Vancouver: Home of the Canucks

Vancouver Travel Blog

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Lost in Stanley Park

When you first arrive in Vancouver via Granville Street, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a massive construction site full of porn shops. Dig a little deeper though and you'll find out why this city has been voted among the top ten most 'liveable' cities in the world....whatever that means!!

Vancouver is the second largest city in Canada (behind Toronto I think) and sits at the bottom of a natural harbour on the far west coast of Canada. One would think it would be the capital of the province of British Columbia but then one would be wrong wouldn't they, that esteemed title goes to Victoria, a city on Vancouver Island.

A nice little Marina on the edge of Stanley Park
Home of the Canucks (NHL team) Vancouver is a city that currently undergoing a major facelift in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Cranes and modern high rise apartment buildings dominate the city skyline. Oh yeah, and apparently it rains a lot here.

For Anna and I, arriving via bus from Rossland, the adjustment from the small town laid back mentality to big city living took a little while (ahhh Rossland, have I mentioned how much I like the place). We decided to give the C&N hostel in Main Street a chance, mostly because it was a 5 minute walk from the bus station which meant we didnt have to get our board bags very far (horrible horrible things to travel with...get one with wheels if you can).

The harbour in Vancouver
 Only a block from the waterfront, in a year or two the hostel will be in a prime location, however construction sites all around meant that the area had a dingy feel to it. The hostel itself wasnt bad but (and maybe the mountain shadow in Rossland spoiled us) it wasnt great either. The best things about it was it was cheap ($20 per person per night), Tim the manager (weird but nice) and the fact that you could rent bicycles for $10 a day.

The couple of days we were in Vancouver was spent exploring the city by bike and on foot. Like every big city it has its dodgy areas (Granville St with its Pornshops; and the couple of blocks between Chinatown and Gastown which were full of junkies and drunks...and that was at 10am in the morning) and its nice areas (including Gastown). But without a shadow of a doubt, for me, the thing that makes Vancouver is its waterfront.

Anna among the cherry trees
An awesome bike and walking track has been built all along the waterfront allowing easy access from one end of Vancouver to the other, on both sides of the river. Starting on the south bank the track runs from the University into town past the Vancouver Museum, through the fishing wharfs with awesome fish and chip shops, under the Granville and something o-rather bridges, past condos with their own private lagoons and through parks with loads of Cherry Blossom trees. It turns the corner at the impressive complex which houses "The World of Science" (A huge dome which lights up at night and is free after 4:30pm!!). From there you head back towards the main city through more cherry blossom parks, past restaurants and cafes, sandy beaches and eventually you come to the famous Stanley park. In my opinion every city should have a park like this - absolutey huge its full of trees, lakes, grassy knolls (perfect for kicking a ball round) and provides awesome views across the harbour.
Vacouver skyline at night

We managed to cover most of the track by bike on the first day and with a blue bird day we couldnt have asked for anything more. That night we sat on the waterfront watching the boats go by and eating a particularly disgusting mixture of steamed vegetables and sweet and sour pork which was concocted in the overly small kitchen at the hostel. On our second day we walked into the city centre itself and also over Granville bridge to a shopping area known for its outdoor equipment outlets selling big brands at cheap prices. Needless to say, Anna couldnt resist temptation!!

One more thing about Vancouver...it has awesome Sushi shops. We found a brilliant (and cheap!!) one on Granville St where we stuffed ourselves until bursting point. The walk home down Davey street took us past another dozen or so which all looked worth a visit.

Yes, with its close proximity to some of the best snow in the world, Vancouver is definitely a place I could live in for a while. No time for 'what-ifs' though, next its on to Toronto and a visit to my little brother.

Adios

turnstiles says:
Toronto is gay
Posted on: Jun 10, 2007
turnstiles says:
Good review but there is no river in vancouver. That path, the seawall, runs along english bay, burrard inlet, and False creek. All of which are saltwater and part of the pacific ocean
Posted on: Jun 10, 2007
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Lost in Stanley Park
Lost in Stanley Park
A nice little Marina on the edge o…
A nice little Marina on the edge …
The harbour in Vancouver
The harbour in Vancouver
Anna among the cherry trees
Anna among the cherry trees
Vacouver skyline at night
Vacouver skyline at night
3,744 km (2,326 miles) traveled
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photo by: Browser