It’s always exciting to travel to a different country, experience a new culture, eat new food, and just get away from your home town. I live just a bus ride and sky train trip away from Vancouver, BC, one of the hippest (not hippy) cities on the West coast. Now there aren’t palm tree-filled beaches, or tropical fruits that could quench your thirst, but let me try and convince you that Vancouver should be a destination spot during your travels.
First off, some cool history facts: Vancouver was discovered by a Captain George Vancouver (surprise surprise) in the 1970s. BC is the only province in Canada where you could experience a “West Coast special”: ski AND golf in the same day woo hoo. Vacouver also houses Gastown, the city’s first downtown core, named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton. It’s the city’s oldest neighbourhood, brimming with history; come here to relish in cool boutiques, architecture, and come for a different perspective on city life. I know that’s not the most comprehensive history lesson, but that’s as much history as I can handle – how about you? (clearly, a history buff I am not)
Now there are probably so many jokes out there about the rain, and let me tell you folks, they are true (a great way to convince you to come visit, eh?). Boots and umbrellas have joined the ranks of yoga pants in what has become ‘staple clothing’ for the everyday Vancouverite.
But don’t get me wrong: we do have our share of beautiful summers spent picnicking with friends and family; looking for that perfect sandy spot to watch summer fireworks at English Bay; finding that odd café or restaurant where you could rave to your friends; summer blockbuster movies (the best ones come out in the summer); and just being lazy in the sun. Let me show you a few popular spots to hit up while here (there are way too many so I am just going to list my favourites):
Science World: Never stop exploring that science geek in you take a trip to this giant science lab; let your inner kid out once in a while.
(Photo credit: The infamous Science World )
Vancouver Aquarium: Take a look under the sea without getting wet (splash zone is debatable)! Located in the beautiful Stanley Park, the aquarium is the largest in Canada and boasts a huge variety of marine animals to explore.
(Photo credit: Hike Bike Vancouver Blog)
(Photo credit: Jack’s Aquarium)
Robson Street: Vancouver’s most famous shopping street in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Spend the day sipping coffee, perusing the unique boutiques, or at a relaxing spa treatment. At night, the street comes alive with buskers and performers along with the night atmosphere you crave from a downtown city.
(Photo credit: Chateau Granville)
Now on to more important matters: food – I know you were waiting for this section all along right? Vancouver boasts so many unique dining opportunities, whether they are unique cafés in a nook in the city or higher end restaurants in downtown Vancouver, there will always be a place to satisfy your cravings. From hot dogs to sushi, hamburgers to crepes, noodles to deep-fried desserts (read: deep-fried Mars bars; yes, this place exists!) you could take a journey around the world through the foods and tastes offered in Vancouver.
If you want to further your dining experience, there are a select group of food trucks roaming the city with tasteful food combinations that won’t let you (or your stomach) down. I could just splatter (no pun intended) some food images, but we don’t look pretty when we’re drooling over the keyboard, so you’re just going to have to come out to Vancouver and find out for yourselves. [For more information on street eats and food trucks, visit http://vancouverstreeteats.ca/]
One of the events that really shaped the atmosphere of Vancouver was the Winter Olympics in February 2010. For a little over two weeks, Vancouver hosted one of the most internationally recognized sporting events in history. This was the third Olympics hosted by Canada (1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary preceded this one), and boy, did it really bring our city together.
(Photo credit: Drawn )
Imagine: live music, performers, decorations, banners, special events, Olympics events Canadian-pride, and people of all ages and nations coming together to celebrate and cheer their country to gold. Events were held in Vancouver, Richmond, and Whistler. While the United States obtained the most overall medal count during the 2010 Winter Olympics (37 medals), I am so very proud to say that Canada led with the most GOLD medals obtained (14 gold medals). Hosting the Olympics had its ups and downs, but the spirit-o-meter was always at 100%.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my blurb (too long to be considered a blurb?) about Vancouver; I realize it’s only a thin slice of what Vancouver has to offer, but hopefully it’s enough to get you biting, so mosey on down (or up) here and expand your travel log to include Vancouver, BC.
Happy travelling, exploring, discovering.