Just came back from Canada....

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Just came back from Canada....

Postby FrankCooperS » Wed May 18, 2005 3:27 pm

We had an absolute blast up in the great white north this past week! We visited beautiful but rainy Seattle (My wife had a 3 day business conference there) and then we drove over the border into British Columbia, Canada. We stayed in Vancouver which is an awesome city to visit and explore. We were pleased to see a lot of new MINIs there but I was also surprised to see the amount of classics we saw in the streets used apparently as daily drivers (Elpez would be happy driving Midnight around the steep streets there). I managed to snap a few shots of three classics and one Electric Blue Cooper, which is not available for sale in the USA. Electric Blue looks so much nicer in the Cooper, it baffles the mind as to why MINIUSA decided not to make it available in our market. I will post the pics later today.

There are 2 fully independent MINI dealerships in Vancouver: Richmond MINI and MINI of Yaletown. These dealers have their own showrooms and have their own service departments which is in my view, the ideal way of running them vs the BMW/MINI shared dealer setup we often see in the US. Canadian spec MINIs are identical to American spec MINIs, only differences being the Electric Blue color available in the Cooper, the Euro spec speedo with Km/h calibration and some factory options. Also all MINIs in Canada come with Xenon Lights and ASC+T standard with the exception of the lower level "Cooper Classic" model that has halogen headlights instead.

Canada is a beautiful country with awesome natural wonders and incredible scenery. We visited the Canadian Rockies (A good 12 hour drive east of Vancouver, BC in the Trans-Canada Highway) and drove up to Jasper, Alberta which is a quiet and fairly remote alpine town nestled inside Jasper National Park. The towering snow capped peaks, high mountains and glaciers make up for some breath taking scenery! Then we drove down towards Banff National Park in the famous Icefields Parkway also known as Highway 93 which is the highest altitude road in Canada. Let me tell you this Mini amigos... that road was built for MINIs, period. The twists, turns, straightaways, up and downs and breathtaking scenery are every MINI/Mini driver's dream come true!. The road is failrly wide, extremely well paved and maintained, putting some of our Interstates and state roads to complete shame. The Icefields parkway connects Jasper with Banff National Park and the world famous Lake Louise. it takes solid 4 hours to make the drive as the speed limit is around 80 Km/h or 50 MPH. But with almost zero traffic, beautiful mountain vistas and plenty of wildlife to see, this is the drive of a lifetime. I rented a 2005 Toyota Corolla and while it is a nice decent economy car, I missed not being behind the wheel of one of our MINIs to experience what that road has to offer in terms of REAL twisty driving. We also visited the Columbia Icefields on top of mount Columbia which is a 200+ mile wide icesheet at 3744 meters above sea level. Going there is like visiting another planet..is that impressive.

After our stay in the Canadian Rockies we headed back to Vancouver another 12 hours in the Trans-Canada (Which by the way is a gorgeous road in the daytime and pitch black and scary at night) and then took the ferry over Vancouver Island, one of the biggest islands in the Pacific west for the entire American continent, including South America. Vancouver Island is home to Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia. If you haven't been to England, Victoria is a faithful reproduction of central London. Double decker buses and yes classic right hand drive Minis! The Parliament building and the famous Empress hotel right next to it are must see sights.

We took around 900+ photos that better describe our trip so I will try to post just a small sample for your enjoyment.

After all was said and done, this week we travelled around 10,000 miles!! :shock:

Well happy to be back in Miami, but man, after seeing these beautiful places Miami and Florida in general...well.... is a little too overrated IMO.

See you all tomorrow night! :wink:
Last edited by FrankCooperS on Wed May 18, 2005 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby James » Wed May 18, 2005 3:33 pm

The Seattle/Vancouver area is at the top of my list of places to visit next. I'm sure I would really like it there. Looking forward to your photos.

