Vegan Celebrities in Vancouver BC – 040
Meeting James Aspey and hanging out in Vancouver BC with Jeff, Greg, and Geoff was amazing! We loved the area and review the campgrounds and the vegan food while participating in two Cubes of Truth, a chicken vigil and a Vegan Festival! Good times!
Podcast episode introduction:
Good morning Prince George, British Columbia. It’s time to stop eating animals! Thanks for joining us on the 40th episode of Two Vegans on a Mission podcast. This week we’re going to be reviewing three RV parks in BC., three restaurants where we found vegan eats, and then the three animal rights activities I participated in Vancouver, B.C. Finally, we’ll tell you about our takeaways from Vancouver’s Vegan Festival. So grab your vegan snacks and enjoy this jam packed episode!
Welcome to Two Vegans on a Mission podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband Michael and our dog Sugar, we’re traveling and living full time in a Winnebago Class C motor home, visiting animal sanctuaries and animal rescues all across the country. Each week, we’ll share what new camping spots we’ve found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten, and our latest vegan outreach activities. So please join us as we strive to inspire, educate, and support you in your efforts to be vegan!
Crossing into Canada
We crossed the border into Canada early in the morning around 11:00 in the morning. That’s early for us to be on the road and already at a border crossing, it was an easy crossing. We just passed our passports over to the gentleman at the gate. And he looked at them, he said,
“Hey, you’re vegans, eh?” And we said,
“Yeah, we are. How’d you know?” And he said,
“Well of course your license plates.” Our license plates say 2vegans, and the RV license plate is b vegn. So that was pretty observant of him. And then he said,
“Where are you from?” We said, Texas. And he said,
“Do you have any guns?” And we said no. And he said,
“What? You’re from Texas, and you don’t have any guns?” And we laughed. We said,
“That’s a big stereotype. Not everybody in Texas has a gun!” And he laughed again.
And then he asked us where we were going, and we told him Prince George. And he said,
“Well, have a nice trip.” And we were on our way. So that was an easy-peasy border crossing. And we only had to wait in line for probably 20 minutes or so as we were in the RV line. They didn’t even ask us what kind of fruit we had and they did say,
“Hey, you have a nice little doggy there” because Sugar sits up front with us and that was it. So it was an easy crossing and we headed to Burnaby Cariboo RV Park in Vancouver. And it was really one of my overall all-time favorite RV spots. But I’ll tell you my impressions in just a minute. But first, here’s Michael.
This is one of the beautiful RV parks that we’ve stayed in this year. Very organized, very clean. Each one of the spaces was divided by these tall hedges. Everything worked perfectly. The showers were really busy but very clean. The RV park was centrally located near an elevated train system, which was very modern, efficient, and easy to get into Downtown Vancouver. I really like this place. And in the future if we’re ever back in B.C., Vancouver, we definitely will stay there again.
Also, I’d like to mention that right outside of the RV park was this long, beautiful flowing river. Sugar and I walked there in the morning and really had a good time. There was signs all over the place. “Watch for bears,” which I didn’t believe. But after watching the TV, I guess you have to believe the signs in Canada when they say they have bears because they are all over the place apparently. We’re still looking for them, but people tell us that they’re out there.
Louisa: My takeaway from this RV park is the fact that yes it is one of the most beautiful places that we have stayed in. Meaning the RV Park itself was very well kept, very clean. I liked its organization. We had a small spot, and those big huge Class A’s had some difficulty getting into these spots. So if you are planning to go there, it’s called the Burnaby Cariboo RV Park. You need to double check, call ahead, and see if they have space because it’s pretty tight. Our space was fine for our 25 footer and then we, of course, have our little tow car that we were able to put right next to it.
And then of course you get to walk over to the restrooms. The restrooms were clean and they had three showers, which got a little busy and that means the water gets on the floor and a little wet. But if you go there right at the right time…meaning right after they clean, then you can get a really nice shower without getting everything all wet.
