Good friends of ours are heading to Vancouver, Canada this summer for a cruise to Alaska. Indeed, Vancouver is a gateway to the 49th state. Trying to describe the various activities in Vancouver is hard to do as there are so many places to see. We have been there four times and have not seen it all.
This blog is to highlight the main activities using our Trip Advisor postings we wrote for the summer of 2017. Hopefully, this guide will give you an idea of what you may want to explore while you are in this neat Canadian city.
Built in 1986 as part of an Expo, Canada Place has become an epicenter for a number of activities.
There is the iconic “sails” architectural design which represents a faux ship. The show “Fly Over Canada” is located on the top level which is similar to the “Soarin” Rides at Disney. If you are looking for a bathroom, I have used the nice facilities at the Pan Pacific Hotel located on the top level too.
It is on this extended pier where all the cruise ships dock and take off from. It is fun to watch “the life-jacket” drills and seeing the ships take off. There is definitely an excitement that fills the air. If you can, come during the night and see the “Sails” under light.
Across the quay is the large Convention Center. When we were here the “Anime Revolution” was being held with thousands of participants.
There are a number of restaurants located along this area and across the street is a food court.
The Tourism Vancouver is located at Canada Place. It is here you can collect brochures and actually sign up for tours. The famous Hop-on-Hop-off stops here. So does the FREE Capilano Bridge Bus that will take you over to North Vancouver to experience a 460 foot suspension bridge over a river and canyon. I highly recommend the Cliff Walk while you are there.
It is quite hectic around Canada Place. So much so that a man was killed by a bus in August 2017. Most people enjoy the panache, the excitement of watching the ships come and go, the float plans doing the same. Strolling is easy to do. You can actually stroll along the seawall all the way to the famous Stanley Park.
Not far is the famous Marine Building which was at one time the highest building in the British Empire. It is now dwarf by other high rise buildings. The Art Deco design is quite interesting. See if you can spot the relief painting of a “zeppelin.”
Walking the other way and close by is the famous Gastown district. This is a unique area of Vancouver too and well worth exploring. Don’t forget to see the famous “Steam Clock,” an iconic activity while visiting the district. The whistle goes off every 15 minutes.
There are a number of large pieces of artwork that decorate Canada Place.
One of the strangest photo ops I took was a suit case floating on the water. I just hope it didn’t come off a ship!
This is an iconic place to sojourn when visiting Vancouver.
The Public Market Place on Granville, open from 9:00AM to 7:00PM is one of our major highlights. Mom and pop kiosks sell everything from fresh seafood, local produce and crafts to name a few items. There are plenty of food kiosks.
This past time we found Chau Veggie Express. The Tumeric Curry Coconut soup is to die for.
There are a number of “chocolate” and bakery vendors. I enjoyed having a glazed Old Fashion donut from Lee’s. It has been serving donuts since 1979.
Granville Island used to be former marine industrial site. A cement company still operates in the middle of this small island. At the front entrance of the cement work is a unique mesmerizing 12 foot moving contraption enclosed in a glass case.
There are a number of buildings that sell unique art work, souvenirs and clothes.
We enjoyed going to the Keg Restaurant and having a Teriyaki Steak. For some reason, they make it really good here.
If you are looking for ambiance, we would recommend a visit to Bridges. The bright yellow building overlooks False Creek, marina and bridges. The patio area is just delightful on a nice day. The food, though, is at times a hit or a miss.
The Granville Island Brewing Company has daily tours through its majestic process. They have an inviting restaurant to enjoy various brews. We loved the flight of 4oz beers.
On the opposite end of where the Public Market is located, are interesting and colorful houseboats. The Granville Island Hotel is open to the public and has an inviting restaurant.
You will find the Emily Car University in the middle of Granville Island. Not far away is “The Kids Market.”
You can get to Granville Island from Gastown or Granville St. by using bus #50, known as the False Creek Bus. Parking a car can be tricky. Just get to Granville early. The Hop-on-Hop-off bus does stop here. You can always take a taxi.
We have actually walked over the two bridges from downtown.
