Vancouver Tourist Attractions
Vancouver, the commercial (though not the administrative) capital of British Columbia, lies in Canada's extreme south-west corner, only 40 km / 25 mi from the U.S. border.
It has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Downtown Vancouver is superbly situated on a peninsula in the Strait of Georgia, bounded to the north by Burrard Inlet, a deep fiord reaching far inland, and to the south by the delta of the Fraser River. Curbing any westward expansion are the sandy beaches of the Pacific coast and the Strait of Georgia, to the west of which rise the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula. Further to the north, beyond Burrard Inlet, gleam the often snow-covered ranges of the Coast Mountains.Vancouver todayWith its relatively equable climate keeping temperatures mild throughout the year and its delightful surroundings, extensive parks, green spaces and busy cultural life, Vancouver is a paradise for leisure activities.Vancouver today is Canada's gateway west (i.e. to the Far East), the country's access route to the markets of Asia. As such it is the premier port on Canada's Pacific coast, in addition to being a financial, industrial and cultural center. Even so, Vancouver remains a thoroughly attractive city, with a downtown area easily explored on foot. The city also reflects the diverse origins of its inhabitants with many an echo of other parts of Canada and of Europe, Asia and the USA (Vancouver's Chinatown is the second largest of any west coast city in America). Concealed among the gleaming tower blocks and modern building complexes are some delightful shopping streets (Robson St., Granville St., Denman St.), while Gastown, the oldest district, has recently been carefully restored and turned into a major tourist attraction.Opposite downtown Vancouver, across Burrard Inlet, stretch the extensive residential suburbs of North and West Vancouver. Immediately beyond them, just a few minutes by car from the bustling city center, British Columbia's untamed wilderness begins - a vast area of forest untouched by all but the timber companies. There are good, properly surfaced roads only along the coast (Hwy. 101) and along the shores of Howe Sound (Hwy. 99) to Whistler, an increasingly popular holiday resort.HistoryResearch suggests that the Vancouver area was already inhabited thousands of years before the start of the Christian era. Archaeologists now believe that the Fraser Estuary was a center of the Pacific Coast Indian fishing culture.Prior to the coming of Europeans the land on the southern shores of the Strait of Georgia was occupied by the Salish tribe of Coast Indians. The first recorded arrival of a white man was in 1791 when the Spaniard José Navéz sailed into and explored English Bay. A year later he was followed by an Englishman, Captain George Vancouver, seeking the elusive Northwest Passage. For a time after that only fur hunters and trappers penetrated to these western shores, but in 1808 Simon Fraser, traveling overland, reached the Fraser Estuary, having followed the river all the way from the Rocky Mountains. Even then, when gold diggers passed through on their way to the Cariboo Mountains in 1858, there was still no permanent settlement in the area. It was only later in the 1860s that, first lumberjacks and other frontiersmen, and then settlers, finally established themselves on the peninsula. In 1886, by which time the population was still barely 2000, Vancouver was officially declared a town - only to be destroyed by fire the same year.Boom time came when the Canadian Pacific railway reached Burrard Inlet, eventually transforming Vancouver into North America's principal Pacific coast port (today handling 50 million tons a year). The major exports are mineral ore, cellulose, and timber, mainly bound for Asia. Long freight trains also bring wheat from Canada's prairie provinces to Vancouver for onward shipment.In just 100 years Vancouver has grown to become the third largest metropolitan area in Canada, a conurbation whose inhabitants number 1.4 million. Almost half the population of British Columbia now live here at the mouth of the Fraser River. In addition to overseas trade and the service industries, wood processing and fishing are also economically importantThe city of Vancouver was showcased to the world when it hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Stanley Park is a lush peninsula of huge trees, located adjacent to downtown Vancouver. This 1000 acres park contains a paved path along the seawall, gardens, trails, totem poles, and other attractions.
Since 1976 Granville Mall between Nelson Street and Hastings Street has been Vancouver's main shopping street (closed to all private traffic). The Pacific Center and the Vancouver Center (at the Georgia St./Granville St. intersection) are two big shopping complexes with numerous shops and cinemas above and below ground. The Orpheum Theatre (865 Seymour St., off the Mall) used to be the Variété Théatre of Vancouver. Today the lovingly restored building is the concert hall home of the famous Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.Further along the Granville Mall a number of large Canadian department stores have branches.
