For a fun afternoon, ride the Seabus from Waterfront Station in Gastown to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. You can visit the shops and restaurants in the Quay for the afternoon and then return via Seabus back to Downtown.
Great to combine with walking around Canada Place or a visit to the latest CN Imax film.
Manning Park is a huge provicinal park located in the wilderness of the Cascade Mountains, about a 2-3 hour drive east of Vancouver.
It's a beautiful mountainous park with a variety of hiking trails, several lakes, canoeing, mountain biking, several provincial campgrounds, horseback riding trails, picnic sites, fishing, meadows of wildflowers, and even skiing!
Most tourists know little about it and therefore it tends to be more of a place that locals go to get away from the city. At least that's been my experience. It makes for an ideal weekend getaway camping experience. If you want to feel a million miles away from civilization that's easily accessible from Vancouver, Manning Park's great. Of course, you'll need a car to visit - there's no other way around it.
When you drive east of Hope along Hwy 3, you will enter Manning Park shortly afterwards. The highway becomes very twisty as it follows along a flowing river, climbing up and down along the mountains. What makes a drive through Manning Park particularly unique is that it divides the lush, rainy coast of BC from the semi-arid Thompson-Okanagan region. There is a noticeable difference in the climate when you drive through the park. It takes about one hour to drive through the entire park along the highway, just to give you an idea of how large it is. All the main attractions in the park are accessible off Hwy 3, some further away from the highway than others.
Unfortunately a lot of the forest has been recently damaged by the mountain pine beetle infestation - a result of global warming. You'll therefore see large patches of red (dead trees) in the forest. However, I last visited in August 2005 and feel that it's still very beautiful, although somewhat sad to see.
If you're looking for a scenic drive heading east out of Vancouver, Hwy 3 through Manning Park is worlds more scenic (in my opinion) than driving along the faster Coquihalla Hwy. While Hwy 3's a slower drive, Manning Park gives you many opportunities for stopping and taking in the scenery.
Although Gastown is known as Vancouver's most historic district, Yaletown, which was established right after a great fire destroyed practically all of Gastown in 1886, also dates back to the 19th century. Numerous warehouses then occupied the land which was located near the CPR train terminal, on False Creek. As transportation shifted from trains to trucks in the course of the 20th century, most of the warehouses were shut down and the area was deserted until, at the beginning of the 1980s, plans were made by the city to replace the old warehouses with modern, high-rise residential buildings. Yaletown has now become a hip and trendy area where you can find art galleries, local designer stores, high-end restaurants, microbreweries and nightclubs.
Dating back to the mid-1880s, the Yale Hotel, located at 1300 Granville Street, is one of the few historic buildings left in the Yaletown area. It was originally built to accommodate and entertain warehouse and CPR workers, and despite the changes that have taken place all around it, it has stayed true to its roots, and is now known as Vancouver's home of rythm and blues. You can catch a live show every day of the week while soaking up the atmosphere of the place which has been made famous by the passage of numerous blues legends such as John Lee Hooker, Jeff Healey, Colin James and George Thorogood.
As we walked throught the Art Gallery's courtyard, we stumbled across a group of hula hoop fanatics that apparently gather there every weekend when the weather is good. They were extremely friendly, and went out of their way to help us improve our subpar hula-hooping skills. Anna had a blast, and was able to do two hoops at once after less than an hour of tutoring. Mike and Lisa's hula-hooping skills were less impressive, but did improve from terrible to semi-competent after some tips from the local experts. In addition to hula hooping, the group in the courtyard also included jugglers and stilt walkers on the day we were there.
Just off of Cambie St. at about 32nd Avenue is a large park called Queen Elizabeth Park that is situated on a huge hill that covers about 16 sq blocks. It is a great place to just wander around, and relax. But at the top is an amazing Japanese garden with breathtaking views of the city.
Check this place out for yet ANOTHER way to get away from the bustle of the city without even leaving.
The Baden Powell trail is an extensive natural trail(some 48 km) which links Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay and can be accessed at several points throughout the city of North Vancouver, but the small town of Deep Cove is a nice starting point. When in Deep Cove you can park your car anywhere in the free parking lots then, walk north along Panorama Drive for about 1/2 block until you come to the sign marked "Baden Powell " Trail. You will see wooden steps leading to a steep hill on your left. This is where you begin your hike. After some 40 mins you will reach Quarry Rock which is a nice lookout point with a postcard view of Indian Arm and the mountains.
