Vancouver is a Canadian city in the province of British Columbia. It is the largest metropolitan centre in western Canada and third largest in the country.
Vancouver is internationally renowned for preserving its natural beauty. Vancouver is home to one of North America’s largest urban parks, Stanley Park. The city has all the urban amenities of a major city, as well as easy access to the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of the Pacific Coast Range. The North Shore mountains dominate the city landscape. On a clear day you can view the dormant snow-capped volcano Mount Baker in the State of Washington to the southeast; Vancouver Island across the Strait of Georgia to the west and southwest and the Sunshine Coast to the northwest. The breathtaking views of the city and its environment have made it renowned for its beauty.
The mild climate of the city and close proximity to ocean, mountains, rivers and lakes make the area a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The north shore mountains are home to three ski hills – Cypress Bowl, Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour – each within 20 to 30 minutes of downtown.
Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver. – Just 15 minutes from downtown is Vancouver’s premier four-season attraction. Your adventure begins aboard the Grouse Mountain Skyride as you embark on a one-mile journey to the mountaintop. Not only enjoyment during the summer months but also during the winter, Grouse Mountain offers a winter wonderland of adventure including 25 ski and snowboard runs, 10km of snowshoe trails, an outdoor skating pond, sleighrides and much more!
Capilano Suspension Bridge – The fun begins on the swaying planks of Capilano Suspension Bridge and continues among majestic evergreens in a West Coast Rainforest. Get a squirrel’s eye view of the forest at Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the trees. Meet First Nation’s carvers, stroll among colourful gardens, totem poles and exhibits, enjoy seasonal entertainment, naturalist walks and guided tours – it’s all in a day’s fun at Vancouver’s oldest and most exciting attraction – 10 minutes from Downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver Aquarium – Join more than 60,000 aquatic creatures at the Vancouver Aquarium and find out why it was voted BC’s best-loved attraction. Come face-to-fin with Arctic beluga whales, giant Amazon arapaima, tropical reef sharks and the fascinating dolphin, sea lions and otters of Canada’s wild-west coast. For an unforgettable extra, try one of the Aquarium’s hands-on Animal Encounters or Trainer Tours. Between shows, relax over lunch at the UpStream Café and visit the unique ClamShell Gift Shop.
Harbour Cruise – Get onboard to experience Vancouver from a different perspective.
Harbour Centre Tower – your best first view in Vancouver. Sip your cappuccino, join a free guided tour, learn something new about Vancouver and enjoy spectacular 360°view!
How to get there
BY AIR ;
Vancouver International Airport, located on Sea Island in the City of Richmond, immediately south of Vancouver. The airport (YVR) the second busiest in nation and one of the busiest international airports on the West Coast of North America.
There are many Car hire companies for if you want to travel at your own pace. The road system is excellent.
A fantastic way to get around the Greater Vancouver area. The SkyTrain is Vancouver’s automated light rapid transit rail system.
Connecting the north shore to downtown, the 2 seabuses ferry up to 400 people a time between North Vancouver and the city.
Greater Vancouver’s Bus service, operated by Coast Mountain Bus is part of TransLink. Over 1,000 buses running 20 hours a day, some as frequent as every 4 minutes.
Pacific Rim Whale Festival (March / April) – The northward migration of an estimated 21,000 Gray whales along the west coast of Vancouver Island has heralded the coming of spring for thousands of years. Grays travel close to shore, pausing to feed in shallow waters, and provide excellent viewing opportunities from strategic shore locations. Besides the unique opportunity of seeing these huge mammals, ocean scientists and whale researchers present education programs about whale migration, biology and the conservation efforts that have brought the Gray whales back from the edge of extinction. If you want a closer look at these magnificent animals, venture out onto the open Pacific aboard local charter boats offering scheduled whale watching tours.
Brant Wildlife Festival (April) – The Brant Festival is held in Parksville and Qualicum Beach in early April each year to celebrate the migratory stopover of over 20,000 Brant geese.
Great Walk (June) – North America’s toughest pledge walk – 63-1/2 kilometres along gravel forestry roads in some of the most rugged and beautiful country in the world.
Nanaimo Marine Festival (July) – Visitors won’t want to miss the world-famous Bathtub Race held during the Nanaimo Marine Festival in late July! Men and women of all ages and backgrounds come from around the world to race across the Georgia Strait in bathtubs, from Nanaimo to Vancouver.
Filberg Festival (August) – The Filberg Festival, reputed to be the best Arts and Crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest, offers an amazing selection of the finest quality work, from pottery to hand made toys – all produced by BC resident artists.
Victoria Dragon Boat Festival (August) – Spectacular dragon boats roar into Victoria’s Inner Harbour, providing a colourful spectacle, with organized entertainment onshore.
