Holiday - Blog - Developmental Disabilities Association

Holiday - Blog

Alaskan Cruise – August 14th - 21st, 2019

This year, we had a record-breaking eight participants and three staff go on the Holland America Volendam 7-day Alaskan Cruise.

We had an incredible time exploring the ship and watched many performances involving singers, dancers, comedians, and magicians. During our cruise, we got to step off the ship and walk around 3 different ports – Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan; Many of us enjoyed souvenir shopping in the cities to remember our special trip. The buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night dinners was also a favourite for many of us. Another highlight of the trip was seeing an energetic whale and the Margerie Glacier.

Harrison Hot Springs – August 6th - 9th, 2019

Harrison Hot Springs was a beautiful getaway for our 4 clients. Our hotel faced the sparkling Harrison Lake, and we enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub during our free time. On Wednesday, we spent the day at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and saw over 30 different types of animals. After an adventurous day, we feasted at Olive Garden with unlimited soups, salads, and pasta. The next day, the group hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls and saw the stunning waterfall. We had a picnic lunch at the falls and went back to Harrison for some souvenir shopping. All of us spent quality time together playing UNO and had a great time with each other’s company. Before leaving, we explored the Sasquatch Museum and took some group pictures before saying goodbye to everyone!

Victoria – July 22nd – 26th, 2019

Our trip to Victoria was relaxing, exciting, and educational. We stayed at the beautiful Oak Bay Guest House and had eventful plans for each day. After settling into our rooms on the first day, we explored The University of Victoria, then enjoyed a pizza picnic dinner by the beach. The next day, we went to Beacon Hill park and enjoyed watching the new Lion King movie. Wednesday, we were in awe as we learnt about the Maya civilization at the Royal BC Museum, and watched “Superpower Dogs” at the IMAX theater. In the afternoon, we rode on a harbour ferry and had a tour of Victoria’s waterways. Thursday, we saw lovely flowers at the Butchart Gardens, and stepped into the fascinating Victoria Bug Zoo where we saw hairy tarantulas, praying mantises, and massive scorpions! The group was having so much fun that we did not want to leave on Friday, so we stopped by the BC Aviation Museum before saying goodbye to Victoria. 

Flying U Ranch #1 & #2 – June 24th-28th & July 8th-12th

Yeehaw! Our group of cowboys and cowgirls travelled along a scenic route along Highway 1 up to 70 Mile House where The Flying U Ranch is located. We enjoyed home-cooked meals, a beautiful view of Green Lake, and a barn full of sweet horses. We had fun horseback riding through the trails and even saw some deer! In the afternoon, we had the chance to go on boat rides, and get our fingers sticky with s’mores by the bonfire. Thank you Flying U Ranch for the amazing horse-pitality!

Sunset Dinner Cruise – June 20th, 2019

Vancouver’s original dinner cruise is still a top holiday choice for many participants – our trip had a total of 10 people! We had a packed van driving down to Harbour Cruises and sang along to the radio while we were at it. The night was filled with live music, a beautiful sunset, and incredible food and dessert. Many people had seconds of the salmon, roast beef, chocolate cake, and blueberry cheesecake. Everyone enjoyed each other’s company and we shared lots of great conversations and laughs!

Sea to Sky – June 19th, 2019

No wind or rain can stop us from having a good time! Four travelers and three staff went to Squamish (which means “Mother of the Wind”) for a hearty lunch at White Spot. We had lasagna, salads, burgers, fries, and milkshakes! After our tummies were more than satisfied, we rode the Sea to Sky Gondola to view the beautiful Coast Mountain scenery. We hiked the Panorama Trail, walked across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, and took pictures along the viewing deck with a breath-taking backdrop.

Indian Arm Luncheon – June 17th, 2019

In a blink of an eye Holiday Options 2019 has returned!

Our first trip was the Indian Arm Luncheon. Six participants and two staff boarded the Harbour Princess and enjoyed a buffet lunch with potato salad, salmon, chicken, and apple peach pie! The West Coast view through Vancouver’s harbour, the Burrard Inlet, and north into Indian Arm was spectacular! We even saw a family of seals and a couple of bald eagles.

Alaskan Cruise - August 8-15, 2018

This year’s big trip was a round trip, seven-night cruise to Alaska.

The group of six, including staff, were on Holland America’s Volendam ship where there are ten decks, with passenger cabins spread across five of them. The ship also had two swimming pools, two hot tubs, a spa, and a show lounge that we took advantage of almost every night. The ship’s theme was floral – they had fresh displays all throughout the ship to emphasize the floral patterns.

