View of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

A Perfect Day in VanCity! Poutine + the Beach at Spanish Banks + Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Poutine at La Belle Patate in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

We started our day how every day should begin… with poutine.

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a crazed-obsessed fan of poutine. It all started back in 2001 when I visited Canada for the first time.

My best friend Amanda (who, if you’re reading this, I miss the absolute crap out of you) lived in Toronto for a couple years. We spent a day at Wonderland, an amusement park, and she and her family introduced me to the beauty of life that is poutine.

It is one of my guilty pleasures. I will always love it.

Poutine Menu at La Belle Patate in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comFor my American and other poutine-deprived readers… poutine, in it’s purest form, is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds (or as my boyfriend likes to call them, squeaky cheese). The word poutine itself means “mess”, kind of. But it tastes like heaven, I promise.

The dish originated during the mid-20th century in the French region of Canada, otherwise known as Quebec.

If you haven’t tried it you can pick up a bag in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. It’s obviously not as good as the real deal but it’s a good replacement option.

Anywaaaay… back to my poutine-adventure in Vancouver.

My cousins and I arrived on Davie St, which is also the location of Canada’s largest gay community, and we quickly spied La Belle Patate.

Davie Street sign in the West End of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

La Belle Patate, one of the most popular spots in BC to grab a hot container of la poutine, is also known for their Montreal-style smoked meat.

They carry a variety of poutine dishes including traditional — my favorite, smoked meat, chicken, galvaude (chicken and peas), BBQ, BBQ chicken, BBQ smoked meat, BBQ galvaude, Italienne (with meat sauce), Hot Dog, Steak Hachee, Hamburger Steak, Bacon, Vegetarian, Mish-Mash, All Dressed, Extreme, Steak & Pepperoni, Supreme, Mexicana, Meat Lover, Deluxe Smoked Meat, Breakfast, Choux Chous (fries, coleslaw, and sauce), Donair (tomato, onion, sweet sauce, donair meat).

There is literally something for everyone!

Their sizes come in small, medium, and large. Or, you can order “all you can eat” for $19.50 Canadian dollars. I ordered a small — pictured below — and loved every. single. bite.

Traditional Poutine (French fries, gravy, & cheese curds) at La Belle Patate in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

Traditional Poutine (French fries, gravy, & cheese curds) at La Belle Patate in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

Empty box of Traditional Poutine (French fries, gravy, & cheese curds) at La Belle Patate in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comClearly.

Well, with poutine in our bellies we made our way down to the Spanish Banks Beach, located along Northwest Marine Dr.Apartment building with a tree on the roof in Spanish Banks beach, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comMy cousin Erica pointed out this apartment building with a tall tree located at the very top.

I’ve tried to figure out what exactly the story is behind this tree, but have not succeeded. Yet. If you know, please comment below!

I took some sweet photos of my cousin Johnny holding his son (and my godson), Wyatt.Beach at Spanish Banks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comIt was fun to walk along the beach in the sun with family. I could see this being a very cool place to hang out during summer when the weather is a little warmer.

Beach at Spanish Banks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

We kept walking south until we found ourselves at the heart of English Bay.

Inukshuk - ancient symbol of the Inuit culture - Beach at Spanish Banks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comWe came across this striking monument — known as Inukshuk — which is an ancient symbol of the Inuit culture. Traditionally used as a navigational aid, it represents welcoming, hospitality, and friendship. You may recognize it as the symbol of the 2010 Olympic Winter games.

This particular landmark has stood at this site since 1987.

Sailboat and kayaks at the beach at Spanish Banks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

After lounging and relaxing for a bit we made our way to one of my favorite places in all of Vancouver, Stanley Park!

As we exited the car, after parking near the Brockton Point lighthouse, this beautiful water plane flew overhead. The dark clouds and snow-capped mountains in the distance made for a gorgeous backdrop as the plane flew west.A water plane over the beach at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comA water plane over the beach at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comWe continued on, walking down the lighthouse stairs to the seawall.
View of the bridge from North Vancouver from Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

The air, crisp and clean, felt fresh in my Los Angeles lungs. The dark green tones of the trees and blues of the water and sky made for a relaxing atmosphere. It’s hard not to love Stanley Park. Whether you come to exercise, play on the beach, ride a bike through the scenic trails (you can easily rent a bike and it looks like a lot of fun), or simply get away from the urban environment of downtown, it is a definite highlight of Vancouver.View of the beach and sea wall at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comA short walk from the lighthouse is an awesome life-size bronze statue of a woman in a wetsuit, flippers and all. It’s appropriately named… Girl in a Wetsuit.

The piece is inspired by the famous Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sculptor Elek Imredy revealed the statue in June 1972.
Girl in a Wetsuit by Elek Imredy, modeled after the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comNext on the sights-of-Stanley-Park trail was the First Nations totem poles.

Located in Brockton Point, the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people, the totem poles are the most popular tourist attraction in all of British Columbia.

The collection, which began in Lumberman’s Arch nearly 100 years ago, is made up of 9 totem poles. They vary in style and material, each as beautiful as the next.First Nations totem poles at Brockton Point at Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.comBeing part native, I have a fondness for native art and culture.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the term “totem” actually originates from an ojibwe word “odoodem”, meaning “his kinship group”. While the Ojibwe people did not create totem poles, the Anishinaabe language did contribute to their name!

First Nationals totem poles at Brockton Point at Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

My favorite is the one on the far left in the picture above. I love the turquoise and red accents over the black and white.

TIP: The Brockton Point totem poles also have public restrooms and a souvenir & snack shop.

Checking out the totem poles was a great way to wrap up our Vancouver adventure.

I truly love visiting my cousins in Vancouver. I miss them and the city so much already.

Each time I visit I discover something new to love about the Canadian Pacific Northwest. Next time, we plan to explore Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island.

What are you favorite things to do and see in Vancouver?

What about Vancouver Island? What do you recommend I see and do there on my next visit?

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