Vancouver’s suburbs are extremely condensed, and all so unique. I was staying in Yaletown; a somewhat stylish and sophisticated area, with lots of delicious eateries. From Davie Street (the gay district with rainbow banners, and pink bus stops and rubbish bins) to Robson Street (shopping), Gastown (quaint, cobbled streets with lanterns) and NOT Hastings Street (I made a hasty retreat); there were so many nooks and crannies to explore. It struck me as an extremely liveable city, probably one of the most liveable cities I have ever been to (and probably the reason it continually wins awards for being one of the most liveable cities in the world).
Transport: Most of inner Vancouver is highly walkable. I didn’t really use the public transport system that often, however what I did experience was great. Buses are in abundance, and there are also two metro lines running within the city, one of which goes out to the airport. A taxi to or from the airport costs about $30, and takes about half an hour. Vancouver Airport is extremely user friendly, with a built in aquarium, and kind old men in green t-shirts ready and willing to answer any questions one may have. It is possible to catch buses from Vancouver Airport directly to various destinations, including Whistler, however it is quite expensive (Pacific Coach= $75/one way, and it pays to book in advance). I got to Whistler by catching a Greyhound bus from within Vancouver that had both free Wi-Fi and power sockets ($60 return).
Stanley Park: Vancouver thrives off a health buzz. Just five minutes from the heart of the city is not just the waterfront, but also an entire Sea Wall – a lengthy track for walkers, runners, bikers and the like, which follows the water right round past the 10km loop that is Stanley Island. I walked right the way around, past beaches, nature, wildlife and plenty of other people exercising. There are a number of tourist attractions on Stanley Island, including the totem poles, aquarium, mini rail-way and Christmas lights.
Granville Island: Just across the water from where I was staying, it was a much longer walk (you had to overshoot the island, and walk back to it). I had been warned to go hungry, and to save myself for Siegel’s Bagels; naturally I had salmon and cream cheese. It was to die for, and I didn’t know it yet, but it would be the best bagel I had the whole time I was away. A great place for souvenir shopping, I left with my pockets empty and my arms loaded. I was too lazy to walk home, so jumped on the water-ferry; $3.50 to cross the canal.
Lynn Canyon: all the tourist hype is on Capilano Canyon Park, when really the spotlight should turn to this little gem. First I bought an all-day Transit pass for $9.75. Using a fellow traveller’s blog from the Downtown Station, I caught the seabus (aka ferry), bus #228 and rode for about 30 minutes more, where I jumped off and walked the final kilometre to the park entrance. It was free entry, and the suspension bridge was incredible. It was about 50m long, and there was only enough space for 2 people to pass by each other, just. Other highlights of the park include the Twin Falls, and then to the 30ft deep pool, which was an eerie crystal blue colour. It was what I would picture a stereo-typical Canadian river to look like; minus the salmon and grizzly bear.
Eat. If you aren’t on Granville Island, visit Meat & Bread. ‘nuff said.