Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Critter Care

A couple of weeks ago David’s sister Denny, her husband Jay and their 10-year old daughter Annabel arrived for a three week visit with us.  It has been five years since their last visit so it was great to see them on this side of the pond again and for Annabel to visit at an age where she can enjoy and appreciate Canada much more.

On their first full day we decided to head out to the Critter Care Open-House that we had seen advertised.  We figured our newest visitors would want a fairly ‘easy’ day after their long flight and this seemed liked a good option that would please Annabel too.

Critter Care is a charity-based organisation located in Langley, BC.  Initially started by a local resident who was taking care of some injured racoon in her basement, it has grown into BC’s only specialised mammal care facility and one of four Provincial bear rehabilitation facilities. Predominately volunteer based they now include 26 interns and 3 full-time staff.

While they do have one permanent resident, a bobcat who it was decided was never going to be able to survive on his own in the wild, the vast majority of the animals that come into the facility are rehabilitated back into their natural environment. These include bears, deer, coyote, racoons, skunks, squirrels, otters, marmots and pretty much anything else people arrive on their doorstep with !

Critter Care is not normally open to the public, but one weekend each year they open the doors to allow everyone to see what they do and of course make a donation to help keep the place running.

Far and away the greatest number of residents at Critter Care are raccoons. Considered by many to be annoying pests Critter Care still take them under their wing and nurse injured or orphans animals back into the wild.

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There were raccoons of every age to see and watch them play.

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Including some real youngsters


Looking for some cuddles since mamma’s not around to give them


Although once they’ve been fed and watered they appeared to have the run of the place

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The interns that drew the short straw get to hang out with the skunks.  Because these animals will eventually be released they must keep their noxious spray glands so the staff must try hard not to upset them !


There was also a large family of river otters


We also visited the medical area of the facility to see where the really young and poorly are treated, including this tiny days-old racoon being hand-fed


The feature on the news about the upcoming open-house had featured bear cubs and indeed their website confirmed that they currently had 16 bear cubs in residence.  However due to the need to ensure bears stay away from as many people as possible and do not become used to human interaction bears are kept away from the public viewing areas on the open-house day and we didn’t get to see any.

There were however any other activities for families as well as the animal viewing, there were dog shows, pony rides, local artisans selling their wares and Annabels favourite – face painting.



Given Mojo can be pretty reactive to strange facial expressions, odd hats and clothing and things he considers out of the ordinary, we really weren’t sure how he would deal with Annabels blue and pink tiger half-face.

As it turned out he thought she looked pretty awesome !


Monday, July 23, 2012

Days out with Sue & Mal

At the end of Sue and Mals first full day with us we surprised them with tickets to a KD Lang concert.  A great Canadian performer, we knew Sue liked the artist but had no idea she was one of Mals favourites so it was a success all round !

KD Lang was performing at the Commodore Ballroom, Downtown which was a perfect venue as we were able to reserve a table and seating.  We were joined by our friends Sig & Helen and some friends of theirs so it was a pretty social evening.

David and I at the Commodore Ballroom.


Mal, Sig and Sue


KD Lang was excellent, and clearly loves performing.

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Sue, up and dancing

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On another day we went for a walk around Lighthouse Park. 

Mal loved Lighthouse Park, she is here on the steps of a cabin she decided she wanted to live in so she could be in the park everyday !

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Myself, Mojo and David in Lighthouse Park.

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On another day I took Mal on the Quarry Rock walk, which originates in Deep Cove and ends in a viewpoint overlooking Indian Arm.  Mojo and I at Quarry Rock.


We have also been to Pitt Lake and the wildlife reserve, where we saw osprey nesting.


Although Mal didn’t need to leave home for her wildlife fix….. here she performs as a bird whisperer helping a small chickadee recover after flying into the glass of our front doors.  After some water, a rest under a bush and Mals magic touch it soon headed off into the forest.


We have more updates to follow soon now that Davids sister, brother-in-law and niece have also flown out here.

Granville Island, July 2012

The last few weeks have been very busy as we have been entertaining visitors – David’s Mum Sue and her friend Mal arrived about 3 weeks ago.  We have been very lax posting updates of the things we’ve been doing so here’s the first of a few to catch up.

We spent a good day at Granville Island, a popular spot for visitors to Vancouver. Sue had never been to Granville Island on her previous visits and we hadn’t been ourselves for a few years so it was refreshing for us too.


Much of Granville Island is located directly beneath the Granvile Street bridge as it rises to cross False Creek.


The market is always a popular spot to browse and see the fresh caught fish and locally grown produce.


Granville Island also offers a host of unique and interesting artisan stores, including this intriguing hat shop.


Great views of False Creek from the waterfront.



Of course the visit wouldn’t be complete without an alfresco lunch of fish & chips !


While watching the traffic on the harbour and the little Aquabus’ buzzing from station to station.