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BC and Alberta

So the post from Allan about where you would like to visit in your own country got me talking about that subject with my hubs on our walk yesterday. BC has been on my list but keeps getting moved because it's ~Canada~ and I'd rather go East to Europe. So I brought up the subject that since our Scotland trip is off unless things greatly improve between now and Sept, maybe - assuming borders are open within Canada and no quarantine - we could finally get Western Canada off the list.

So very roughly sketched we'd fly to Calgary or Edmonton (I'm 99% sure my husband's friend is in Edmonton), pick up a car and drive to BC, concentrating on the Victoria/Vancouver area. I'd give us 12-16 nights. Thinking late Aug into mid-Sept, unless the first few weeks of Sept would be better (I know snow can come early to the mtns). Would fly home from Vancouver.

So if you had two weeks to go from Calgary/Edmonton to Victoria without deviating too much from that line, what is worth visiting and how much time in each place? I see highway 1 runs thru Banff and Glacier Park so that seems like a good route to take. We do like nature, but not camping (too old for that). Light-moderate hiking is fine.

How far ahead would you need to book for accoms around Banff area?

I do have Nanaimo on my list, and we have a friend in Ladysmith to visit.

Posted by
6138 posts

Kelowna/ Okanagan Wine Country/ Lake Country (in between) is really lovely. But if you're not a wine drinker, then it may not be as interesting - it's still beautiful though. I would not try to do these two giant provinces in one trip. On one trip to Vancouver, we went to Kelowna for an overnighter and it was a lot of driving even to get there and back (obviously, if you're not backtracking, that's better). But you can easily spend 12-16 nights in either province and not get bored. BC also includes the lovely Vancouver Island, which can take an an entire week or preferably more (you can access it through Tsawwassen or Nanaimo). Vancouver (city) itself is easily a week (or more), and most people go to Whistler (and North Vancouver) as well. Victoria is much smaller, so maybe 3 full days, including Butchart Gardens. BC is one of the most beautiful places in Northern America. For me, it has rivaled any trip to Europe, and I could stay there for months. Next time I'm there, I'll dedicate the whole time just to Vancouver Island outside of Victoria, which I only got a taste of last time (I only spent about 3-4 full days there or so).

Posted by
4938 posts

Do they still have scenic railway trips that go through the Alberta-BC area?

The Banff-Lake-Louise-Jasper area is well worth spending all that time in.

Posted by
1002 posts

The Icefields Parkway is a must (Highway 93) if you like scenery https://icefieldsparkway.com/highlights/points-of-interest. With that in mind I would likely fly to Edmonton and then head to Jasper for a night or two and then spend a day slowly driving the Parkway to Lake Louise. For me, this is one of the most scenic drives in the world. There are plenty of stops along the way for 20-30 minute hikes to spectacular view points. The views and short uphill hikes from Chateau Lake Louise are also fantastic. https://www.banfflakelouise.com/lake-louise. From there I would head west from Lake Louise for 45 minutes and stay a day or two in Banff. Their are plenty of budget hotels on the main road on the outskirts of Banff, but I prefer to be in the town centre. This is always my preferred hotel, but it had a major fire a few years ago and when they rebuilt and upgraded, they also upgraded the prices https://www.banffjaspercollection.com/hotels/mount-royal-hotel/. Here's another of my favourite hotels, just outside the town limits https://thejuniper.com/, my wife and I often go here for anniversary dinners. A nice 45 minute drive is the Lake Minnewanka Loop https://www.banfflakelouise.com/blog/explore-lake-minnewanka-loop, we've never failed to see mountain sheep hanging out beside the road.

I'll let somebody with more knowledge chime in about the Banff to Vancouver island route, but south of the #1 is is the Okanagan region http://www.okanagan.com/. I have fond memories camping here every summer as a boy. If you take this route, cut through Highway 97C to the Coquihalla Highway-Highway #5 as it is a shortcut to Vancouver. Even if you skip the Okanagan and follow the #1, you'll eventually reach the intersection for the Coquihalla and it is still a shortcut to Vancouver and very scenic.

Posted by
2 posts

I had the opportunity to visit Banff for an extended weekend last summer (sister was on a business trip for two weeks in Calgary). We stayed at the Moose Hotel in Banff for three nights. Booked about three months before the trip (for June). We did the Columbia Icefield Center and walked on a Glacier- amazing especially as I grew up in Florida! There are plenty of light-moderate hiking in the area and every view is beautiful. It was my first time there and even though it was short - well worth it.

