Teen Across Canada Blog – North to Prince George

IMG_2203What an amazing journey we’ve had so far in British Columbia… Creston, Osoyoos, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Burnaby, Vancouver, Whistler and Vancouver Island.

20160418_125401.jpgAnd it’s not nearly done! Now it is up to Prince George, in Northern BC, on route to the Yukon.

We passed through 70 Mile House and 100 Mile House, then made pit stops in Williams Lake and Quesnel before arriving in Prince George.

Prince George is the largest city in northern BC. It is known as the “Northern Capital” of British Columbia.  On our first night we went to visit the Prince George Astronomical Society Observatory. They were super nice and taught us about the planets, the moon and our solar system. After our lesson we went up to the observatory to use the telescope and see the moon. A little fun surprise… we got was to see Jupiter! How awesome is that? We could see the planet as well as its four moons. Our moon was huge, bright and beautiful. We could clearly see the craters and basins on the moon. It was so amazing to see it and feel so close even though it’s 370,300 km away!

We learned that Jupiter can be seen with the naked eye for the next few months. Sure enough the next night, we could see it right next to the moon. You know that it’s Jupiter and not a star because stars twinkle and planets don’t. Now we are more and more aware of our solar system and what’s happening in the sky at night.  We also learned about red lights and why they get used instead of regular lights when stargazing. Red light does not degrade a person’s night vision like “white” lights do. Essentially, you can keep your night vision while also being able to see thanks to red lights.  (Check out the video we captured.)

We would like to thank Maurice, who was kind enough to give us the presentation of our solar system and Glen Harris who took hours from his time to show us the moon, Jupiter and a presentation of the Moon. He answered all of our questions and was so amazing to talk to.  Glen came back the next day, at our RV to give us a Star Finder tool. How thoughtful is that? Thank you lots Glen!

As for museum visits, we attended #ExPlace (Exploration Place) and learned about dinosaur finds, the wildlife of the area and the Canadian Games that took place in the Prince George in 2015.  We went to the Railway museum and then had a pleasant surprise with Shaw TV conducting an interview about our journey… how fun!


Teen Across Canada Blog – TOP 10 things I noticed in Vancouver

Looking back upon the lower mainland and specific to Vancouver, the Top 10 things that caught my attention are:IMG_2303.JPG

  1. Vancouver and most of BC, is a very healthy place. There are hundreds of health food stores, lots of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and raw options in restaurants and grocery stores.
  2. Everything is crazy expensive! I thought Toronto was expensive but it’s cheap compared to Vancouver. Gas is twenty cents higher – so at least we didn’t move much with the RV or that would have been extremely costly. A condo in downtown Vancouver that’s worth only a couple thousand dollars is 2 million dollars! It’s beyond me how people afford to live there.
  3. There are bike paths everywhere! If you love biking then you should definitely visit Vancouver. You can bike wherever you want to go. Stanley Park is one of the best parks to walk or bike and it is easy to get from North Van to downtown via bike. (We know, we did it.)
  4. There are tons of buses all over the city. Many of them run on electricity which is amazing and go anywhere from the suburbs to downtown to UBC to Simon Fraser.
  5. Everywhere you go – downtown – it smells either like weed or smoke. People smoke a lot, more than Toronto and there is a lot of people smoking marijuana. I didn’t even know what it smelled like until we came to Vancouver.
  6. There are a lot of “adult stores”…  sounds weird I know. Almost on every street there are huge neon signs pointing to the building and saying that. There are also a lot of marijuana stores, not only in Vancouver but all over BC – on the island as well.
  7. There are a lot, A LOT, of homeless people. The worst street is E Hastings St. It’s extremely sad to think of how many have no home, no food and barely any clothes in Canada. I knew there were homeless of course, the metro in Montreal and the subway in Toronto are filled but I didn’t know that there was this many!
  8. Vancouver isn’t actually all that clean. There is garbage on every street, on rooftops and all over the parks. It is very dirty which is somewhat disappointing.
  9. Driving in Vancouver sucks and I don’t even drive! Pedestrians walk in front of the cars even though the car ways a thousand times their weight. Bikers are on either side of you, sometimes even in front or behind. You always have to watch where you’re going. And let’s not forget one ways. There are so many one ways it’s hard to get to the next block.
  10. Good luck finding parking – BUT I do like that they have “PayByPhone”. It’s an app that you get where you can renew and pay for parking on your phone. You don’t have to keep running back to the meter, just add more time.Going downtown in any city, you usually know that it will be hard to find parking so you leave early. If you want to find parking in Vancouver you’re going to have to walk a few blocks, not necessarily a bad thing though.

Vancouver overall is a very green city. They promote biking and walking a lot which is amazing. They also have tons of electric car chargers everyone so it’s easy to drive an electric car. They have tons of Car2Go and Evo which are cars that you can drive anywhere in the city and leave them there so you don’t have to worry about having your own car but you can still drive if necessary.


