Although it's officially on a peninsula, the abundant water surrounding downtown Vancouver can make it feel like an island. It is, today, the center of commerce and business for British Columbia but, even historically, the downtown area has always been a significant meeting point for trade and culture.
In modern history, the area wasn't permanently settled by outsiders until 1862 when the city was chosen to be the terminus for the transcontinental railroad. As Vancouver grew, a number of neighborhoods began to develop within the city. Gastown is one of the oldest parts of the city and remains a tourist attraction. It's here where the world's first steam-powered clock still stands in working condition. Other significant neighborhoods worth visiting within the downtown core include Robson Street, Coal Harbour and Yaletown. There is also a prominent Chinatown in downtown Vancouver – the largest in Canada.
Brimming with arts and crafts studios, bars and restaurants with eye-popping views, Granville Island is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. Though it’s really a peninsula, jutting out into False Creek, the island draws those who come to wander the pedestrian-friendly alleyways while enjoying the sounds of the buskers and the sights along the waterfront.
One of the highlights is the Granville Island Public Market, where you can trawl the deli-style food stalls and artisan stands. Art lovers can wander through the three galleries of up-and-coming artists at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. For the under-10 set, the Kids Market bristles with kid-friendly stores, mostly of the toy variety. For a little respite, entice the kids away from the shops and head to the huge Granville Island Water Park.
The magnificent Stanley Park certainly enjoys one of the world’s most breathtaking settings: the park is surrounded on three sides by the ocean and loomed over by the snow-capped North Shore mountains. The park’s perimeter seawall stroll is one of the best ways to spend your time. Stanley Park is big enough to have quiet parts whenever you’re seeking seclusion, while wildlife lovers can always spot raccoons on the ground or eagles high in the trees.
Within its 1,000 acres/400 hectares you’ll find forests of cedar, hemlock and fir, mingled with meadows, lakes, and cricket pitches. There are also a couple of excellent beaches – ideal spots to perch on a driftwood log with a picnic and catch a kaleidoscopic sunset over the water.
But the park isn’t just for dewy-eyed nature lovers; other highlights include the collection of totem poles by the shore, Second Beach Swimming Pool, and Vancouver Aquarium.
Found within the current bounds of Vancouver's Stanley Park, Prospect Point is not only the highest point in the park and a great viewpoint of the harbor, but a place of significant history. In the late 1800s, boats traveling into Burrard Inlet were forced to pass extremely close to Prospect Point, as uninhibited water from the Capilano River plowed into the harbor, carrying with it silt and rock. The mineral-heavy flow further out caused the waters to be less buoyant, but crossing so close to the cliffs of Prospect Point wasn't without its risks either. In 1888, a ship called the S.S. Beaver ran aground on the rocks. It was then that the decision was made to put a warning light on the point to help guide ships through the passage. Some 25 years later, a signal station was built on the point to relay information to ships entering the inlet and, in 1948, the current Prospect Point Lighthouse was erected.
Vancouver’s Olympic Village, coming in at over 1,000,000 square feet in size, was built for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics hosted in the city in 2010. 1,000 units accommodated nearly 3,000 athletes, coaches, and personnel during the games. Construction took place over three years, and it is now a housing and retail space with a community center. It is one of the greenest building structures in the world, granting Vancouver its reputation as a leader in sustainable living. Built mostly in steel, the many elegant towers stand as modern icons of a growing city. The Olympic Village area is growing in population and popularity as a result. The neighborhood has a variety of excellent restaurants, as well as paths for walking and seafront views of the water. A walk along the seawall can run scenically alongside Vancouver's inner coastline from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano Beach.
In de twee theaters (waaronder het grootste theater ter wereld, het OMNIMAX® koepeltheater) worden films vertoond die regelmatig wisselen, voorstellingen gegeven en er zijn meer interactieve tentoonstellingen dan u zich kunt indenken. Science World in Telus World of Science (kortweg gewoon “Science World” genoemd) is een fascinerende plek voor kinderen en volwassenen. Vergeet de tijd en ga op in de prachtige wereld van de wetenschap.
