Visiting Vancouver For the First Time

Visiting Vancouver, the City of Glass – Everything you Need to Know

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Before leaving Canada for Chicago, Ryan and I traveled to Vancouver for a week. Ryan was invited to speak at a conference for green architecture so I explored the city solo! Our hotel was tucked away on a tree lined side street in the West End, just steps from Stanley Park – what an amazing park! Lush, green, and 10% larger than Central Park, you can find great little beaches, old growth trees, and floral aromas. There’s also a heated outdoor pool ($6,50), plenty of bike paths (including a stunning 9km coastal path) and walking trails.

Exploring the city by foot

I fell in love with Stanley Park, it’s beautiful, landscapers have done an amazing job. The flowers, trees and ocean breeze make this area really peaceful. There are many beaches where you can relax while walking: Sunset Beach and Second Beach. There are also great Parks for families and friends: George Wainborn, David Lame, and Charleson Park.

I visited all of the downtown neighborhoods, my favorite spots were: West End, Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, Kitsilano and the Olympic Village.

The West End is certainly my favorite because it’s just next to the Coal Harbour Seawall and the West End part of Robson Street is full of cute little coffee shops and delicious unassuming sushi restaurants! We also ate at the Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant and had a fantastic spicy meal! We love trying new cuisine – this one was really fantastic. In the Davie Village you can find rainbow-coloured crosswalks and buzzing coffee shops.

Canada Place is outstanding with its great coastal views and beautiful modern convention centre (where Ryan spent mostly his days!), and water plane and cruise ship terminals. You can follow the promenade toward the iconic cauldron that was lit for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Vancouver Convention Centre West, with its impressive six-acre « living roof ».

I took a small commuter ferry boat to across False Creek to visit Granville Island. The indoor market is really nice: fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of delicious pre-prepared foods (mostly from local ingredients). The concept is similar to Jean Talon Market in Montreal but to be surrounded by the water gives a better atmosphere and appearance. You can find restaurants, art galleries and even an active brewery (Granville Island Brewing, try the Pale Ale). We ate dinner at Tony’s Fish and Oyster Café to try their mussels and french fries. Delicious!

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Vancouver is famous for its buildings in glass which gives a nice facade – I wanted to live in nearly every building. It seems everyone thinks Vancouver is a great place to live, real-esteate prices are crazy. Ryan heard that salaries are not usually adjusted for the increased living costs. A one bedroom / 1 bath downtown condo would cost around $500,000. Small, expensive but perhaps worth the surroundings.

In a story short, Vancouver is truly spectacular by nature. People from dozens of countries have made Vancouver home which contributes to making this city one of the most liveable in the world. The perfect-picture backdrop of skycraping mountains, lush forests and sparkling ocean make this wonderful city easy to fall in love with. I can say that it’s easily one my favorite cities in the world!

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Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocate of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.

 

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