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shotclog Vancouver - A travel report by Nat
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Vancouver,  Canada - flag Canada -  British Columbia
5063 readers

shotclog's travel reports

A Poor Man's Foreign Vacation

  22 votes
Since Seattle is just 100 miles from the Canadian border, I don't have to go far to leave the country. So whenever I just want to get away from it all, I head north to Vancouver.

view from Harbour Centre Tower
view from Harbour Centre Tower
Vancouver, British Columbia, is a massive city with something for everyone. For the wildlife, there's watersports, nightclubs, & malls. For the quiet life, there are parks, museums, & hiking trails. For families, there are tours, beaches, boatrides, & plenty of picnic spots. This Canadian city celebrates its multiple heritage of Native Canadian, British, & Asian, & shows it in many of its colorful neighborhoods, restaurants, & festivals.

Favourite spots:
a view from Granville Island
a view from Granville Island
My favorite place is the University of British Columbia. Here you can spend all day (or two) at the Museum of Anthropology, the Nitobe Memorial Garden, Wreck Beach (the local nude beach), & the Botanical Gardens. The Student Centre contains a food court, pub, & giftshop.

Stanley Park is large piece of land, offering many things to see, such as an aquarium & several historical landmarks. Trails go for miles in all directions in a huge forest. Granville Island is a great outdoors mall, with all sorts of shops, restaurants, a farmers' market, & boat harbors. Queen Elizabeth Park is the largest manicured garden in the city. Here is a great place to picnic & just relax all day.

What's really great:
Begging squirrels come right up to you.
Begging squirrels come right up to you.
THE SQUIRRELS ARE BLACK!!! Being from the United States, I've only seen gray & red squirrels. Only when I come to Canada do I see BLACK SQUIRRELS.

The Steam Clock of Gastown
The Steam Clock of Gastown
My first recommendation is the observation deck of the Harbour Centre Tower. From here you have a bird's-eye view of the city and get a visual map impressed on your mind. A great way of getting acquainted to the city before step out into it.

The Waterfront, Gastown, Chinatown, & Robson Street are essential parts of Vancouver. Here are historical landmarks & bustling shopping areas. Also the must-sees are Queen Elizabeth Park & Bloedel Conservatory, Granville Island, & University of British Columbia.

Commercial Drive is their Haight-Ashbury. Here you'll still find men with long hair & beards, women in vintage clothing, & dogs in bandanas. The street is lined with coffeehouses, people's bookstores, eateries of many different cultures, and a few malls. On the south side of the street a small Ethiopean community. The whole drive is lined with colorful banners encouraging people to "Shop!", "Cook!", "Dine!", "Chat!"....

Government Building
Government Building
YMCA - 580 Burrard (& Barclay) - (604) 662-8188

There are no elevators, so you have to be in shape to daily climb up & down several flights of stairs, and especially carrying your own luggage.

YMCA rooming section is under reconstruction until 2009. But there's another inexpensive accomodation:

Budget Inn/Patricia Hotel - 403 E Hastings St (& Dunlevy) - (604) 255-4301; (888) 926-1017,

The Relish
The Relish
As a big city, Vancouver does have a wild nightlife. In the downtown area, you'll find many lively places along Granville, Richards, Seymour, & Cambie Streets. On Friday and Saturday evenings, these areas look like Spring Break on MTV as workers and students go out on the town in droves. (My recommendations are listed under Hangouts.)

The gay crowd flock to Davie Street.

There are many clubs & pubs along Pender & Hasting Streets but most are in seedy neighborhoods with rowdy clientele. But if it's adventure you're looking for, this is your place.

waterfront sculpture
waterfront sculpture
Loose Moose - 724 Nelson (between Howe & Granville)

World Famous Cactus Club Cafe - 1136 Robson (between Thurlow & Bute)

The Jolly Taxpayer - 828 W Hastings

Dover Arms Pub - 961 Denman

The Lennox Pub - 800 Granville

The Speak Easy - 921 Granville (between Nelson & Smithe)

Steamworks Brewing Company - 375 Water St

Lamplighter's Pub - 210 Abbot

The best places for lunch are along Denman Street & in Chinatown. They have many different cuisines from which to choose. The best dinner places are along the water front and the hangouts I listed.

Van Houtte Cafe - Horby & Nelson - a bagal place with all-day breakfasts

Tony's Fish & Oyster Cafe - 1511 Anderson St (Granville Island)

Taste of Jamaica - 941 Davie Street (Try the goat curry.)

Great Wall Mongolian BBQ - 717 Denman (& Robson) - dinner: all you can eat for $9.95

Hon Wu-Tun - along Keefer, between Main & Gore (Try the BBQ duck.)

Other recommendations:
N. Vancouver seen from Ferguson Pt.
N. Vancouver seen from Ferguson Pt.
The Punjabi Market is a little piece of India, where people walk around in their colorful saris & turbins. Many shops offer exotic imports from India. And the fragrance from the restaurants lure you in to try their curries & tandooris.

North Vancouver is just outside the city to the north & holds a quaint, small town setting.

Simon Frazer University also holds beautiful land with plenty of hiking trails.

Published on Monday August 8th, 2005

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Thu, Nov 29 2007 - 01:21 PM rating by droz112

Very good report - written for such a fabulous city.

Mon, Oct 29 2007 - 11:26 AM rating by cool_imad

This is a great report... and a very beautiful city too... thanks for sharing.

Wed, Jun 21 2006 - 02:01 PM rating by mistybleu

Wow, that's a lot of informations, I only wish I could go there now.

Any idea what's the concept/meaning of the waterfront sculpture?


Mon, May 29 2006 - 11:12 AM rating by lafalott

Nice job! you did a wonderful job promoting my home :) I enjoyed it, it is always interesting what others have to say about where you come from!

Tue, Aug 09 2005 - 11:08 AM rating by rangutan

Well done Nat, very informative and a lot of tips.

Mon, Aug 08 2005 - 09:28 PM rating by eirekay

Great report w/excellent pictures!

Mon, Aug 08 2005 - 09:26 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Very useful and well written!

Mon, Aug 08 2005 - 05:15 PM rating by bear495

I agree. That is exactly what I would do when I lived in the same area. This is a nice report. Well done.


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