VAN­COU­VER

The vi­brant north Pa­cific sea­port is re­garded as the ‘most liv­able’ place on earth. Here’s why

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

If you love North Amer­ica but pre­fer your politi­cians more Trudeau than Trump, and ar­rivals halls where you’re not forced to queue for hours, then you’ll un­der­stand the re­cent phe­nom­e­non that has seen vis­i­tor num­bers to Canada spike dra­mat­i­cally. Chief ben­e­fi­ciary has been Van­cou­ver, cap­i­tal of Bri­tish Columbia (BC), a cool conur­ba­tion reg­u­larly voted the “most liv­able” place on the planet. Ex­pect world­class food, one of the most beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral set­tings, abun­dant mi­cro­brew­eries and a thriv­ing mu­sic scene.

Tom Bar­ber is a founder of the award-win­ning travel com­pany orig­inal­travel.co.uk

STAY

The Rose­wood ho­tel group is hit­ting its straps, and its Ge­or­gia is no ex­cep­tion. The reimag­in­ing of a for­mer grande dame prop­erty nods to its Twen­ties art deco roots through­out. The court­yard bar Re­flec­tions: The Gar­den Ter­race is a great sum­mer spot, while the Hawksworth restau­rant serves high-qual­ity cui­sine. rose­wood­ho­tels.com/en/ ho­tel-ge­or­gia-van­cou­ver

SEE

Some First Na­tions’ (as na­tive Cana­di­ans are known) cul­ture at the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia’s Mu­seum of An­thro­pol­ogy, it­self a stun­ning con­tem­po­rary take on tra­di­tional tim­ber ar­chi­tec­ture, hous­ing a col­lec­tion of tall, in­tri­cately carved totem poles. moa.ubc.ca

DO

Use the city’s float­plane op­er­a­tors to get air­borne. There are day-trips in­clud­ing flights to Van­cou­ver Is­land for whale-spot­ting, or see­ing the glaciers on Mount Mamquam be­fore land­ing on an alpine lake for a pic­nic.

LUNCH

Van­cou­ver has long had an east­ward as­pect with a huge Asian pop­u­la­tion cre­at­ing ex­cep­tional fu­sion food. Ja­padog is a chain of hot dog stands with an ori­en­tal twist: try teriyaki sauce, mayo and sea­weed, or sliced onion and plum sauce — way bet­ter than they sound — at its orig­i­nal out­let on the cor­ner of Bur­rard and Smithe Streets. ja­padog.com

DRINK

Choose from mi­cro­brew­ery crack­ers at 33 Acres and Steam­works in his­toric, now hip Gas­town — the lat­ter uses Canada’s only steam-pow­ered brew house and also makes a mean, award-win­ning pump­kin-in­fused ale. Al­ter­na­tively, nearby Alibi Room is a free house cham­pi­oning lo­cal ales. 33acres­brew­ing. com; steam­works.com; alibi.ca

PARTY

Van­cou­verites may de­serve their clean­liv­ing, ly­cra-clad, out­doorsy rep­u­ta­tion, but they know how to tie one on oc­ca­sion­ally. For­tune Sound Club in Chi­na­town is where to take it late with a fine se­lec­tion of in­ter­na­tional dance DJs, rap­pers and live per­for­mance acts. for­tune­sound­club.com

WHEN IN…

Take on the Grouse Grind, a punchy 3km trail up neigh­bour­ing Grouse Moun­tain oth­er­wise known as Mother Na­ture’s Stair­mas­ter. No tech­ni­cal equip­ment re­quired, and the views of the cityscape and Pa­cific Ocean beyond af­ter the 2,800ft ver­ti­cal as­cent are — if you have any left — breath­tak­ing. grouse­moun­tain.com

DINE

BC’s nat­u­ral bounty is ex­tra­or­di­nary so the farm-to-fork con­cept works here ar­guably bet­ter than any­where. There’s cur­rently no ri­val to An­naLena for kusshi oys­ters, cured bi­son tartare and hal­ibut with clam-ba­con bisque made us­ing pro­duce from within an hour or so of the city. Many of its wines are from BC’s Okana­gan Val­ley (whites) or Cowichan Val­ley (reds) on Van­cou­ver Is­land. For­age of­fers sim­i­lar sus­tain­able din­ing. an­nalena.ca; for­agevan­cou­ver.com

WHY NOW

Be­cause this year Canada is cel­e­brat­ing the 150th an­niver­sary of its for­mal con­fed­er­a­tion and there’s an un­mis­tak­able feel-good vibe ev­ery­where. To mark the oc­ca­sion, the gov­ern­ment has or­dered free ad­mis­sion to all the coun­try’s na­tional parks, which are among the very finest in the world.

AVOID

Sing­ing the praises of the cur­rent in­cum­bent of the White House. This is a lib­eral town where Green­peace was founded — un­sur­pris­ing given the stag­ger­ing beauty of the set­ting.

SHOP

At Brook­lyn Cloth­ing on Davie Street for the de­fin­i­tive choice of denim (jeans in any cut you like as long as it’s skinny) and also the full range from su­perb BC boot­mak­ers Viberg. brook­lyn­cloth­ing.com

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