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Stanley Park meets downtown Vancouver, BC
Stanley Park meets downtown Vancouver, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Josefhanus

Vancouver is located in the province of British Columbia on the southwest Pacific coast about 3 hours by car north of Seattle, Washington.  Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada with an urban population of more than 2 million.  Immigration has significantly influenced Vancouver and it is now eithnically diverse with more than half of its residents speaking English as their second language.  Today Vancouver is consistently highly ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Vancouver is named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored its bays in 1792.  The Coast Salish (Squamish, Musqueam, and Tseil-Waututh) were well established in the area at that time, with settlements on the north side of Burrard inlet and also in the area that is now Stanley Park.  The current city took its early formation from Gastown in 1867, which is now encompassed in the area known as Granville.  Becoming the Pacific terminal for the trans Canadian railway system greatly increased the population and economic base in the late 1800s and the city was incorporated in 1886.  Today that same railway system takes tourists from Vancouver to the Rockies.  The city has had great success in the film industry and is often referred to as Hollywood North.  In 2010 Vancouver hosted the Olympics.  Many venues were built within the city but Whistler was also a major part of its hosting bid.

Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, BC

Burrard St Bridge, © Can Stock Photo / Rigucci


Vancouver, like Victoria, has two distinct seasons.  The rainy season extends from November to February.  During this period temperatures can reach highs of 50F or 10C during heavy rainfall.  In fact Vancouver's rainfall in winter is heavier than Victoria's, since it doesn't receive the effects of a rainshadow from the mountains on Vancouver Island.  Clear skies in winter are a sign of nearby Arctic air and temperatures can drop slightly below freezing.  Snowfall is extremely rare.  The dry season extends from May to September with ideal weather occuring in July and August.  This forms the height of the tourist season.



Due to the complexities of US cruise ship regulations, Vancouver has become a major port for embarkation to Alaska.  The cruise ship terminal is located in the downtown core at Canada Place.  Transportation from the Canada Place cruise terminal to the airport is now a breeze.  You can catch the Sky Train a short block in front of the cruise terminal and take the Canada Line to the airport.  The fee is less than $10 and it takes about 25 minutes.  BC Ferries provides hourly summer vehichle service between Vancouver, BC and Swartz Bay near Victoria.

Stanley Park and Vancouver, BC

Stanley Park and Vancouver, BC

Things to see and do in Vancouver:

  • Stanley Park - 1,000 acres downtown on the waterfront.  It includes a zoo, the Vancouver Aquarium, a petting zoo, a children's train and a waterfront path for walking, jogging, biking and roller blading.

  • Granville Island - a very popular 37 acre island adjacent to the downtown core.  It has a well known public market, craft shops, galleries, a theater and restaurants.

  • Robson St -  Stroll the street where everyone accumulates in the downtown core.  Shops stay open late into the evening every day to accommodate the crowds.

  • Canada Place - distinctive "white sails" architecture on the waterfront and home to the cruise ship terminal.

  • Gastown - cobble stone lanes and the world's first steam clock still operates.  The city of Vancouver started out in Gastown.

  • Grouse Mountain - gondola from the city to Grouse Mountain for great views over the city, plus skiing in winter and hiking & ziplining in summer.  Do the Grouse Grind and hike 3 km up the mountain instead.

  • Vancouver Lookout - 360 degree views of the city from this downtown tower.

  • Vancouver Trolley Tours - narrated trolley to all the downtown attractions, including Canada Place, Stanley Park, Yaletown, Granville Island and Chinatown.

Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

Canada Place, © Can Stock Photo / Josefhanus

  • Chinatown - third largest in North America, after San Francisco and New York.  Visit the acclaimed Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Sam Kee Building (world's narrowest commercial building) and the Chinese Cultural Centre.

  • Punjabi Market - five blocks located at Main and East 49th.

  • Yaletown - formerly a warehouse district, Yaletown has become a trendy modern village with high rise condos along the water and many venues for young Vancouverites to frequent after work.

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge - 450 feet long and 230 feet high.

  • Kitsilano Beach- a great beach on English Bay, shops and restaurants, views of the city and the freighters waiting to enter the port.

  • Science World and the IMAX.

  • Vancouver Art Gallery

  • Museum of Anthropology - located at the University of British Columbia.

Things to see and do near Vancouver:

Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, BC

Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver Tours:

Hotels in Vancouver:

Take That Vacation Recommedations for Vancouver:

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