Canada’s Wa­ter­front Des­ti­na­tion



Van­cou­ver is known as one of the most scenic wa­ter­front cities in North Amer­ica, but it was Expo 1986 (The 1986 World Ex­po­si­tion on Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion) and the 2010 Win­ter Olympics that put Van­cou­ver on the global map.

The Burn­aby Cari­boo RV Park and Camp­ground is a great place to stay, just off the Trans Canada High­way, 20 min­utes east of down­town Van­cou­ver. The 212 paved sites are very well set up for any recre­ational ve­hi­cle. They have ev­ery­thing you are look­ing for in­clud­ing a pool, store, games room, even a pres­sure wash fa­cil­ity to clean your RV.

The man­ager of the park gave us help­ful tips for al­ter­na­tive ways to travel around the city, so we could leave our ve­hi­cle at the camp­site. It is only a ten-minute walk to the com­muter tran­sit “Sky­train”, the metropoli­tan rapid tran­sit rail sys­tem serv­ing the lower main­land. Tran­sit was a much eas­ier way for us to travel around the busy city, as we did not have to worry about traf­fic or where to park a large RV.

Canada Place is Van­cou­ver’s ter­mi­nal for cruises to Alaska. This year, 237 cruise ships are des­tined for Canada Place. As many as four cruise ships can be docked at one time, cre­at­ing an ex­tra 10,000 to 15,000 visi­tors to the city. We were amazed at how well Van­cou­ver was set up to han­dle the thou­sands of daily com­muters and visi­tors to the down­town area. The Port of Van­cou­ver is the busiest har­bour in Canada and the third largest port in North Amer­ica. The morn­ing we were at Canada Place, the sky was busy bring­ing com­muters in from Vic­to­ria,

Nanaimo, Co­mox, Whistler and the Gulf Is­lands to shop and work in the city. Sea­planes were land­ing on the wa­ter ev­ery five min­utes on the west side of Canada Place, dock­ing at Van­cou­ver’s Har­bour Flight Cen­tre (VHFC) sea­plane ter­mi­nal. HeliJet he­li­copters were land­ing on the east side of Canada Place on the float­ing he­li­pad. Big ocean-go­ing freighters were en­ter­ing the har­bour to un­load their cargo and a five-mast sail­boat was an­chored on the north side of the In­let, along with the cruise ship “Star Princess”, which had just come in ear­lier that morn­ing. All this ac­tiv­ity hap­pened be­fore 9:00 am and we quickly un­der­stood why Canada Place is one of the city’s main at­trac­tions.

The roof on the ex­te­rior has five sails and is an iconic land­mark for lo­cals and visi­tors en­ter­ing Van­cou­ver’s wa­ter­front. Canada Place is also home to the 504-room Pan Pa­cific Van­cou­ver Ho­tel, Van­cou­ver East Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, the World Trade Cen­tre and the iconic Fly­Over Canada. This is a flight sim­u­la­tion ride that sus­pends you above the ground look­ing at a huge curved screen trav­el­ling across Canada, all while twist­ing, turn­ing, and feel­ing the wind and mist on your face.

It is also the start of the fa­mous sea­wall walk to Stan­ley Park. The walk­way con­tin­ues around Stan­ley Park, passes through English Bay, cir­cles False Creek to Granville Is­land, and ends at Kit­si­lano Beach. The to­tal dis­tance of 22 kilo­me­ters (14 miles) one way, makes it one of the long­est un­in­ter­rupted wa­ter­front walk­ways in the world.

The “Sea­wall Ad­ven­ture Cen­tre” lo­cated next to the sea­plane ter­mi­nal is one of many es­tab­lish­ments in Greater Van­cou­ver that rents bi­cy­cles to com­plete a shorter ten kilo­me­tre loop around Stan­ley Park.

Van­cou­ver is bik­ing friendly with their own paved paths around the sea­wall and over some of the city’s bridges. We opted to get an Adult day pass with West­coast Sight­see­ing Tour buses for $47 each. They have a fam­ily pass, which in­cludes two adults and two chil­dren for $135.

The Hop-On, Hop-Off convertible bus stops at 24 of Van­cou­ver’s top at­trac­tions around the city. We caught the bus at their first stop at 8:30 am in Gas­town. Their next bus left 20 min­utes later from that same bus stop. This meant that at any one of the stops where we wanted to get off, there was an­other West­coast Sight­see­ing Tour bus only twenty min­utes be­hind. What a great way to see the city on a sunny day. They have a taped nar­ra­tion on the tour that is trans­lated into seven dif­fer­ent lan­guages us­ing head­phones.

South of Canada Place is the salt­wa­ter In­let of False Creek, a small body of wa­ter that sep­a­rates down­town Van­cou­ver from the rest of the city, the site of Expo 86. Lo­cated on the south side of False Creek is a 14 hectare (35 acres) Is­land (penin­sula) known as Granville Is­land, which was our des­ti­na­tion for our sec­ond day of vis­it­ing Van­cou­ver.

Granville Is­land has wa­ter­front restau­rants, ocean­front pa­tio decks, gal­leries, the­aters and stu­dios, cafés, mari­nas, boat and kayak rentals, public fer­ries and an ad­ven­ture play­land for kids (con­sist­ing of more than 25 shops and ac­tiv­i­ties). The Public Market is an open-con­cept in­door market sell­ing fresh seafood, meat, pro­duce, bread and cheese, crafts and cut flow­ers - a mag­net for at­tract­ing the lo­cals. The Market is

Canada Place is Van­cou­ver’s ter­mi­nal for Alaska Cruise Ships.

Burn­aby Cari­boo RV Park

Van­cou­ver’s West Con­ven­tion Cen­tre lo­cated next to Canada Place. Coal Har­bour Ma­rina and Stan­ley Park in the dis­tance.

Van­cou­ver’s 22km (14m) sea­walk starts at Canada Place, cir­cles Stan­ley Park and False Creek, ends at Kit­si­lano Beach.

Har­bour Air is the big­gest sea­plane-only air­line in the world. (Fa­mous for their sched­uled bird’s-eye tours of Van­cou­ver’s wa­ter­front).

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