Back in September, I had the chance to travel around Canada with G Adventures on a media tour to talk about career breaks. One of the highlights for me was having the chance to visit Vancouver for the first time. I have yet to meet anyone who had a bad thing to say about it. Well, the weather, maybe.
We arrived from Calgary in the late afternoon. The approach to the airport was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen. The forested-covered coastline dotted with green, lush islands just off the coast kept me engaged and only made me more anxious to land.
We were treated to a cool, clear night, perfect for getting lost. After wandering around the Nelson park neighborhood, we started craving a little sustenance. We wound up at the upscale, Joey Restaurant. A bottle of wine and a couple of crispy appetizers including calamari were all we needed. My lasting memory is that all the waitresses wore high heels. I didn’t know if I should be impressed or sympathetic.
Friday morning was full of radio and written interviews leaving us with the afternoon to explore. I had reached out to the Vancouver Tourism for some suggestions. They sent over a nice packet of information. And, after a careful review of the 100s of things to do, we wound up on foot again exploring. The sun was shining. What else were we supposed to do?
Walking Around Vancouver…the Whole City
Fall hadn’t quite arrived, so the flowers in Stanley Park were holding their own. But, I’m sure that the first short cold blast took out the colorful petals all around. As we walked along the path that hugged the Lost Lagoon, we were kept company by the occasional jogger, a family of raccoons that were way too tame for my taste, and the families pushing their all-terrain baby strollers.
I think I could have spent all day here. But, there was more of Vancouver to see. I had the idea to take a carriage ride through the park to cover more ground. But, I couldn’t find it and like I said, there was more of the city to see. We spilled onto the marina and started heading toward the convention center. As I looked across the water, I thought we were seeing Vancouver Island. Later I realized it was merely North Vancouver.
After passing by the convention center, we entered the historic Gastown district. Trolleys, coffee and shops lined the streets. We slowly walked down Powell, sitting for a bit for a coffee and water. We looked at the map and saw that our final stop was actually across town, Granville Island. After a quick look at the map, I thought, hey, it’s really not that far.
Over an hour later…and crossing the Granville Bridge by foot…
Granville Island was filled with shops, high-end, waterfront restaurants and the stacked-stone sculptures of Jozsef Toth. Tim and I must have watched him for at least half an hour. I don’t know how he gets them stack up, but the garden of statues he built along the waterfront made the feat all the more impressive.
I broke one of my travel rules when we headed for something to eat, don’t stop at the first restaurant you find. Whet is on the left-hand side of the road, just as you come onto the island. With an impressive view of the harbor and the sunset from its outdoor seating area, we couldn’t resist. A glass of white wine, a bowl of chowder and a seared tuna salad seemed like the perfect dinner after a long day of exploring. As good as the salad looked, it was a bit of a disappointment. I didn’t care too much as it was the end of a long week and I was enjoying just being in Vancouver.
After a short water taxi ride back across the bay, we made our way back to the hotel jumped in a cab and headed to the airport to catch our ride back to Toronto.
What to Do in Vancouver…Next Time
After getting a quick taste of the city, I got a sense of the city, but left so much unexplored. Here’s a quick list of what I would return to do.
- Enjoy the city’s natural beauties. More time in Stanley Park is a given. But, I would also check out the UBC Botanical Gardens.
- Eat the street food. I didn’t mean to avoid the street food. It just worked out that way. There are so many carts selling lots of yummy looking fare, I now know that lunch will be served outside!
- Pop over to Victoria Island for day, maybe even for a night. With ferry service connecting the two cities, the ride over is likely to worth the trip alone.
- Get active. Hiking, biking, kayaking. Between the mountains and water, I won’t be trapped in the city long. I’ll have to get out and explore.
- Explore the nightlife. Vancouver is rumored to have great nightlife. While you can probably find me out in the Davie Village after dinner, Vancouver offers something for everyone.This is not a city to spend the night in you room.
Tags: Canada travel