Virgin Atlantic sends Sandal Road to Vancouver with Twitter competition #WhyYVR
Virgin Atlantic ran a global competition on Twitter with the hashtag #whyYVR over the first half of May 2012, looking for the best blog post on Vancouver, the prize being the last seat on the inaugural flight. Guess who won!
About a year ago I went to Vancouver and instantly fell in love with it, and have since not really been able to get it out of my head. I keep raving about it to my friends, family and of course to you, Sandal Road readers. You may have noticed the odd Vancouver post.
And so when Virgin Atlantic announced that they would launch a new direct flight route from London Heathrow to Vancouver, I thought: great stuff, even more, an opportunity for people to experience this awesome place.
Of course, I couldn’t help but notice #WhyYVR, the social media competition launched on the vtravelled blog a few weeks ago, inviting people to blog and tweet about what exactly it is that makes Vancouver such a great place to visit. As a competition prize, Virgin Atlantic chose the perfect inspiration – the last seat on the inaugural flight, accompanied by an incredible itinerary complete with VIP launch party, biking in the Rockies, touring Vancouver on a bike, and sampling the local beer.
In an effort to express my enthusiasm about this gem on Canada’s west coast, I put together a few of my highlights from Vancouver. I was thrilled and honoured to find out I actually won the competition! And so it goes that I will be boarding VS95 on Thursday morning, to take the last seat on the plane and join the lucky crew and passengers flying to YVR.
The official itinerary
I have to say, Virgin Atlantic and Tourism British Columbia have put together an itinerary that leaves no room for jet lag.
Below is my schedule for the 4-day adventure. There’s no doubt about it, the activities and experiences I’ll partake in will be exciting, to say the least. I hope you’ll follow along on my journey to see what makes Vancouver such a great destination.
Before boarding VS95 to Vancouver, I’ll spend some time at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow and meet my fellow passengers. After landing in Vancouver, the group will attend a press conference, and is then immediately whisked off to … Whistler! On arrival at the Fairmont Chateau Hotel, I’ll be happy to attend the dinner reception and look forward to a restful night’s sleep to prepare for the following day’s activities.
An early start to the day with Whistler Eco Tours. I have never been to Whistler before, so I am very excited about this one. There were quite a few options available to choose from, and as enchanting as the waterfall walk or indeed tempting the spa may have been, I decided to join the bike and paddle tour, which includes mountain-biking to Alta Lake, canoeing across the lake, and hopping back on the bike on the other side to explore the mountain trails on the way back to town. In the afternoon, the group travels back to Vancouver and gets ready for the big event: the big VIP inaugural celebration party!
On Saturday morning, I’ll be joining a group to explore the North Shore. I’ll be testing my nerves again with some scary experiences. This time it won’t involve jumping off a bridge, but instead, walking on it. A new challenge! Capilano suspension bridge and Capilano cliff walk await, and nearby Grouse Mountain will provide equally tense moments with the Eye of the Wind and … grizzly bears, apparently.
In order to calm down in the afternoon, I’ll pay Granville Island a visit: the Granville Island Brewing Company and an artisan sake maker. After all the adrenaline, this will be a most welcome and soothing experience, particularly for my nerves.
I hear the evening holds a surprise for the group and a dinner event hosted by Tourism British Columbia.
Sunday’s schedule is fairly open still, with free time in the morning. I hope to meet my Vancouverite friends then and see what we get up to in beautiful Vancouver. There is certainly no shortage of things to do. Maybe we’ll head to the beach, or look at some art? I just hope for sunshine.
Before leaving the city in the evening to return to London, the itinerary has set asided some time for Steveston – yet another part of Greater Vancouver that I have not yet been to!
It’s hard to cover most of Vancouver’s sights in a week, but Virgin Atlantic and Tourism BC certainly made sure no-one wouldn’t get bored. I hope you’ll follow along as I discover Vancouver. Let me know if there’s anything you would recommend I do!
#WhyYVR update: celebrating touchdown of Virgin Atlantic’s first flight to Vancouver
And so I landed at Vancouver’s International Airport, after a very smooth ride on Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to Vancouver.
But the fun started much earlier. On arrival at Heathrow, I went straight to Virgin’s Clubhouse, essentially the airline’s lounge. Über-stylish is probably quite a fitting word for the Clubhouse. I was a bit lost for words on entering yesterday morning at 8am. It’s a very cool design in which some elements remind of the seventies, but with a very futuristic touch. I couldn’t help but think of Star Trek’s Ten Forward, but much brighter and much more fun.
The Clubhouse is complete with a spa and a hairdresser, and even a recording studio. Just in case you have an epiphany and need to record that next number one single before you board your flight!
Touching down at YVR
The flight on the new Airbus A340-300 was fantastic, and again the design continued to impress, and not just because of the fancy bar between Premium Economy and Upper Class (although admittedly, it is a major plus).
On arrival at Vancouver International Airport, Sir Richard Branson was welcomed at the aircraft by the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, and presented with a Vancouver Canucks hockey jersey, which he seemed to be very enthusiastic about:
Go Canucks! Sir Richard, we want to see that jersey in action now!