All the Delights of the Region are on Display Where Cosmopolitan Charm Meets Mother Nature
There is a saying that one cannot be all things to all people. This may be true, but Vancouver, British Columbia certainly does its best to defy this logic. You’ll have to keep reminding yourself, as you gaze at the endless blanket of evergreens that cloak the mountains and reflect off of the icy still water, that you’re in one of the western hemisphere’s most culturally rich and industrially savvy metropolises. The natural scenery is a recurring theme throughout Vancouver, with lush parks and natural preserves sprouting up between high rises with mirrored windows. A leader in green energy, culinary arts, innovation and investment, Vancouver is also home to proud native history and a passion for the past that is helping to build its future.
A bona fide epicenter of global cultures underscored with authentic, friendly Canadian charm, Vancouver is a melting pot that proves in rare instances, one city can be a complete vacation unto itself.
For the urban experience, explore the distinct neighborhoods that make up the city’s landscape. Roughly a dozen different districts boast their own sense of style and character, akin to the boroughs of New York City. Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood and remains true to the Victorian architecture and red-brick squares that have been there since the beginning. Boutique shops and historic pubs line the avenues here, as well as the height of the culinary scene. Robson Street is where to go for high end retail and fashion. The posh boulevard stretches from BC Place all the way to Stanley Park and borders Yaletown – another neighborhood with its own lovely charm. Meander the harbor-side walkways of Yaletown for a chic, quieter scene, passing local shops mixed with high-rise condos and lush green parks. Beachgoers should flock to the Kitsilano neighborhood, once Vancouver’s version of hippy haven Haight-Ashbury and today a playground for young families and outdoor-loving urbanites.
For the foodie experience, look no further than Granville Island, where endless enclaves of locally sourced seafood, produce and specialty treats line the aisles in the city’s oldest public market. In reality, Vancouver’s culinary experience does, of course, stretch further than Granville Island. Foodies will find themselves with options representing the international personality of the city at virtually every turn, from the wonderfully spiced fare of one of the world’s most thriving Chinatowns and the Punjabi Marketplace to the upscale eateries that line and overlook the waterfront of downtown. With nearly half of Vancouver’s residents hailing from outside Canada, the cuisine on offer reflects this diversity with flare.
For the love of nature, there is perhaps no better place in the world to begin than Vancouver. The city streets are even adorned with outdoor opportunities, with Stanley Park’s nearly 1,000 acres of West Coast rainforest, trails and beaches behind the city’s seawall. Visitors can walk for miles through the park, stopping at historical and cultural gardens and landmarks along their way. Beyond city limits is a wonderland for adventurers. Just across the Lions Gate Bridge is Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which invites travelers into the treetops of Vancouver’s dense forest land. Walk above rivers, along cliffsides and through habitats of resident birds of prey to get a sense of the vastness just outside the city.
For a look into Vancouver’s past, one simply needs to explore its present. Native tribes have inhabited the region for thousands of years, celebrating and living in harmony with the rich wildlife and natural resources of the land. Throughout Vancouver are totems and other homages to this history, as well as evidence of Spanish exploration here in the 18th century and later, British pioneers. Vancouver wears its history proudly and exploring each neighborhood and natural monument will reveal the many stories that have shaped the city.
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