About 45 mins from Vancouver is a great park for family activities. Camping (tents and full hookups), fishing, hiking trails, waterslide park, picnic area, golf, bumper boats, go-carts, canoe, boat and jetski rentals, marina, restaurants, etc. Great for daytrips.
To get there from Vancouver, take Highway 1 East and follow the signs. You can't miss it. Exit Cultus Lake just before Chilliwack.
Well smoking isnt my thing but it is Robs so off we went to check out the "special cafes". Unlike in Amsterdam you cant buy cannibis here but you can smoke it in these cafes as long as you purchase a drink. They do sell pipes, papers and bongs and things like that. Rob made friends pretty quick and they explained the ropes to him.
All this was along Hastings Street and Cambie right before it gets into the really bad part.
From what I found out The cannibis is alot cheaper here and good quality. If you get cannibis at a medicinal place here in the States its all locked up and you can chose what kind you what and its so much more controlled. It very different in Vancouver.
The Hasting Mill Park Museum was a find. I was actually taking a walk towards Jericho Beach and decided to head towards the waterline before I needed to. The museum is in the park just up from Jericho Beach. I believe it was Alma St.
The museum is housed inside an old building which was tranported from another part of the city. Thanks to the fires of Vancouver which destroyed Gastown, the building is the oldest surviving building of the city.
The building is owned by a historical women's group and staffed by nice volunteers. Indeed they are very welcoming of tourists from out of town and happy to show you some of the buildings historical highlights.
Admission is by donation. It is open on weekends between 1 and 4pm. I am unsure of weekday open times but would assume they open it up to school groups and by appointment for other groups.
Sadly it is not a busy museum, and I'd suspect many locals don't even know of its existence. To me it was a great little bonus find. It takes only 15 minutes to rush through but any budding history buff I'm sure would spend an hour looking through the place.
Between the beach and the museum is the Vancouver Yacht Club, and the Jericho Tennis Club. Both places I suspect you need to be a member to set foot inside.
In the area of the UBC you can find the Nitobe Memorial Garden. It is one of the top 5 Japanese Gardens outside of Japan and therefore quite important. Combine it with a visit to the Museum of Anthropology.
Check out my travelogue for pics and further linking to the official Nitobe Memorial Garden Page.
Directions: On the campus of the UBC.
With a limited time, but a great interest in the National Parcs, I can recommend a visit to the Lighthouse Parc at Point Atkinson. This place is just northwest outside town, reachable with the bus. From there you can have a nice view back to the skyline of downtown Vancouver.
Check my travelogue for an impression of the parc and further links to infos and directions.
For further Info on the lighthouse itself, check the photo#2.
For the birdwatcher in you, here is an opportunity to view some of British Columbia's most beautiful birds, from chickadees to ducks to cranes, to owls and all the prey birds you can find! If you haven't brought your binoculars, the gift shop will lend you some for free! You can also buy seeds to feed ducks and chickadees, they will come and get their food right on your hand.
Best, this day trip won't ruin your budget: it's 4$ per person! However, you need a car to get there, since there is no bus service.
You can relax on a nice stroll along kits beach, or the surrounding neighbourhoods, catch some of the more qwirky views that can be found in the area. Back in the late 70's Kitsilano was home to many "hippies" and at that time, alternative lifestyles. These days, many of that has disolved, & gone bye, bye, yet if you're lucky, you might spot a few remnants sticking around.
We had a little spare time on Friday before dinner at Shabusen so we did a little wandering on foot through the Shaughnessy neighborhood which my guidebook recommends visiting with a car rather than on foot, I imagine we only covered a fraction of it.
The neighborhood was established in the 1920s for Vancouver's elite, it covers the area from 12th and 32nd Streets between Cypress and Oak, and you'll find some of Vancouver's most impressive mansions here. And maybe my mind was playing tricks on me but on an overcast gray day in the rest of Vancouver, the sun was shining here, maybe an extra perk for paying higher taxes ;-)
I believe the idea of painting fiberglass animals and placing them around a city started with cows in Zurich, Switzerland back in 1998. Since then many cities, including my hometown of Chicago, have used this idea to draw tourists to their cities and then ultimately benefit charity by auctioning them off at the end of their stay.
Vancouver has done this three times according to my local hosts, first with salmon, then with orcas (killer whales) and currently with bears. You can still see some of the orcas around town and the bears are everywhere, mostly in downtown Vancouver but we also saw several in Victoria.
And apparently the Bears are very restless, both Robert and Dave claimed that some were gone from where they were originally placed. You can find maps on the attached website.
The Spirit Bears will be on display until October 2006.
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