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10 Reasons to visit Vancouver

Ten Unofficial Reasons to Visit Vancouver

  1. Loosen your belt and hit as many street food carts as you can
  2. Enjoy a sunset from Third Beach in Stanley Park
  3. Take a ride on the old wooden rollercoaster at Playland (www.pne.ca/playland)…then do it again
  4. Sip an espresso, people watch and learn to speak Italian on The Drive
  5. Take the Aquabus (www.theaquabus.com) across False Creek to Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com) or the SeaBus across Burrard Inlet to Lonsdale Quay
  6. Go skinny-dipping at Wreck Beach
  7. Sample the widest array of great sushi restaurants outside Japan
  8. Try some of British Columbia’s lip-smacking craft beer…without leaving the city
  9. Take in a Jazz Vespers service at St. Andrews Wesley United Church (www.standrewswesleychurch.bc.ca)
  10. Taste the region – from apples to blueberries – at one of several popu-lar farmers’ markets (www.eatlocal.org)

Ten Great Vancouver Adventures

  1. Jog the Stanley Park seawall
  2. Hike the Grouse Grind…then zipline when you get to the top (www.grousemountain.com)
  3. Kayak False Creek, with the city as your backdrop. Or hit the tranquil waters of Deep Cove
  4. Take a sailing lesson at Jericho Beach
  5. Ski or snowboard at Grouse Mountain
  6. Hit the mountain bike trails of the North Shore
  7. Kiteboard, windsurf, skimboard or paddle board off Kitsilano Beach
  8. Hike the trails of Mount Seymour…or come back in winter for skiing
  9. Try tubing or snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain
  10. Dive into the outdoor swimming pools in Stanley Park or at Kitsilano Beach

Ten Freebie Vancouver Activities

  1. Visit the Olympic Cauldron near Canada Place…and spot some cool public artworks nearby, including an orca installation by local lad Douglas Coupland
  2. Check out Christ Church Cathedral (www.cathedral.vancouver.bc.ca), a neo-Gothic treasure with lovely stained glass windows
  3. Peruse the totem poles in Stanley Park…then nip into the Lost Lagoon Nature House (www.stanleyparkecology.ca) for a free or low-cost bird-spotting walk
  4. Dive into the verdant West Coast rainforest at Seymour Conservation Reserve. Or hit the trails of Stanley Park or UBC’s Pacific Spirit Region-al Park
  5. Explore the environment at North Vancouver’s fascinating Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre (www.dnv.org/ecology)
  6. Nip into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (www.fairmont.com/hotelvancouver), the city’s grandest old-school ho-tel. In the lobby, there are historic photos and a copy of the menu en-joyed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they dined here in 1939
  7. Observe one of nature’s greatest life cycle stories at North Vancouver’s Capilano River Hatchery. Juvenile salmon are raised on site, and you can see them before they return to the river. During the fall, returning salmon struggle up the fish ladders to spawn
  8. Visit the Hastings Mill Store Museum in Kitsilano. It’s the oldest building in Vancouver and houses a collection of historic local artefacts
  9. Head out for a summer picnic at Burnaby’s spectacular Buntzen Lake, a natural reservoir surrounded by steep, forested crags
  10. Muse over cool artwork at three free galleries: the Contemporary Art Gallery (www.contemporaryartgallery.ca), the Pendulum Gallery (www.pendulumgallery.bc.ca) and the Rennie Collection at Wing Sang (www.renniecollection.org).

Ten Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Vancouver

  1. Recharge in the tropical heat of glass-domed Bloedel Floral Conserva-tory at Queen Elizabeth Park (www.vancouverparks.ca).
  2. Take a culinary tour of Granville Island Public Market with the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts or Edible Canada
  3. Enjoy the tranquillity of weekend afternoon tea by the fire at Bacchus Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel (www.wedgewoodhotel.com)
  4. Warm your insides with a tongue-tingling jalapeno or chilli pepper-and-chocolate gelato from La Casa Gelato (www.lacasagelato.com), where more than 500 flavours await
  5. Hit the spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (www.fairmont.com/pacificrim)
  6. Embrace the rain with a guided rainforest tour and gourmet picnic lunch (www.rockwoodadventures.com) in Lighthouse Park. Discover lichens, mosses and some of the Lower Mainland’s oldest cedar trees
  7. Select some reading material (or take in a free author reading) at the Vancouver Public Library (www.vpl.vancouver.bc.ca)
  8. Roll out your sleeping bag and overnight next to the beluga whale tank at the Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaqua.org)
  9. Get lost in the incredible Museum of Anthropology (www.moa.ubc.ca). Arthur Erickson’s spectacular glass and concrete space gives the collection of majestic totem poles freedom to tower.
  10. Catch a matinée. Duck out of the rain and into one of Vancouver’s live theatres. Walk-ups are welcome at the Granville Island Stage and Waterfront Theatres on Granville Island, and the Firehall theatre downtown. Check www.ticketstonight.ca to see what’s on or to buy half-price, day-of tickets to select shows