Posted by
178 posts

I heartily agree with Alan about Banff and Jasper. We spent a week staying in Canmore as Banff lodging was spendy and drove to the national park each day. The Columbia Icefields Highway is truly stunning (a word I feel is overused but applicable in this case). Our trip was a bit dampened by terrible smoke due to 600 wildfires burning in BC that summer but we still had a marvelous time. Go!

Posted by
269 posts

Hi Nicole
We've been wondering about visiting the east coast for similar reasons! Allan has described the Banff/Jasper area pretty well, so I won't get into that. In terms of hotels in Banff, if you feel like a splurge, my current favourite is the Moose, although I did just read that Banff spring hotel has some deals on. For a more moderate price with very basic rooms but the best location in town check out the Bow view lodge.

If you want to see both Vancouver and Vancouver island I would skip the Okanagen. The most direct drive is on the Trans Canada and then the Coquihalla. We usually drive straight from Calgary to Vancouver in a long day. Vancouver has a number of lovely areas to see. The Sylvia is a great old hotel right by Stanley Park and English Bay. I would personally want at least 3 days for Vancouver. If you could fly home from Victoria I would do Vancouver first, then catch the ferry at Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. Then drive from Nanaimo to Victoria. If you have to fly home from Vancouver, then I would maybe do Victoria first ( if that is the case catch the ferry at Tsawassen) then up to Nanaimo and circle back to Vancouver.

Late August, early September should be good weather wise. Normally you would want to have all your accommodations in Banff and Jasper booked for this. I'm not sure this year how it will play out, but I'm guessing it will be the same. You also might want to consider booking your ferry rides.
Oh, I should mention that there is supposed to be a lot of construction this year near Golden. It was to actually include road closures for up to 24 hours in the spring and fall, but I've not heard any updates about that recently. ( Funny, it hasn't made the news...)

Posted by
1518 posts

Nicole, you got me thinking 🤔 too! I have always wanted to go to Banff/Jasper and would love some time in Vancouver as well.

Thanks Alan for these ideas...got to get to planning! Hope the quarantine is lifted so we can do this in early Sept.

Posted by
76 posts

Nicole - I live in Portland Oregon and Vancouver BC is about a 6 hour drive so I've made lots of visits. I would skip Okanagan - its called the "fruit basket" of BC so lots of fruit stands and wineries but not much other touristing. I would definitely hit Banff and Lake Louise (havent been myself but it looks gorgeous), Vancouver, and Vancouver Island. Actually you could easily spend 10 days just doing Vancouver and Vancouver Island - there is lots to see and do both locations. One of these days I'd like to drive to the end of Vancouver Island and take the ferry to Haida Gwaii but thats a 7 - 8 day trip all by itself.

Posted by
109 posts

We have been to BC only twice, once for Vancouver and Victoria, and once from Glacier NP area up to Banff and then Jasper. (Our trip to Glacier NP was preceded by a road trip from the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and a drive through Montana, staying one night in a teepee on the Blackfoot Reservation.) To my mind, Jasper is lovelier, mainly because there are fewer tourists. We splurged on a small cabin/room at Jasper Lake in the N/P. A short walk to the lake to sit and watch the sunset, with G and T in hand, then to the small town of Jasper for a nice dinner in a place not overrun with tourists (like Banff). The drive from Banff to Jasper was fantastic, with lots of stops for short scenic hikes (as mentioned above). We saw lots of wildlife. This was in mid June, so we had good weather too. From Jasper we made our way to Edmonton for our flight back to Calif. Jasper has always remained in my thoughts as a place of serenity and beauty. Lake Louise and Banff are nice, but Jasper is special.

Posted by
45 posts

I wonder how many Canadians will do the rockies this year?
It will probably never be this quiet and empty again in our lifetimes.
I was there 4 years ago and planning on doing another road trip there about 2 weeks after they open it up.
want to give sometime for restaurants and hotels to work out the kinks

Posted by
2936 posts

Victoria is just across the Strait from me and normally a fun day or weekend trip. I'm just waiting for the border to open again and the ferry to start running....... Butchart Gardens is a favorite spot for me. I also enjoy just walking around the inner harbor area and downtown in Victoria. With a car you can drive and see a bit more of the island.

