Canada

Getting a Taste of Vancouver

Written By: jeff

Posted On: November 16th, 2011

career break travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver, harbor

Harbour in Vancouver

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.

career break travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver cuisine, Joey's restuarant

These yummy calamaris went well with the yam fries. Just sayin!

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

career beak travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver, Stanley Park

Felt lucky to have seen this much color in Stanley Park in September

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.

career break travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver, Gastown

One of the old lamps in Gastown

Over an hour later…and crossing the Granville Bridge by foot…

…we arrived.

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.

career break travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver, Granville Island, Jozsef Toth

Real entertainment on Granville Island

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.

career break travel adventures in Canada, Vancouver, Granville Island, Whet restaurant

Seared tuna salad

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.

  1. Enjoy the city’s natural beauties. More time in Stanley Park is a given. But, I would also check out the UBC Botanical Gardens.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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10 Responses to “Getting a Taste of Vancouver”

  1. Jenna Gourdeau says:

    Vancouver Island warrants more than one night believe me!!! The island is gorgeous and much less “big city” than Vancouver!

  2. jeff says:

    I think you’re probably right Jenna.

  3. Natalie says:

    You sold me as soon as I saw the picture of the Calamari. I make a point where ever I go to taste the local calamari. Only time, I am disappointed is when they pass frozen off as fresh!

  4. Great photos from your trip. Too bad that salad wasn’t as good as it looks.

  5. Cam says:

    As residents of Vancouver, we agree that these are all great things to do in Vancouver!

  6. Your food pics never cease to leave me starving =)

  7. I love Vancouver! Actually, I’m considering moving there next year.

  8. Deb says:

    It’s been a while since we’ve lived in Vancouver and I didn’t realize there was so much street food on sale now. It seems that all the blog posts I read about it mention the yummy eats. Great job capturing the essence of the city. It makes me want to go back. Cheers.

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