18 September 2017
Breath-taking natural beauty. Tantalising cuisine. Intriguing cultural attractions. Vancouver has it all…
Welcome to Vancouver
Situated between the rugged peaks of the North Shore Mountains and the vast blue expanses of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver enjoys a milder climate than the rest of the country. With average temperatures ranging from 4°C (January) to 18°C (August), Vancouver is not just for winter getaways, it’s a year-round destination. When you jet out to Vancouver, you’ll most likely touch down in Vancouver International Airport, around 15km from the city proper.
Idyllic park life
There’s so much to see in Vancouver, but an ideal place to start is the picturesque Stanley Park. The 400-hectare Stanley Park is a treasure trove of scenic walking trails, pristine beaches, local wildlife, cultural attractions and more. It hosts bigleaf maple and western red cedar trees, as well as bald eagles, beavers, and 230 bird species. Landmarks are scattered around the vast park, including the Lost Lagoon, Siwash Rock, the Hollow Tree, Beaver Lake, Brockton Point Lighthouse and its iconic Seawall, which hugs the Pacific Coast. You could spend a lifetime in Stanley Park, and still not see everything it offers.
First nations’ legacy
No trip to Stanley Park is complete until you glimpse the nine intricately carved first nations’ totem poles at Brockton Point. Vancouver has been inhabited by aboriginal peoples for centuries, and you can see how they have influenced the region when visiting various sites. The UBC Museum of Anthropology is a clear standout, housing over 500,000 cultural and archaeological objects, including more than 7,000 from British Columbia’s first nations. Other highlights include the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, exhibiting pieces created by contemporary first nations’ artists.
Canada’s melting pot
Vancouver is a melting pot, with a large immigrant population. Stop by its Chinatown, the largest in Canada, and see its traditional apothecaries and Asian bakeries. Stroll along the Nitobe Memorial Garden, a serene Japanese manicured park. Walk the tranquil paths at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, where ornate pavilions and jade green ponds await.
Past meets future
Vancouver may have an impressive historical legacy, but the city is hardly stuck in the past. If you go to Gastown, you can see where the Vancouver of the past meets the Vancouver of the future, as this historic district is now the city’s trendiest. Gastown is filled with indie art galleries, chic eateries and cocktail bars, and edgy fashion studios, but it also boasts quaint cobbled streets and grand Victorian buildings. Make sure you check out Gastown’s most iconic attraction, it’s whistling steam clock, which is a real sight to behold when it billows out steam at the top of the hour.
Any foodie’s haven
While you’re in Gastown, sample the area’s tantalising cuisine, such as gourmet sandwiches including the ‘duck confit Philly style sandwiches’ and ‘Montreal smoked meat paninis’, or try a local craft beer. Vancouver in general is a haven for any foodie. Did you know that the California Roll was invented in Vancouver, by local culinary genius Hidekazu Tojo? You can visit his Tojo restaurant in the city centre, and experience truly scintillating Japanese cuisine. Vancouver is also known for many cosy independent coffee shops, and its variety of seafood restaurants, with dishes such as oysters and ‘salmon candy’ – which is no surprise given its oceanic geographical location.
Take your breath away
One Vancouver attraction sure to take your breath away is ‘The Eye of the Wind’. This is the world’s only wind turbine with a viewing platform on top, where you can gaze down on sprawling Vancouver from the lofty reaches of Grouse Mountain, which is also a fantastic skiing spot in winter. While you’re here, put aside time to visit the city’s other iconic attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium, VanDusen Botanical Garden and the Playland amusement park.