Harbour Centre and Vancouver Lookout
Address: 555 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B4N6, Canada
Gastown is a trendy area of restaurants, shops, and galleries located in and amongst restored warehouses and Victorian buildings.
University of British Columbia
UBC is a beautiful campus located at Point Grey, with walking trails leading down to the ocean. The university is home to the well known Anthropological Museum.
Model Ships Museum (Closed)
The Model Ships Museum is now CLOSED PERMANENTLY.
Address: 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC V6J3J9, Canada
Queen Elizabeth Park (Bloedel Conservatory)
Address: c/o Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, 2099 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6G1Z4, Canada
Kitsilano Beach Park
Jericho Beach in Vancouver is a popular summer time area not far from Kitsilano Beach. This long stretch of sand is broken up by large logs that beach goers use as wind breakers or back rests.From here there is a great view of downtown Vancouver.
TransCanada HighwayIt is possible to drive from east to west (or vice versa) on the 7500 km / 4660 mi TransCanada Highway that runs from St John's, the capital of Newfoundland, on the Atlantic coast in the extreme east through the Atlantic provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, past Québec city to Montréal. It continues via Ottawa, North Bay, Thunder Bay (all three in Ontario province), Winnipeg (Manitoba), Regina (Saskatchewan), Calgary (Alberta) and finally through the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver in the far west on the Pacific coast.Between five and six weeks should be allowed for the trip from coast to coast. This leaves time to take in the wonderful scenery with all its natural beauty as well as the interesting towns and places of historical significance.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Address: 1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J1A3, Canada
Train (Boat Excursion, MV Britannia and the Royal Hudson)
In summer the excursion to Squamish (Wed.-Sun.) aboard the MV "Britannia" or the "Royal Hudson" (an old steam train) is immensely popular. It takes the same time (71/2 hours) by ship or train and passengers can sample both forms of transport by switching for the return journey.The Royal Hudson is former CPR locomotive that was used in 1939 to pull a train carry King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, thus giving the train its name.The MV Britannia carries up to 500 passengers and offers a variety of entertainment options on board. There are dining cruises, special events cruises, or the ship may be chartered for special events. The MV Britannia has been fully renovated.
Address: 777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6B4Y8, Canada
There little shops and restaurants in Denman St. (city center west). At its northern end is the wharf used by the harbor ferries.This street is popular with locals and travelers as a dinner or shopping spot. There are many restaurants, cafes, and other establishments along Denman Street that almost make it a community of its own. The street is often busy at night, particularly during the summer months, with young people coming here to enjoy the atmosphere.
Science World explains science phenomena through hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. Themes include water, air, motion and invention.On site at Science World are the Science Theatre, free with the cost of admission, and IMAX Theatre, a number of permanent galleries, and a featured gallery with changing exhibits. Changing exhibits are generally long lasting and very comprehensive.The Science World building is unmistakable and a landmark feature in Vancouver. This spherical building, formerly the Expo Centre for the Expo 86 World's Fair,held the Futures Theatre when it was created.
Address: 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC V6A3Z7, Canada
Van Dusen Botanical Garden
Of considerable interest in Vancouver are the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens (east of Granville Street between 34th Street and 37th Street). Each of the 40 or so plots is given over to a different geographical region or botanical species and the collection includes a number of exotic plants from around the world.There is always something in bloom at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and a bloom calender is available, indicating what is happening and when.The Botanical Garden also hosts events throughout the year that the public can participate in, including garden tours and walks, lecture series, and sale events.
Address: 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6M4H1, Canada
CP Waterfront Station
At the north end of Granville Street, the CP Waterfront Station (the old Canadian Pacific Railway terminal) is now the point of departure for the city's "SkyTrain" and "SeaBus" services.The 15 minute passenger ferry crossing to North Vancouver on the SeaBus, or AquaBus as it is sometimes called, gives superb views of the city skyline.The CP Waterfront Station is a historic area as well as a commuter hub. It is a convenient location for accessing other parts of the city.
Harbor tours on the paddle steamer "Constitution" are a delight.There are various harbor tours available throughout the year although most are offered during the summer months when the harbour is at its best. Most tours provide information or narration on Vancouver's Inner Harbour and offer food and beverage services.Harbour Tours are a great way to soak up the amazing scenery and spend an hour or so on the ocean.A harbor tour (1hr) aboard the little "Tymac" leaves from the wharf at the northern end of Main St.
