Fresh back from a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, guest contributor David Wishart shares some of his favorite places to visit in the city.
So there I was in Stanley Park, Vancouver, taking in the waterfront and mountains, when a dog hurtled across the skyline, caught a spinning Frisbee, and returned it to a man who, as it happened, was standing right behind me.
“Good catch,” I said.
“He’s the best,” said man, “but he’s still to master the throw.”
At that point a cruise ship returning from Alaska hove into view, a floatplane took off and, somewhat more slowly, a sailboat left its dock for a trip around the bay.
This kind of sums up Vancouver – a place where there’s always something going on, even if you’re a dog.
Attractions and Activities
Good weather helps. Vancouver hums in the summer with festivals and fireworks; adding to mainstay attractions such as Gastown, Chinatown, the Capilano Suspension Bridge on the North Shore and the splendid Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC. Free spirits can also scramble down to popular Wreck Beach, below the university, where clothing is optional.
In terms of other beaches, Vancouver has many options, although Kitsilano is the most popular. However, if water sports are more your thing, head out west, towards UBC, where you’ll find the Jericho Sailing Centre (not that well known to visitors), which offers just about everything afloat including paddleboards.
I used to rent Hobie Cats there, but now my thing is golf, and the University course nearby is a real gem – mature, testing, fun, always in great condition, inexpensive and amazingly close to the city centre. Great burgers too!
Another place to visit is Victoria on Vancouver Island. Hop on a Helijet helicopter at the downtown base and have the scenic tour of your life, zooming across the pretty little Gulf Islands and dropping into Victoria harbor in a matter of minutes. If you are looking for a cheaper option to see the capital, BC Ferries can save you money and turn your trip to Victoria into a pleasant mini-cruise.
Where to Stay
Vancouver is a place where you want to be central, although most of the big and best located hotels are expensive. The exception is the Sylvia in the West End, which is right on the beach at English Bay. A classic, the pub is the place to be at sunset.
Where to eat? Vancouver, with its strong Asian accent, has choice galore. Sadly Umberto Menghi has closed his Il Giardino restaurant, but his other two restaurants at Whistler make the journey extremely worthwhile.
And you, literally, can’t miss the magnificent Empress Hotel on the Victoria waterfront. The curry in the Bengal Lounge is the best this side of Mumbai. But beware of the afternoon tea; now an eye-watering $60!
For up to date information on food and wine check Tim Pawsey’s website.
Be aware that when you arrive at Vancouver airport the cheapest, and quickest way into town is the Canada Line rapid transit. But first go the Pharmasave or 7-11 stores on level one of the airport and buy books of faresaver tickets, which will help you avoid the $5 airport surcharge.
- Drive to Harrison Lake and enjoy the resort hotel
- Ride home on the Via Rail train through the Rockies. It’s a great trip!
- Go fishing somewhere really exciting such as Langara Lodge, where 50-pounders are par for the course
- Golf on Vancouver Island
- Buy a frisbee for your dog, or any dog, and teach it the throw
Fly.com Expert Tips
How To Get There: Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is approximately nine miles from the city centre, and is serviced by multiple domestic and international airline carriers. Information regarding area transportation is available here.
Best Time To Visit: Weather-wise, the best time to visit is from early-June through late-September. The days are clear and sunny, and the average temperature is in the low-70s. Canadians tend to take their vacation in July and August, so those will be the busiest months. If you are willing to forgo the beach, May and October are also ideal months to visit, as the tourist season is not yet in full swing, and hotel rates are typically lower.
Sample Fares: Calendars display lowest roundtrip fares over the next 90 days to Vancouver from:
* All fares are roundtrip including all taxes and are accurate at time of publication. For updated pricing, conduct a new search on Fly.com.