Having lived in the surrounding communities of Vancouver all my life, I have also played tourist in this city that so many wish they could visit. Many people never visit the attractions of their own hometowns preferring instead to travel to faraway places.
Vancouver, British Columbia skyline at dusk.
Vancouver has many lovely places to visit. The following are only some of them:
Stanley Park - at 125 years old is the third largest park in North America. It has an 8.8 km seawall where people bike, skate and jog. The park is over 1,000 acres of serenity and beauty with a view of the ocean, many old trees and multiple gardens. Also in the park is a popular train, a replica of a CPR train from the late 1880's. It winds its way 2 km over trestles and through tunnels and forests. During Halloween season it becomes a ghost train and at Christmas it is specially decorated for the season with thousands of lights. At the Aquarium, also in the park, there are many different exhibits. Particularly interesting are the jellyfish, and beluga and dolphin shows. There are over 50,000 varieties of species as well as many colourful butterflies for your enjoyment.
Science World - is a learning experience. Each visit is different and a day is hardly long enough to see everything. One time on a visit, dinosaur's were featured and another time, it was the science of the human body. They have many shows and exhibits making Science World a great place for children and adults alike to visit.
Capilano Canyon Suspension Bridge - built in 1889 gives access for walks through the surrounding rainforest. There is also a cliff walk, and a tree top adventure ideal for viewing 1,300 year old old-growth Douglas Firs. It is a great place to visit even if you are like me and want to enjoy the experience without the necessity of looking down into the great abyss below.
UBC Botanical Garden - is home to the Greenheart Canopy Walkway, a 1,010 foot aerial trail system offering a view of the natural beauty of the west coast forest. Many of these trees are over a century old. There is also the Nitobe Memorial Garden, an alpine garden and the Asian garden. We have been there in late Spring and early Summer but every season is beautiful.
Canada Place - home of the unique sails, hosts many events. We recently attended 'Fly Over Canada' which was a wonderful experience of soaring over our country with the breeze in our face as well as mists from Niagara Falls. From Canada Place you can look out over the water and see Stanley Park.
H.R. MacMillan Space Center (the Planetarium) - has exhibits, activities and various shows. It is very educational and is interesting for adults as well as the children in your family. Most of us who live in and near a city will never see the real beauty of the stars in the sky, the milky way or any part of the solar system. A visit here will show you what it's like.
Granville Island - is not only a public market with fresh produce but is also home to galleries, childrens' shops, jewelery stores, pottery, a brewing company and restaurants where you can sit and savor the beautiful views of the water and enjoy a great meal.
Gastown - is Vancouver's oldest area, the original city. It has retained its historic atmosphere with cobbled streets, original buildings and old-style courtyards with shops and restaurants. There are tourist shops and a statue of 'Gassy' Jack Deighton who arrived in Vancouver in 1867 and opened the area's first saloon. There is also an old steam clock which produces a Westminster-type chime to signal the time of day.
Grouse Mountain - in North Vancouver has a skyride, a zipline, paragliding, the popular grouse grind used by hikers and golfing on top of the mountain. For those more inclined to enjoy the mountain in a less exuberant manner, there is the gondola ride to the peak for dinner where you can overlook the skyline of Vancouver with its beautiful sunsets and mountain vistas.
The Seabus to Lonsdale Quay Public Market - where you can purchase fresh produce at the market as well as assorted other foods. Sitting at tables provided for an impromptu lunch, you can admire the city of Vancouver and contemplate looking further at flower arrangements, arts and crafts, jewelery or sweets. The Seabus is an adventure in itself.
Even as a resident of one of Vancouver's suburbs, and one who has been to these attractions often, I can still appreciate all that Vancouver has to offer. Any one of them make for a great day of entertainment.
Sylvia Behnish has had numerous articles published in magazines and newspapers in both Canada and the United States on subjects relating to travel. She has also published a non-fiction book entitled 'Rollercoaster Ride With Brain Injury (For Loved Ones)', 'His Sins', a three generation family saga and, 'Life's Challenges, A Short Story Collection'.
For more information on travel, near and far, go to: http://sebehnish.blogspot.com.