For many, Vancouver is a mere layover on the way to somewhere else. But this world-class port city, where one can ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon, has much to offer visitors in the way of entertainment and adventure.
In addition to its gorgeous skyline and famously booming real estate market, Vancouver is known for its waterfront, numerous parks, majestic evergreens and nearby snow-capped peaks.
It is also a city of neighbourhoods. Popular among visitors are historic Gastown and Yaletown, frequented by young professionals and urban hipsters; Coal Harbour, where you can stroll by the marina and eat at any number of delightful little restaurants; and the West End, which shares the peninsula with the downtown core and magnificent Stanley Park.
Looking for a beach? Try English Bay, Jericho, Kitsilano, Spanish Banks or even Wreck Beach, near UBC (where bathing suits are optional!). Beaches, of course, mean water sports, and you can enjoy them all: rent a kayak, paddleboard or small boat, or sign up for a variety of excursions. Thrill-seekers will love walking across all 450 feet of the Capilano Suspension Bridge, with its fabulous views of the surrounding forest. Walking is what people do here, and the whole region is known for its excellent hiking trails.
Personally, I have come to love this city, after getting to know it little by little during numerous ski trips to Whistler. I like to stay at the Shangri-La, a luxury hotel known for its sophistication and comfortable amenities. During the day, natural light streams in through the huge windows, and the nighttime view is breathtaking. Ideally located near Robson and Burrard streets, excellent shopping and fine dining (at restaurants like CinCin) are within reach. It is also just steps from the waterfront promenade. Bonus: this is the hotel where internationally renowned three-star Michelin chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten made his Canadian début with Le Marché, a restaurant where we were delighted to be served in French.
My friend Joanne Rowen, who lives in Vancouver, shared some of her favourite spots with us: Forage, Blue Water Café and Cioppino’s (Yaletown); Rodney’s Oyster House (Yaletown and Gastown); Cuchillo’s, Chambar, Jules and L’Abbattoir (Gastown); Lupo (Downtown); Vij’s (South Granville); and The Teahouse (Stanley Park). Vancouver. It’s green and it’s gorgeous !