July 1, 2017. 150th Birthday of Canada. We rose early on Canada Day, but not as early as the IBBI (Int’l Brotherhood of Balloon Inflators). This arch was over the elevator lobby at our hotel.
We loaded up on breakfast because we knew we would be on the road under time pressure. We had a B&B in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The normal way to go is down to Vancouver (90 minutes), catch the ferry to Nanaimo (105 minutes) and 10 km to the B&B. The only trouble was we had not done this far enough in advance, and all the Vancouver ferries were sold out. Ferries up the coast took many hours to reach and required intermediate ferries as well. In the end, the only solution was to go south across the border to Anacortes, (3.5 hours + border delay + 1 hour early arrival at the pier) catch the ferry to Victoria (2 hours), and drive to Nanaimo (2 hours).
We saw one of the floats for the parade. The design reminded us of Animal House (“Cut the Cake!”) but the colours were way too cheerful.
We had a pleasant drive down to Vancouver, scenic all the way and no traffic. Everybody was going uphill to Whistler. The border crossing stopped us for 45 minutes but left us with enough time to buy some Bug Remover for the front of the car. When we finally got to Anacortes we had lots of time in the waiting line to scrub the front end and wax it up again.
From the ferry dock, we think that’s Mt. Rainier in the distance.
It’s a great trip through the San Juan Islands to Victoria. This is where you want to live if you own a boat.
After the two hour drive up the island we reached our B&B and almost immediately turned around to go to downtown Nanaimo for dinner and, we hoped, fireworks. Parking was less of a problem than we feared and we even found a table in a restaurant on the waterfront.
Alice had a local Dungeness crab and she finished the whole thing. Very impressive.
Around 9:30 people began gathering on the docks as well as ashore. This is the view from our restaurant – it told us we were in the right spot. Being so far north, the show did not begin until 10:30.
The little blue light was from one of three harbor patrol boats who lit their emergency lights and surrounded the fireworks barge to keep tourists out of the danger zone.
And so ended Canada Day.