Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

                                                         Canada Place Cruise Terminal

April 25, 2010

This was our first opportunity to see Vancouver as more than a transit from ship to airport.  Our day started out with overcast, which became light rain as our tour started.  The view from the ship was beautiful.  The cruise terminal is designed to look like a ship in full sail, with ten points to represent the ten provinces of Canada.  Everything looks very clean and neat around the passenger harbor and throughout the city.  

When our tour started we were missing two people, and after we had been driving around the city for almost half an hour we were called back to the terminal to pick up the last two passengers.  The setup for this tour was different, as the driver was also the tour guide.  The guide’s name was Don Johnson; he was almost certainly the same driver who had taken Susan to the airport three years prior.  He is very knowledgeable, has intelligible speech, a good sense of humor, and knows how to show his tour groups a good time. (He also knows how to get them in trouble.  At the end of the tour he recommended a chocolate shop that we sought out and spent money in.)

The primary attraction on our tour was the Capilano suspension bridge.  The bridge is 450 feet long and is suspended 70 meters or 230 feet above the Capilano Gorge.  This view of the bridge is taken from the far side looking back toward the beginning.  The next photo is of the tree-top adventure, a series of platforms built around huge trees that is connected by narrow suspension bridges.  The last photo in this series should give an idea of how high the bridge actually is above the river.  Susan was initially afraid to cross the bridge but did make it across easily, which is good because contrary to what some of the advertising said, one had to cross the bridge to get to the treetop adventure area.  The park is beautiful and well worth a visit if you are in Vancouver.  The weather was kind to us - the rain quit as we started across the bridge.

The other place we took some time at was Stanley Park, a huge park in the middle of the city that has a walkway around the perimeter of the park, which is about 6.5 miles long.  The trails throughout the park total something like 27 miles in length.  

We stopped at the area with the totem poles while it was still raining.  From there we headed to the bridge, and after that came back to Stanley Park, to the Prospect Point lookout.  The lookout is built in an area where the forest was destroyed by a series of wind storms, which are an unusual occurrence for Vancouver.  The lookout is right next to the Lions Gate bridge, the featured photo below.  The lions are wearing Canucks jerseys because that team is in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

Our tour then took us through Chinatown, which is the second largest Chinatown in North America, after San Francisco.  We also went through the west end of town, the east end which is the poorest section, and Gastown, where the famous steam clock is located.  

Our find for the day was the Steamworks Brewing Co., which has really nice beer, even though it is on the low end for alcohol content, which dilutes the flavor somewhat.  We just had some dip and chips with our beer as we had eaten ice cream that our tour guide recommended when we were at the Prospect Point lookout.

The city of Vancouver has by-laws that require buildings in the downtown area to have landscaping in front of the buildings and roof gardens, to make the city more livable.  We saw it on a Sunday, so it was probably a lot quieter than it is on weekdays.  The requirement for landscaping along with interesting architecture and the cleanliness of the city make it very livable.  There is a wide mix of architecture from several eras.  There is much history here, which is commemorated with monuments, like the one for the Chinese railroad workers here near the Chinese Cultural Center.  Of course they have leftovers from when they hosted the winter Olympics this year.  We saw the torch, the arena with its inflatable roof, and the Olympic village.

There is so much to see here that one can hardly even scratch the surface of the attractions in a four hour tour.  Vancouver is definitely worth a return visit.

                                              Lions Gate Bridge (Lions in Canucks Jerseys for the playoffs)

© Susan L. Stone 2015