During the cruise, there were four days where we got to explore different ports in Alaska. Those ports included Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan. Our participants love getting off the boat and exploring what Alaska had to offer. They were especially excited to see glaciers, whales, and seals.

During the times on the boat, we enjoyed feasting every day. There is no doubt we each put on a few pounds when we got home. We also enjoyed the live shows every evening. In the day time, we explored each deck and went swimming, that way, we can eat even more! This relaxing seven-night cruise made our bellies very happy.

The clients are excited and looking forward to next year’s big trip! Goodbye summer 2018.

Victoria Trip - July 30-August 3, 2018

Our annual Victoria trip took place this past week from July 30 to August 3, and was filled with great activities and even better company.

The weather was sunny and the temperature was high, and so was the DDA clients’ energy! Clients couldn’t contain themselves as we saw the water and ferries leaving the Tsawwassen terminal. Once we docked at Swartz Bay, it was a photo extravaganza as clients wanted to take pictures with the local scenery and shops. The group checked in to their accommodations in the afternoon and some of the clients already had their indoor slippers on before.

Throughout the week, clients’ days were filled with many activities such as walking along Oak Bay beaches, Royal BC Museum, IMAX at the RBCM, discounted movies on Tuesdays at Cineplex, Butchart Gardens, Thetus Lake, Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, Beacon Hill Park, two different picnics, walking downtown and swimming at the lake.

Our happy clients kept their energy level high from the various meals we had during the trip such as sandwiches, veggies, baked chips, pasta from the Old Spaghetti Factory, fish and chips, Chinese food, pizza from Pizza Hut, and a fancy dinner at Cactus Club. And that’s only lunch and dinner! Oak Bay Bed & Breakfast provided phenomenal breakfast meals ready to jump start anyone’s day! Fruit parfaits always came every morning first, and were followed by various morning-style dishes such as eggs benedict, classic eggs, toast, hash browns, etc.

Highlights of the trip from the clients were the Butchart Gardens and food in Victoria, nothing quite like a trip full of activities and all your favourite foods!

Buntzen Lake BBQ - August 8, 2018

Our last day trip of the summer consisted of lots of food and fun. On this extremely hot day, the park had banned all BBQs so instead, we got pizza! Everybody seemed to be just as happy with this alternative as the pizza was nearly all gone at the end of our trip. We had time to swim, canoe, and relax under the shade. Everyone was happy to be outdoors. We saw many unique and incredible floaties on the water: one floatie was shaped like a party island. Participants are looking forward to the end of summer BBQ and of course, next year!

Theatre Under the Stars - July 23, 2018

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) entertains families through popular musical theatre shows and has been a Lower Mainland tradition delighting generations of locals and tourists alike, under the stars in the pastoral outdoor setting of the historic Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park.

This year, they performed ‘Cinderella.’ The two-hour and fifteen minute show was brimming with wit and warmth to transport the hearts of both children and adults with a magical fable of Fairy Godmothers, glass slippers, and the triumph of true love. All of our participants loved the show and gave the performers a standing ovation at the end. Each of our participants are looking forward to next year’s show and cannot wait to find out which theatre show will be playing.

Flying U Ranch #2 - July 16-20, 2018

The trip up to the Flying U Ranch for the second time this summer was another big success. The clients enjoyed a beautiful drive up along the canyon; with the Fraser river on one side, and a constant cycle of trains on the other. We arrived in the evening to a wonderful home-cooked meal, and the delicious meals that followed daily. The food was a definite highlight with everyone going for seconds.

Horseback riding was a huge success, giving all the clients an opportunity to explore the wilder parts of Cariboo country. While riding, we were able to see lots of deer, birds, and the small gully where all the black bears live. We also got to explore Round Lake and Cheyenne Pasture with a Ranch Wrangler who told us much of the history of the Ranch. After riding, everyone cooled off with a swim in Green lake. Our afternoons were spent on the lake going for boat rides and tubing. We even got to see a float plane land and take off right in front of us.

Evenings were spent relaxing in the old-fashioned movie theatre with popcorn and tea, and out on the porch enjoying the great company and the cool breeze. The Ranch offered many fun activities including archery, board games, billiards, and Square dancing.

On the Friday morning, we said goodbye to the horses and all the Ranch staff before departing back to Vancouver. The clients can’t wait to return next year!

