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The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Canada - HOW TO AVOID TEENAGE TANTRUMS

olves!” yelled our guide, ges­tic­u­lat­ing at some tiny spots of grey fleck­ing a dis­tant beach be­fore down­ing his binoc­u­lars, gun­ning the pow­er­ful twin out­board en­gines of the Zo­diac and send­ing up a thick plume of spray as we scud­ded across the waves to­wards the shore. Driven by ear­ly­morn­ing hunger, the wolves were gorg­ing them­selves on crabs ex­posed by the fall­ing tide, but as sud­denly as they had ap­peared – and be­fore we had drawn close enough to fo­cus a cam­era – they sniffed the air and slunk back into the shad­ows of the Cana­dian rain­for­est.

“Wow!” said my teenage son, Joe. “Not bad,” said his twin sis­ter, Anna, al­most for­get­ting to re­tain her in­dif­fer­ence. A few days into our “last ever” fam­ily hol­i­day, it was ex­actly the re­ac­tion we had wanted.

Such en­thu­si­asm, if I can call it that, had been a long time com­ing. As they’d turned 16, the twins had made it abun­dantly clear that they had no de­sire to go on any kind of hol­i­day with their “bor­ing” par­ents. Ac­knowl­edg­ing that a fort­night in a Cor­nish cot­tage with­out friends or Wi-Fi would have been a disaster, my wife and I be­gan to con­sider what kind of hol­i­day they would en­joy.

Our re­search led us to Bri­tish Columbia, where en­tice­ments for the ac­tive in­cluded zi­plin­ing through re­mote canyons, kayak­ing around de­serted is­lands in search of bears and wolves, surf­ing and hik­ing through rain­for­est. To ap­peal to the twins’ urban souls, we de­cided to book­end the Great Out­doors with a few nights in Van­cou­ver, con­sis­tently voted one of the top five cities world­wide for qual­ity of life. Its com­bi­na­tion of cul­ture (no­tably film, but also art, mu­se­ums, mu­sic and nightlife), city beaches and world-lead­ing cui­sine would prove ir­re­sistible to our townie so­phis­ti­cates.

So con­fi­dent were we of our choice, we went ahead and booked, then waited un­til GCSEs were over to an­nounce the trip of a lifetime. The chil­dren’s re­ac­tion shocked us. They re­fused out­right to join us on “an­other bloody fam­ily out­ing”. Af­ter pay­ing dearly for air­line tick­ets, a rental car, ho­tels, a ferry pas­sage to Van­cou­ver Is­land and a bucket list to tempt surely the most world-weary teenager, we had a full-scale mutiny on our hands. “I wanted to go into Lon­don with my friends,” stormed Joe. “If you think I’m sit­ting in a bor­ing boat just so you can see an ot­ter, for­get it,” protested Anna. “Why don’t you go on your own?”

Just days be­fore our flight, it was Joe who ca­pit­u­lated first, aware that his friends were melt­ing away on their own fam­ily holidays. “Will the ho­tels have Wi-Fi?” he asked. When I an­swered yes, it was a done deal – and Anna re­luc­tantly sur­ren­dered.

Fast for­ward to our flight land­ing in Van­cou­ver, and the pair could scarcely con­ceal their ex­cite­ment. Per­haps it was just relief af­ter the tor­por of a nine-hour flight, but they both de­scribed the city, sparkling in the coastal sun­light be­low, as “sen­sa­tional”.

Once on terra firma, the old cyn­i­cism re­turned. On the 30-minute taxi ride into the city, we pointed out el­e­gant res­i­den­tial vil­las, glit­ter­ing sky­scrapers and a pro­ces­sion of vintage sea­planes tak­ing off from the har­bour. “It’s just scenery,” the twins in­formed us.

Their mood be­gan to thaw in our room at the har­bourfront Pan Pa­cific Hotel, where dis­cov­er­ing the Wi-Fi pass­word put them back in touch with Lon­don. Next day, as we set out to

Clockwise from above: Joseph and Anna re­lax at the beach; the Wil­liams fam­ily kayak­ing on the still wa­ters of Stu­art Bay; a First Nation totem pole in Stan­ley Park; fun in the for­est; hip, Vic­to­rian-era Gas­town; and Jack Poole Plaza, in Van­cou­ver

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