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Canada: In and around Vancouver

September 11, 2009 / Canada /

Surrounded by verdant mountains, handsome, high-rise Vancouver is consistently highly ranked in surveys of the best cities to both live in and visit.

It’s multi-cultural and has a vibrant arts scene, but its proximity to the wilderness means there is a laid-back pace and rugged backbone to its urban atmosphere.

It is a place of distinct neighbourhoods, all begging to be explored, from Gastown, the historic, cobbled streets where Vancouver began, to Chinatown, where visitors should head for the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens and the cultural centre. There’s Little Italy and Little India, and the confluence of cultures has resulted in a city full of gastronomic variety.

Vancouver’s famous Museum of Anthropology reopened in March after a £1.98 million renovation. It’s packed with the history of this area, including many exhibitions dedicated to First Nations cultures.

One thousand acres of evergreen oasis close to the downtown core, Stanley Park is famed for its five-mile-long sea wall, and is the perfect spot for people-watching. A water-taxi ride to Granville Island will reward visitors with a bustling public market, street performers and plenty of seafood restaurants.

Those with a head for heights should cross Lions Gate Bridge to North Shore, and visit the city’s oldest tourist attraction, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Built in 1889, it stretches 137 metres across, and 70 metres above, the Capilano River.

Also on North Shore is Grouse Mountain, the city’s most popular viewpoint. Visitors can choose between hiking up the Grouse Grind, known as Mother Nature’s StairMaster, or opt for an aerial tram ride.


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