Info on Vancouver from a local!
My favorite must do attractions are
1) Grouse Mountain – www.grousemountain.com
– this is a wonderful scenic mountain only about 15 mins from downtown Vancouver. Ride the airtram to the top for lots of fun activities that include a loggers show, birds of prey show, 2 movies (1 about the Vancouver area and 1 about the 2 Grizzly Bears who make their home on Grouse Mtn) ride a chair lift higher up the mountain to visit the wind turbine that generates approximately 30% of the power required for Grouse Mountain Resort and visit with 2 live Grizzly Bears. Thrill to a 2 hour Zip Line Tour. Enjoy a meal in any of the restaurants. Caveat only spend the money to go up on a clear day.
2) Capilano Suspension Bridge – www.capbridge.com
– this is Vancouver’s oldest tourist attraction and I still enjoy visiting it! Located on Capilano Road just before you reach the Grouse Mountain parking lot. Walk across a suspension Bridge over the Capilano Gorge, wonder the trails thru the rain forest, walk thru the treetops on the new Tree Top Adventure, visit the trading post for a huge selection of souvenirs, watch native weavers and/or carvers at work.
3) Capilano Fish Hatchery is also located on Capilano Road and is a great place to view salmon jumping up the fish ladders to get around the Cleveland Dam. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capilano_River_Regional_Park
4) Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge – www.lynncanyon.ca
- is also located in North Vancouver and is much less touristy than Capilano but it also is not as spectacular. The bridge is slightly higher above the water but much shorter in span. Located in a Provincial Park this bridge comes with some nice hiking trails and you will find an ecology centre in the park as well as picnic tables and a food concession outlet. Should you choose to enjoy the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge always cross the suspension bridge first and then hike down the trail to the lower (Twin Falls wooden) bridge to cross back over the Lynn Valley River and return to your car – that way you are hiking downhill rather than uphill. It is also free to visit this suspension bridge!
5) Stanley Park – www.vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/
- is the crown jewel of Vancouver's parks. As one of North America's largest urban parks, covering over a 1000 acres and offering an abundance of activities. Enjoy the totem pole collection near the Brockton Point Light House, hiking trails, beaches, water parks for the kids (young & old), rose gardens, miniature train, petting zoo, aquarium –www.vanaqua.org
– many view points, and several restaurants. During the summer months there is a free shuttle bus that you can ride around the park on.
6) Vancouver Aquarium – www.vanaqua.org
– is Canada’s largest aquarium and is committed to the conservation of marine life and education. Located in Stanley Park this is a fun place for the family to visit.
7) Gas Town – the location where Vancouver originated. The name is derived from a very colorful character named Gassy Jack who was one of the first settlers in the area and a salon keeper – while in Gas Town don’t miss your photo op with the statue of Gassy Jack and by the Steam Clock. During the summer months there is a free walking tour of Gas Town for times call 604-683-5650
8) At the start of Gas Town is the Harbor Centre Tower www.vancouverlookout.com
a great spot to start your tour of Vancouver with a birds eye view of the city. Either take the elevator up to the lookout level or go to the top and enjoy a meal in the revolving restaurant.
9) China Town is only about 6 blocks over from Gas Town and is the largest China Town north of San Francisco. While in China Town enjoy a visit to the Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Gardens www.vancouverchinesegarden.com
and also make sure you visit the world’s thinnest building it is only 6’ wide!
10) The city of Vancouver has laid out self guided walking tours of 4 distinct historical neighborhoods in Vancouver – Gastown; Chinatown; Yaletown; & Shaughnessy – these walking tours along with a historical introduction to each neighbourhood can be found at http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/plannin...alks/index.htm
11) Granville Island – www.granvilleisland.com
– is a huge public market area which not only sells fruit & veggies but you can also buy frozen fish to be shipped to your home. Many artists make this their home and you can watch them at work in their studios – making this a great place to buy unique souvenirs. The Granville Island Brewery is also located here and you can stop in for a free tour & tastes. There are theatres for live performances and many fine restaurants. A fun way to get to Granville Island is via the Aquabus – www.theaquabus.com
12) Burnaby Village Museum – www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca
– is an open air museum with over 30 restored homes, shops, school, church and a 1912 carousel situated on 10 acres
13) Gulf of Georgia Cannery – www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.com
– is a restored fishing cannery located in the historic fishing village of Steveston (part of Richmond). Here you see exhibits that showcase the history of the fishing industry in British Columbia. Once finished in the museum it is great fun to walk along the fishing docks and see the fishing boats which are selling their catch. There are also some excellent restaurants located here.
