Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Vibrant Vancouver

It only took a four-hour train trip from Seattle before Jules and I had slipped over the border into Canada. Arriving in Vancouver created an immediate positive impression on us as the sun shined over this bustling city. Making our way to our apartment, several people stopped to help us with directions and we felt genuinely welcomed. The city has a very modern feel with a plethora of newly constructed high-rise buildings that are nicely softened by the many city trees and water features. On the streets themselves there is a very multicultural flavour, an impression that is further reinforced by the wide variety of restaurants and eateries covering most of the world’s culinary styles. In many ways it reminded us of some of the capital cities of Australia. However, it has one distinct difference and that is the beautiful Canadian mountains that could be seen in the distance across the harbour. In fact, Vancouver is ideally positioned to view some terrific scenery in all directions and with water on three sides, Jules maintains that it’s almost impossible to take a bad photograph. With its stable economic outlook, the city continues to grow while it’s rating as one of the world’s most liveable cities attracts both migrants and tourists alike. We learnt that over the years the city developed into a number of distinct areas, each with it’s own character and all within easy walking distance of each other. As well as exploring the modern downtown area, we eventually made our way over to nearby Gastown (the oldest area) to find it going through the process of rejuvenation with new restaurants and shops taking over the old dockland buildings. We also wandered through the old warehouse area of Yaletown, which has now become a very trendy commercial and residential spot following its transformation for Expo 86. There we sat on a converted loading dock and enjoyed a beer from one of the local microbrewies. With Jules’ love of fresh produce, the nearby Granville Island Farmers Market was also a must see. We crossed the bridge to the island to stock up on some fresh produce and sat at the waters edge looking back toward the city, while enjoying a delicious Salmon Burger before taking the water taxi back to town. We spent a whole day exploring one of the cities greatest assets, Stanley Park, which sits at the tip of the mainland and provides some terrific seaside views. Being larger than New York’s Central Park, it has some wonderful walking/cycling tracks that criss-cross through lush forests. However we decided to walk the beautiful 8km coastal route that caught a cooling sea breeze. There is no doubt that the city of Vancouver is a vibrant place that has plenty to offer the visitor, but as we looked toward mountains beyond, we just knew that we would have to explore some of the regions natural attractions over the next few days.

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