University of British Columbia, Vancouver
UBC is a massive university campus located at the western tip of Vancouver on Point Grey. It's easy to get to from downtown Vancouver. Take the UBC bus #4 or #17 and it gets you there directly in 25 minutes. It's otherwise a 15 minute drive by car.
While UBC's an architectural hodgepodge, the campus is home to a collection of cultural and natural attractions which are well worth visiting. They include:
Museum of Anthropology:
This is my favourite museum in the entire city and a must see if you're even remotely interested in our local indigenous cultures. The MOA is famous for its collection of totem poles and northwest coast artifacts, but they also have an equally impressive collection from indigenous cultures around the world.
Nitobe Memorial Garden:
A small but beautiful traditional Japanese tea and stroll garden. It's beautiful in all seasons, but especially in March and April when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
UBC Rose Garden:
A small but beautiful manicured garden offering a variety of roses, sitting areas, and a beautiful view overlooking the the mountains and sea.
Chan Centre for Performing Arts:
My favourite music hall to see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and touring classical musicians. The UBC graduation ceremonies are held here too.
UBC Botanical Garden:
This is the oldest university botanical garden in Canada featuring local and foreign plant species and a natural temperate rainforest ecosystem. In October, they host the annual UBC Apple Festival.
Vancouver's famous clothing optional beach. It's a remote sandy beach at the bottom of the cliffs, hidden from the rest of the campus by the forest. Wreck Beach is also famous for its thriving bohemian counter culture.
Crazy busy in September and January, but otherwise one of the best bookstores in Vancouver. They also have a gift shop and a clothing boutique.
The University of British Columbia has some great things to offer. In particular, the Chan Centre for the performing arts often hosts great events. Opera, orchestra, plays, entertaining shows, just check out the website to see what's on now!
From downtown, take the #4 or 10 bus on Granville St, to get to UBC, or on Broadway (anywhere between Commercial Dr. and Sasamat), catch the #9 or #99.
A great way to get away from the city without really getting away from the city!
Hiking through the forests surrounding UBC can be a relaxing walk or a longer, more involved hike. Take your pick but either way the greenness of the trees, the blue of the sky and the blue and white of the mountains are hard to miss. Your walk may even find you near a waterfall or overlooking wreck beach. Enjoy it!
The UBC campus isn't setup very well for driving tours. But if you do want to drive it then I'd suggest taking the "back lane" route along West Mall. The path is indicated in red in the picture.
It's best to walk through the campus, though it's difficult to find parking and if you do, it's fairly expensive. Another option is to take the B-Line bus out to UBC - quick and great fun!
If you go past the University of British Colombia, you can climb down to the beach. And those beaches are really nice. On the horizon you can see Vancouver island on one side, and Bowen island on the other
Tower Beach is the name of beach located directly north of Wreck Beach, the famous nude beach. Tower Beach, just like Wreck, is located on the west coast of Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood, on UBC campus.
When visiting Tower Beach, you feel like you're a world away from the city. For one thing, you can no longer hear the traffic. Second, you can't see any buildings or houses. Third, the only things visible in front of you are the mountains, islands, and the ocean. It's quite beautiful.
Tower Beach does not crawl with thousands of people, mostly because it's rocky, but because it's not the most accessible beach. Because the beach is located at the bottom of the cliffs, you usually have to take a steep trail down to the water. It's not a long trail, but you might be a little out of breath when you try to climb back up!
Nevertheless, Tower Beach is the epitome of a west coast British Columbia beach, complete with a view of the mountains meeting the sea.
If you follow the streets downhill you will reach the Spanish Banks, where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. If you dread coming back up the hills, then avoid going down. You can easily find a quiet place with an ocean and mountain view anywhere in this area.
Take NW Marine Drive up the hill back on to Chancellor Blvd, look for Cecil Green Park Road on your right. Park your bike here. The Cecil Green is a very nice heritage building over the cliff area. You can stroll around the gardens and gaze out to the ocean. Along the edge of the cliff, there is a path that leads to the back of the Museum of Anthropology. Behind the waist-high reeds you will see the native Haida huts and totem poles. Enjoy your time there!
If you are going into the museum, clip a coupon from the Telus (yellow) pages before you head out.
After you have visited the museum, you can cycle around the campus. When you are ready to leave (allow at least one hour to get back to Granville Island), continue on along Marine Drive. This will eventually take you out of the campus to the south part of Vancouver. Along the highway, there is a historic site where you can get a view of the Fraser River. At the end of the highway, the Musqueam Indian Reserve is on your right. Use the traffic light to cross Marine Drive on to Camosun Street, follow the bike route sign to get on to 37th Avenue -- the Ridgeway bike route. Follow this bike route until you reached the Cypress bike route (Angus Drive) and turn left.
The Cypress bike route will take you back to the seawall near Granville Island. And you have completed a loop of the west side of Vancouver. Didn't that feel good?
I highly recommend the Museum of Anthropology in UBC but it does not seem to get much publicity as a tourist attraction. I suggest taking a day and make it a bicycle tour of the west side of Vancouver. In the summer months, if it is not a sunny day, this route does not have much traffic and is a very pleasant way of touring the city. Take a picnic lunch with you.
You can start the route from downtown or Granville Island (both of these areas have bike rentals). You can take the Seaside bicycle route that goes through Granville Island, or the Off Broadway route along 7th Avenue and head west towards UBC. I am going to describe the route along 7th Avenue (you have to turn on to 8th Avenue at some point).
While you are cycling along, spend some time looking at the houses and their architecture. After you cross Alma Street you will find yourself huffing and puffing up the hills of Point Grey. This gives you a perfect chance to notice the changes -- the houses are getting bigger and the trees taller. You will also have a view of the mountains and the sea on your right hand side.
Continue to take 8th Avenue on to Chancellor Blvd (disregard the no exit signs for cars, you are on a bicycle!). You will find a pathway for pedestrians and bikes with the Pacific Spirit Park on your left and the highway on your right. When the bike route ends, you will notice the ocean on your right. Head that way and just pick any residential street to explore while you continue on towards the west. You will notice the houses here are all guarded with huge trees and fenses. Yes, you are in the area of the rich.
(To be continued)
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has a very pleasant and green campus. It's a big place, with room to roam on bike trails, beach walks or just some light-hiking on campus. If you're lucky, the UBC cheerleading team will be practicing while you're there and you can suggest that they cooperate with your photo-session ideas. ;)
A great walk if you want to experience a westcoast rainforest can be found right in the city. Drive out along West 16th towards the University of British Columbia. Hang a left at Discovery Street and drive down a few blocks till you come to a place where the U.B.C. Endowment land trails start. You can spend a few hours walking along the fir, cedar and spruce trees. There's a map at the entrance and many trails you can enjoy. It's practically all flat and an easy walk. Just watch out for the dogs, mountain bikes and horses on the trails.
Vancouver is blessed with so many different parks and gardens, the most famous of course would be Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. One other place which you might want to check out is the University of British Columbia. Located in the westernmost part of Vancouver proper, it has the Museum of Anthropology, a rose garden, a botanical garden, a Japanese garden and a whole bunch others. Within the vicinity is also Wreck Beach -- which is clothing-optional! More photos in my travelogue. :)
Take the bus to UBC. You can meet some other students, check the net in the library, walk around, go to the museum of anthroplogy, to the beach or... have a meal at the cantine.
Rent a bike or take a leisurely walk through some beautiful natural scenery...and maybe walk down to the beach for some relaxation in the sun afterwards...
Go check out the University of British Columbia (where I did my bachelor's degree). It's situated between a huge forest and the pacific ocean.