Bucket List Trip to Western Canada


When I found out I had won a trip to West Canada with Prestige Travel, I was ecstatic! I’d always dreamed about visiting one day but I never expected I’d be lucky enough to be travelling so soon AND to be invited on the Rocky mountaineer was the icing on the cake. This bucket list trip started in London Heathrow where we flew with Air Canada in economy class. It was a comfortable daytime flight with lots of film choices to keep us entertained for the 10 hour journey to Vancouver.

We arrived late and stayed at the Fairmont Vancouver which was a luxurious “castle in the sky.” This elegantly designed hotel with its touches of 1930s art deco is also perfectly located for exploring this beautifully modern city.


We started the first day with an incredible buffet breakfast before heading out for a day of sightseeing. We began at Stanley Park, which is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the urban landscape. The park offers kilometres of trails, stunning beaches, local wildlife, great cafes and historical landmarks. We then headed to Capilano suspension bridge park where we crossed over the river into the forest. The bridge swayed from side to side with every step, so this definitely isn’t for the faint hearted!


The next stop on our tour and possibly my favourite part of the day was Granville Island. Formerly an industrial manufacturing area, this has now been converted into a real hub for locals and tourists alike and includes a huge public food market, a marina, numerous art studios and creative spaces for people to learn.


We took part in a food tour and got to sample so many delicious dishes made by local producers. My personal favourite was the cured meats by a company called Oyama sausage company, a must try for anyone visiting. Our last stop of the day was “Flyover Canada” located down at the waterfront. This is an educational flight simulator ride that transports you through the breathtaking scenery of Canada whilst telling you captivating stories about its rich culture. It was a really fun way to end our busy day.


Day 2 and it was time to board the Iconic Rocky Mountaineer! We met in the lobby at 6am where your bags are collected. They really make it a smooth operation as you next see them in your room in Kamloops. We boarded the train in the Gold Leaf carriage which truly took my breath away. The stunning glass ceiling gave immaculate views of your surroundings and you even get your own heated, recliner seat. Throughout the journey you were served all the food and drink you could possibly wish for, and it all tasted phenomenal. My favourite breakfast was eggs benedict and my salmon main was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten. We arrived in Kamloops just before 9pm. It was a very smooth transition as Rocky Mountaineer check you into the hotel and give you your room keys onboard, so you can head straight to your rooms on arrival.


The scenery just never tired, especially on our second leg through the Rocky Mountains. There was always another wow moment around the next corner and I never knew which way to look. We had the same hosts onboard our carriage for both days and they were fantastic. They got to know every passengers name and more importantly, their drink order! They gave us lots of information about the areas we were passing and were always pointing out eagles, big horned sheep, beavers and various other wildlife as we passed them. The mountains, lakes and rivers that we were passing through were like something out of a movie scene and I would encourage anyone visiting West Canada to make this an essential part of their trip. It was unforgettable.


Our journey ended in Banff where we stayed for 2 nights at the Hotel Canoe and suites which was located at the top end of Banff Avenue. From there it was about a 15 minute straight walk to where all the shops bars and restaurants were located. I thought I’d be used to the views from the Rocky mountaineer but when I stepped onto the balcony of my room, I was once again blown away by the backdrop of the mountains.


The following morning we headed to Banff Gondola to reach the summit of Sulphur Mountain. The views from the top were again, spectacular. There was a sprinkling of snow in the air which made for a magical morning. We explored the walkways to really make the most of our time there. We then warmed up in front of the fire pits where they handed out marshmallows for us to toast which was a really lovely touch.


We then travelled to Lake Louise and were given free time to explore. We did this through a tour company which I would highly recommend as parking is not easy there. It was still snowing but the sky was clear and the air was crisp with the sun shining down on our faces. This time of year the lake is still completely frozen which meant we could walk onto it. An amazing photo opportunity! We also spent time walking around the lake through the trees which offered different and even more picturesque angles of the lake. In the summer months the ice melts and it becomes a beautiful turquoise colour which I will definitely be coming back to see. That evening we had a little wander around the town to buy some souvenirs and dined at Three Bears Brewery, which I would highly recommend. I absolutely loved Banff and its whole vibe.


The following morning we were totally spoilt and had breakfast and a site inspection at the Fairmont Banff Springs. We were treated to the most wonderful hospitality and delicious buffet style breakfast there. It’s slightly out of town but still within walking distance and when you see the grounds that the hotel stands in, you will understand why. The golf course is famous for their regular visitors which include Bear and Elk whereas the hotels visitors have included Marilyn Monroe and The Queen.


Our final destination of the trip was Calgary where we were to fly home later that afternoon. It was an hour and a half transfer from Banff where we spotted the winter Olympic ground where Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican bobsleigh team made their fame. We didn’t have long to explore the city so we figured the best way to see as much as possible was from the famous Calgary tower. From here we were able to see the Calgary Stampede showground. This annual 10 day rodeo festival is held in July, so if you are able to tie that into your itinerary you are definitely in for a good time.

Returning home, I had a chance to reflect on what turned out to be a trip of a lifetime. I’d recommend to anyone to visit and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me by either popping into the Chepstow shop, giving me a call on 01291 762006 or send me an email at [email protected].


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