Bezoekers kunnen de vele interactieve tentoonstellingen bekijken, wisselende exposities en live wetenschapsdemonstraties. Er is van alles te doen op het gebied van chemie, bewegende objecten, elektriciteit en druppels. Ook is er aandacht voor milieu, levenswetenschappen, fysica, duurzaamheid en meer. Het aanbod van Science World wijzigt regelmatig, net als de films en lichtshows in de bijbehorende theaters. Regelmatig worden gratis voorstellingen georganiseerd.
Located in Jack Poole Plaza in front of the Vancouver Convention Center, the Olympic Cauldron was built to commemorate the city's 2010 hosting of the Winter Olympic Games. The 33-foot-tall cauldron was constructed with steel and glass and was first lit as the Olympic torch made it's final run on the relay to B.C. Place Stadium for the opening ceremony of the games. Across the plaza from the cauldron is the Vancouver Convention Center, which was host to the media during the Winter Games and a key cog to the operations of the event. It's a fitting placement to commemorate the amount of work put into the event by the city of Vancouver. Today, the cauldron, which is back-dropped by stunning view of mountains and sea, has become a tourist destination in the heart of downtown Vancouver. However, the cauldron is only lit on days of special importance such as Remembrance Day or Canada Day.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 55-acre botanical oasis in the center of Vancouver that showcases diverse plants from around the world. Not surprisingly, the garden is considered to be among the top public green spaces in North America. Among the rhododendron, magnolia and sino-Himalayan plants, you can also find plenty of art installations, such as beautifully carved totem poles and sculptures. Many visitors especially enjoy the cedar maze made up of 3,000 pyramidal cedars and if you get the chance, make sure to attend one of the seasonal festivals.
Inspired by the natural environment around it, the visitor center is unquestionably an attraction of its own. It has strived to meet the Living Building Challenge, which means that it isn’t only constructed in an environmentally conscious design that draws on natural forms, but also uses renewable resources and achieves net-zero energy consumption.
Kitsilano is overduidelijk het populairste strand van Vancouver. Het wordt ook wel ‘Kits’ Beach genoemd en zit in de zomer stampvol, maar is het hele jaar door mooi. Kits Beach heeft alles voor een dagje aan het strand: picknickgebieden, snackbars, tennisbanen, basketbalvelden en grote grasvelden, ideaal voor het spelen van bijvoorbeeld frisbee (of zonnebaden als u geen zand tussen de tenen wilt). Op het strand zelf spelen volleyballers van alle niveaus uit de stad Vancouver een spelletje. Kits Beach kijkt uit over de Burrard Inlet met ongestoord uitzicht op de North Shore Mountains, de Golfeilanden en soms zelfs het Olympische gebergte in de verte.
Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of the most impressive collections of both historical and contemporary works in Canada. This extensive gallery contains over 10,000 different pieces of art and has a great focus on the local and regional artists, many of whom are of aboriginal decent. Among the most famous artists on display are Vancouver locals such as Jeff Wall and Rodney Graham. Moreover, the gallery also contains a substantial collection of the works of Emily Carr – perhaps British Columbia's most famous artist.
Like Emily Carr's work, most of the Vancouver Art Gallery's collection is geared towards art that has been inspired by the indigenous life style and culture in the Canadian Pacific Northwest. That said, there is also a significant collection of international works as well, including a series of important art from 17th-century Dutch artist Jan van Ravenstyn.