I also used the laundry. The laundry is nice, efficient, modern, great machines, and it was two loonies per wash, which is $2 Canadian. And then I went into the office, of course I’m the one that always gets to go in and check us in. And I met the wonderful people behind the counter. They were so welcoming and so friendly.
I got some money out of the ATM because I didn’t know if our ATM cards would work, our debit cards would work at the elevated train. So I did get some cash ahead of time and then I didn’t know what it was. So I asked the guys behind the counter and they explained that they have plastic money, and then they even made some change for me. So I was able to go ahead and have some cash on hand, because when we took that SkyTrain into Vancouver later in the afternoon, we were not able to use our debit card. Which is a Visa, but it’s from the Navy Federal Credit Union. So they didn’t take it, so we had to use cash, which was fine.
We took the train into Vancouver, and we paid about $3 per person one way. And then when we tried to get off of the train at the end, of course we hadn’t paid enough, so they made us go over to the machine and pay some more. But we were able to finally get off the train and go to the activity that we were planning on going to.
But all in all, we stayed in the RV park for two nights. It’s a great location if you’re in and about the city of Vancouver. The next day, we took our little tow car and drove into the city. But we were checking out at about 11 so we asked if we could leave our RV in the area, and they said no problem. They could park it behind this hedge which was on the street, but it’s very secluded and private property of the RV park. So we felt very safe in leaving our RV there for the day. Came back around two, said thank you very much, and we were out of there. But we loved this RV park and we want a shout out to the folks who run it! They do a great job. And if you are in Vancouver, we highly recommend this one. It’s well worth the price.
Last week, we told you about our stay in Chilliwack, so we’re not going to do that again. But this time we’re going to head up to Clearwater in B.C. Clearwater / Wells Gray KOA. Yes, we are members of KOA so we got a 10% discount on the price. But this place was packed. Oh my goodness! It’s not as organized as the one we just talked about. However, this one has a lodge, a pool, mini golf, and a restaurant. And the lady told me when I asked about the wifi, she said,
“Well you might want to hook up to the wifi here in the office because once you get out into the RV park area, it might get a little weaker,” because they have 800 plus people trying to get on Wifi. Wowzer!
Now I didn’t see all those people cause some of them were in the lodge, but there were plenty out there in the RV park area. And let me tell you, this is one of the things that just amazes me about Canada. We have been in the RV parks now for three days or three different parks. And, we have seen so many of those rentals. They’re the, no, what’s it called? CanaDream. It’s like the go RVing or 1-800-RV. In America, in the U.S. it’s Cruise America. But here in Canada’s it’s CanaDream. And everybody must be renting their RVs and just going off for the summer because we see them everywhere. All different shapes and sizes. Even some class B’s, which look really fun!
But anyway, at this RV park, the only thing I didn’t like about it, and there’s always a con, right? They allowed campfires. So we don’t really do well sleeping in smoke. I’m not sure who does, but it took a little while for the smoke to dissipate. And then in the morning, we went over to take showers and the shower was fine. At first, it looked like it might be too wet in the evening when we checked it out. But in the morning when I took a shower, it was dry. I was able to get in and out no problem.
I liked the fact that there was a restaurant. Of course, I checked the menu out. Not a thing we could eat on it. No vegan options there. And then I also like the fact there’s a pool. So if you have a family, or friends, or even you if you like to go in the swimming pool, they had that.
I liked being able to walk Sugar up and down the gravel walkway, the gravel driveway. All the places were gravel. There were no cement pads, but it seemed like everything worked fine. So Michael, what do you think?
So for me this was a classic Journey KOA, which means that it’s a place where people only stop one or two days and then they move on. So no long term. Of course this is summertime. Of course people are on vacation and they are very, very busy. The thing that really impressed me was the location of the KOA. The Pacific Northwest and Canada so far has just been magnificent in our drives there. For most of the drive, it was just beautiful rivers on both sides of the highway, pristine forests. We didn’t see a lot of animals. We keep looking for the elusive bear, but it’s just as you drive down, you get mesmerized by the surrounding beauty of Canada.
