Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), is nestled between enormous valleys, lush rainforests and an unforgiving mountain range. Vancouver is the quintessential outdoor enthusiasts playground, with three world class mountains all within a fifteen minute drive from the downtown area, hundreds of parks, hiking trails and one of the world’s longest seawalls and countless rivers and lakes to discover.

Vancouver’s Stanley Park was named the World’s Best Park. This great place to relax has cycle paths all the way around an old growth forest, ancient Aboriginal village sites, beaches, a rose garden and even somewhere you can get close up with Sea Lions and Pacific Dolphins.

Gastown is the trendy neighbourhood, named after a historical figure, known as ‘Gassy Jack’. Gastown is home to chic loft apartments, European eateries, cocktail lounges and flashy boutiques. There are a few galleries of note along Water Street and plenty of places to buy anything typically Canadian.

Granville Island is the artsy area of the city. Interestingly, it’s more a little Peninsula than an Island. What was once an industrial manufacturing hub, is now the meeting place for wealthy Vancouverites and tourists to shop for the organic produce, sip on premium teas, enjoy fine food and chocolates, listen to buskers and watch sleek yachts edge on up to the dock.

Head to the Richmond Night Market during the summer months as it is one of the most interesting markets to wander through. Home to Vancouver’s largest Chinese community, Richmond has endless stalls of trinkets and interesting foods along with art demonstrations.

Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest in Canada. Perched on the edge of the Downtown Financial District and Gastown, Chinatown offers up an array of funky shops, inexpensive markets and the best Dim Sum restaurants in town. A visit to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden In Vancouver is a must, this impressive Chinese Gardens were constructed with traditional methods, by hand with courtyards, meandering brooks, impeccably sculpted vegetation, all in keeping with the Confucian and Buddhist tradition.

Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood is one of the most unique and most densely populated in the country. Sitting adjacent to Stanley Park and with the popularity of the Seawall, it’s a highly transitional neighbourhood. When evening hits, wander down Denman Street and find a spot to eat and enjoy a cocktail. Then head on down to English Bay, find a bench and watch as mother nature puts on her finest show in the sky above.

There is no better way to become an honorary Vancouverite, than go on the Grouse Grind, often referred to as ‘Mother Nature’s Staircase’. Located on Vancouver’s North Shore, at the foot of Grouse Mountain, the Grind as it’s lovingly known, takes hikers some 850 metres up through the alpine. Once you reach the top, there is a scenic chalet and sweeping views over the city. Once recovered you can come back down on the Grouse Gondola.

The Van Dusen Botanical Gardens have garden enthusiasts visiting from all over the world with 22 acres of tranquil gardens. The gardens are open all year round and in the summer months a great place to enjoy a picnic or take a stroll down to Laburnum Walk.

Vancouver Island, Victoria is sheltered by the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula and influenced by the warm North Pacific current, creating the mildest climate in Canada. The Capital of British Columbia, Victoria is a small city with a small town atmosphere. With no land connection to mainland Canada, it has a slightly isolated feel. Ferries make it an easy journey from Vancouver. On the west side of Vancouver Island, you will find the towns of Tofino and Port Renfrew and the famous West Coast Trail. On the east side of the Island, looking out over the Salish Sea are the towns of Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Courtney and Comox.

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