With everything from whale-watching to markets on offer, it's easy to see why Vancouver has been named one of the world's most liveable cities.
Everything from whales to markets is on offer.
Recently voted the third most liveable city in the world — behind Melbourne and Vienna — Vancouver, in British Columbia, is a visitor's dream. Mountains, ocean, parks and an enviable cultural scene mean you'll never be short of things to discover. Here are some tips to make the most of your time in this exciting Canadian city.
Although you've probably just spent more than 14 hours in a plane, FlyOver Canada is a wonderful way to get an overview of your destination. Soar over some of Canada's spectacular sights on this virtual ride, that sees you "take off" into a huge domed screen before making it feel like you are flying across the country. The motion seating and special effects, including wind, smell and mist, combine to make you feel as if you truly are soaring high.
Now you have the lie of the land, why not head to the ocean? Each year from March to October, thousands of whales migrate through the waters near Vancouver, making it one of the world's best locations for whale-watching. Tours offer whale-watching excursions around the Gulf and San Juan Islands, where you can spot pods of whales from high-speed boats, kayaks or even seaplanes.
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Shop 'til you drop
Bring an extra suitcase, because Vancouver is definitely the place to fill it. There
are boutiques in Yaletown and Gastown for one-of-a-kind creations, international fashion brands on Robson St and high-end designers at Holt Renfrew. The Bay shopping centre is an attraction in itself and Alberni St is Vancouver's version of Rodeo Drive. Yogis, West 4th Ave is the original home of Lululemon, South Granville is the place to go for homewares and art, and try Chinatown for its wonderful antiques.
If you wander down South Main St, you will come across this six-block pocket that has become known as Vancouver's Little India. With elaborate fabrics, jewellery boutiques, fresh produce and, of course, food, the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures is a treasure.
See and be seen
They call Vancouver "Hollywood North" and it's easy to see why — so many movies and TV shows are filmed here, it's not uncommon to bump into celebrities on the street. To double your chances of rubbing shoulders with Tinseltown royalty, perhaps it's time to make a reservation for dinner and drinks at well-known hot spots like Blue Water Cafe, Tojo's, West Restaurant and the Opus Hotel. Oh, and the British Columbia Film Commission offers a comprehensive list of productions in the area, so you know just who you're looking for.