Al meer dan 30 jaar is het BC Place Stadium de belangrijkste plek voor atletiek in Brits Columbia. Het stadion werd oorspronkelijk gebouwd voor de Wereldtentoonstelling van 1986 en speelde een grote rol bij de Olympische Winterspelen van 2010, waarvan Vancouver de gaststad was. Als voorbereiding op het evenement werd het bijgewerkt met een uitschuifbaar dak, dat het grootste in zijn soort ter wereld zou zijn. Het grote dak van zeil wordt ondersteund door kabels, waardoor het stadion bij elke weersomstandigheid gebruikt kan worden. Gasten blijven droog tijdens regen, of kunnen in de openlucht zitten bij mooi weer. Het zicht op de sterrenhemel is vooral mooi op een heldere avond.
BC Place is de thuisbasis van de twee grote sportteams van de stad en ook is er de BC Sports Hall of Fame te vinden. Het stadion is ook gastheer van de grootste evenementen van de stad. Met meer dan 1.000 digitale schermen en bijna 55.000 stadionstoelen is het een van de topsportarena’s van Canada.
The Bloedel Floral Conservatory, or simply Bloedel Conservatory, is an indoor tropical garden and aviary in Queen Elizabeth Park. The space is divided into three climate zones and imitates the natural habitat and ecosystem of each. The tropical rainforest habitat showcases the deep jungle, where one hectare of forest contains more tree species than the country of Canada as a whole. The less humid climate of the subtropical rainforest habitat on the other hand is perfectly suited for fig trees, gnarly banyans and colorful orchids, and in the desert zone, succulents and cacti mesmerize the visitors with their prickly shapes. Nature and green spaces already have a relaxing effect on the body, but for those looking to lower their stress levels an extra notch, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory also offers a healing garden. Visitors are encouraged to touch the bark of the trees, smell flowers and use all their senses to feel the energizing effect intended.
Brockton Point is the easternmost peninsula of Vancouver’s Stanley Park and is best known for the good views it offers of the downtown area with its skyscrapers, and the Burrard Inlet ranging from North Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge to Coal Harbour. Since there are also several important shipping lanes passing through the inlet, Brockton Point is a favorite among ship spotters for watching big freight vessels heading to and from the port with goods piled high.
The peninsula encompasses several of the park’s well-known landmarks, such as the 9 O’Clock Gun, an old naval cannon that fires a shot every evening at nine; a colorful totem pole display, British Columbia’s most-visited tourist attraction; and a century-old lighthouse. The Brockton Point Lighthouse features a prominent red and white tower, which was built in 1914 after numerous shipwrecks on the treacherous shores of Stanley Park and, in more recent years, has become a favorite among photographers.
As you walk gingerly out on to the world's longest (140m/460ft) and highest (70m/230ft) suspension bridge, swaying gently over the roiling waters of tree-lined Capilano Canyon, remember that the thick steel cables you are gripping are safely embedded in huge concrete blocks on either side. That should steady your feet - unless the teenagers are stamping across to scare the oldsters...
The region's most popular attraction - hence the summertime crowds and relentless tour buses - the grounds here also include rainforest walks, totem poles, and a swinging network of smaller bridges strung between the trees, called Treetops Adventure. This series of open-ended suspension bridges link eight towering Douglass fir trees. At heights of up to 25m/80ft above the forest floor, the bridges have viewing platforms where Capilano’s naturalist hold court on the area’s ecological attributes.
Kijk hoog uit over Brits-Columbia en zie bergbossen, oceanen en rivieren, aan boord van de Sea to Sky Gondola. De rit van 10 minuten met de kabelbaan gaat met acht personen tegelijk naar 885 meter boven zeeniveau. De gondels hebben glazen ramen over de volledige hoogte voor het beste uitzicht. Op de top zijn diverse buitenactiviteiten waar u uit kunt kiezen, inclusief de Sky Pilot hangbrug en diverse wandelroutes.
Er zijn drie gemakkelijk toegankelijke uitkijkplatformen voor uitzicht over de bergen en de baai en het Summit Lodge Viewing Deck is het dichtst bij het bergstation van de kabelbaan. Dit zit vast aan Summit Lodge, dat een restaurant en bar heeft.