Eating Dining Shopping
Vancouver’s restaurant scene has exploded in the past few years offering world-class cuisine from every corner of the globe. Fine dining, casual or family friendly restaurants are easily accessible throughout Greater Vancouver.
Robson Street – They call it “The street that makes the city!” The eclectic mix of chic boutiques, high-end retailers, unusual and artistic goods, hip cafes and casual to exquisite dining draws a large diverse group of individuals to one of the city’s famous hot spots.
Yaletown – Yaletown was a warehouse district. The area has been re-developed, and the warehouses now serve as fashionable restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and apartments for the artsy types and young urban professionals who make the area their home.
Pacific Centre – With over 165 shops, Pacific Centre is located in Downtown Vancouver near the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Street. The world’s most famous brand names are easily found. Shoppers can also find entertainment tickets, currency exchange and gourmet food to go.
With its Public Market, theatres and galleries, Granville Island is Vancouver’s cultural hotspot. This hub of activity is located at the south end of False Creek under the Granville Street Bridge. Visitors to Granville Island should expect a wide scope of sights and sounds. This is a popular spot for all sorts of artists and is a place where you can enjoy many kinds of different food and fresh produce.
Metrotown Centre – Metrotown Centre is the commercial anchor of the Metrotown neighbourhood of Burnaby. This large shopping mall, with dozens of shops, services, restaurants and movie screens, is less than a half-hours drive from Downtown Vancouver. You can also take the Skytrain from downtown Vancouver directly to Metrotown. The Skytrain is a subway-like commuter train — only nicer.
Harbour Centre Mall – Check out the shopping at the base of Vancouver’s Harbour Centre Tower.
Lonsdale Quay Market & Shops – Located in North Vancouver, Lonsdale Quay offers everything from quick easy meals to unique gift ideas. This multi-level market, located on the waterfront, is home to over 90 shops and services. Lonsdale Quay is only a Seabus ride away from Downtown Vancouver.
The history of Vancouver Island is an interesting amalgamation of First Nations and European culture.
It began with Captain Cook’s arrival at Nootka Island in 1778 and, subsequently, as English and Spanish explorers found their way to the lush paradise of the Pacific Northwest.
Today, the combination of Aboriginal, Spanish and English heritage is reflected in the place names along the coast.
The colony of Vancouver Island began with the arrival of John Meares in 1788, a trader of sea otter furs with China. He brought 70 Chinese labourers to the Island and built a trading post at Nootka. By 1792, Captain George Vancouver and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra were working together at
the task of mapping and exploring the coast, after years of Spanish/English rivalry had played out on this Island. A treaty in 1793 gave the two countries joint ownership of Nootka, but it was not long after the signing that Spain’s dominance in North America began to wane. The last Spanish ship was ordered out of the area in 1795, marking the end of the Spanish influence In British Columbia.
The Western Headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company was Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River (now in Washington, USA). Hearing of the proposed border between American and British Territories, and fearing disruption of its fur trading activities in the north, the HBC built a post on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in 1843, and called it Fort Victoria. Americans started to move north in greater numbers. In order to help contain and control American influence, the HBC enlarged Fort Victoria and moved its Western Headquarters here, while Fort Vancouver remained operational south of the border.
Fort Victoria became the capital of the new colony of Vancouver Island by virtue of its proximity to the United States and the salubrious climate of the region. Concerned about the total control enjoyed by Chief Factor James Douglas, the British Government sent Richard Blanshard over as the first Governor of Vancouver Island in 1851. James Douglas didn’t like the new governor, and after 18 months of misery, Blanshard returned to England – and Douglas became Governor of Vancouver Island. When the colonies of Vancouver Island and the Mainland combined, in 1864, James Douglas was knighted by Queen Victoria.
Goldrush related activities on the Mainland spurred Victoria’s growth, as miners came up from California to buy licences and goldmining gear. Somewhat prepared, they sailed to the mainland, returning months, even years, later with precious gold dust. Again, the powers-that-be feared an American take-over, and by this time the HBC was losing its hold over the area. The HBC finally dismantled Fort Victoria to make way for commercial buildings, and Victoria was incorporated as a city, with a mayor and a council to keep everybody in line. On April 2 1868, Victoria became the provincial capital of British Columbia.
Today, many of the landmarks on the Island are remnants of the lumber barons, traders and miners who settled here, and the Chinese labourers who came to build the railway. The combination of rugged wilderness, European refinement and First Nations and Asian culture make Vancouver Island a unique destination.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number Tel; 911
Airport Information Tel: 604 207 7077
Tourist Office: 1-800-HELLO BC
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line Translink tel: 604-453-4500
24 hour medical service