A complete guide to Vancouver, including extensive information about Vancouver’s nightlife, eat-outs, and not-so-famous must-see destinations.
A seaside city, with a beautiful port located at the Lower Mainland region. The city is one of the most highly populated cities in Canada, its exquisite beauty is spread among the man-made and natural wonders it holds. Vancouver is populated by people from extremely ethnically diverse cultural heritages. A good 52% of the population speak English, while the other half is divided among people who speak French and surprising, a fair share of people speak Chinese. It was voted as one of the top ten world’s most well-living cities for a period of 5 years consecutively.
The urban city of Vancouver is surrounded by nature and an array of forests, it encases the luxuries of a fully developed city while allowing a tourist to get away and take in the experiences nature has to offer. It is the ultimate package. Initially known as Gastown, Vancouver has come a long way from being the tiny little city along the coast and the top-rated attractions in Vancouver are worth the effort and time. Their beauty and extensive cultural heritage make it an excellent destination for a vacation.
The name Vancouver came from a man named George Vancouver, he explored the ports and gave the various places around it fairly British names. The name, however, doesn’t have its origin in Britain. It comes from the Dutch surname ‘Van Coevorden’.
Vancouver had been occupied by Aboriginal Americans before the coming of the British, this indicates that it has been occupied for over 8000 to 10,000 years. Just like other states in America and Canada, the city was occupied by Europeans and some of the first traders who occupied it was Simon Fraser and his crew. The Fraser river as we know it today was named after him and he was responsible for the Fraser Gold Rush of 1858.
It soon experienced incorporation. A government was formed and multiple gold rushes followed. With time, social movements arose and Mary Ellen Smith helped the city see the first wave of feminism. Vancouver developed versions of other social movements including suffragist and prohibitionist movements. Labour unions were formed and rights were drafted.
Geographic Location and Ecology:
The seaport located on the mainland of British Columbia is situated on the western half of the Burrard Peninsula. Surrounded by the English Bay and the Burrard Inlet on the northern side and the Fraser River in the south, it is the city of reflections and it is an island of sorts. The streets in Vancouver are generally of the form of a standard grid. Most streets run either north or south and the avenues are towards the east or west.
Vancouver is filled with temperate rain forests; it consists of sections and pockets of maple and alder too. It is largely made up of forest regions. The felling of trees and wood took place initially at the regions surrounding the English Bay. The process continued until there were a huge number of loggerheads near Jericho’s beach and False Creek too. The flora and fauna of the region are exotic and can be found in variety around Vancouver. The plants that grow in Vancouver were imported primarily from the Pacific, the most common plants that one can find will be the monkey puzzle tree and the Japanese maple. Rhododendrons, Magnolias, and Azaleas are part of the floral beauty Vancouver has to offer. The streets of the city are lined with Japanese cherry trees contributed by the government of Japan and the flowers of these trees bloom and enhance the celebration of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Other trees like chestnut, horse chestnut, and various shade and decorative trees can also be found along the streets of this extremely beguiling city.
Vancouver is known to be one of the warmest places in Canada. It sees a pleasant summer and a long winter, just as the rest of Canada does. The highest temperature to be recorded in the city was 35 degrees, the city has also recorded temperature as low as -17.8 degrees. During the summer, the climate resembles Mediterranean climate. The winters and monsoons come with a lot of rain and precipitation. It is known to be one of the wettest cities in Canada.
17 places you have to visit in Vancouver:
Although there are more than 17 places that are worthy of attention within the bounds of the city of Vancouver and the surrounding areas, these 17 places have history and the wow factor, and cannot be missed. Here are the 17 top-rated tourist attractions in Vancouver:
Capilano Suspension Bridge:
This bridge was originally built with kemp ropes and cedar planks, by a Scottish engineer named George grant Mackay in the year 1889. It has been built and rebuilt and has been owned by a fair deal of people. It was converted into a wire bridge in the year 1903.
The bridge runs a stretch of 140 meters and stands 70 meters above the Capilano River. The bridge is enclosed within a private facility and an admission fee is charged to anyone who wishes to explore the ravishing beauty of the bridge.
Placed high above the city and all its skyscrapers this lookout has the most talked-about viewpoint. The observation deck will give you an out of this world sight. It is best enjoyed when the lights of the city are on and there isn’t too much darkness. Twilight is an ideal time to visit the viewpoint. At 168.8 meters from the ground, the deck offers a clear 360-degree view of not just Vancouver, but of what lies beyond it too.
The Granville Island is a shopping district located under the south of the Granville Street Bridge, it is popular among tourists and is known to have a great deal of street life. the island is home to a large public market, a boutique hotel and so much more. The Vancouver Theatresports League makes its appearance on the island and you don’t even have to look for it too hard. The Arts Club Theatre Company along with the Carousel Theatre are also part of the package at Granville Island. The island will leave you craving for more theatrics and drama.
This multi-purpose stadium stands tall at the city and is used during football leagues, it was also used to host the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics. It served as the host location for the FIFA women’s world cup as well. Situated toward the north of False Creek, this site is one to visit.
