Surrounded by water on 3 sides and situated alongside a picture-perfect, snow-capped mountain range, Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the most populous in Canada. It's a bustling metropolis, yet still retains its strong connection to the great outdoors due to an economy that once relied on forestry, mining, fishing and agriculture. From the over 200 parks that can be found throughout this historic city to the sweeping waterfront, Vancouver seamlessly blends the rural with the urban to create a cityscape unlike any other. This mix of cultures-which includes English, Irish, German, Asian and Latin American only help to make the city even more interesting and inviting.
This cosmopolitan city, cradled between mountains and the sea, offers excellent fine dining and shopping. Ranked as one of the best cities to live in the world, Vancouver was also home to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games.
Places to Explore
- Stanley Park
Vancouver's first park established in 1887 contains 1,000 acres of nearly half a million cedar, hemlock and fir trees. The park features a 5.5-mile paved seawall, marine science centre, children's water park, miniature train, children's farmyard, rose gardens, totems poles and hiking trails.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
This historic bridge was erected in 1889 and spans 450 feet across an open canyon, 230 feet above the river. Featuring breathtaking views, the bridge is located in a 27-acre park that includes 7 additional high-flying suspension bridges, various exhibits and guided nature tours.
- Grouse Mountain Skyride
Enjoy a bird's eye perspective from North America's largest aerial tramway system. Starting at the mountain base, the journey begins at 1000 ft. high and ascends over 2600 ft. to the top in 12 minutes.
- Vancouver Aquarium
Located in Stanley Park, this aquarium is home to over 70,000 animals, including beluga whales, sea lions, dolphins, seals, sharks, reptiles and birds. Plus, enjoy educational animal shows throughout the day.
- Steam Clock
Designed to look like a 19th-century timepiece, this is actually a steam engine with electric motors that rings in the quarter hours with a whistle chime that plays the Westminster Quarters and, naturally, an eruption of steam.
Declared a historic district in 1971, the Chinatown district is one of the largest in North America filled with ornate Chinese structures, lamps, gates, an open air-market and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, which is the first full-scale classical Chinese garden built outside of China.
- Granville Island
Once a former industrial park, Granville Island is a 35-acre peninsula that is home to a plethora of boutiques, theatres, galleries, art studios, restaurants, street performers and an open marketplace.
English is the official language.
The Canadian Dollar is the official currency. However, U.S. currency, travelers checks and major credit cards are widely accepted.
- How to Get Around
- Taxi services are available in and around the city. For a trip to or throughout downtown, expect to pay approximately $8.50 USD.
- Diesel bus and electric-trolley service is available all over the city. Service in the busier parts of the day runs about every 12 minutes.
- Departing almost every 15 minutes, SeaBus (catamaran ferries) takes passengers on a scenic 12-minute journey across Burrard Inlet between downtown and North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay.
- Due to city size and layout, bicycles are a great option. Located near Stanley Park are several places to rent bikes. Helmets must be worn while riding. Bikes are allowed on the SeaBus at no charge.
- To visit the North Shore Mountains or the region in greater detail, a car is recommended. Car rental services can be found downtown.
- Much of downtown Vancouver can be easily explored on foot.