We finally made it up here to Prince George at the Northern Experience RV Park. It’s a little bitty park. It’s not very big. I really enjoy having these little spots like this because it feels more homey. The people at the front office, Tracy Davis and her husband and her family are so nice and friendly, and very accommodating. So we’re in a back end spot, and we’re in letter A. No, we’re in letter B and they say there’s a bear on the premises. So we’ve been keeping our eye out but we haven’t seen it. It’s supposed to come in and wander, a two year old bear of some kind. So we’re keeping our eyes open, keeping Sugar out of the way of course.
This place has restrooms and showers and laundry, and we’ve used all of those already. But what I really like about it of course is the fact that we are almost ready to hook up with our family who’s coming in on Thursday night. But the family atmosphere at this park is really very nice. It’s not in Campendium. I found it by googling on Google, and I don’t know why they’re not on Campendium. But again, it’s called Northern Experience RV Park. And the only downside is you have to pay for showers and it only lasts for three minutes for a dollar or a loonie. And so you need to take at least two and then soap up and shower quickly. And now it’s time for a little break. But when we get back to this part of the episode, we’re going to talk about the food. And of course we like to talk about the food, so stay with us.
Welcome back to the podcast, and thanks again for joining us. First of all, we were in Vancouver that first night. As soon as we got in, we took our little train ride down into Vancouver, participated in an animal rights activity, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. And then we were able to go over to a restaurant called Meet, M-E-E-T. Like meet your friends or meet somebody for dinner. And we were given the opportunity to go here because someone after our activities said,
“Hey, let’s all meet at Meet in Yaletown.” Yaletown is apparently a section of Vancouver, and we didn’t know how to get there. So as one of the guys was giving me directions, it sounded a little complicated. And then a really nice young lady named Sarah jumped up and said,
“Hey, I’ll walk you over there and we can join in and have dinner together.”
So I got Michael and the Sugar dog, and we walked over to Meet, M-E-E-T. It’s in Yaletown. So shout out to Sarah for having dinner with us! It was super fun! We enjoyed meeting you and hanging out with you, and chatting all about things vegan in Vancouver. And we had our first opportunity to have poutine, which is french fries of some kind with some gravy and cheese. Of course, the Meet restaurant is all vegan all the time, and that’s so yummy and so fun. And Michael’s going to tell you what he had.
This is a very, very busy vegan restaurant, probably one of the busiest vegan restaurants that we’ve been in in, in the past year. And I was really excited to see that. I had the soul bowl, which had Kimchi, brown rice. It had soy chicken, it had shredded onions, mushrooms, marinaded bean sprouts, organic Kale, carrots, sesame seeds, and it was covered in a curried salsa salad. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I really hope we get an opportunity to get back to Vancouver and meet up again in Meet Restaurant.
I had the poutine like I said earlier, and I had a side of kale. Which was yummy. I love having kale in restaurants because they really do a nice job making it soft and making it palatable. But I want to shout out to Nicole who was our waitress or the wait person. And she was very attentive, very nice, and we really enjoyed her. And then Jeff from the kitchen, he’s the kitchen manager apparently. He brought out our kale or our poutine, one of them. And I was wearing my yellow tag that is actually an earring and it’s number 269. I got it off of Etsy. Yay. It’s a great conversation starter.
And shout out to Marika from Portland, who had her tag in her ear and I really liked it! So I got myself one. It’s a great conversation starter, and Jeff at the restaurant had the number 269 tattooed into his knife because he was a chef trained culinary trained chef. And since he already had a knife on his forearm, he had the number 269 tattooed right on top of that. So we had a little bonding moment right there. I loved it!
