Vancouver is regularly named as one of the best places to live, probably thanks to an abundance of wholesome outdoor adventures and activities. There’s a huge array of year-round action and wintersports on offer in both Vancouver City and Vancouver Island both in the sea and on land at over 200 parks. The museums, galleries and architecture are relatively young however, as the city was only established 130 years ago.
Vancouver is now the third largest city in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal and lies on the west coast beside the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia. The city has given us legendary singers Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé and Nelly Furtado and is also known as ‘Hollywood North’ thanks to the Twilight films and the Fringe TV series being filmed here.
Winter sports in Vancouver
Wintersports enthusiasts will be right at home in Vancouver – after all this is the city that successfully hosted the Canadian 2010 Winter Olympic Games. There are many winter sports to choose from including snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow tubing, skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The mountains of Vancouver make it a wonderful setting for winter sports. There are several places that are well known for what they offer to those that love winter sports. Those locations are Mount Seymour, Cypress Mountain and Grouse Mountain.
- Mount Seymour is well known for its trails for those that snowshoe. They have three distinct types; those for beginners, those for the advanced in snowshoeing and those for people that simply want to enjoy the great outdoors.
- Cypress Mountain has a large park for snow tube lovers. They offer lessons for many different areas of skill and boast 53 ski runs.
- Grouse Mountain is a large establishment that offers you so much to choose from. In addition to all of the winter sports you can do there, they also have sky rides, helicopter tours and shows for you to enjoy.
- Ice hockey is probably the biggest spectator sport in Vancouver and the local team the Vancouver Canucks play at Rogers Arena from October through to April. If you can secure tickets the atmosphere is electric and the pace is furious.
- Head out of town for a few hours on a whale watching trip, where you might spot killer whales, if you’re lucky.
Vancouver has many museums and galleries for you to enjoy while visiting. For a city that was only official established in 1886 (after being initially discovered in 1858) the city has quickly established itself culturally;
- The Vancouver Art Gallery is an absolutely stunning place to visit. They feature both historical and contemporary art and boast over 9,000 pieces of art to be seen.
- Another popular museum is the Science World, British Columbia. Science World British Columbia is geared toward children and features many hands-on exhibits that children love. This museum is built around the idea of keeping their exhibits interactive to keep children’s attention focused.
The Chinatown in Vancouver is the largest in Canada and actually the second largest in North America, after San Francisco in the USA. Visitors choose to go there to experience authentic Chinese food, surroundings and shopping.
- China Gate is a landmark you want to be sure you don’t miss while in Chinatown.
- If you are a tea lover you will want to be sure to visit The Chinese Tea Shop where you can learn traditional ways of making Chinese tea and shop.
- Bamboo Village is another shop greatly enjoyed for the authentic bamboo products offered. You can also find antique furniture there.
- Of course, you have to eat while you are in Chinatown and enjoy the authentic Chinese food. Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant and Kam Gok Yuen Restaurant are both favourites of locals.
- Try to catch Chinese New Year in Vancouver which is a lively affair, with a local Dragon Boat Festival held annually on False Creek
Gastown was the very first settlement here after the British naval officer Captain George Vancouver arrived; indeed the city is named after him. Today Gastown is a modern bland of the kooky, historic and urban chic. It’s said that the name ‘Gastown’ came from Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire sea captain who suffered from terrible gas/wind! He arrived and became the landlord of the first saloon bar (pub) in the area in 1867.
- Gastown offers shopping for trendy clothing and interior design as well as nightclubs, art galleries and restaurants.
- The cobblestone streets that still exist in Gastown are quaint and give you a feeling of nostalgia for days gone by.
- You don’t want to miss the clock that is powered by steam. It is impressive and can be found at the intersection of Cambie and Walter.
The Yaletown and False Creek area is situated on reclaimed land with stunning views out over False Creek. The area hosts all of Vancouver’s major spectator sports and is of course the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics and athletes village.
- Yaletown-False Creek is in downtown Vancouver and is a beautiful place to enjoy a stroll and is bordered by Robsen and Homer streets and the famous False Creek.
- Also in the Yaletown-False Creek area is the Library Square which is a unique library building that is built to look like it is set in Rome. The library itself is very technologically advanced and the exterior of Library Square features many fast food restaurants and cafes to enjoy a treat.
- Yaletown is a good choice for non-mainstream fashion shops and boutiques on streets such as Mainland Street, Hamilton Street and Pacific Boulevard.
- Beer enthusiasts will enjoy a trip around the Yaletown Brewing Company situated within Yaletown itself.
By Julie Bowman