This morning, we had to wake up earlier for breakfast and prepare for check out as we are driving a relatively long distance from Calgary to Kelowna in British Columbia. After breakfast, while Mum returns to the suite to finish up some packing, I took this opportunity to take some photos of downtown Calgary. The area around the Fairmont Palliser is home to many heritage buildings like the Calgary Grain Exchange and many other bank buildings. However one interesting feature in the downtown was the location of The Bay Shopping Mall and the Scotiabank Tower which was just like their location in downtown Vancouver. Even the architecture of their buildings seems similar.
Back at the lobby of the Fairmont, I went to take more photos of the hotel lobby before finally saying farewell to the place and head towards Kelowna. On the way to Kelowna, we have decided to make a stopover at Lake Louise to see if the lake has melted as we are still keen to get another glimpse at this famous lake in the Canadian Rockies. We made it in time to Lake Louise for lunch at the Chateau and got another chance to view Lake Louise in all its beauty. This time round, when we visited, more of the lake has melted and it makes for a beautiful scene with some of the surrounding mountains being reflected on the water. It would have been more beautiful in a few weeks time when there is no more ice on the lake and the lake’s water turn greenish-blue. It was then off to lunch where we ordered Pacific Crab and Corn Bisque, Grilled Garlic Shrimp Caesar Salad, Asian Inspired Noodle Bowl, Halibut Fish and Chips and Albert Brie and Beef Burger. Lunch was pretty good and at the same time, we got a nice view of the lake from our seat.
With lunch served, we left Lake Louise and drove off in the westerly direction, passing by Yoho National Park again and the town of Golden, marking our return to Pacific Time in British Columbia, which is 1 hour later than the Mountain Time in Alberta. From Golden, it wasn’t long until we reach Glacier National Park. As expected, Glacier National Park got its name from the 422 fields of permanent ice covering up to 14% of its land area. There is a stopver point and visitor centre here in Rogers Pass where we stopped. Rogers Pass also serves as the base for all hiking trips around the National Park. For those looking for accomodation, Glacier Park Lodge is just right beside the Visitor Centre.
As we exit Glacier National Park, it was around 16km further west before we re-enter national park territory which is Mt Revelstoke. Both of these mountain parks are usually considered as one destination within British Columbia. In Mount Revelstoke National Park, the meadows in the sky parkway ascends up to 26km from the bottom of the valley to a flower-filled meadows at the summit. However, we skipped this parkway for a visit to Revelstoke Dam, which is one of the most powerful hydroelectric-generating dams in British Columbia. Visitors to the dam have to undergo a security screening and are allowed into the visitor centre and up towards the tower for a nice view of Revelstoke and its mountainous surroundings. Cameras, though are not allowed into the visitor centre but we are able to take photos of this dam which spans the Columbia River.
The dam’s visitor centre also has exhibits on the history of the area and the methods of generating electricity. In addition the lower area provides a window showing the mechanisms inside the dam as well as tips on how to save on electricity. Overall, it was a nice visit and an enriching experience for the family. From Revelstoke, we continued southwest, first taking Highway 1 before entering Highway 97, passing by the town of Sicamous and Vernon before reaching Kelowna in the evening. The drive from Revelstoke to Kelowna was relatively good with lakes along the way for us to admire the scenery. Kelowna is sited along Lake Okanagan, and is one of the largest cities in Okanagan Valley which is famous for its orchard produce as well as its icewines.
Upon reaching Kelowna we headed to the downtown, looking for Fresco Restaurant in the Cultural District, but wasn’t able to find the place. This made us settle for dinner at a Japanese restaurant close to the lakefront. We ordered the usual Japanese fare like tempura, sashimi, sushi rolls and agedashi tofu. The food was just average in taste and quality but we weren’t expecting much since it wasn’t too expensive. Feeling energized and refreshed, we drove westwards once more towards Westbank on the opposite shore of Lake Okanagan towards The Cove Lakeside Resort where we are spending the night at. I had booked our family into a 2 bedroom lakeview suite which was nice, as it had a total of 3 beds, a nice living room with a kitchenette and wireless internet connection. It would be the place where I would like to stay again if I am in the area.
One nice feature of the hotel which we got to utilize was its washing machine and dryer, allowing us to do our laundry like we do at home! In fact, the suite is comfortable enough to be a small home, complete with a nice lakeside view.