A guide to visiting Vancouver
With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Coast Mountains on the other, Vancouver is one of the world’s most spectacularly situated cities. Spend at least two days here, making time to browse the food markets and craft breweries of Granville Island and joining the outdoors-obsessed Vancouverites for a spot of hiking, swimming or boating among the beaches and forests of Vancouver Island and its English-esque capital city, Victoria.
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Ethnically diverse, cool as a cucumber and blessed with a rugged backdrop that sets skyscrapers against forest-clad mountains, Vancouver is a strong contender for being Canada’s favourite city. The music and art scene is crucial to the personality of this vibrant metropolis, which also boasts some of the best food in North America – especially when you consider the heady flavours and aromas of the Granville Island Market. This little isle is just one of Vancouver’s many diverse neighbourhoods: you can soak up history in Gastown; walk through pretty suburbs in East Van; feel the buzz of Downtown; go hippy in ‘Kits’; take on the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver; and head over to Vancouver Island to spot whales. Or, if you want to go green, cycle through the 1,001 acres of Stanley Park, a beautiful space that easily rivals New York’s Central Park.
Did you know?
Vancouver is one of the most-used cities for film and TV, following LA and New York.
Stanley Park is over 10% larger than New York’s Central Park, but around half the size of Richmond Park on the outskirts of London.
The environmental activist network, Greenpeace, was founded in Vancouver in 1971.
Despite the name, some believe the ‘California Roll’ was actually inspired by another form of sushi called the ‘Tojo-maki roll’, created in Vancouver by Japanese Chef Hidekazu Tojo.
How to get around
Take a stroll
With a compact Downtown area, Vancouver’s is made for exploring on foot. In fact, all its neighbourhoods are fairly compact – it’s just how you get from one to the other that may warrant the use of public transport. That’s certainly not an issue though; the transport network here is comprehensive, incorporating buses, ferries and an automated light rapid transit system known as the ‘SkyTrain’. For exploring further afield, hiring a car is preferable, although if you’re planning to travel cross-country from Vancouver, consider train – VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer both operate out of the city and travel to major hubs like Jasper, Banff, Toronto and Montreal.