Vancouver BC

Vancouver, British Columbia is a pedestrian’s dream city.  Walkers, joggers, cyclists, roller skaters  all share the extensive well paved trails throughout this coastal city. The beautiful Stanley Park  consists of 1000 acres of trees, beaches, play and picnic areas, a huge seaside swimming pool and a 5.5 mile walk-or-bike seawall path with mountain, water, and city vistas.

On my recent 3 day weekend visit we started each morning out with a brisk walk on the Stanley Park seawall.  Sea lions bobbed in the water, pleasure boats and freighters dotted the seascape, while the heavily wooded park on the interior of the seawall, offered facilities for outdoor pleasures. A visit to Granville Island  (via water taxi or bridge) is a must, to enjoy the bustling Public Market, where local food vendors and artisans peddle their wares.   Granville Island is also home to an array of arts-and-crafts studios and galleries dedicated to local and regional work….’the broom’ shop was rather unique I thought, as was the ‘ wooden boat maker’s’ shop, just to mention a few.

We discovered that 3 days was barely enough time to take in the central city sights, including the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center, the outstanding Museum of Anthropology, the Art Museum.  Grouse Mountain, close to town, offers skiing or hiking, depending on the season, and breathtaking aerial tram rides.  And Whistler Resort is about 2 hours north of Vancouver and well worth an overnight visit or a world class ski holiday.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel was the ideal place to stay.  Aside from the fabulous personal service, the hotel offers stunning views of the harbor and Stanley Park with the North Shore Mountains as the backdrop. Canada Place is very near, which is the city’s modern and eye-appealing convention center and cruise-ship terminal.    The Fairmont Gold guest rooms occupy the 20th and 21st floors and have a large welcoming living room and lounge with a furnished terrace offering again, the incredible views of the harbor, city, and mountains….not to mention the Olympic Torch built for the 2010 Winter games.

Anyone coming in or out of Vancouver to cruise Alaska should take a few extra days to take in the pleasures of Vancouver BC.

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