Vancouver BC. Well, I really don't like to drive in this city at all. I would rank it as worse than Seattle. Fortunately, there is great public transport, including water buses and taxis. I usually stay out more towards the suburbs if staying overnight and then take public transport into downtown.

I think that you will see a bit of a positive tourist change in both cities this summer with no active Alaska cruise traffic visiting them. It might be a great time to visit when tourist traffic and hotel rates (hopefully) will be down.

Posted by
11407 posts

Nicole if you’ve never seen the west coast you really should try busting Vancouver island ! It’s way different than the east coast I’ve visited ( which is lovely , but different) - our rainforests are amazing .

We used to do a loop - from Vancouver island - stop in Okanogan for a day or two - continue on to Banff , a few days there , from Banff easy day trips to lake Louise and Morriane lake ( which is in one of our currencies bills can’t remember which on ) , then we’d spend a day or Calgary to visit friends , then back , but southern route through the Kootenys , Nelson , Kaslo , visiting the various hot springs ( Ainsworth is favourite commercial one , White Stag our favourite wild one ) , Kimberly , visit Fort Steele ( it’s one of those “living museums “ where staff wear period costumes and you can wander into bakeries and blacksmith shops etc , and a scenic railway ride on grounds )
Then a stop in either Christina Lake or Ossoyoos ( wed do different places alternating years ) then back to island .

On island it self we have Parksville ( amazing beach and I’m actually here right now staying in a cabin ) and Tofino , as well as Victoria which has a fascination museum , beautiful parks , lots of great restaurants etc , and of course Butchard Gardens !

Posted by
3790 posts

Ok...wow...that’s a lot to go over! Thanks for all the comments. I’ll have to sit down with a notepad and make copious notes!

A few mentioned Butchart Gardens. I rem when I was but a child seeing photos that my mom’s friend who lived in BC sent her of those gardens. Those will def be on the visit list.

Looks like (if we do end up going) that I’ll have to go for the 16 nights, maybe can add a few more on. I’d love to just go for 3-4 weeks, but don’t want to leave the dog that long. I love me some planning and since the Scotland trip is already all planned for whenever it can happen, this will fill my need to plan.

Posted by
626 posts

I know weather can vary but I chose the first half of Sept last year for my trip across Canada by train (the Canadian), which included a stop of 3 full days in Jasper and not nearly enough time in Vancouver and Victoria. The weather, which I know you can’t count on, was perfect.

I didn’t have enough time to make it all the way to Banff, but Jasper was wonderful and not at all crowded. I stayed in a really nice bnb there. I don’t think most booking opened up untilJanuary.

I could have used 3 full days there plus the Icefields Parkway Drive, so one more day than I had. There’s an app for that drive that was worth the money (Gypsy maybe?).

Take all the time you can.

Posted by
922 posts

Never been to Alberta, though my wife visited a friend in Jasper and was impressed with the scenery.

For a year in the late eighties I lived in Saanichton, just north of Victoria. As I remember, you can arrive on the island at either Nanaimo or Sidney, the former having a scenic highway drive into Victoria. There is also a lovely drive from Victoria to the small town of Sooke (the town of Sooke is about as attractive as it sounds).

Victoria itself has one of the more pleasant cores in North America, of the ones I’ve visited at least. Craigdarroch Castle is worth the time, on the way to the swanky neighbourhood of Oak Bay (some fabulous houses and gardens). There is a large, attractive (at the time) park by the waterfront south of the city.

If you are a beer drinker, excellent brews at the Swan Hotel (lovely interior) and Spinnakers in particular, where I got hooked on IPA. Close to where I lived, The Prairie Inn was charming inside and always packed but their brews at the time were second rate. Not far from The Prarie are Butchart and the Butterfly Gardens.