This place, Meet Restaurant in Vancouver is one of our favorite overall, all time vegan restaurant. The night was capped off by us getting a ride with Sarah and her boyfriend, who picked up a car sharing car. Which I thought it was going to be like Uber. She got on her phone and she punched some words in, and said she was going to get a car share. I thought that was Uber. The next thing we know, we’re walking out of the restaurant over across the street, and there’s this car just parked there. It said E-V-O on it and she said, “Oh no, we just get to get in the car.”
So here we are. This cracks me up because here we are, two strangers in Vancouver, Canada. We just met this young lady at an animal rights activity and she says,
“Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.” She picks up this random car on the side of the road, gets in, drives us over to the SkyTrain so that we don’t have to take two stops. And it was so nice of her and so accommodating. I think these Canadians are some of my favorite people. So shout out to Sarah again! Thanks a lot for giving us a ride to the train!
And then we drove up to Chilliwack in B.C., and we looked for some vegan options or vegan eats in the area. We didn’t find a lot to choose from. However, we did find a place called Chopped Leaf, and that’s a great name for a salad restaurant, don’t you think? Anyway, it’s in Chilliwack. And Michael’s going to tell you what it was like.
Michael: Yeah. We were pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant that could give us vegan options. And at the Chopped Leaf, they had a variety of different bowls that you actually put together yourself. So I ended up having a bowl made out of brown rice, black beans, avocados, corn. I had kale in there and then they had a little vinegarette that made it really tasty. And again, this is a really small town and it’s just hard to find places to go out and eat. Matter of fact, I thought we were just going to go and do our usual thing, and make our own meal. Which is fine and which we prefer, but it was very nice that these places exist along the road.
Louisa: And I had a design yourself salad, which again tells me that you can find vegan food anywhere you want. You just have to be a bit more creative sometimes. And then you also have to double check, and this is a problem I had this time around. I forgot to ask them what was in the dressing. I just asked for the balsamic vinegarette, and it was really oily. So I probably had some honey in there and it probably had some oil that was way too much oil. But next time, which I’ll tell you about in a minute, I asked what was in the dressing. So live and learn.
And the next place is where we ate today. We had lunch at a place called Freshii. Freshii is spelled F-R-E-S-H-I-I. It’s here in Prince George. We went over there. Again, I had one of those salads where you could swap out different things for what they had. They had feta cheese, and so I didn’t have that. They gave me an option to have other things. I really liked this lady. She was very knowledgeable about what was vegan on her menu, and so she guided us through the process.
Apparently, Freshii is a chain restaurant across the U.S. and here in Canada, hopefully. So we went there. I did ask about the balsamic vinegarette. She said no, it was not vegan because it has honey in it. SI just had the balsamic vinegar without any oil, without any honey. It was very tasty. It was a right size meal for me. I don’t have any leftovers and I didn’t feel like I was so hungry. So shout out to Freshii. I liked it. What do you think Michael?
Michael: One of the things we try to do when we go out to eat is to maintain a foundation of eating a whole food, plant based, vegan meal. Now what that means for us is that there are a lot of vegan options out there, and there is a lot of vegan fast food. And once in a while we’ll partake in that. But what we really try to do is keep to our foundation, which means that when we make a choice, we like to have whole foods, plant based.
And today at Freshii what I had was another bowl and it was called a Oaxaca bowl. It was a Mexican bowl that had a spicy red sauce. It also had black beans, brown rice, kale, avocado. It also had mushrooms and Cilantro. Again, our foundation is to eat food, which means eat whole foods, eat fresh food, and eat vegan food. And this met everything.
So, I’m really looking forward to in the future when we travel back in the states, to find these Freshii‘s because I was looking on their website and they’re all over the place, especially on the West Coast. If you’re traveling and you’re looking for good vegan options, stop at Freshii’s. And the one thing that happened while we were in Freshii‘s, the young lady pulled out a special card that said here are the things to make each bowl vegan, and we really appreciated that. So if you’re in those situations, don’t be afraid to ask the folks at the counter about the various vegan options for your meals, wherever you are.