Ten Romantic Things to Do in Vancouver

  1. Book a private horse-drawn carriage tour around Stanley Park – but make sure you stop and smell the roses at the rose garden (www.stanleyparktours.com)
  2. Laughter is the foundation of any relationship, so head for a night of improv comedy presented by the Vancouver TheatreSports League (www.vtsl.com)
  3. Discover your love for whales as well as each other on a boat trek with Vancouver Whale Watch (www.vancouverwhalewatch.com)
  4. Take a couples cooking class at Dirty Apron Cooking School (www.dirtyapron.com)
  5. Have dinner at Grouse Mountain’s (www.grousemountain.com) Obser-vatory Restaurant, overlooking the twinkling lights of downtown Van-couver
  6. Cosy up by a log and catch the best sunset in town at Stanley Park’s Third Beach
  7. Paddle in Burnaby’s Deer Lake together on a sunny summer afternoon
  8. Get in the mood with a Ritual of Two couples treatment at Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Willow Stream Spa (www.fairmont.com/pacrim)
  9. Wind down with a sunset dinner cruise (www.boatcruise.com) on the glassy waters between English Bay and Kitsilano
  10. In winter, hire skates and hit the Robson Square ice rink together

Ten Family Friendly Vancouver Activities

  1. Check out the huge free waterpark at Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com) then dry off in the nearby Kids Market. In late May, this is also the home of the International Children’s Festival (www.childrensfestival.ca).
  2. Hit Science World at TELUS World of Science (www.scienceworld.ca) for a plethora of hands-on activities, including blowing giant soap bub-bles, playing a piano with your feet and freezing your shadow on a wall
  3. Sway across the Capilano River at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (www.capbridge.com), complete with a towering rope bridge, rainforest nature trails and Cliffwalk, a walkway clinging to the canyon’s steep rock face
  4. Head to idyllic Kitsilano Beach for a day of sunny fun. Younger kids can beachcomb and hit the playground, while teens can sample the swimming pool or tennis courts
  5. Stroll from Kits Beach to nearby Vanier Park, complete with the Muse-um of Vancouver (www.museumofvancouver.ca), Vancouver Maritime Museum (www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com) and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (www.hrmacmillanspacecentre.com).
  6. Heading across Burrard Inlet by SeaBus or travelling around the city by SkyTrain are highlights for many visiting kids – try for a seat at the front of a SkyTrain and they’ll feel like they’re driving (www.translink.ca)
  7. Visit Maplewood Farm (www.maplewoodfarm.bc.ca) where kids can take a close-up look at 200 farm animals and birds, pet the bunnies and pat the horses. Spring is a favourite time – that’s when the baby animals are born.
  8. Ogle the aquatic menagerie at the highly popular Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaqua.org), where behind-the-scenes trainer tours are also available
  9. Discover what life was really like for the region’s cannery workers at the kid-tastic Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston (www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.com) or visit Fort Langley National Historic Site, where kids (and adults) can pan for gold.
  10. Let you kids run, jump and tumble at the BC Sports Hall of Fame (www.bcsportshalloffame.com), where the activities are just as popular as the displays of sporting memorabilia

Ten Vancouver Activities for Mature Travelers

Jazz
  1. Cheer on the Vancouver Canadians during a nostalgic afternoon of baseball at Nat Bailey Stadium (www.canadiansbaseball.com)
  2. Enjoy a summer evening Shakespeare performance at Bard on the Beach (www.bardonthebeach.org), where the backdrop is a stunning view of the moonlit mountains
  3. Relive the pioneering past at Burnaby Village Museum (www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca), a replica turn-of-the-century village next to Deer Lake Park. Don’t miss a ride on the 1912 carousel
  4. Enjoy some cool tunes at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (www.coastaljazz.ca), held across the city every June and July
  5. Cut loose on a sunny summer afternoon in Stanley Park. Check out the totem poles and rose garden, and then have a late afternoon tea at The Fish House in Stanley Park (www.fishhousestanleypark.com)
  6. Drive to Steveston in Richmond and stroll the restored fisherman’s wharf, now teeming with gift stores and the region’s best fish and chip restaurants
  7. Head to Vancouver’s annual Pacific National Exhibition (www.pne.bc.ca), a decades-old tradition of livestock shows and home and garden displays that also has plenty of options for kids
  8. Bask in the tranquillity of Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chi-nese Garden (www.vancouverchinesegarden.com)
  9. Take in the city from the water with a narrated harbour cruise (www.boatcruises.com) aboard an old-style paddle steamer
  10. Peruse the city’s art collection at the celebrated Vancouver Art Gallery (www.vanartgallery.bc.ca) – look out for Emily Carr paintings of the re-gion’s verdant West Coast wilderness

Ten Quirky Things to Do in Vancouver

  1. Check out the darker side of the city’s history at the Vancouver Police Museum (www.vancouverpolicemuseum.ca), especially on a summertime “Sins of the City” walking tour
  2. Join the locals for an evening of fun at FUSE, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s regular nighttime social event (http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/events_and_programs/fuse.html).
  3. Enjoy watching a spirited Vancouver Roller Derby game (www.terminalcityrollergirls.com)
  4. Pitch ‘n putt golf into the twilight hours in Stanley Park
  5. Don your spurs and a ten-gallon hat for the Cloverdale Rodeo (www.cloverdalerodeo.com), a cowboy cavalcade of bareback, bronco and bull riding every May.
  6. Dip into the city’s Portuguese side with a series of dances, picnics and cultural events held during June’s Portuguese Heritage Month (www.portuguesemonth.com).
  7. Eat your way around Vancouver while burning calories on a guided cy-cling tour of Vancouver’s famous street food carts (www.cyclevancouver.com)
  8. Witness one of the wackiest shows on offer at the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival (www.vancouverfringe.com) in September.
  9. Take a train underground at the Britannia Mine Museum (www.britanniaminemuseum.ca)
  10. Speed around the racetrack in a go-kart at the Richmond Go-Kart Track (www.richmondgokarts.com).

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