Posted by
28 posts

As a past Edmontonian who is now a resident of Vancouver Island, I have some experience with this topic. We always went to Jasper for vacations as kids, either camping, or staying at the Pine Bungalows (cabin #23) just outside of town. Always liked Jasper better than Banff. Not as touristy, quieter, and more in touch with wildlife and nature.
I would do the "triangle". Edmonton, Jasper, Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise and Banff. Then Highway 1 to Vancouver. It's a beautiful place to stay for a few days, but very expensive.
Take the ferry to Victoria, spend some time at the Inner Harbour, maybe having high tea at the Empress. Visit Butchart Gardens.
Head up Island to the quaint towns. We're a funky crowd and many dance to their own drummer. Visit the murals in Chemainus and Duncan. See the totem poles. Stop in Ladysmith for the best cinnamon buns on the Island. Everything is uphill in Ladysmith. You'll work off your treats!
Stop in Nanaimo, the Harbour city. Lots of history there. Head up to Parksville/Qualicum. Wonderful beaches looking out on the Salish Sea. Milner Gardens, the Heritage Forest and the old growth forest, Cathedral Grove are wonderful places to visit. Head west to the Coombs Country Market. Lots of old Volkswagen buses with piece signs and tie dye. Head further west through Port Alberni on the way to the West Coast. Tofino for surfers, and Ucluelet for wonderful seascapes.
We've had few cases of Covid 19 on the Island. Be aware that some of the smaller communities with finite health resources are urging Americans in particular, but also other Canadians to stay away for the time being. There are some First Nations blockades to remind you.

When this is over, we will welcome you with open arms.

Posted by
3790 posts

OK Susie - I need to know where the best cinnamon buns in Ladysmith are! We have a friend there who we will be sure to visit. (tried sending you a PM about the cinna buns but got an error...~shrug~)

Posted by
3790 posts

Lisa - if you need any tips about the Maritimes (or more specifically NS) just drop me a line!

I think we would prob skip the Okanagan - we are not into wine at all, tho I do love me some farmer's markets.

With apologies to Allan and the other Calgarians...is Calgary skipable? If we were to fly into Edmonton (it is where my husband's friend is) could we just hang there for a few days, bypass Calgary altogether and just head for Jasper/Banff? I think I'd rather concentrate on outdoorsy stuff rather than museums.

Posted by
1002 posts

Nicole, as a proud Calgarian and avid hater of everything Edmonton (you know who you are, Oilers and Eskimos fans), it pains me to say that based on your criteria I'd skip Calgary and start in Edmonton.

Posted by
13927 posts

I love Victoria, it's the closest place to England in North America (though I haven't been to eastern Canada so maybe you've got similar in NS or nearby). I once had afternoon tea at the Empress and it was "jolly old . . . " but the second time I went, the prices were sky high. Instead I had tea once at Butchart Gardens (tea was fine, the views were stunning), and once at the White Heather Tea Room (the big muckle tea) which was the best tea I've ever had, including several in London (and half the price of the Empress).

On that trip, a friend and I spent a week touring Vancouver Island including 3 nights in Victoria - too little time everywhere. We went in September and saw spawning salmon and wild bears. After that I went to Banff for 3 nights at the end of September, got to see the bugling elks with their harems around Banff, but only got as far as the Icefields Parkway (truly one of the most stunning drives in the world) and Lake Louise. On a previous trip I went to Jasper as well and liked it better than Banff.

Vancouver didn't much impress me.

In the past, it's been better to wait until after Labor Day weekend to visit, to avoid the summer crowds, but now - who knows. Anyway I had great weather in September in 2013.

Posted by
28 posts

Nicole, first let me send you my deepest condolences for the terrible tragedies and losses in Nova Scotia this year. Know that the rest of Canada is mourning along with you. You are in all our hearts.
The bakery in Ladysmith is called the "Old Time Bakery". Always a lineup but we'll worth the wait. I think they have something like 24 different kinds of cinnamon buns. I will PM you.
Allen, your reluctant advise to skip Calgary was obviously very difficult for you.....or are you finally recognizing the superiority of the Oilers? We forgive you.

Posted by
30929 posts

Nicole,

It's getting late and I'm not focusing well, but a few comments......

"Do they still have scenic railway trips that go through the Alberta-BC area?"

They do but AFAIK, Via Rail has suspended The Canadian (which travels between Vancouver and Toronto) for several months. I'm not sure when service will resume? There is also a scenic train that travels between Vancouver and Edmonton with a stop in Jasper, which would allow you to visit your friend and still enjoy some beautiful scenery.

*" I would skip Okanagan - its called the "fruit basket" of BC so lots of fruit stands and wineries but not much other touristing."

That's not entirely true! I live in the Okanagan and it has a lot to offer besides wineries and fruit stands. There are a number of world class golf courses (including one that hosted some major golf tournaments), hiking and mountain biking at Silver Star Ski Resort and other locations, boating, summer concerts, mountain biking on the old Kettle Valley railway line or the Okanagan Rail Trail, etc.

