Gas Town, Vancouver © Judith Duk
Nicknamed Hollywood North for the ever-present film
crews, Canada's west coast gem of Vancouver is young, thriving, and
diverse. It boasts the perfect combination of wild natural beauty
and all the modern conveniences.
Named after Royal Navy sea captain George Vancouver
who sailed into the Burrard Inlet on the British Columbian coast in
1792, Vancouver was barely even a town 100 years ago. Today, more
than two million people call it home, and the shiny futuristic
towers of Yaletown and the downtown core contrast dramatically with
the snow-capped mountain backdrop, providing ample beauty among the
bustle of Canada's third biggest city.
Approximately the same size as the downtown area, the
city's green heart is Canada's largest city park, Stanley Park,
covering hundreds of acres filled with lush forest and crystal
clear lakes. Visitors can wander the sea wall along the exterior of
the park, catch a free trolley bus tour, a horse-drawn carriage
ride, or visit the Vancouver Aquarium housed within the park.
The city's past is preserved in historic Gastown with
its cobblestone streets, steam powered clock, and quaint feel,
though this is combined with expensive souvenir shops and galleries
aimed at tourists. Neighbouring Chinatown, with its weekly market,
Dr Sun Yat-Sen classical Chinese gardens, and restaurants adds an
exotic flair. For some retail therapy or celebrity spotting, there
is always the trendy Robson Street.
During the winter months, snow sports are the order
of the day on nearby Grouse Mountain. It's perfect for skiing and
snowboarding, although the city itself gets more rain than snow.
Vancouver's incredible ethnic diversity and combination of
mountains, sea, and city offers visitors an endless supply of
things to see and do, no matter the budget.