Come see for yourself
I think the name Vancouver, for a city, is strong enough to speak for itself.
However a number of others insist on also referring to this city as "Hollywood North". To me, that nickname reeks of an embarrassing lack of self-identity and is used as reference to the multitude of American film and television productions made in Vancouver.
It's the annual Vancouver Jazz Festival. My friend Abdulla invited me to go see and hear Zapato Negro, an Afro Cuban, Latin jazz band at the Cellar restaurant and Jazz club. They were fantastic. The Cellar is a great place for a meal and some good music. They have all kinds of great musicians all the time.
The cellar is located at 3611 West Broadway, a 15 minute cab ride from downtown. But what I would do is take the afternoon to stroll along the beaches of Kitselano to Jericho Beach and walk to the Cellar for some dinner and great music. You can cab it home after.
The Vancouver International Dance Festival presents local, national, and international dance artists in free and ticketed performances, master classes, and workshops, in addition to daily drawing sessions, post-performance discussions, and art exhibitions.
The way I understand things here in Vancouver, one of the finest food experiences one can have in this city is at West.
I've not dined there yet, but I'll make it in one day as I do like to try out as many Vancouver restaurants as possible. And, they say that West is the best. I don't really know who "they" are, but apparently "they" are the experts.
West is in the South Granville neighbourhood where I just went for a stroll. Next door to the restaurant is a women's clothing shop known as TNA. Tourism Vancouver TV is your on-screen visitors' guide highlighting the best of everything that's happening in Vancouver, from dining to attractions, shopping and entertainment.
Comments from past visitors:
In 2006 I spent 3 days in Vancouver on business and was amazed! To sit in a conference room and spy a mountain top over your Customers' shoulder was unbelievable. The next time I go to Vancouver my family will be with me....we won't want to return home!!
Great dining in Vancouver:
I had great seafood on Granville Island during my last trip to Vancouver. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but the miso seared black cod was fabulous, and the fresh oysters were great too.
BC summer trip:
I am planning a summer vacation in Canada with my three boys, ages 5,8, and 24. My thoughts are to fly from San Jose, CA to Vancouver and see this beautiful city I hear so much about, then rent a Tahoe and drive to Calgary, fishing along the way at streams and lakes and just sight see. I appears that Route 1 is the best avenue to travel and you go thru Banff as well. We like to hike, fish, camp, and sight see. Perhaps you can recommend some camp areas along the way that have small cabins we can stay in. Our time frame is July 10-17. We will fly out of Calgary back to San Jose. If you have any ideas on other things to do please let us know.
With a present population of about 600,000, Vancouver lies in a region of more than 2 million people. Vancouver is the largest city in the province and the third largest in Canada. It covers an area of 113 sq km. Home to vibrant cultural communities of many ethnic backgrounds with roots stretching back to Europe, China, India, Vietnam, The Philippines, Cambodia and Taiwan there are more than 60 languages spoken throughout the Lower Mainland area, as well as countless restaurants offering a taste of the exotic from the four corners of the globe. Over all, there is just so much to see and do in Vancouer, the beaches, festivals, mountains, shopping, restaurants and nightlife, ect, ect, the fun and excitement is simply endless.
Your Vacation here will be unfogettable!
Queen Elizabeth Park - Vancouver
The Sunken Garden
The Bloedel Conservatory
Newly weds in the park
Pitch and Putt
The killer whale statue
Activity: My sister said to me one day", You know, when I get married Iím gonna wear a long white dress with a band of daisies in my hair and sparkly white shoes. Iíll be the prettiest bride in the whole world. After the ceremony my husband (someone rich and handsome) and I will get our wedding pictures taken at one of the prettiest places Iíve know of Ė Queen Elizabeth Park. It has the perfect spot for pictures: a small bridge with a waterfall behind it. How romantic. Thereís also a sunken garden, which looks cool from the top, especially when you imagine youíre Harry Potter swooping down into it on his broomstick. My favourite place though is the Bloedel Floral Conservatory Ė not because I love plants, but the birds in there are really neat. They have some exotic ones Iíve never seen before".
Mom and Dad of course, like doing the boring stuff. I mean who wants to look at the picturesque viewóeven if you are 500 feet in the air and can see all of Vancouver, plus the North Shore mountains. Anyway, once you get past the viewing area, thereís still lots to do at Queen Elizabeth Park: pitch and putt golf, Frisbee golf, have a picnic, or do what Coleman likes to do Ė chase the ducks in the duck pond (which is a no-no).