14) The Vancouver Maritime Museum located on the shore of English Bay is fun for the whole family with lots of hands on exhibits for the kid in all of us. Here to you will find the ship St Roch which the RCMP sailed from Vancouver to Halifax via the Northwest Passage and then completed the return journey in 1944. You actually get to tour this ship. www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com
15) Queen Elizabeth Park www.vancouver.ca/parks/parks/queenelizabeth
The 130 acre (52 hectare) park is one of the most beautifully maintained public parks in the world. Second only to Stanley Park in annual visitations, it receives nearly 6 million people a year who marvel at its superior standard of garden plantings.
The park was originally quarried for its rock which served to build Vancouver's first roadways. In 1929 the Board proceeded to acquire the property which had become an abandoned eyesore but still served as the site for two holding reservoirs for the City's drinking water. Dedicated as a park by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the present Queen's mother) on their much lauded visit to Vancouver in 1939.
16) Fort Langley is the restored wooden fort built by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a trading post. It is the origin of British Columbia and was the first capital. This Fort is operated by the Federal Parks Board. www.fortlangley.org
17) If you are a wine lover you might want to rent a car and spend a day visiting a few of the many excellent wineries located in the Fraser Valley only about a 1 hour drive from your hotel. Almost all of the wineries offer free tastes & tours. Two of the wineries have excellent restaurants on the premises. This makes for a very fun and relaxing day. Check out the Fraser Valley Wine Association web site for a map of winery locations and a brief description of each winery www.fvwa.ca
18) If you are a real animal lover than don’t miss “Mountain View Conservation & Breeding Centre” It is located in Fort Langley about an hour drive from downtown Vancouver. Mountain View Conservation and Breeding Centre is a leading non-profit Canadian facility that breeds endangered species in family groups for re-introduction back into their natural habitat in Canada and around the world. This facility is not a zoo their goal is to breed rare and endangered wildlife and re-introduce these animals back into their natural habitats. Presently Mountainview hosts over 50 species of the world’s most threatened animals and birds. See animals such as the spotted dog from Africa, Giraffes, and much much more. Here you do not wonder around as in a zoo rather you are given a guided tour with commentary on each animal group. Check it out at www.mtnviewconservation.org
19) VanDusen Botanical Garden is a scenic 55- acre garden of international renown – a living museum of plants collected from around the world and artistically displayed amidst rolling lawns, woodlands and five tranquil lakes, all in the heart of Vancouver and just 15 minutes from downtown.
Due to Vancouver’s mild climate, plants bloom at the Garden year-round. This same climate creates a unique environment where plants from varying climate regions thrive and grow – at VanDusen you will see plants from the southern hemisphere, tropical areas and the high Arctic tundra along side native species. The Elizabethan Maze (one of only six in North America) provides year-round fun.
20) UBC Botanical Garden located at the University of British Columbia covers 110 acres and includes an Alpine, Asian, Native, Food, and Japanese Gardens. www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org
21) Dazzle your senses when you visit Minter Gardens nestled against 7000 foot Mt. Cheam in beautiful 'Super Natural' British Columbia. One of the most spectacular show gardens in the world! Eleven themed gardens are designed to dazzle the senses with massive displays of artistic floral designs.
Minter Gardens is located 90 minutes east of downtown Vancouver just off the Trans-Canada Hwy. #1 at exit #135. www.mintergardens.com
22) Enjoy a FREE walking tour of Vancouver. This 2 hour tour starts in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery and ends at the Steam Clock in Gastown. This tour runs Tuesdays & Saturdays at 1pm and reservations are required. Check it out at www.tourguys.ca