BC Ferries

BC Ferries transport passengers and goods to communities around the province which are not accessible by highway or road ways. 

The ferries are also an attraction for tourists to experience the natural beauty of Canada's majestic west-coast. 

The ferries are staffed by employees who are dedicated to customer satisfaction and enhancing the visitor experience. From the small gift shops to the buffet style restaurant and all services in between, you will experience positive interactions with staff and fellow passengers. 

There are various options on vessels for food and non alcoholic beverages on most major routes. Some of the routes are services by smaller vessels which can not accommodate the conveniences of the larger ferries. 

There is no smoking on board any BC Ferries vessels which some passengers find an inconvenience due to some of the longer sailing times. 

Sailings are often late and can be cancelled due to weather, breakdowns and other factors. This is not unusual for any type of transportation service as breakdowns and weather are things which can not be predicted long term. This can cause some frustration for passengers as these ferries are in many cases, a lifeline for residents of the serviced communities to attend medical appointments, business meetings, sending and receiving everything from food to mechanical equipment and everything in between. 

The scenic journey not only allows you to experience amazing scenery but can also be your opportunity to see a variety of marine animals including Whales, Sea Lions, Dolphins and so much more. I strongly suggest that you ensure your camera (or phone for most passengers) is well charged and has lots of available memory. 

There is free Wi-Fi available on many ships but due to the remote areas, the signal is not reliable. It is a bonus when the signal is available.

BC Ferries has an excellent safety record and the staff are very dedicated to ensuring all passengers are safe and comfortable. The ships are well maintained and emergency drills are sometimes held during sailings in order to ensure staff is ready at anytime, should the need arise for a real life rescue. It is interesting to watch as each member of the team has a role and they look almost choreographed with speed and precision to the drill at hand. 

I strongly encourage you to enjoy the BC Ferries experience in various parts of British Columbia. You will not be disappointed. Reservations are encouraged which can easily be done online. 

  www.bcferries.com 

BC Ferries
Air Canada

Flying Air Canada

Air Canada is the largest and main air carrier for passengers and freight within Canada and internationally from points within Canada. 

Air Canada was founded in 1937 as Trans-Canadian Airlines (TCA) but was renamed in 1965. The next major change for the airline is when the Government of Canada privatized Air Canada in 1988. 

In 2017 the airline had around 27,000 employees and accumulated close to $17 Billion in assets. The Airline has seen steady increases in passengers including a jump from 35,760,000 in 2013 to 48,130,000 in 2017. 

Like most airlines when we look at costs and services, many debate the value to passengers. Air Canada is still ranked highly on the industry survey by Skytrax in 2017. They ranked Air Canada as 29th on the top 100 airlines, worldwide. Number 1 for North America. (www.worldairlineawards.com). 

Now let's take a look at the ProPics Canada experience. Air Canada has an easy to use online ticket purchasing service. You can buy your ticket, print your ticket and even checking in online saving time sitting on the phone with agents and avoiding some of the lineups at the airport. 

The staff from the airport customer service, flight crews etc are friendly and helpful. (one not so much but we will let that go as the other staff more than compensated for one individual. After all, we all have a bad day here and there). 

The airplane was clean ready for passengers. Safety was of course addressed and as far as I could tell, everything was in working order. One passenger had requested help with the seat belt and unlike my flight attendant on my last Westjet flight, the Air Canada staff looked after the passenger politely and happily. (note: my previous flight on a Westjet flight was not so calming and safe. The flight attendant scolded me for not fastening my seat belt and then when I explained that the seat belt was broken, she refused to move me to another seat and told me I would be fine since the belt did not work). 

I won't bother discussing the food on the plane as it is never a meal to brag about on any airline. It is average airline food so I always suggest eating a good meal before boarding a flight anywhere. If you happen to be delayed on the tarmac or in the air, you will be comfortable and less likely to get as grumpy due to hunger. Let's face it, getting upset about delays only makes it worse for you, other passengers and airline staff who are just as happy to leave the plane at the end of a shift as you are. 

The airline does charge for extra baggage and this varies depending on destination, type of fare purchased, rewards program options and more. You should speak with the airline or read the luggage information when booking online as costs can be starting at $25-$35 per checked bag / suitcase. You are generally allowed one carry on and one personal item (ie: small carry on bag plus laptop bag or purse) at no additional cost. 

I enjoy flying with Air Canada and encourage you to do the same. Prices can be a little higher than some of the competition out there but if you book in advance and have some flexibility, you can find deals. 

www.aircanada.com 

Greater Vancouver Zoo

An often overlooked attraction by tourists visiting Metro Vancouver, the zoo is a great place for a family to view and learn about many animals. The reasons that it is overlooked include the distance of the Zoo from most other attractions and the lack of efficient transportation to and from the Zoo. 

The Metro Vancouver Zoo is a natural setting which is smaller than most major metropolitan zoos throughout North America. This can be a great thing though because you can get around easily without huge crowds fighting for the best viewing point of the animals. 

The zoo is spread out with large enclosure areas for the animals residing in the zoo. This is a bonus as the animals have more space to roam while reducing the stress of the animals in captivity. For visitors, it means that you may have to look a little harder to see your favorite animals but the comfort of animals should always be more important than anything else. 

There are many times throughout the day where you can not only get the chance to see zoo staff providing great information about the animals but also see them getting treats which brings them closer to the visitors for viewing. You should be aware that these are treats which are healthy for the animals and are not apart of the regular diet / meal plans. No animal is ever enticed by the provision or withholding of regular meals. 

The zoo does have a miniature train ride, pedal carriages and other options for getting around the zoo and is wheelchair accessible to ensure all guests can enjoy the attraction. 

Food, drinks and beverages can be purchased onsite with several areas to sit and enjoy a break throughout your visit. The food is not anything you will write home to mom about, and prices are higher than bringing your own items from home. 

The benefit to buying at the zoo is that you are helping the zoo to provide for the animals. 

Admission is reasonable with rates for individuals, family and group rates and annual passes which pay for themselves in only a few visits. 

The zoo is clean and well maintained, staffed by informative and caring employees while maintaining a somewhat natural environment instead of a concrete and brick animal showcase feel that some zoos around the world have. 

The ability to get good close up images (naturally or through a zoom lens) can be a bit of a challenge as there are spacers between the large fenced enclosures and the walkways. This puts your ability to take clear photos of the animals in a challenging position unless you have a selfie stick or good camera which can zoom in through the mesh fence or by edited later to remove the fence lines from the photos.

Overall, I recommend the zoo as a great place to spend a day as a visitor or as a local. 

www.gvzoo.com 

(Disclosure - I am an annual zoo membership holder. As paying for my pass supports the zoo and all of the fantastic work they do)

Greater Vancouver Zoo