It does take time. If you walk down to False Creek, you can take an Aquabus for $6 dollars. All along False Creek are embarkation points. You can pay by credit card now at the main dock on Granville Island.
When we think of Vancouver, Granville Island always comes to mind. It is a lively place, filled with plenty of energy and there is always something to explore and find hidden treasures.
Voted by Trip Advisor as the “Best Park in the World,” there is so much going on at Stanley that one review would not do justice. I will attempt to write down what we enjoyed.
Walking the 5.5. mile seawall around Stanley Park several times in our stay was definitely one of our highlights. Archaeologists estimate First Nations people lived in Stanley Park 3,000 years ago. Various groups have come and gone. In 1888, Stanley became an official park for the world to enjoy.
You can walk either direction. Bicyclists and skaters must go in a “counter-clockwise direction.” It takes about two hours to walk around the park with stops, and about an hour to ride around. There are actually 17 miles of trails inside the Stanley Park area. If you continue with the waterfront trail, you can actually walk 14 miles. It is longest walk along a waterfront in the world.
We did enjoy Canada’s largest Aquarium. At the time of our viewing, there was a spectacular collection of jellyfish. It is a fascinating aquarium.
You will see tour that stop by the “Totem Poles.” The bathrooms are located here too.
There are just a few statues is the park by law. Harry Winston Jerome honored as the “British Columbia’s Athlete of the Century.” In 1960, he ran the 100 yard dash in 9.3 seconds.
Also, there is the “Girl in Wetsuit” statue. This statue reminds me of the Copenhagen Mermaid.
We did stop and see the hollowed out trees. A storm in 2006 killed many of these trees. With wires, the old trees are still being held up.
We have been under and over Lion’s Gate Bridge.
Another memorable point is the Siwash Rock. There was once a huge Douglas fir tree on this rock that died. The BC Parks have replanted with great effort a new baby Douglas fir tree.
There is a humongous pool people enjoy at the western end of the park. There is even a Miniature train for those that may be “ferroequinologists.” The miniature train will actually take you for a 1.4 mile ride. They have various train themes through the season.
BEST SHOPPING IN VANCOUVER?
No question, along Robson Street. Plenty excitement walking up and down this famous street in Vancouver. This is an area of several good restaurants too.
We have enjoyed “The Blue Horizon.” a bit pricey, but it is in the center of Robson Street. If you can swing it, ask for a room with a Bay view along Robson. It is a very comfortable hotel.
We have always enjoyed the Keg restaurants. Along Robson there is the famous Joe Fortes restaurant with plenty of character. We also enjoyed the Happy Hours at “The Cactus Club” cafe’s with its modern interiors and exciting menu temptations.
The Teriyaki Steak at the KEG. We went twice to have the Curry soups at Veggie Express in Granville Island. The Bellini’s at the Cactus Club are awesome.
The Museum of Anthropology was riveting. A bit of a trek from downtown but well worth the time and expense. The wood sculpture of “The Raven,” is awesome.
The Cliff Walk at Capilano Park. You are literally walking on a thick glass structure along the cliff over the canyon.
Walking through a “POT” bizarre in the center of downtown Vancouver. Some people have named Vancouver, “Vansterdam.” Even though it is still illegal to have marijuana is Vancouver, it is acceptable.
We enjoyed talking to the Policeman working around the Marine Building. He was on patrol for the movie Deadpool 2. He showed us a picture on his phone of a group picture with the cast of the Deadpool. Unfortunately, a day later a female stunt driver would die.
We have enjoyed watching the “Dragon Boat” races in late June. Our favorite, though, is the Pride Parade in early August. Over a half-million people show up to see this extravaganza. It is extremely colorful and fun to watch.
FAVORITE DAY TRIPS?
Visiting Whistler, the 2010 Olympic Winter City, can be done in a long day. But, our favorite, though, is seeing Butchart Gardens east of Victoria on the island of Vancouver. The flower displays are just magnificent. We keep touching the nose of the bronze “Boar Statue” to keep coming back. It has worked for us four times!