The metropolis of Vancouver is located in the southwest of British Columbia. This city belongs to the largest metropolitan region in western Canada and has 600,000 inhabitants itself. Vancouver was named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored this region at the end of the 18th century. The city emerged in the 1860s as a result of the wave of immigration during the Fraser Canyon gold rush.
Vancouver transformed over time into a service center and a destination for tourism. Interest in the city grew especially after the 1986 World’s Fair. Furthermore, this western Canadian metropolis is one of the most important locations for the North American film industry, along with Los Angeles and New York.
Vancouver is very diverse. On the one hand, it is very young and modern, and on the other hand, historic buildings, such as the Vancouver Public Library, remind of Victorian times. In addition, the city offers a wide range of art and cultural activities and interesting events throughout the year. Due to the very mild climate, visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. The beaches invite to long walks and beach volleyball, the waters to sailing and kayaking tours and the Stanley Park to bicycle tours. Only half an hour from downtown, you are right in the North Shore Mountains, which are one of the most important winter sports areas around Vancouver.
Tip 1: Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the largest urban park in Canada and the third largest in North America. It juts out into the fjord Burrard Inlet.
A 200-kilometer network of walking paths runs through the park. One has the option to walk around the green oasis along the water, or to go deep inside. The walkways are divided into a pedestrian side and a side for cyclists and inline skaters.
The park’s naturally grown tree population currently totals about half a million. Which makes Stanley Park a true natural phenomenon in the city. Beaver Lake in the middle of the park also offers an oasis of tranquility. The park is also home to a number of wild animals, including raccoons, gray squirrels, rabbits and coyotes.
There are also numerous monuments in the park. These include statues of the park’s founder, Lord Stanley, Robert Burns, Harry Jerome, Warren G. Harding and a plaque. This refers to a steamship that sank in 1892. There are also a number of totem poles in the park.
Also worth seeing in and around Stanley Park are the Aquarium , the Lost Lagoon at the southern end of the park, Siwash Rock and Deadman’s Island offshore. The latter is located southwest of the park at Coal Harbour.
Tip 2: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver’s top attractions. Accessible from downtown via Lions Gate Bridge in 20-30 minutes, the 137-meter-long and 70-meter-high suspension bridge over the Capilano Gorge is the main attraction of North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. 800,000 visitors come each year to venture onto its swaying planks. But while the thrills are undeniable and the photos terrific, we also find the park’s other attractions very interesting.
On the other side of the gorge awaits an ancient, never-logged forest of mighty Douglas spruces, which you can get a closer look at by walking from tree to tree on seven bridges stretched high above the forest floor. Treetops Adventure is the name of this leaf-peeping walk that gives you an idea of what the urban area looked like just 150 years ago. And if you already got soft knees on the suspension bridge, you should think twice about the Cliffwalk, which promises great views into the gorge. This 230-meter-long and 50-centimeter-wide path was opened in 2011 and built into the vertical east wall of the gorge – at one point even in a nine-meter-wide arc away from it!
Tip 3: Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium – Marine Science Center covers an area of about 9,000 m². Besides about 300 different species of fish, there are almost countless invertebrates to marvel at in the Vancouver Aquarium, in addition to over 50 different species of amphibians, almost as many species of mammals. Among the larger animals at the Vancouver Aquarium are beluga whales, Steller sea lions, caimans, turtles, seals, sea otters, dolphins and sharks. In total, the Vancouver Aquarium houses about 8,000 species of animals.
Especially in bad weather, the artificial underwater world is a popular destination. But even when the sun is shining, young and old are drawn to the aquarium. Especially the outdoor areas with the basins for beluga whales and otters are very popular in good weather.
Tip 4: Museum of Anthropology
In the anthropological museum you can learn a lot about the culture of the First Nations in the Pacific Northwest. Free guided tours take place regularly and should not be missed. The museum has a variety of large sculptures and totem poles, some of which can also be found outside.
Probably the most famous exhibit is the sculpture The Raven and the First Men, which can also be found on the Canadian $20 bill. The museum is located on the grounds of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Those with more time on their hands can also spend a full day at UBC. Free campus tours are offered. There is also a botanical garden on the university campus that is well worth seeing. At the end of the day, you can relax on the beach at English Bay.
Tip 5: Granville Island
An absolute must on any visit to Vancouver! Meeting place, village under the bridge, Vancouver’s epicenter: But how do we best describe the island in False Creek? Until the 1970s, Granville Island was the city’s somewhat neglected problem child. The shipyards and ironworks that had been located there had long since breathed their last. Then a philanthropic retread was decided, taking into account old building structures.
Today, Granville Island is home to nearly 300 stores and establishments and provides jobs for some 2500 Vancouverites. The heart of the island is the never-disappointing Granville Island Public Market: a Farmers’ Market and several dozen retailers keep the action going in the indoor market, which also features gourmet counters and small food stalls. Then there are several cutting-edge galleries on the island and – attention, beer drinkers – the Granville Island Brewing Co. with its excellent craft beer, which offers daily “beertasting.” The island can be reached from downtown Vancouver via the Granville Street Bridge. However, we recommend the Aquabus. The ferry company’s knobbly little boats transport pedestrians and cyclists and leave for Granville Island at the end of Hornby Street.