Sunset Dinner Cruise #2 - July 13, 2018

On Friday July 13th, we set sail for our second Sunset Dinner Cruise of the summer. With a full group, we had a lot of fun enjoying the gorgeous view of Vancouver, the delicious food, and live music. We were lucky to have good weather that evening as the sun set perfectly in front of us. Everyone was so excited for the trip that they all arrived early. Because of that, we were able to go for a scenic drive around Stanley Park before dinner. Participants loved seeing the horses as we drove by. As expected, the dinner was amazing and dessert topped everything off. We all found it difficult to have only one slice of chocolate cake or blueberry cheesecake. The evening ended back at Harbour Cruises and a fun karaoke session in the car on our way back to Kensington.

Spa Day & Pub Lunch - July 10, 2018

Tuesday, July 10th was our spa day and pub lunch where our clients had the opportunity to dine, relax and get pampered.

The day started at Rusty’s Pub in Cloverdale, and the clients got to enjoy the World Cup 2018 Soccer semi finals. It was a riveting meal as we saw France score their only goal on Belgium to take them to the World Cup finals. The group then walked to Essential Nails down the block and enjoyed a wonderful pampering session. Choosing nail polish colours was the only difficult thing about the day. Those who received pedicures were awed by the massage and the smoothness of their feet afterwards. The others got their fingernails done and looked absolutely fabulous by the end of their pampering session!

Annnnd of course, the day couldn’t be completed without some ICE CREAM at Dairy Queen! The ice cream was gone faster than you could say,  “We all scream for ice cream!” Great food, great company, great conversation and a good time sums up the entire day!

  • Rusty's Pub in Cloverdale!
  • Being pampered at Essential Nails
  • Being pampered at Essential Nails

Sunset Dinner Cruise #1 - July 5, 2018

The Sunset Dinner Cruise is always a crowd-pleaser, which is why we are running two of these this year. It is a lovely 2.5 hour cruise that passes the downtown Vancouver skyline, Canada Place, Mountains of the North Shore, Stanley Park, and more. It is like dining in a restaurant that looks out into all of Vancouver’s finest views.

With live music on board, Linus was able to sing along to his favorite tunes. Everybody loved the dinner; however, it was the dessert that hit the spot for all of us. New York-Style cheesecake and chocolate cake was served, and everybody had seconds. It was a perfect evening on the Britannia ship. We are looking forward to the next dinner cruise!

Flying U Ranch #1 - June 25-29, 2018

Clients enjoyed a scenic drive through BC’s Cariboo region, adoring the mountains, wildlife, river, and trains all along the route to our final destination, the Flying U Ranch. The food reminded all of us of the home-cooked meals our families would make, and provided the clients with plenty of strength for days of horseback riding!

The clients were led on horseback through the various trails. Black bears, deer, and various bird species were among the animals that the clients saw throughout the rides. While on horseback, we got to see Round Lake and Wilkinson Lake on the property, as well the areas where the horses spend their evenings before being wrangled at 6 AM for the riders. Some of our clients got to go tubing in Green Lake for the very first time, and the Flying U Ranch staff fell in love with our high spirits during the trip.

The old-fashioned movie theatre with popcorn and s’mores by the fire every night completed our evenings, adding to the relaxing vacation time our clients had. In our spare time, there were plenty of activities such as yoga, archery, swimming, board games, billiards, puzzles, and a variety of other activities throughout the ranch and the activity room.

In the end, the staff gave us all horseshoes to remember them (and the horses) by. The clients can’t wait to come back next year!

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish - June 20, 2018

It was an extremely hot and beautiful day for the Squamish Gondola. We started off the day meeting everyone bright and early, then headed to White Spot in Squamish for a delicious lunch. Many of the clients enjoyed the milkshakes there, Linda even said, “This made my day!” There was no doubt every client cleaned their plates.

After lunch, we drove to the Gondola. Everyone adored the scenic lift up the mountain. The group walked the spirit trail and discovered many more breath taking sceneries and took lots of pictures. The walk was ended with ice cream and a visit to the gift shop.

Indian Arm Luncheon - June 18, 2018

Holiday Options 2018 has finally begun! Our first trip was a scenic lunch cruise from Coal Harbour, up the Indian Arm and back. This year, we had a group of eight participants and three staff that attended. What made this year special was that we got to celebrate Joanne’s early 71st birthday! Everyone had so much fun playing cards, eating LOTS of delicious food, and enjoying the most beautiful waterfall.

  • Anita Tesch, Graeme Johnstone, Joanne Oxley, and Trevor Minster enjoying Silver Falls.
  • This year’s Indian Arm Luncheon group.
  • Happy 71st birthday Joanne!