Visit the “Best City in the Americas” -
Vancouver, British Columbia
by Roy Witman © 2008
If you stand in downtown Vancouver and turn in a
360-degree circle, you'll no doubt find yourself in awe.
Majestic mountain ranges and crystal-blue seas are
only enhanced by the elaborate cityscape of this
modern town. To see Vancouver today, you'd never
know it had such a rocky start.
The city was devastated by the Great Fire within
two months of incorporation in 1886. The wind-swept
blaze lasted less than an hour but left the city with just
a half-dozen buildings. The people and businesses
didn't let the fire destroy their plans for growth,
however. They began rebuilding immediately leading
to present day Vancouver.
With the distinction of being voted the “Best City in
the Americas” for 2004 through 2006 by Conde Nast
Traveler magazine, Vancouver and the surrounding
area provides a wide variety of unique and exciting
indoor and outdoor activities for adults, kids, couples
and individuals from all walks of life.
Vancouver is surrounded on three sides by water.
Add to that the Coast Mountain Range to the north and
east and you have stunning panoramic scenery that
makes the perfect backdrop for the city. With
mountains and the shore at arm's reach what else
could Vancouver offer? How about a rainforest? You'll
find it just minutes from the city. You'll also find over
180 parks, world-class museums and galleries as
well as magnificent gardens. These attractions plus
the mildest climate in Canada make Vancouver an
ideal vacation spot.
Vancouver is called home by numerous cruise
lines that provide voyages to Alaska from May through
September. Chances are you'll find an itinerary that
departs from this city so it only makes sense to book a
pre- or post-cruise getaway while you're here.
Major Tourist Attractions
The Vancouver Lookout at Harbor Centre is an
excellent first stop. The observation deck is located a
whopping 50 stories above street level! An quick
elevator trip to the top takes a mere 50 seconds and
rewards you with an unobstructed, 360-degree view of
Vancouver and the surrounding countryside. It's easy
to see the reason Vancouver was selected as the host
city for the 2010 Winter Olympics from this vantage
Stanley Park, one of the greatest parks of the
world, is Vancouver's first park. Located on a 1000-
acre parcel of land set aside by Vancouver's first City
Council, Stanley Park boasts a 5.5-mile seawall that
completely surrounds the park. There are at least four
restaurants offering fine dining in this forest-type
environment that delivers park, sea and mountain
views. You'll also discover playground equipment, a
swimming pool, water park, miniature railway and
farmyard with live animals.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is located just
minutes from downtown. The bridge was first built in
1889. You find yourself 230 feet above the Capilano
River when you are in the middle of the 450-foot
bridge. Why bother to cross a bridge? Because on
the other side you'll have the unique opportunity to trek
through rainforest trails. You can participate in an
exceptional Treetops Adventure described by the
Capilano Bridge website as “a squirrel's eye view of a
thriving coastal forest”.
Walk from tree to tree on a series of elevated
suspension bridges that rise 100 feet above the forest
floor and view the rainforest environment without
causing damage to its structure. Be sure to visit the
Totem Park and other attractions located here.
No vacation is complete without a shopping trip.
The Metropolis at Metrotown can satisfy the needs of
even the most serious of bargain hunters. With 470
stores, this is British Columbia's largest shopping
center. Exceptional theaters, two indoor courtyards
and a food court with two-dozen shops provide a
variety of delights to satisfy your appetite.
Make plans to spend time in Vancouver before or
after your next Alaskan cruise. Oftentimes, affordable
package deals are available that provide great
savings for savvy travelers who want added
adventure. Check with your travel agent or cruise line
for details and rates.