Grouse Mountain wordt ook wel “De Top van Vancouver” genoemd. Vanaf boven heb je een prachtig uitzicht over de omgeving. Bij helder weer zie je de torens van de binnenstad van Vancouver glinsteren in het omliggende water. Verder kijk je uit over Stanley Park, de Frazer Valley en naar het oosten over de Straat van Georgia richting Vancouver Island.
Tijdens de zomerperiode brengt de Skyride-kabelbaan je naar de top van 1.100 meter, waar bezoekers welkom zijn in restaurants, een houthakkersshow kunnen bijwonen of een van de bergwandelroutes kunnen volgen. Er is zelfs een schuilplaats van een grizzlybeer te zien. Je kunt ook zonder kabelbaan naar boven. Dan volg je te voet de Grouse Grind, een steile wandeling over 2,9 km door ruig landschap, waar je gemiddeld zo’n 90 minuten over doet.
The Capilano Salmon Hatchery is a fish farm that was established in 1971 to save the strongly declining salmon stocks in the Capilano River, which was then threatened by the construction of the Cleveland Dam. Today, the hatchery not only breeds Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout, but has also introduced Chinook salmon into the system to provide for the ceremonial as well as food fishery of the Squamish First Nation. The facility is also open to the public and invites people to learn more about Canada’s most popular fish.
Visitors are guided around the hatchery largely via a self-guided tour and witness the fascinating and tragic life cycle of the salmon, beginning with their development from eggs to their release into the river in spring and their heroic efforts as adults to reach their spawning grounds upriver, after which they promptly die. Displays and exhibits explain the whole fascinating process as well as inform about the hatchery’s operations.
Built in 1954, the Cleveland Dam was constructed for a number of important reasons. Unlike many other dams though, this one is not used for hydroelectricity. Instead, the original purpose of the dam was to hold back water entering into Burrard Inlet, which used to come in at a heavy pace carrying with it a hearty amount of silt and rocks, as well as a heavy current. Cleveland Dam was also constructed to protect a means of fresh drinking water for the lower mainland of Vancouver. In fact, the lake above Cleveland Dam provides the lower mainland with a whopping 40% of its fresh drinking water. These days, Cleveland Dam makes up a part of North Vancouver that has quickly become a popular tourism destination and in the area around the dam, there are a number of parks and hiking paths. The dam itself sits in a protected park called Capilano River Regional Park, which also encompasses Capilano Lake, the body of water that the 300-foot spillway of the dam encloses.
Situated some 10 miles outside of Downtown Vancouver and nestled at the base of Mount Seymour, Deep Cove is an interesting village and resort. The resort area is located to the east of North Vancouver on a deep water bay within the upper arm of Burrard Inlet.
Traditionally, this land belonged to the Coast Salish First Nations people. They are said to have lived in this region for thousands of years, and many still call this cove home. However, the region has developed tremendously over the years and has become a hot spot for Vancouver residents hoping for a quick escape from the bustle of city life. Despite the growth and development of Deep Cove, the rugged natural setting has allowed the village and area to maintain its outdoorsy, natural feel. Outdoor activities are thus abundant, with sea kayaking, mountain biking and hiking all available out at the resort areas.
Salt Spring Island is the biggest, most populated of the Gulf Islands. Blessed with the best climate in Canada – or so they say – and only half the rainfall of Vancouver, Salt Spring Island is a charming destination regardless of the season. The island is well known as a retreat for artists and many painters, photographers, musicians and writers have come here to find a serene workplace in the midst of a peaceful island setting. Thus, a number of galleries, studios and even simple roadside exhibits have sprouted up everywhere and the island is a dream for artists and art lovers alike. The island has an idyllic landscape and rustic character and apart from visiting one of the many art exhibits, popular activities include camping, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, bird watching and other outdoor activities. Salt Spring Island offers both Ruckle Provincial Park and Mt. Maxwell Provincial Park.