In the Vancouver area, in addition to the usual sites such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain or Museums, this is only a short distance from the city - https://www.seatoskygondola.com/ .

As others have suggested, Vancouver is not a good place to have a car as traffic can be a nightmare at times and parking is expensive. As I recall, I was paying at least $30 a day for hotel parking on my last visit. That may change as hotels try to entice customers back.

During your stay in Victoria, in addition to Butchart Gardens there's also the Royal B.C. Museum, which is right downtown. You could also take a whale watching boat trip (although I'm sure you can do that anytime in NS). If you want (and can afford) to splurge on your hotel in Victoria, you might have a look at - https://www.oakbaybeachhotel.com/ . It's very nice!

Of course there's still a lot of uncertainty in terms of what will be operating at that time of year or what restrictions might be in effect.

If renting a car in Alberta and returning in B.C., I'm not sure if there's a supplemental charge. You might want to check on that.

Aside from leaving the dog alone for too long, I'd suggest trying to make the trip as long as possible, as you'll have to deal with two full travel days. I found that it's a full day to travel from here to the east coast (including the time difference). When I was in your part of the world a few years ago, I left here about 10:00 and didn't arrive in Halifax until about 22:00 (one change in Toronto). The flight connections may be worse in the "new reality" but haven't checked that.

As you have a friend in Ladysmith, you might make southern Vancouver Island the main focus and just spend a few days in Vancouver at the end of the trip (without a car). If you're staying at one of the downtown hotels, it's super easy to take the Skytrain Canada Line to the airport for the trip home.

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
3790 posts

Ken - we can get a direct flight to Edmonton, but coming home we'd have to connect thru Calgary or Edm or TO. And we'd def leave Vancouver for the end. We could see stuff outside the city where we needed a car, then drop the car for the last few days.

It's funny you mention the car drop off - when I first was checking into rentals, I googled Budget or something and clicked on the first result, which was the 'ad' one, instead of the 2nd one down. So I put in Calgary to Van and it was showing me like $5-7k! I thought - that can't be right - we could buy a beater for $500 and give it away - lol. Checked expedia and was getting the same thing. So I closed the window and reopened, then tried again - then I was getting normal prices - for 2 weeks it was about $500-600 for the next size up from the smallest. Much better.

Posted by
4117 posts

We spent a week in Vancouver, then did a four day bus tour of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise). Loved all of it, then we did a cruise to Alaska.

There is a lot to see in Vancouver and the surrounding area. We visited the Winter Olympics site as well as Victoria and Buchert Gardens.

The bus tour of the Rockies was with a company called Key West. We were going to do the expensive rail trip (Rocky Mountaineer) for four days, but it was so expensive. The bus tour was 1/3 the rail trip price and we saw more than what we would have seen on the rail trip.

Posted by
1002 posts

Allen, your reluctant advise to skip Calgary was obviously very
difficult for you.....or are you finally recognizing the superiority
of the Oilers? We forgive you.

Administrator, please have Susie flogged at your earliest convenience...

Posted by
30929 posts

Nicole,

I've never done an inter-provincial car rental so I wasn't sure about that point. However I wondered if a car registered and insured in one jurisdiction would have a surcharge for dropping off in another jurisdiction, similar to the way it is in Europe. I vaguely recall that the last few times I've rented a car in Seattle and dropped it in Portland, there was an extra charge.

For some additional information on the Okanagan, this website has some information - https://www.hellobc.com/places-to-go/thompson-okanagan/ . This includes the Thompson region (Kamloops). On your drive from Edmonton to the lower mainland of B.C., you'll probably be using the Coquihalla highway, otherwise known as the Highway Thru Hell (if you've ever watched the TV show). It's a pleasant drive in summer conditions.

It would be a grueling trip to drive from Edmonton to the coast in one day, so you may want to stop in Kamloops or the Okanagan for at least one night on the way. The following day you can drive right to Horseshoe Bay and head for Nanaimo and Ladysmith.