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Postby FrankCooperS » Wed May 18, 2005 3:43 pm

Seattle is a very classy city. The downtown area is beautiful, clean and well maintained (Downtown Miami looks like a flea market right next to it). High end shops on every corner, subterranean malls (A must see), beautiful buildings like the 76 story Bank of America skyscrapper with an observation deck on the top floor (A must see). I also recommed spending a "Romantic" evening on top of the Space Needle!

Vancouver in my view is more similar to Miami in that it is very cosmopolitan and has lots of Asian inhabitans. Their "China Town" is the third largest in North America after San Francisco and New York.

Both cities are fantastic and each offer a blend of class, the latest urban trends, lots of MINIs, great nightlife and awesome sights to see and visit.

You won't be dissapointed.
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Welcome home!

Postby Mrs Clubman » Thu May 19, 2005 10:32 pm

Welcome home Frank. Sounds like a trip Marcos and I would definitely enjoy. Vancouver is known to have nice Minis. Their club website is one of the best. http://www.vancouverminicooperclub.com/news.asp.

Did you see Iain when you were there? He's the MiniWorld Magazine writer who visited us in February. Iain says the next issue will have a 3 page article on Petercito's Mini. I'll be on the lookout.
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Postby MarkVIBari » Thu May 19, 2005 10:38 pm

I've always wanted to visit the Northwest. After reading your excellent trip report, I want to go even sooner!
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Re: Welcome home!

Postby FrankCooperS » Wed May 25, 2005 8:52 pm

Mrs Clubman wrote:Welcome home Frank. Sounds like a trip Marcos and I would definitely enjoy. Vancouver is known to have nice Minis. Their club website is one of the best. http://www.vancouverminicooperclub.com/news.asp.

Did you see Iain when you were there? He's the MiniWorld Magazine writer who visited us in February. Iain says the next issue will have a 3 page article on Petercito's Mini. I'll be on the lookout.


Thanks for the welcome, Mrs Clubman. Unfortunately we were short of time in Vancouver so we didn't get to interact with any members from the local club there, but like I said, there are not only a healthy population of new MINIs but also you see more classics roaming around than you do here in Miami (Maybe Elpez is the excpetion to the rule :wink: )

Iain from MINI World Magazine lives in Vancouver, but then again no time to hook up for lunch or anything. Maybe next time! We really liked Vancouver. It has a "Miami" flavor but Pacific Northwest style. 8)
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Postby FrankCooperS » Wed May 25, 2005 9:03 pm

MarkVIBari wrote:I've always wanted to visit the Northwest. After reading your excellent trip report, I want to go even sooner!


Mark, you will love it!. I suggest starting your trip in Seattle and then work your way up past the border. Seattle is a very classy city and the downtown area has plenty of sights and things to do. A must place to visit is the Space Needle. Climb all the way to the top in the glass elevator (531 feet from the ground) to the open air observation deck. It is breathtaking, specially at night! For a "romantic" dinig experience, go one deck below to the rotating 360 degree restaurant for some excellent cuisine and incredible views.

Speaking of tall structures, we also have been in the tallest free standing structure in the world.... CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. That thing is not only impressive but scarry. One of the decks has a glass floor that you can stand on, jump on, do anything you want...but you can see straight down 1,200+ feet to the ground. Not recommended for those with fear of heights. The tallest area of the tower, the "Pod" is the equivalent of being in the 141st floor of a skyscrapper. Although Seattle's space needle is less than half the height of CN Tower, still at 531 feet is pretty impressive considering it was built in 1962 for the World's Fair and has withstood some earthquake activity.

This was our second trip to Seattle (First one was in early 2002) and this time around we only had one day with no rain. It rains a lot in Seattle, but one you drive north or get in the ferry accross the Puget Sound, the rain seems to go away :lol:

The first time we visited Washington State, we went to Olympic National Park in the Olympic Peninsula. the place is out of this world in its beauty and solitude. MINI roads galore, specially 101 Pacific highway.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Postby FrankCooperS » Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:00 am

At long last...... Here are the pics from the trip!

http://www.imagestation.com/album/index ... 2126227589


Thanks Sharon for uploading the photos! :wink:
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