While looking for unusual things to do in Vancouver, I asked you on my Facebook page which place I should check out. You voted for ‘the neighborhood where the wilderness meets the sea’. So I headed to Tsawwassen (pronounced Tawasen, means “facing the sea”) in southwest Vancouver, best known for its ferry terminal, and became convinced that it is indeed one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets.
The bus slowly rolls into the vast wilderness. Half-harvested fields of potato and barley lie on one side of the road. Wild yellow plants line the edge of the shallow forest on the other. I glue my eyes to the window of the bus, watching Maple leaf trees sway in the wind, as though besieging the cloudy skies to unleash the rain. I pinch myself, surprised that I’m still in one of Canada’s largest cities.
We drive along pretty country homes that open into fenced lawns, cross a harbour with old white boats, and turn into a neighbourhood with ranches! Two pretty brown horses lounge by the fence, oblivious to my futile attempt to capture them on camera.
And then it happens. The wilderness opens into calm, endless stretches of water on either side. On my right, the sea is in low tide. Gentle waves caress a soft sea bed and the rocky shore. Shrubs with yellow flowers and wild red grass add colour to the otherwise grey monotone. I decide to get off and stroll along the shore, watching the grey sky blend into the grey sea. Then I perch myself on a rock, and listen to Passenger. And three words on the tip of my tongue, not to be spoken nor sung…
A flock of birds gather at the edge of the bushes, looking for worms in the receding tide. Their hum is broken by the occasional cars that pass on the highway behind, enroute to the ferry terminal to Victoria. Across the road lies the Strait of Georgia, staring at densely forested mountains beyond, kissed by the clouds. The US border is only a few kilometres away.
Minutes turn to hours, and just like my solitude, the sea acquires an introspective form. I wonder what it would be like to sail down these friendly waves, I wonder whether the ominous clouds above are holding the rain just so I could enjoy this moment a little longer. I wonder why there is no other soul in sight to feast on this view. I started my day in downtown Vancouver, but I feel miles away from its busy streets and cosmopolitan vibe.
The roar of the clouds interrupt my thoughts and urge me to leave. On the Canada Line back into downtown, I get chatting with an old lady with a kind face. When I tell her I’m visiting the country as a travel blogger, she asks me what I’ve been upto in Vancouver. Tsawwassen, I say. Facing the sea.
Getting to Tsawwassen: Take the Canada Line to Bridgeport station, and bus #620 from there to Tsawwassen Drive, the stop before the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
What do you think of Vancouver’s ‘wild’ side?
*Note: I was hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission on my trip to Vancouver. Lucky me!