Vancouver is one of the bustling and vibrant cities in Canada. Located in the province of British Columbia, Vancouver boasts of a lot of sunshine, rain and very little snow!
It is also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada and one of the most densely populated cities in North America. It is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life.
Vancouver is one of the Canadian cities which is located in close proximity with American cities like Seattle, Washington (192 km) and Bellingham, Washington (82 km), which makes it for great options for day trips, picnics or shopping (well,may be before the Trump era, it was fairly easy!).
I visited Vancouver for 2 days and this post highlights my experience in the #vancity
Vancouver International Airport located on Sea Island in Richmond, is one of the busiest airports in North America (Vancouver International Airport Grant McConachie Way). For Canada it acts as an exchange center and port of entry for many immigrants.
From Vancouver port terminal you can take cruises to Alaska, Mediterranean,etc and also is the same way arrive to the city
Vancouver is well connected by road from all cities in Canada and USA. Driving through the province of British Columbia you can witness the picturesque Canadian Rockies.
We arrived very early in the morning, via Air Canada from Edmonton to Richmond, BC. Vancouver’s airport is located in Richmond.
Our first tourist sight was Canada Place/Port of Vancouver. To arrive to Canada Place, its about an hour by Vancouver Transit and about 30 minutes by car. We took the transit and the transit network is very good in Vancouver. The trip cost us $7.50 CAD per person. Alternately you can also buy an all-day pass. Check out their website
You can see these iconic sails when you arrive to the Canada Place. It is the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver’s World Trade Centre, and FlyOver Canada. Many sightseeing trips starts at the Canada Place (for tourists pick-ups and drop-offs)
We had our morning coffee at a cafe in the Canada Place. Right across the Vancouver Convention Centre, you can see the Port of Vancouver. Its a treat to the eye, especially if you like sunsets and sunrise!
Port of Vancouver
We utilized the West Coast Sight-seeing for Hop-on and Hop-off services ($45 CAD per person for 24 hour pass) from Canada Place. Although not a guided tour, the West Coast tours took us around the main tourist spots in Vancouver. This way we were able to make the most of the day and also saved on hassles of renting a car or paying for taxi. Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of freeways within the city.
From Canada Place and the Port of Vancouver, we headed to the Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a popular urban park in the metro city of Vancouver, surrounded by water on all sides (Vancouver Harbour and English Bay)
This park is very organic, in the sense, that only a handful of structures and areas are man-made, rest is au natural. There are different structures placed at the park in different locations, including the one below.
Here is another image – Girl in a Wet Suit – as seen in Stanley Park.
There are Totem Poles located in the Park as well. Significant effort was put into constructing the near-century-old Vancouver Seawall, which can draw thousands of residents and visitors to the park every day.
You can witness art and architecture in almost every part of the city and Stanley Park is no exception. That’s why this Park always features as “one of the world’s most popular parks”
Prospect Point and Lions Gate Bridge
Up next, we headed to Prospect Point. We drove through dense forest to arrive at an observation point that let us view the city and this particular bridge, called the Lions Gate Bridge.
The Lions Gate Bridge refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver. This bridge connects the city of Vancouver to north and west Vancouver.
We also drove through Robson Market, a popular place for shoppers and fashionistas
Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district,located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver, under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. We spent a couple of hours here. There are tons of places here to eat, shop and for entertainment.
We had some finger-licking Fish and Chips in Granville Island for lunch.
After lunch, we hopped on to the bus and reached ChinaTown. Vancouver has a huge Chinese community and the Sunyet Sen Gardens located in Chinatown are an absolute favorite of visitors to the city.
Gastown Steam Clock
After China Town, we got down at GasTown for a stroll. It was evening when we arrived there and it started to rain. Vancouver looks pretty amazing in rain too.
Along our stroll, we saw the Steam Clock. This clock is over 40 years old and it whistles to tell the time. You can see the steam coming out from top. Its amazing to see such art when you are strolling and exploring a new place.
After the evening stroll, we arrived in the heart of the city to check in to our hotel. We stayed at the GEC Granville Suites. The rooms were decent and clean. Cost of a night’s stay was around $80 CAD.
Our second day in Vancouver started pretty early and we went to Canada Place again this morning to enjoy some breakfast at the waterfront.
After the mix of rain and snow last night, the skies were clear the next day.
There is a Olympic Park (called the Olympic Cauldron) located very close to Canada Place. Its a modern Olympic torch built for the 2010 Winter Games.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
After spending some time in Canada Place, we waited to take a bus ride to one of our most wanted items in the Vancouver Bucket-List and that is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. We have seen so many amazing pictures about the Capilano bridge, that we had to visit it!
There are free shuttles available from Canada Place to take you to Capilano Suspension Bridge and they operate every 30 minutes. Take a look at their website
There is an entry fee at Capilano Suspension Bridge. The day we arrived- a few of their tourist attractions were closed due to safety reasons (slippery surface due to rain and snow the day before). And we were able to get the tickets at 30% discount. So its cost was about $39.99 per person to get access to the bridge, totem poles, guide walk, cliff walk, etc. Tree Tops Adventure, a popular tourist spot was closed during our visit. But we certainly were able to get a glimpse of it.
Here are some images from the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Cliff Walk will allow you to take amazing pictures of the Bridge.
This bridge was originally built in the late 1800 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer. And was originally made of ropes with a deck of cedar planks. The engineer didn’t like to socialize and so he also had his family home built in the vicinity and used the bridge to cross the forest. After his death, the bridge passed through many owners. And is currently owned by Nancy Stibbard. You can learn about the bridge’s early history from a welcome guide, when you take the entrance to the park.
After spending a few hours at the bridge, we took the bus ride back to Canada Place.
We had a late night flight back to Edmonton via Air Canada.
Exploring Vancouver was one of our bucket-list items for a long time. Its a really beautiful metro city with good weather, food and life! A must visit, when you visit Canada.