Teen Across Canada Blog – The World of Nanaimo Bars

IMG_1990Imagine this, a Nanaimo Bar Trail.

IMG_1997.JPGA tour that is self-guided with 34 different places to try Nanaimo Bars. For those of you who don’t know what that awesome treat is, it is a three layer dessert. Traditionally, the top layer is chocolate, the middle is a custard and the bottom is a crunchy coconut and chocolate cookie.

On this trail we tried traditional ones and spin-offs (check out our facebook.com page for some great shots).

  1. Bocca Café: They made three different types; peanut butter, original and sea salt caramel. I don’t even like peanut butter and that one was my favorite. It was so good! Mom loved the sea salt caramel one too.
  2. Cherub Chocolate: In honor of Easter being so close, they made mini chocolate Nanaimo Easter eggs as well as Nanaimo truffles. Both were so good, I would definitely go back.
  3. Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut: They made one called Nanaimo-Mites which is a little chocolate covered Nanaimo Bar. It was pretty good, very cute and bite sized.
  4. The Grand Hotel: This one was a Martini so I couldn’t drink any of it but here’s what Mom and Dad have to say about it. “It was unique…strong… stirred, not shaken.”
  5. Java Expressions: They make mini ones with a bunch of different flavours. This time they had raspberry, lime, chocolate truffle and salted caramel. I absolutely loved the lime – I didn’t expect it to be that good at all. The raspberry one was amazing it was made with real raspberries too! I could have eaten hundreds of those two!
  6. Javawocky: They made a traditional Nanaimo bar. It was very good with a thick layer of the base.
  7. Longwood Brew Pub & Restaurant: Amazing! They made Nanaimo Bar cheesecake and it was incredible! I could’ve eaten hundreds of those! Everything smelled amazing as well.
  8. McLean’s Specialty Foods: They made a traditional Nanaimo bar (kind of boring compared to the other more exotic ones we’ve eaten). Theirs was made with tons of coconut and personally I’m not a big fan of coconut so it wasn’t my favorite however it was still delicious and one of the best traditional ones we’ve had.
  9. Minnoz Steak & Seafood: OMG! They made the best Nanaimo bar cheesecake. It was so delicious, I would go back there one hundred times just to eat that alone!
  10. Modern Café: This one was a Bar-tini so I couldn’t drink it (again) but here’s what Mom and Dad have to say about it. “Smooth…a little bit like a B-52.”
  11. Mon Petit Choux: They made a gluten-free bar which was surprisingly good… I’m not usually a fan of gluten free because I find it has a funny taste but they did a pretty good job.
  12. Ohana’s Café: They made traditional ones and probably one of the best ones. I loved it and drinking it with chocolate milk was like heaven on earth!
  13. Perkins Coffee: They made a traditional one that was very good.
  14. Pirate Chips: They made a fried Nanaimo Bar! Whoever invented it should get an award because that was incredible. Fried Nanaimo bar with whipped cream, chocolate and ice cream?! Amazing! Nothing more needs to be said…
  15. Powerhouse Living Foods Co.: They made a vegan, raw cake. At first I was a little skeptical but they wowed all of us. It was probably one of the best ones on this trail. We ended up buying two.
  16. Real Food: They made a Nanaimo Bar cake and it was absolutely delicious! I loved the look, the taste, the texture… mmm.
  17. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: This was one of the first ones we tried out; it was a chocolate covered bar and surprisingly good.
  18. Serious Coffee: They made a traditional one which was very good.
  19. Smokin’ George’s BBQ: Incredible! They made 2 different Nanaimo Bars; a bacon maple and a bacon dulce di lecce. They were so good and I loved how they made the bottom layer with pretzels instead of nuts.
  20. Tea Desire (Country Club Ctr): Amazing! I don’t even like tea and this was the best one I’ve ever had. It was a Nanaimo bar tea which looked like a Nanaimo bar! Definitely a place I would go again.
  21. Nanaimo Museum: Amazing museum! So much to learn about… My favourite thing was learning about the bathtub racing – it’s really interesting!  We sat on a Nanaimo Bar ottoman.

We did visit the following places but the results were not so positive…

  1. Noodlebox Port Place: They make Nanaimo bar spring rolls but were all OUT! Everyone recommended them to us and said if you could only eat one, eat that one! We never got to taste it, so I was sad about that but that gives us another reason to go back!
  2. A Wee Cupcakery: Closed.
  3. Cinnamon Joes: Closed.
  4. Jakeob’s Ice Crean Parlour: Closed.
  5. Riso Foods Inc.: Closed.
  6. Two Chefs Affair: Closed
  7. Yellow Point Cranberries: Closed.
  8.  ACMe Food Co.: Closed
  9. Livingside Forest Oceanside Campground & RV:  Closed

So we couldn’t get to taste any of these. I wanted to taste them because they had a Nanaimo Bar Milkshake and a Nanaimo Bar ice-cream. KIYO Salon & Day Spa was one that we never actually went to but still looks fun for a day spa adventure if anyone would be interested.