Louisa: Doesn’t this all make you just want to go find some food? Hopefully you’re eating vegan food, so it’s all about the animals. If you want to see our pictures of the food we ate, you can go to @heaveninaclassc. That’s our Instagram. And you can also look on the website because I do post more pictures on the website as each episode is transcribed, one week after it is posted. So the website is www.vegansonamission.com. Go there, see more pictures, leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you. And when we return to this episode of the podcast, you get to hear all about the animal rights activities that I participated in, in Vancouver, B.C. It was a great time. I enjoyed it. I learned a lot, met a lot of really great people. We call them the vegan family, so stay tuned.
Thanks for staying with us as we get into the animal rights activism section of the podcast. I’d like to first give a shout out to Jeff and Greg who I met in Portland, telling me about the Vancouver cubes that were coming up. They travel up from Portland and Seattle area, and they get to have all of this opportunity to meet different people all across the Pacific Northwest and into Vancouver. And they told me that yes, you know who, James Aspey was going to be at both of those cubes in Vancouver. So of course I said, “Well of course I’ll be there. I love to go to the Anonymous for the Voiceless cubes of truth.” I think that’s one of the most effective ways to do outreach, because it’s like I said before in a previous podcast episode, it’s in your face but not in your face.
So if you’re just joining us for the first time and you don’t know what a cube of truth is, it’s actually an organization called Anonymous for the Voiceless. And what happens is volunteers come together on a sidewalk in a busy part of town, and we form a cube of people. So we stand back to back in a cube, usually four, sometimes eight people, sometimes more. Each person holds a TV or a computer screen that shows some very graphic images of what happens in slaughterhouses all across the world. These are standard practices. They are not just anomalies. These are what people don’t know is really happening in slaughterhouses. So we just try to show that truth.
The people standing in the cube, they’re all wearing black and they have on Guy Fawkes’ mask. This is supposed to be like an art exhibit so that people don’t look at the people holding the TVs. They just look at the footage on the TV.
And as they are walking by in this very busy part of town, they may just glance at the TVs and keep walking. We don’t bother those people. If they stop and they start to look very curious, or very upset, or very interested in what is being shown on the screen, then somebody else who is a volunteer and is in the outreach position will walk up to them and ask them some questions about what they’re seeing. We use a Socratic method of questioning so that we don’t come at them with a whole bunch of facts and figures, and in their face tell them all about how they should be vegan, and shouldn’t be eating meat, and isn’t it horrible what we’re doing? We just ask them for their opinions on what they’re seeing, and how they’re feeling, and then we go from there. It’s a nice gentle conversation.
So anytime we get to a new town, I just go to Facebook and I type in AV, which is short for Anonymous for the Voiceless. AV: and then the city that we’re in. And up comes a Facebook page where you have to join, you have to get permission to join. And then you get to have the access as to where the next cube of truth is being held.
So Jeff and Greg told me that there would be two, and I got onto the Facebook page and we were able to go out there. Michael and I took the SkyTrain from the RV park the first night over to the waterfront area of Vancouver, and it was from 4:30 to 7:30 PM. It was three hours of working side by side with other vegans. Everybody of course is vegan in the cube and in the outreach. So we are all very well versed in how to approach people or how to answer their questions if they have them.
This was a great evening. And yes, James Aspey showed up. We all did the whole fan grouping kind of thing where we took pictures with him, and you can see his picture on my Instagram. I didn’t stand with him, I just took other people’s pictures for them, and then it was really fun to listen to them. I did give him one of my cards, maybe he’ll hear this podcast. So shout out to James Aspey.
If you don’t know who that is, look him up on YouTube. He’s from Australia, and he spent 365 days not talking just for the animals. And then he did things like bicycle across Australia to show people that you can be vegan and still be healthy, and still be able to do all sorts of very good, athletic kind of things. So check him out. Again his name is James Aspey.
