Sunday, December 11, 2016

Western Canada Diaries - 19. Vancouver's Highlights

[ Continued from Part 18 - Vancouver's Stanley Park  ]

Vancouver is a city where many people spend as much as a week to truly discover the city. We had three nights, and the city can be quite expensive. In fact, Vancouver had one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. It's also quite popular with Chinese visitors from across the Pacific ocean, and is often called Canada's gateway to Asia.

We had already visited Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park. Here's a few other highlights from the city. Vancouver was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and who can forget this cauldron.

We took a lot of pictures here, and the weather was quite sunny. So as soon as I decided I need some pictures without any one in it FOR THE BLOG, it became quite gloomy! Then, as soon as we walked away, it became sunny again!

They also have this structure nearby which I presume had something to do with the Olympics as well.

Nearby to the Olympic Cauldron is Canada Place. You will see the pictures of Canada Place in any background shot of Vancouver.

There's tons of restaurants here (even a couple of halal ones). The views across the harbor are also mindblowing. You see the full range of Vancouver's natural beauty - mountains, the ocean, and greenery.

This is also the location for Harbor Air, the airlines that you can take if you want to fly to Victoria. This is the very same flights used during the 2016 Royal Visit.

Following our visit to Canada Place, we made a quick jaunt to Gastown. This area of Vancouver is also known as Terminal City, since this was the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The most famous landmark of Gastown, other than the shops, streets, boutiques, restaurants is the Vancouver Steam Clock.

The Gastown steam clock is a rare breed of steam clocks around the world that is powered by steam and has whistles. It also has a colourful history.

On our last day here, we visited Granville Island Public Market.

Now this is diametrically opposite on the map compared to Canada Place, but the main island of Vancouver isn't that big and it only took us 10 minutes to drive.

There are many ways to get to the market and one of the touristy things to do is to take a water taxi from across the harbor. However, with a big family and kids, it was just easier to drive to the place. We also got lucky that we found parking in a free parking lot.

It's a public market like many others across North America (such as Toronto's St. Lawrence market), but what sets Vancouver's apart is its focus on artists. Despite the usual market stuff such as fresh fruits, groceries, restaurants, eateries, etc. this market also houses a vibrant artist community.

There were so many stores selling art sculptures, paintings, handiwork, crafts, music and so on. I just sat down and listened to these girls sing delightfully in the public square. There seemed to be a vibe here that was unlike other public markets. It's a great way to spend an afternoon here, and don't forget to taste the food! The bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese is a must try here.

This was to be our last night in Vancouver. The next morning, we would set sail for Victoria. I really miss Vancouver - it's a fantastic city with beautiful people, scenery and a slower paced lifestyle. Not to forget a much warmer winter than the rest of Canada!


Salma said...

Looks like you fit in a lot of great things in your three days!

mezba said...

@Salma, Yup. The power of Excel spreadsheet and Tripadvisor!