A Mini-Guide to Vancouver
Ah, Canada. Land of my birth. Land that I am considering moving considerably closer to in case I need to make a run for it after this bizarre election (only 30% joking). I was born in the suburbs of Vancouver and spent a few years there before my father got a job in the states and we up and moved. I've gone back almost every year, though. In my heart, I still think of myself as more Canadian than American. I'm almost disgustingly afraid of being an inconvenience and making a scene - definitely more passive than aggressive - and I also have a preference for cold.
I've come back to Vancouver many times, and it's a place that I definitely wouldn't mind living in again, if it weren't for those insane real-estate prices.
Here's a few of my favorite things to see if it's your first time in Vancouver!
Okay, so technically White Rock is it's own place, but I kinda always consider it part of Vancouver because it's not very far. It's full of hills and these big, beautiful homes that line this quiet little part of the ocean. It can be pretty busy, but still feels like this hidden little part of the world. You can take a picture next to the actual White Rock, and make sure to try some of the ice cream from the place right across from the pier.
I definitely recommend sunset as the best time to go. There's just something about watching the sunset from the pier and being by the water.
Capilano Suspension Bridge has always been one of the "Things to Do" in VanCity, but it used to only be a bridge. Now there's a few other activities to do, and it's actually really, really cool. The bridge was originally built in 1889 and was a traditional rope suspension bridge, but it was replaced with a cable version in 1903.
After crossing the bridge, you can also go on the Treetops Adventure - a series of platforms in the trees connected by smaller rope bridges- or the Cliffwalk - basically a walk on platforms along the cliff where parts of it are only glass.
It's a little day trip, and the whole area of Capilano is gorgeous. It's busiest during the summer, but the mornings are always pretty slow, so if you're not one for crowds then I'd recommend making it going earlier rather than later.
Just like my Instagram caption says, I have so many wonderful memories here. My dad used to work right across the street, and my mom would bring me and my sister to visit him for lunch occasionally. A picture that has been hanging on my family's wall for years was taken at a studio here, and my mom used to take us to the coolest toy store that is still just as awesome as it was when I was nine.
Granville is pretty awesome even if you don't have the sentimental memories. The market alone is fantastic. The views are gorgeous, and the street entertainment is probably the best in Vancouver. It's basically a bunch of street performances, fresh and local food and products, and lots of fantastic little indie shops. And it's all next to the marina and boasts a beautiful lunch view. It's one of my favorite places to visit for food and finding unique shopping. Definitely check it out, but make sure you grab food early if you're planning lunch - the lines get long from tourists and locals alike pretty quickly. Thankfully, there's basically endless options. I personally recommend a salmon chowder pot pie, if you can find a place that doesn't have a line out the door!
Okay, so my only warning (as you can tell by the caption), is that you don't get lost. Gastown itself is amazing. It's full of some of the BEST restaurants ever - like, seriously amazing - it has a great history, feels like a whole different city, and has awesome shopping. It's kind of becoming the tech district of Vancouver, and it's also becoming the hipster part. But don't worry, it's still really cool.
The clock is what makes it famous. It's an old steam clock, which means it's powered by a steam engine. There are only a few in existence that still work, and you can find one of them in Gastown! In fact, of the few that are still around, three of them are in British Columbia. Fun fact. (There's also one at the Chelsea Farmer's Market in London, so check that out if you can!)
Two Places to Eat:
Meat & Bread - When meat and bread make up the name of your eatery, you better not disappoint in those categories. They definitely don't. Thankfully, there are three locations now, so you can get your meat and bread any time!
My Shanti - Located on the outskirts where I spent a few years of life, Surrey is known for its Indian culture and food. There are Indian restaurants EVERYWHERE. I can say from experience that My Shanti is awesome. Like, really awesome.
There's definitely a lot more I could suggest about Vancouver. Stanley Park, the Richmond Night Market - an experience which deserves its own essay - and the quick trip to Vancouver Island and Victoria are all other things that make it such a fantastic place to visit. You find this wonderful mix of a thriving, bustling city that has the most expensive real estate for a few provinces, but there's also these beautiful rocky or sandy beaches, a rain forest, and an island with a rich history and world famous gardens.
I might write about all those things and more later, but if I did it all now this wouldn't be such a mini guide any more.
I keep telling the hubs that it's one of the few places I could see myself living in, but it doesn't look like we'll be heading up permanently any time soon. But at least I still get to claim it as my roots and come back as often as I can.