Age group: Dad says you have to be at least 25 years old to go to Queen Elizabeth Park. He must be joking, because Iím 9 and Coleman is 3, and nobody has asked us for I.D.
Expense rating: If youíre looking for a cheap outing, Queen Elizabeth Park is the place to go. Itís absolutely, positively free except for the Bloedel Conservatory, which costs only $3.50 for adults and $1.65 for kids.
: If you like looking at gardens you should definitely go to Queen Elizabeth Park. We took my Momís aunt and uncle from Holland there and they said it was, in Dutch, ďprettigeĒ (that means beautiful). When you get bored of looking at flowers and shrubs, you can head over to the grassy slope facing Cambie Street and play tag or have a BBQ.
: My biggest beef with Queen Elizabeth Park is that itís a lookey-lou type of place. You canít just turn your kids loose in there. It has paths you need to stay on, and youíre not allowed to pick the flowers.
One other small problem that may not even be a problem in your family (but it was in ours) is that your parents may start to argue on the way home. I overhead Mom say, ďMaybe we should hire a gardener to clean up our mess.Ē Dad made the mistake of saying, ďWe donít need one Ė you have lots of time to do it.Ē You can pretty well guess the rest.
Details: You canít miss Queen Elizabeth Park if you go along Cambie Street. Just count the cross avenues until you get to 33 and youíll be there. The park and Bloedel Conservatory are open every day. If you have any questions phone 604-257-8584. The Bloedel Conservatory admission costs: adults $3.50, seniors $2.00, under 18 $1.65. The Conservatory is open daily from 10 am - 5:30 pm.
Season: I guess you could walk around the park in the winter, but it wouldnít be as pretty as the spring and summer. Plus, who wants to have a picnic in the rain.
Educational highlights: Dad told me that Queen Elizabeth Park is one the highest points in the city of Vancouver. Thatís why people call it Little Mountain, because itís 500 feet tall. According to Dad, Queen Elizabeth Park may even be an extinct volcano. Donít worry, itís not going to blow up while youíre on there because the volcano died a long time ago.
Fun for the adult?: For some weird reason most grown-ups like looking at gardens. I canít figure it out. Whatís the big deal about a garden sunken down a hill or a bunch of different coloured roses that smell nice? As Mom says, ďMaybe youíre not old enough to appreciate the beauty of Queen Elizabeth Park.Ē Sheís probably right. I need to get married first.
Totem poles near Brockton Point
Rowers on Coal Harbour at sunset
The Harry Jerome Statue at Hallelujah Point
Brockton Point Lighthouse
The girl in the wetsuit near Lumberman's Arch
View of the Lions Gate Bridge from the seawall
View of Lions Gate Bridge and Grouse Mountain from the top of Prospect Point
Siwash Rock near Third Beach
|Activity: If you have only one afternoon to spend in Vancouver, take your family to Stanley Park. You can't go wrong. Stanley Park is the grand daddy of all parks in Greater Vancouver. Known around the world, and why shouldn't it be...a beautiful 1000 acre park that's almost smack dab in the middle of Vancouver.
I suggest you start off by doing a loop around the park. You can either drive, or if you're feeling energetic, try walking. If speed is your thing, you can rent a bike or rollerblades at stores near Georgia and Denman Street. It's about six miles around (vehicular traffic flow is one way, and counter clockwise in direction). By circling the park you'll see many of the landmarks. Let me take you on a short tour. As you enter the park from Georgia Street you'll see the rose garden to your left. It doesn't look like much unless the roses are in bloom. There is, however, a small playground tucked in behind it, as well as a dining pavilion. On the water side you'll see the beautiful English looking building that houses The Vancouver Rowing Club, and Coal Harbour, where you may be lucky enough to see a seaplane land.
About 100 yards beyond the Yacht Club you'll see some parking lots. Originally these were used by people visiting the zoo, which is now dismantled. This is also where you turn-off for the Vancouver Aquarium and Brockton Oval, a small sports complex. About a quarter mile further you'll see naval reserve base HMCS Discovery to your right. It's stationed on Deadman's Island which reportedly was a native Indian burial ground at one time. A bit further are the totem poles to your left. These are worth a stop, not just to look at the totem poles, but also to take a picture of the city. Get your camera out because Hallelujah Point has an outstanding view of the city. As you venture further you'll see a big cannon parked inside a cage. Apparently they did this because the Engineers at U.B.C. kept stealing it for a prank. This is the famous Nine O'clock Gun which you hear boom every night at, of course 9 o'clock.
