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Ready to give up my US Citizenship for CANADA!

A Sandman Signature Hotel, Timbits, and Homesense….Need I say more?

This weekend we met some of Chris’ friends up in Vancouver BC for a couple of birthday celebrations and an overnight stay. I was excited about going but wasn’t sure what to expect.  The last time we were in Vancouver it was after disembarking our coastal cruise, toting armfuls of luggage in the pouring rain, not knowing where to go.  I had a slight anxiety attack and made Chris take me back to the train station where we sat for hours waiting to leave for Seattle. Luckily, this time we had our friend, a local Vancouver resident, to tag along with.  Plus, after both Chris and I got hit with traffic tickets last week, we decided we needed some time away from the United States.

The Beetle got chosen for the roadtrip, seeing as how we sprung for some new shoes tires for her on Friday. (Did I mention it’s been an expensive week?) After practically choking on my own words at the Canadian border crossing (hey, they are really scary looking), the little bug headed for the Sandman Signature Hotel Vancouver Airport.

Aahhhhhh…this place was sorta made for me.  It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but its the inside that really shines!

Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport

The lobby is very rich-looking with grayish-brown rectangular floor tiles, contemporary lighting, natural stone pillars and floor-to-ceiling silk curtains.  I wish I had a better description of the color of the tiles.  There are even fish tanks surrounded by ornate-looking frames behind the reception desk.  The wallpaper that is found in the reception is even carried through into the elevators, where you might normally find advertisements.  Almost every room has a balcony, some with lounge chairs.  In the British tower there are only about 6 rooms per floor, so it makes it a bit more quiet.

The room had all the standard amenities plus 2 giant terry cloth robes, a deep soaking tub with scalding hot water (LOVE!), a super comfy bed with a snugly duvet, and lovely smelling toiletries. For going out I had to prep, primp, and generally beautify myself and you know I did it with the plush robe on. Ready to live here now!

The morning after our night-out adventure in downtown Vancouver, we headed over to the Denney’s on the hotel premises.  I know you’re probably thinking, eeewww Denny’s?  But this was like a luxe Denney’s or something.  It had cushy booths and modern lighting and glass mosaic tile in the lobby.  How is it that everything is different in Canada? And when I say different, I mean 10,000 more times awesome than in the Washington.  Seriously, when we got engaged in Vancouver years ago we walked into a Sears downtown and they had CHANEL.  What?? In general, Sears in the United States is considered an economy department store, no where near on the same level as say, Nordstrom.  But Sears and Denny’s in Canada are pretty fantastic.  (The exception with the Canadian Denny’s was that in general, the food tasted the same as in the States, but still did the trick for a breakfast after a late-night out- and it was comped by the hotel).

For the afternoon, our friends/Vancouver tour-guides took us to Granville Island which I wanted to visit last time we were in Vancouver, only the rain and luggage got in the way.  I would say that it compares to Seattle’s Pike Place Market but is larger, less dirty, and the actual public market was larger.  I’d also use the restrooms there. Pike Place- not so much.  If I lived in Vancouver it would be a fabulous place to come and get all the makings for a gourmet dinner.   We stopped and got a JJ Bean coffee, which I’m told is like Vancouver Starbucks, just not on every corner.

My JJ Bean Americano Soy Misto: americano with 1/2 steamed soy milk

Granville Island has some great art galleries and Native Canadian artwork. Since we painted and outfitted our powder room I’ve wanted to find a Native American print that would match the color of the bathroom.  Being Northwest born and raised and with our other print representing Pike Place and Mt. Rainier I thought it would be fitting to find a Northwest Coast art print.  I also really like the “formlines” that are used in this style of artwork.  Wikipedia describes formlines to be, “continuous, flowing, curvilinear lines that turn, swell and diminish in a prescribed manner. They are used for figure outlines, internal design elements and in abstract compositions”.  You can learn more about Northwest Coast art here: Northwest Coast Art.  We picked a print by Andrew Mark Dexel that we found at one of the many Granville Island shops.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure what this print represents but in general his art work uses “figurative and abstract images that speak to resistance and renewal”.  He actually started out as a grafitti artist and has since transferred his work to canvas.

At the end of the day we said goodbye to our friends and headed for the United States of America once again.  However, before border crossing it’s pretty much a requirement that I must have Timbits from Tim Horton’s.  I was even so excited that as we were driving down the road I said, “Where’s the Timbits located?”.  Chris promptly corrected me and said, “Honey it’s not called Timbits, it’s called Tim Hortons”.  Oops, my bad.  You can’t fault a girl for loving her donut holes! Can you?  

But ladies and gentlemen, I have to say that the most special part of the whole trip was finding the Homesense store in the same shopping center as the Tim Hortons.  TIMBITS can wait people, I’ve got to get to Homesense.  I’ve heard of HomeGoods and Homesense from both east coast and Canadian bloggers that I follow, but have never been afforded the luxury of stepping inside one.  There was  most certainly some sort of home decor finds that we could stuff in the back seat.    Chris gave me a $200 spending limit, meaning be mindful of what we would have to claim at the border. Lucky for him I only window shopped.  Although, a gorgeous muted silver lamp with a deep silver-blue shade almost made it to the checkout line.  Thank goodness I just found out that there are two new HomeGoods going in both near my house and in Lynnwood, WA.  I’ll be able to enjoy it all I want, without having to move to Canada.

The sunny golden halo surrounding Homesense!

Long story short, this weekend I was practically ready to give up my US Passport for awesome Canadian citizenship.  I enjoyed Vancouver much more this time and can’t wait to revisit next year for the wedding of our friends!  Thanks again to them for showing us around on Sunday. We had a great time!

No man’s land as Chris likes to call it. The point where you are technically out of Canada but not yet through the US Border Crossing.

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