And I also want to give a shout out to the organizers Angel and Chris, they were out there. Michael too. Also, we had some great pictures that were taken by Jeff. So those will be coming up on the Facebook page and then I’ll post those onto Instagram in the near future hopefully. But I want to say thanks to letting all of us get together and share the evening of being there for the animals. That was actually two evenings, because the next night was at the night market in Northern Vancouver, they call it North Vancouver, I guess. It was from 6:15 to 10:00 PM, and we were able to drive our little car and park it down at the market. And you know what? Michael doesn’t participate in these cubes, but he is the big supporter behind the scenes because he gets to take care of sugar girl while I am doing all of the outreach stuff. And he stops in to see how we’re doing, and he’ll kind of ask if we need anything. But he’s the guy behind the scenes. And if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to do the outreach that I do. So I really want to shout out to him too.
So that was the first thing we did was two nights of cubes of truth. And then the next morning at Saturday morning at about 7:00, we got up really early, we don’t like to get up early. But we got up early and drove our RV behind that hedge, like I told you earlier, where we got to park it all day. And then we drove over to Eastern Vancouver where I was able to participate in a chicken vigil. This was in front of Hallmark Farms, and it was one of those most powerful incidences of bearing witness that I’ve ever done. I was at a chicken vigil in front of a butcher shop in San Francisco a few weeks back that I talked about on a prior podcast episode, but this one was actually the one where the trucks pull up in front of the slaughterhouse with the chickens inside. They are crammed in, they are worn out. They are the hens that are laying all the eggs, and they are just miserable. And they still look at you like, “What are you going to do? Are you going to help me?” What can we do? We can’t help them. We can only bear witness to this lot or that they’re heading into. And then we spread the word that this is happening. And you can look at my Instagram too. I’ll post a picture of the hens that I was able to see.
And then we went down to the corner of the street and stood with some signs saying, “Please honk if you love chickens. Don’t eat them. They’re friends, they’re not food.” And I have a picture of that on Instagram as well. Again, it’s @heaveninaclassc. Go there and see a bunch of us hanging out on the street corner trying to spread the word.
And then we all headed over to the Vancouver Vegan Festival. This was a really great day. It was outside at a park, and there’s also pictures on Instagram and on the website for those. But it had lots of vendors, lots of really yummy food. And of course James Aspey spoke again for the whole crowd. I didn’t get to hear him because we had to leave so we could head up to Chilliwack. But the video is out there, I’m sure. So look that up. Again, James Aspey talks veganism. And Michael, what did you think about the festival?
Michael: This is my second vegan fest, and this was a beautiful location in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, right along the ocean. And couldn’t have been a prettier setting. Again, it almost feels like a Christmas or holiday celebration when you’re among fellow vegans and people who just want to explore what veganism is all about. They had delicious food, they had a lot of foods that we don’t normally see, like donuts. Also, they had vendors that were selling interesting [inaudible 00:30:16] like maple syrup water, which was I found very interesting. They also had exotic foods, African cuisine, Italian cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, which was all vegan related. They always have vendors with lots of cool clothing, and I ended up buying a nice tee shirt to add to my collection. So we’re looking forward in the future as we travel around the United States and Canada, and even in Mexico, hooking up with these vegan fests as we drive around.
Louisa: And of course I was hungry, so it was time for me to find some food. And I found some raw vegan food at a place called Turmeric Trailer food truck. It was the least processed food that I could find at the vegan festival, and it was very tasty. So thanks for being there, and I enjoyed having met you, and we look forward to seeing you out on the road!
So thus ends another episode of Two Vegans on a Mission podcast. Thanks for joining us! Thanks for being here every week. We really appreciate you. All of you from all over the world. Remember, it’s for the animals, for the planet, and for your health. So stop eating animals, and you, too, can be vegan!
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.