THINGS TO DO IN VAN­COU­VER

Five stops worth mak­ing

Ottawa Citizen - - TRAVEL - For Post­media News jim@jim­by­er­stravel.com

STAN­LEY PARK:

This is Canada’s top ur­ban park and one of the best in the world. Nes­tled at the north­west tip of down­town, the park bulges out into the Bur­rard In­let like a gi­ant green thumb. You’ll find cen­turies-old, sweet-smelling cedars, tow­er­ing firs and deep, dark forests. There’s an 8.8-kilo­me­tre-long walk­ing and cy­cling path around the perime­ter, but you’ll miss the essence of the park if you only stick to the edges. The totem poles are a favourite for tourists, as are the aquar­ium and the minia­ture train. I love the lit­tle 18-hole “pitch and putt” golf course. At $12.95, it is a great bar­gain amid the green­ery.

CHI­NA­TOWN

This area just east of down­town has ex­ploded with won­der­ful restau­rants and shop­ping spots. One great way to learn about the area is to take a walk with Judy Lam Maxwell of His­tor­i­cal Chi­na­town Tours (chi­na­town­girl.ca). She’s a wealth of in­for­ma­tion and can show you ev­ery­thing from beau­ti­ful shrines at so-called clan homes to lively shops and au­then­tic restau­rants. Chi­na­town is be­com­ing much more of a mix these days, with not only tra­di­tional Chi­nese shops but also a Ger­man sausage spot and trendy vin­tage stores. Stop in at Musette Caffe for fan­tas­tic cof­fee and stay the night at nearby Skwachays Lodge, a ho­tel that ben­e­fits abo­rig­i­nal artists and fea­tures a lovely gallery and cool rooms with First Na­tions’ mo­tifs (skwachays.com).

GRANVILLE IS­LAND

The Granville Is­land mar­ket is one of the top city mar­kets on the planet, a bustling spot burst­ing with fresh pro­duce, seafood (nat­u­rally), fresh pasta and more. The is­land is also home to shops, gal­leries, restau­rants, live theatre, the sleek Lib­erty Dis­tillery and lots more (granvillei­s­land.com). One great way to ex­plore the area is on a kayak tour or on a standup pad­dle board. If that’s too much, try a walk along the sea­wall or hitch a ride on the adorable Aquabus shut­tle boat, which can take you to trendy Yale­town or to Sci­ence World (theaquabus.com).

BEACHES AND NA­TURE

Wreck Beach is the fa­mous nude beach out near the Uni­ver­sity of Bri­tish Columbia. Kit­si­lano Beach is closer to the city cen­tre and of­fers great views and plenty of spots for water sports or a game of beach vol­ley­ball. Folks look­ing for an al­ter­na­tive should check out Am­ble­side Beach in West Van­cou­ver. The Capi­lano Sus­pen­sion Bridge (cap­bridge. com) in North Van­cou­ver pro­vides awe­some views of the Capi­lano River from high in the air. It can get ex­pen­sive ($39.95 for adults who don’t live in B.C.), so I also rec­om­mend check­ing out the Lynn Canyon Sus­pen­sion Bridge, which is free and also close to the city. It’s not as high as the Capi­lano bridge, but it’s a beau­ti­ful area and there is a lovely wa­ter­fall (lyn­ncanyone­col­o­gy­cen­tre.ca).

FOOD AND DRINK

There is no short­age of great restau­rants in Van­cou­ver. An­cora fea­tures lovely seafood and awe­some views of False Creek and Granville Is­land (an­co­ra­din­ing. com) while, in trendy Rail­town, Bel­gard Kitchen of­fers fresh and tasty cui­sine in the stun­ning Set­tle­ment Build­ing (bel­gar­d­kitchen.com). Also pop­u­lar is Ask for Luigi, a tiny spot with fresh takes on clas­sic Ital­ian dishes and gluten-free pasta (ask­for­luigi. com). Van­cou­ver is home to a ton of craft beer spots. Bomber Brew­ing ( bomber­brew­ing.com) was started by a group of hockey lovers and makes a wide range of tasty beers, while Storm of­fers up some rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent brews. When I was there, of­fer­ings in­cluded an or­ange cream­si­cle ale and a dark rasp­berry sour (storm­brew­ing.org).

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