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).