Thundering waterfalls, towering Rocky Mountains, hidden gems and spectacular snowy mountainous wonderland awaited our adventurous 50+ Singles on the Canadian Rockies Singles Train Adventure.
Vancouver, BC to Banff, AB via the Rocky Mountaineer is the only way to see the Canadian Rockies. But first, we spent a few days in Vancouver. Vancouver is a vibrant, diverse and thriving city. It also rains, a lot. Fortunately, we worked our way around the weather and had a great time. Part of every Singles Travel International tour is a Welcome drink and a Welcome dinner. After our Welcome drink at the hotel, we headed to Honey Salt for an included 3 course meal. It was a lively, inside, but outdoorsy feeling space with lots of character and we shared some laughs. It was a great way to get to know each other and kick of the trip.
The next day, we embarked on our first adventure to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Not for the faint of heart, the bridge is 450 feet (137 m) long and hangs 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. The original Capilano Suspension Bridge was built in 1889 and its first cables were actually hemp ropes. Since then, the ropes have been replaced with cables strong enough to hold up a fully loaded 747 airliner! On the Treetops Adventure, we crossed 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. It was INCREDIBLE!
Next stop was the Grouse Mountain Skyride- it takes you high above towering Douglas firs, with breathtaking views of the city of Vancouver. America’s largest aerial tramway system was our gateway to the majestic nature of The Peak of Vancouver, and was an experience in itself. At the top, after a delicious lunch of tomato soup to warm us up, some of us slushed our way through the snow to see the two grizzlies as they came out of hibernation. It was a great treat to see these majestic animals upclose and personal.
The next day was our Singles Travel International Signature Experience on a lunch Harbor cruise. While the weather was typical of Vancouver, the members enjoyed a unique dining experience as we floated through Vancouver’s Inner Harbor, Burrard Inlet, and Indian Arm—a dramatic glacial fjord. They indulged in a freshly prepared buffet and took in the beautiful sights including the Coast Mountains, verdant forests, and a thundering waterfall.
I scoped out the scene and found some great places for dinner on our optional dinner evenings. There are so many great places to eat in Vancouver. We chose a steak place called The Keg and a local brewpub near the hotel called Brown’s Social House. Both great places to enjoy a meal with new friends.
On day 4, we got up early and headed to meet the train, the Rocky Mountaineer. This was a journey across the Canadian Rockies that truly engaged all of our senses…amazing scenery, world-class service, our hosts were master storytellers, and we enjoyed complimentary meals, beverages and snacks, more meals and more snacks. It felt like we ate and drank our way across the Rockies. From our one level Silver level domed car, we had wide full windows and a partial opening in the top of the car for amazing views and photos. On the 2 full days on the train, we traveled through the legendary Spiral Tunnels, traversed the Continental Divide, and wound through mountain passes and dramatic canyons. I get goosebumps thinking of the magnificent scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Pictures don’t do the scenery justice, but here are a few to showcase what we saw.
We did an overnight in Kamloops, BC, a quaint town, which is the Shuswap word Tk’emlúps, which means “where the rivers meet”, and has been the home of the Tk’emlupsemc, the “people of the confluence”, for centuries. Kamloops is known as Canada’s Tournament Capital as it is one of Canada’s premier host centres for developing amateur sport, tournaments, cultural events, high performance training camps and national and international competitions.
On day 5, we were off again to finish our journey to Banff, AB. The scenery was as breath-taking today as it was yesterday. If you ventured outside between the cars, you were about the breath in the fresh mountain and take some really cool pictures. We arrived into Banff late in the evening and checked into our hotel which was located in Banff National Park. The Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa is an ideal vacation spot and is walking distance to the main area of Banff. Surrounded by mountains, it was perfect for our 3-night stay.
On day 6, we took a guided tour into Banff National and Yoho National Parks. Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge started off the adventure that day. The clouds and rain didn’t stop us from enjoying the trip. We ended the journey at Lake Louise where we had lunch at the Fairmont Chateau overlooking Victoria Mountain. Back at the ranch, we found a local Irish Pub and the members enjoyed a pint with their mutton.
Day 7 was here before we knew it and it was a free to day to enjoy the town. The town of Banff is nestled between the mountains and there are views wherever you look. Some members did a spa treatment at the hotel, some went shopping and then went to the Cave and Basin where Banff was founded, then settled back at the hotel to get ready for dinner. We found a lovely, locally owed Swiss-Italian Restaurant called Ticino which was right down the street from our hotel. It was so charming and run by the son-in-law of the owner, Louis-Pierre Helie, a former Olympic ski racer. He spent quite a bit of time with us, talking about the wines and the food. The fondue with Bison and Canadian Beef was exquisite, while others enjoyed the Italian dishes that Ticino is famous for in Banff.
The next day, we had a glorious morning to head up the Banff Gondola. WOW! The views were spectacular. This was the Canadian Rockies you read about. At the top, we took in the snowy summits of Banff National Park, the jewel-colored lakes and the endless dazzling landscapes. It was a 360 degree view. If you haven’t followed the Singles International Travel’s Facebook or Instagram page, sign up now. There is a live video from a top the gondola and you have to see it to believe it. These pictures don’t do it justice.
From there, we headed to Calgary, where we had a private lunch at the Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s largest living history museum. Guests have the opportunity to interact with nearly 100 years of history. Heritage Park’s exhibits span the early 1860s fur trade to the petroleum and automobile-dominated 1950s, includes actual buildings from the times and people dressed in period costumes. It is a treat for any visitor. That night, I found cuisine to tempt everyone’s palette including Chinese and Italian.
Our last day was a day of leisure in Calgary. Some went exploring on their own, while others took a guided tour of the city to include the Olympic Plaza, China Town and around the many parks. We all met together for our Farewell Dinner at SaltLik to enjoy Calgary’s main food export, BEEF. We had a private room and enjoyed the locally sourced beef filet. After dinner, we said our good-byes as new friends exchanged contact information and old friends said, “see you on the next trip.”
If you didn’t get a chance to join us in 2022 on the Canadian Rockies Singles Train Adventure, sign up for our 2023 trip – May 12-20. It will sell out fast so sign up now!