If you'd rather take a more scenic route, you could perhaps swing west from Kamloops to Cache Creek and then go down the older Trans Canada through the Fraser Canyon. Another option would be to travel through Lillooet (Mile "0" on the Gold Rush Trail) and then take the Duffy Lake road down through the posh Whistler resort and past the Sea To Sky Gondola that I mentioned last night. That route will take you directly to Horseshoe Bay and you wouldn't have to go through Vancouver at all.

There are all kinds of possibilities.....

Posted by
3790 posts

Ken - I get really weird numbers when I do a dummy car rental for 2 weeks. Using Expedia and just comparing Enterprise, for a compact car pick up in Edm and drop in Van - it was $572, yet to pick up and drop off in Edmonton, compact, Enterprise is showing $1500, so $1000 more to drop in the same place, same province. Those are the same numbers I'm getting if I go to the official Enterprise site. I'm not sure what that is all about.

Posted by
6138 posts

Those "weird numbers" are a reflection of greater price competition in Vancouver (this has happened to me many times when pricing into/out of various airports in CA in the past - some airport combinations could work better than the same airport). Try pricing out only Vancouver and compare to only Edmonton for the same dates and vehicle class. I'm guessing Vancouver will be less expensive, but that may be for whatever car class has the most robust inventory. There could be many reasons for price differences between Vancouver and Edmonton - larger inventory, lower rental car taxes/fees, etc. Don't lock yourself into only one rental outfit, compare them all. Expect fluctuations between now and August/ September...you may find something totally different if you search a week from now.

Posted by
5484 posts

Rental car companies will add a surcharge to one-way rentals. The surcharge is often higher for travel in one direction when there is an unbalance in prefered direction. The surcharge offsets rental company cost of returning the vehicle to its starting point. Check cost of renting in BC and returning in AB.

PS A car in Vancouver city is a liability.

Posted by
6138 posts

It really depends where you stay in Vancouver City whether a car is useful or a liability. I've done trips to Vancouver with and without a car, and both were great trips - each trip was tailored specifically to having availability (or lack) of wheels. There are neighborhoods in Vancouver that are residential (not right in the downtown core - for example, Kitsilano) where parking is not a major issue. I don't think the traffic is horrible either, especially in comparison to Montreal. The only place we've had a major jam was coming back from Whistler. Other than that, it was an easy city to drive in (as a caveat, I'm used to driving in Los Angeles and other giant metropolises). Parking can definitely be expensive in downtown hotels.

Vancouver (and BC in general) have excellent websites for trip planning:
https://www.tourismvancouver.com/vancouver/neighbourhoods/
https://www.hellobc.com

Posted by
30929 posts

Nicole,

I'm not sure why you're receiving such a range of numbers for car rentals. In order to reduce costs of an inter-provincial car rental, you could rent one car for your time in Edmonton and then return it at Calgary airport. Then take a flight from Edmonton to Kamloops, rent another car and continue your trip, dropping that car in Vancouver. WestJet has a direct Calgary-Kamloops flight at 1H:17M. Once in Kamloops you can decide whether you want to drive to Vancouver via the Okanagan, down the Fraser Canyon or down the Coquihalla.

Posted by
269 posts

Nicole,
I had a similar issue with car drop off when we picked up in Montreal and dropped in Toronto. I just kept looking frequently until I found a better price that I could live with( and that had free cancellation). Expedia was where I found it. Some people I know find the Costco website good ( if you are a member), but I don't think I've had better luck with them. I've heard there is often a high price to drop off in Vancouver if picking up from Calgary, so probably same in Edmonton.

And on that note, yes, I have to agree with Allan that you should sadly skip Calgary if you have friends in Edmonton. I'll be back for advice if we decide we can go to lovely Nova Scotia this year.

Posted by
704 posts

If you start in Edmonton - Jasper national Park is one of my highlights. There are good hikes for all ages. Mt Edith Cavell is a poster on my wall. Spectacular.
The Icefields Parkway could be a two week trip all by itself
Wine country is fun but I don't think it's the prettiest
Revelstoke is a fun stop
Banff is overrated. Lake Louise is a gem
Canmore is a great place, Kimberly is fun town
Vancouver City could be a week on it's own with Whistler a good couple day visit. The whole Sunshine Coast is worth the visit especially if you like to sail.
Vancouver Island is also worthy of 2 weeks. From Victoria to Tofino to Nanaimo to Campbell River
You can't really go wrong but IMO going from Edmonton to Victoria is like going from Paris to Barcelona... sure you CAN do it but should you do it?