A harbor tour (1hr) aboard the little "Tymac" leaves from the wharf at the northern end of Main St.
Old Hastings Mill Store Museum
Of Vancouver's first sawmill only the store and post office survived the 1886 fire and the later rapid development of the city. Built in 1865 the Old Hastings Mill Store is today a museum housing items from pioneering days and the period of Indian settlement.The Old Hastings Mill Store building is thought to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in Vancouver. The little white building with red doors and shutters is worth a look for visitors who are in the area.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is Vancouver's largest theatre. It stages opera, ballet and musicals as well as drama.The Ballet British Columbia calls the theatre home, as does the Vancouver Opera. Other concerts and events are also held here.Also at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is the Mezzanine Art Gallery featuring works by local artists. The gallery offers changing exhibits on a monthly basis. Art work includes a variety of mediums including paintings, photography, sculpture and more.
Address: Hamilton at Dunsmuir, Vancouver, BC V6B2R3, Canada
2010 Winter Olympics
Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The games ran from February 12th to 28th, with the Paralympic Winter Games following on March 12th to 21st. Events were held both in Vancouver and at the Whistler Blackcomb ski hills. Some remnants of the game still remain including the Olympic Cauldron (Olympic Flame) which is now lit on special occaissions such as Canada Day. The cauldron is located next to Canada Place.
Olympic Flame (Olympic Cauldron)
The Olympic Flame burned in the Olympic Cauldron during the 2010 winter games and is now lit on special occaisions. Designed to resemble ice, the cauldron stands on the waterfront in Vancouver adjacent to the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Sam Kee Building
Look out for the newly renovated Sam Kee Building which being barely 2 m (61/2 ft) wide claims to be the narrowest office building in the world.Located in Chinatown, the Sam Kee Building is located between Pender and Carral Streets. When Pender Street was expanded the property owner had all but approximately 2 meters of his property expropriated. The owner has the Sam Kee building designed and it now houses a number of shops and offices.
Vancouver International Airport
The Vancouver International Airport is located in Richmond, just south of Vancouver. The airport has everything travelers may need with boutiques, clothing stores, restaurants, flower shop, golf store, and gift shops. Killing time between flights is never a problem at the Vancouver International Airport.The airport is a major gateway to Asia from North America with regular flights to all of the major ports.
Holy Rosary Cathedral
Holy Rosary Cathedral in downtown Vancouver was completed at the turn of the 20th Century. It is a gothic style cathedral with asymmetrical towers and vaulted ceiling. Some of the highlights of the cathedral include the stained glass windows, the tiled floor with design based on the sixth century Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, and the stations of the cross.
Address: 646 Richards Street, Vancovuer, BC V6B3A3, Canada
Playland Amusement Park has games, miniature golf and over 30 rides including a wooden roller coaster built in 1958. This small scale park is perfect for small children as well as teens looking for some excitement. Playland offers specials for birthdays and other events. There are also picnic areas and open spaces. Playland is a popular facility with families.
Address: 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5K5J1, Canada
Buschlen Mowatt Galleries
The Buschlen Mowatt Galleries in Vouncouver offer up changing exhibits of modern and contemporary art. The gallery showcases the work of international artists, including well known names and emerging talent.Exhibits change regularly. Check with the gallery to see current and upcoming exhibitions.
Address: Main Floor - 1445 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6G2T3, Canada
H R MacMillan Space Centre
The H R MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver allows visitors to discover the wonders of Space through live demonstrations, interactive exhibits and games, virtual voyages, Planetarium shows, and the observatory. The centre is located in the same building as the Vancouver Museum.
MacMillan Bloedel Place (Closed)
THIS ATTRACTION IS CLOSED PERMANENTLY.MacMillan Bloedel is one ofCanada's biggest timber companies. There is an information center in MacMillan Bloedel Place where it is possible to learn all about the forests of British Columbia and their economic significance.
The Punjabi Market in the Punjabi Districti of Vancouver is located on Main Street between approximately 48th and 51st Avenues. The area is geared toward the local community rather than tourists but offers some great dining opportunities and authentic shopping.
Vancouver Public Library
Address: 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6B6B1, Canada
More on PlanetWare