Once you round Brockton Point you'll find a change of scenery. Instead of city landscape you'll see big piles of sulphur against a scenic backdrop of mountains. Welcome to the North Shore. The connector is The Lion's Gate Bridge, the closest thing we've got to The Golden Gate Bridge. The seawall is dotted with various points of interest. The one I like is the mermaid lounging on the rock. My wife has a different point of view. About halfway between Brockton Point and Prospect Point is Lumberman's Arch. In the summer they have a water park going here and a concession stand. Prospect Point has a spectacular view of North and West Vancouver. It also has a nice cafe if you feel like having a snack or lunch. I've never eaten here, but it always seems busy.
The west side of the seawall has three swimming beaches. The first you'll come across is Third Beach. I always remember it for the weird rocks you can see when the tide goes out. Second Beach is popular with families. It has a wonderful outdoor swimming pool, equipped with slides and a special tortoise slide for the little ones. When the kids get tired of swimming you can take them to the playground, or go for a stroll around Lost Lagoon. Just cross the street and follow the paved walkway; it'll lead you to the Lagoon. If they like animals, your kids will love the Lagoon. Bring plenty of birdfeed for the ducks and the racoons seem to like just about anything. You'll have an audience within minutes. If you want to see skunks, you'll have to go at dusk. My wife and I once counted about forty skunks. If you have a racquet handy, tennis courts are close by, and so is a pitch-and-putt golf course.
If you skip all these attractions and stay on the seawall, you'll get to English Bay, another swimming area. This beach is popular with singles. For some reason Mary never wants to go here. She says I should be out of the stage anyway where I'd want to look at young voluptuous females in string bikinis. The cluster of apartments behind English Bay are called The West End. It has one of the highest densities in North America. The last beach on the strip is called Sunset. It has a huge indoor swimming pool called The Aquatic Centre. Behind the Aquatic Centre is a small ferry dock, where you can catch a boat to Granville Island. It takes only five minutes. Across the water you'll also see Vanier Park. If you're lucky you'll see some huge colourful kites with people actually riding on them.
By this time you'll be ready for a snack. I suggest you walk back to Denman Street and hit one of the many coffee bars or eating establishments dotted along it. If you stay on Denman, you'll eventually get back close to the entrance of Stanley Park.
If you'd rather look at trees, there are plenty of trails to hike along inside the park. It also has a miniature train and farmyard for children. At Christmas time the train and farmyard are decorated in festive lights. We went a few years ago and the decorations were a little stale. But apparently the Vancouver Firefighters did a complete overhaul and made it quite spectacular. Everyone I knew that went said it was worth going.
Age group: All ages
Expense rating: Free except parking and attractions like miniature train.
: What I like about Stanley Park is that you can do about a hundred different activities there: feed squirrels, climb trees, watch a killer whale show, ride on a horse-drawn carriage are just the tip of the iceberg. If you're a family of many interests, Stanley Park is a sure bet.
: Parking can be tight, especially on weekends. Some of the attractions like the Aquarium also get busy. So does the seawall. People were actually colliding into each other as they circled the seawall. The Parks Board now has strict rules as to where you can rollerblade and bicycle around the seawall.
Details: Located at the very west end of Georgia St.
Phone (604) 257-8400 for more information. Website: www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/parks/parks&gardens/stanley.htm
Season: All seasons
Educational highlights: Stanley Park is the perfect place to ponder the wonders of Mother Nature. Hemlock and cedars towering above you, the ocean where life began, squirrels storing their nuts, baby ducks scurrying after their mother--really you can't miss. Plus The Aquarium has every type of fish you can think of and alligators! If you've ever wondered what a piranha looks like, you'll see one--behind the glass. There's a lot of boat traffic as well. Everything from huge tankers and cruise ships to speedboats and seadoos.
Fun for the adult?: My wife and I like going to Stanley Park because we know there's plenty of opportunities for having fun. If we plan on going swimming and it gets cold we go for a hike, or if someone gets tired we feed the ducks, or if it rains we go to The Aquarium. If we have energy to burn we cycle the seawall, but if we're feeling tired we just drive. When everyone is tired and hungry, you have lots of eating places close by. My wife can have her coffee, the kids get an ice-cream, and I go for a malty beverage (Good Luck!).
Aerial View of Stanley Park