Kitsilano Beach has popularity in the bag. There is an immense number of people visiting this beautiful beach, all through the time it’s open for visits. It is also known to have the longest swimming pool in Canada, this pool happens to be a salt-water outdoor pool and it is called the Kitsilano Pool. The pool is opened all through May to September. It also has a playground and a range of beach volleyball courts towards the north. The beach is most popular during the summer and faces the English Bay.
The park has an exceptional range of flora and fauna and is normally visited for its excellent viewpoint. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in the Lower Mainland. The waters around the park are part of the Rockfish Protection Area and it is one of the best spots in Vancouver to have a picnic. Multiple trails and hikes take place at this location and it is also known as a commonplace to bird-watch.
The places around this bay are picturesque and a sight for the eyes. It is near the Kitsilano beach and the Jericho beach and the views are praiseworthy. One of the famous spots along the bay would have to be the English Bay Beach. During the month of January, the Polar Bear Swim takes place here. The English Bay also features the Celebration of Lights, Fireworks Festival. This takes place on three or four different nights during the months of July and August.
Vancouver Art Gallery:
The Vancouver art gallery is one of the most popular galleries where art exhibits are seen in Western Canada. It is filled with painting and artwork of primary historical importance and relevance. There are a ton of ways to explore this gallery, which includes lectures and tours, organized to benefit the tourists. Some of the hotels accommodate and provide special packages to enable art lovers to explore the gallery better.
Museum of Vancouver:
This museum is a civil history and heritage site that enables Vancouverites to connect to each other. It holds history and exhibits of value with regard to the people. Located in British Columbia, the museum not only holds details about the ways of life from Vancouver’s past, but it also holds diverse cultural and ethnical artifacts. It helps understand the civic growth of the city and has the power of history within it.
Queen Elizabeth Park:
This park is considered Vancouver’s horticultural jewel. It is a collection of beautiful sites and venues; the floral displays are enthusiastic and the park is 52-hectare. It holds within it quarry gardens, rose gardens, public art, fountains and a fountain plaza and a painter’s corner. It is one of those places where anyone can enjoy themselves, it has a golf course, tennis courts, a dog off-leash area, large spaces for calming walks and soothing picnics, lawn bowling and more.
The mountain is known for its variety of terrain for skiing and mountaintop activities. There occurs a seasonal closing, between the months of October and November to enable good maintenance and to avoid the cold. It is filled with various kinds of activities during December and during the rest of winter, almost every year. Chairlift rides, paragliding, skiing, and snowboarding are popular here.
While these 11 places are conventional and visited by regular tourists, there are a different set of places for you if you’re looking for the unusual.
Here are 7 unconventional places you must see in Vancouver:
Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s Classical Chinese garden: This garden is a traditional 15th garden, right in the heart of the city, waiting to be explored.
Gastown Steam Clock:
One of the last working steam clocks, this one is something to look forward to when visiting Vancouver. It is part of the Victorian era and a sign that Gastown was once Victorian.
Vancouver Police Museum:
Home to the rarest kinds of weapons, bones and evidence material collected by the police of Vancouver, this museum is one to visit if you are looking to find Canada’s dark side.
The Sam Kee [ Jack Chow] Building:
This building is just about six feet deep and it has the world record for the world’s narrowest free-standing office building.
This piece of pixel art is something you can’t afford to miss out on if you’re visiting Vancouver. It is a killer whale frozen mid-leap at Vancouver square.
A version of the hot dog, with an Asian twist surprisingly delicious available only at British Columbia. If you miss out on the japadog, you are sure to regret it! The beauty of fusion can be seen in this extravagant version of an ordinary hot dog.
Signage from before the beginning of the 21st century:
Vancouver has a collection of signboards that light up and these boards and hoardings are made for lights that existed before the existence of the neon LED light bulb. It is a beautiful sight and one of the spots you sure want to visit.
The city of Vancouver has a lot to offer, it is filled with adventure and surprises. If you’re looking to explore beyond the lines, guides, and tours and find the beauty in the little things then Vancouver will not disappoint you. From its exquisite culinary fusion and street food to its cultural heritage and history, Vancouver has something to offer around every corner and within every small street or avenue. Its beauty might have been presented by various countries around the world to it, but it holds everything together and celebrates its diversity. Starting with the remains of the British and European rule and maturing into the way it has embraced American culture leading into how it is more Canadian than ever currently, from food like candied salmon and poutine, to food like sushi and Asian specialties and a variety of pies, Vancouver ensures that it will be an absolute delight and if you find yourself stuck at crossroads and happen to have a bad day then, craft beer and ice wines will set everything right.
Vancouver’s charm can be tasted, sampled and relished at its best at the places we’ve listed above. The enchanting beauteousness of the city is extensive and our top picks will help you see it and do that within a short period of time too. The list is well researched and ensures absolute enjoyment, along with the chance for you to learn about the history of this ravishing seaport.
Have we missed anything? Tell us if our guide helped you tour Vancouver and whether you discovered places in the city that skipped our list! Happy traveling and may you find the sweetest maple syrup on your journey to Vancouver!