It was cold and it was windy when I walked down the harbor, but I wrapped my cashmere coat and braved the temperature in favor of a photo op at the harbor where Captain Hook ties his famous Jolly Roger in the ABC fantasy show Once Upon a Time.
It was a momentary decision made while I was at work in the office. I had just begun watching Once Upon a Time a few weeks before and was now in the second or third season. I had fallen in love with the in depth fairy tales, with the character archs and the multifaceted Evil Queen who seeked redemption in the name of her son and in search of the eternal happy ending.
It was because of the show combined with my insatiable wanderlust that I decided on a whim that it was time to go visit our Northen and very friendly Neighboor Canada. I set out to Vancouver in April, an admirable feat for a Californian who is used to 80 degree weather. Upon landing in the rainy tarmac I discovered that the high was 48 … good thing I brought gloves!
Cold aside, my trip to Canada was fantastic in many more ways than I imagined. Not only did I tour the sleepy town of Steveston which poses as Storybrooke, Massachusetts in the TV show but I discovered a beautiful seaside community, with vast history and culture. I spent the whole day there, snapping selfies in all the store fronts that are staples of the show. Mr. Golds pawn shop that is actually a gift store and Granny’s Dinner that was actually closed, I went to see the library which has no tower in real life, and the little mail post which is also the Tourist information site. As I walked out to the cannery I discovered the clear blue water looking out toward the wild forest on the other side, and the snow covered mountains in the far background. It was beautiful indeed and I wanted as I often do with every place I visit to stay there forever.
Steveston also had history of being a refugee community for Japanese during WWII and after. There are little cottages, resting on wooden pegs, standing avobe the water that serve as museums for those early days. The pier with its fish and chips and souvenier shops also caught my heart and I bought a heavy woolen scarf that ended up on my mothers closet.
When the town ran out of places to walk and photos to take, I drove back to my hotel in Vancouver and there I did some exploring of my own. I had perhaps one of the best dinners of my life at L’atelier in their Gaslamp district. The distinctive French food with local ingredients was superb, the taste of the first dish tortellini with cream sauce made me close my eyes in delight and the craft cocktails of an award winning bartender made that a memorable night for sure.
The memories were endless and the time to explore too short indeed. Visiting the Capelliano suspension bridge was another fantastic highlight of the trip. The forest surrounding you in the middle of the city, the bridge, the treetop adventures, and the skywalk all with the dense, crisp air of the Canadian rain forest was an experience to come back to. And shooting pictures of downtown Vancouver with its high rises and old churches was a favorite pastime.
In the end I had come to visit the filming sight of a fairytale show but I had found magic beyond it’s characters. I had found history of war and inclusion, I had found art and food and breathtaking forests, I could say I had found Neverland.