Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Exploring Vancouver

Canada’s third city resides in the southwest of the country on the coast of British Columbia. Quite a young city, it is relatively hip and modern and always typically makes those very ‘liveable’ lists. Its positioning on a compact peninsula over the Burrard Inlet and English Bay within the Strait of Georgia is its most intriguing asset, with the large Vancouver Island and provincial capital Victoria a short distance across the strait.

The city is more about entertainment and fun, with a huge café scene and some excellent shopping. It is also heavily into the arts with many theatres and galleries, and there is just about the right number of attractions for those into sightseeing. An excellent complement of hotels is available in Vancouver and though prices are quite high, the quality is also high and you can get right in downtown near restaurants and sights. People also visit Vancouver as a launch point to nearby British Columbia ski resorts and there are some stunning mountain drives.

Sights nearby

Vancouver is quite young and thus does not have the extent of attractions that Toronto or similar American cities might have, though there is a decent number of things to see in the downtown area near city hotels.

Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is a fantastic side attraction to take in not far from the downtown area. It is rated as being one of the best in the world, with large tanks loaded up with thousands of big swimmers and more exotic, flowery little creatures. There are more than 20,000 in all, including dolphins and whales, along with some huge snakes. While great for kids especially, it is also good for all ages.

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
This stunning garden within Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown area is perfect on a summer’s day for escaping the busy city. It is the most beautiful park in town, featuring as it does some amazing topiary, trees and buildings. It looks like something right out of the Ming Dynasty, with its pavilions, tiered roofs, walls and ponds. A guided tour is the best bet to also get in all the history. Nearby is the Georgian Court Hotel.

Christ Church Cathedral
This semi-attractive cathedral is good for a rainy day and for a bit of history amid the general glitz and modernity of Vancouver. The 1800s church is not as historic or impressive as your average European church, though it does come with a bell tower and striking, vaulted ceiling. It’s best seen during mass and is not far from the Rosedale On Robson Suite Hotel.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Vancouver boasts great seafood and a cuisine known as Pacific North-western, courtesy of the nearby Pacific Ocean—crab and scallops dishes are especially popular. Two of the most popular areas for eating out and for making merry are Robson Street in the West End and Gastown district; the latter is especially hip with its galleries, trendy cafés and old buildings. There are also many swish hotels in this area with good eating including the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa. For shopping, the nearby Pacific Centre is hard to beat.

Public transport

Public transport in Vancouver consists of an elevated SkyTrain system, buses and SeaBus ferries, which are all linked up by TransLink card. These services are frequent and reliable and the light rail system links up with bus stations. The SkyTrain also serves the eastern and southern suburbs. Getting to Vancouver Island is easy and there are frequent ferries throughout the day, while taxis run 24 hours.

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