One of Canada's most exciting cities, Vancouver offers culture, history, wonderful architecture and stunning scenery...
Vancouver began life as a small settlement called Gastown, which is now a National Historic Site. With its cobbled streets and Victorian buildings, this area of the city is a fashionable neighbourhood filled with cafes, restaurants and boutique shops.
The West End is a popular part of the city. This mainly residential area is the location for the beautiful Stanley Park, which has over 1000 acres of grass and woodland surrounded by beaches. SoMa - a shortened form of the original name of South Main - is another place well worth a visit. This is an up-and-coming area offering a variety of trendy restaurants and cafes. English Bay is home to a popular beach that plays host to the Celebration of Light, a firework festival that runs for two weeks at the end of July and is reputed to be the largest off-shore fireworks display in the world.
Vancouver is a real melting pot of cultures thanks to the huge influx of immigrants and this is reflected in Commercial Drive, a road famous for its ethnic cuisine and culture. Chinatown is another distinct area in downtown Vancouver and it's renowned as being one of the country's cleanest neighbourhoods. Take time to visit the Century's Wind of Change Mural in Pender Street and the Jimi Hendrix shrine, which is on the site of his grandmother's former restaurant.
The city of Vancouver is known for having favourable weather, a high standard of living and a wide range of places in which to eat, drink and shop. It attracts a host of young and sporting types thanks to its fabulous location and sports facilities and the city played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics. There is a thriving nightlife and the city is the starting point for a number of cruises to Alaska.
Grouse Mountain is just 15 minutes away from the heart of the city and offers a wide variety of outdoor pursuits or just some spectacular views for the less intrepid adventurer. There is also the well-known ski resort of Whistler, which is approximately two hours drive away.
Take time to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which gives you a view from 70m above the Capilano River and follow it with by going on the new Cliffwalk, a series of vertiginous platforms set into the canyon. Then visit the Vancouver Aquarium, where you can help to feed the beluga whales and discover over 70,000 sea creatures. Try taking the Aquabus across to Granville Island, a centre for arts and crafts and home to a thriving market.
Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery, one of the largest art galleries in Canada, followed by a trip to Science World, a fun and interactive museum dedicated to furthering knowledge of science. Roedde House Museum is situated in the West End and shows a late-Victorian house as it would have looked during the 19th century, offering an insight into early Vancouver life. The Van Dusen Botanical Gardens cover an area of over 55 acres, showcasing plants from around the world.