Overall that was such an amazing experience and such an awesome idea! I loved it and would definitely eat most of those again! I’m excited to go back and try the ones that were closed because they looked amazing!

Teen Across Canada Blog – Part 2 Remembering the Island

IMG_1609Our journey around the island would not be complete without talking about the Best Places to Eat on Vancouver Island According to Me! (pics are on our website – TeenAcrossCanada.com)


Ithaca: This, in my opinion, is the best Greek restaurant ever. We had an assortment of things and everything was to-die-for! We had a meatball appetizer which had a cheese-lemon sauce and was so delicious. The best things we ordered were a lamb pita, shrimp and a roast lamb. However everything we ordered was so good I would recommend this restaurant to everyone.

Thrifty Foods: This is not actually a place to eat but it is one of the best grocery stores. It is clean, friendly, reasonably priced, fresh and carries amazing food. We bought everything for Mom’s birthday dinner from there and were totally pleased. Their bakery has amazing bread and croissants, their seafood section carries fresh and delicious shrimp and lobster and their produce was local and amazing.

Little Tokyo: This is in a plaza near Thrifty’s. We ordered a ‘Sushi Deluxe’ which came with some miso soup, four California rolls and four Canadian rolls. The second time we went back we had a spring roll. Everything was delicious and the service was amazing. They were super nice and made everything right in front of us.

Fry’s: It’s a little bakery that makes awesome soft pretzels. We tried a blueberry Danish and a chocolate croissant too and they were just as good. We got a loaf of bread for dinner which went awesome with our meal.

Fuego: It’s an authentic Mexican restaurant that was so delicious! We had a chimichanga, enchilada and nacho soup. Definitely one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. The server was friendly and it was reasonably priced.


Tacofino: This is the best Mexican place ever! We went back more than once it was so good. It is a small food truck that makes a few different Mexican platters. We tried gringas, which we had no idea what they were. Turns out they’re tacos with a flour tortilla usually filled with cheese, “al pastor” meat and pineapple slices and then grilled in the same manner as a quesadilla. We tried a bean one which has cheese and beans and tomatoes, a chicken one (with chicken, cheese and tomatoes) and a pork one (with pork, cheese and tomatoes). We had a vegetarian, vegan, beef and chicken burrito. Everything we ordered was amazing, I would go back just for that.

Chocolate Tofino: This is probably one of the best chocolate places ever. They hand make everything in the store. They made amazing ice cream, the best I’ve ever had. I tried the strawberry, which is now my new favorite, a mango, a Dutch chocolate, a vanilla, a sea salt caramel and a maple walnut. Every flavor was to-die-for; I would go back there just for that. We tried almost every chocolate there and they were all delicious. We even got a whale chocolate and the proceeds went to save the whales.

Common Loaf Bakery: This bakery is in town and their pastries are made fresh every day. They make amazing brownies, croissants and muffins. They are right in town and in the middle of everything.

Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Foods: This isn’t a restaurant or bakery or café, it’s a grocery store. Surprised? I know. We ended up grabbing dinner on the go from here and it was probably one of the best dinners. We had Chinese food (sushi, rice, noodles, lemon chicken…) and everything was amazing. The store itself was very nice, everything in order and super clean. They had an awesome selection in the deli, the bakery and the produce section.


Coombs Old Country Market: This is more commonly known as Goats on the Roof. It is a market place that has goats on the roof to eat the grass so no one has to mow it. It has been going on since the mid-1970s. We got these pretzel buns which are amazing and tried a ham and cheese croissant which was way better than I thought.  The gelato too was delicious.


Cumberland Village Bakery: They make croissants, donuts, muffins, bread and turnovers from scratch using real ingredients. I really loved the apple turnover and croissant and the bread was amazing to eat with dinner.


True Grain Bread: They have amazing soft pretzels and assorted pastries. They also make an eccles pastry which was surprisingly good. I could’ve eaten tons of their pretzels. Their bread tastes awesome and they have all different flavors.


Noodlebox Port Place: They have pad Thai and stir fry and everything in there smells delicious. The atmosphere in the restaurant is awesome and everything looks so good. I just wish we could’ve tried the Nanaimo Bar spring rolls. If you’re craving Chinese that would definitely be the right place to check out.

Pirate Chips: The second we walked in, it smelled like heaven. They make burgers and fries and let’s not forget that fried Nanaimo Bar. I would definitely eat there all the time!

Powerhouse Living Foods Co.: They are an all vegan, all raw restaurant. We tried a smoothie and the Nanaimo cake and both were amazing. It was definitely a delicious way to be healthy.

Smokin’ George’s BBQ: Fun fact – they were on You’ve Got to Eat Here (the TV show).  We had pulled pork, ribs and sausages and it was delicious. Their coleslaw was even amazing. If you don’t like a vinegar taste though, that may not be the right place for you.

Real Food: They make amazing cakes and their sandwiches and soup looks so good. They make everything fresh and right in front of you. I would definitely eat lunch there every day if I could.