Vancouver livable and lovable

Vancouver, that city of 2.6 million in British Columbia, has been named as the world’s most liveable city.  If it only had good weather, just imagine how much even more liveable it would be.

Ideally perched between the mountains and the sea, Vancouver does deserve its mantle as one of the world’s most attractive cities.  Yet, for a city with such a fine reputation, it is only quite young, for it only officially came into existence in 1886.

The city is basically divided into three sections: Downtown, which includes West End, Coal Harbour, Yaletown, Gastown, Chinatown and Stanley Park. It is also home to four beaches – Sunset Beach, English Bay, Second Beach, and Third Beach.  Westside comprises Kitsilano,  South Granville, UBC and South Vancouver, with the third section being East Van, South Main and Punjabi Market (yes, there is a big Indian population there).

Stanley Park in West End is one of North America’s largest urban parks, containing over 1,000 acres of forested land.  The park is surrounded in its entirety by a 9km paved path called the seawall; a great place for rollerblading, cycling, jogging or just taking a pleasant walk. There is also hundreds of kilometres of inland trails crisscrossing the park in every direction.  At the east end of Stanley Park you will find the excellent Vancouver Aquarium, which has a salmon breeding program.  If you hear a loud noise at night, it could be the Nine O’clock Gun, so named because it is fired at 9pm each evening.

Robson, Denman and Davie Streets form the entertainment heart of Vancouver and a full of interesting bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.  Robson also has a reputation for being a very fine shopping street.  Also renowned for its shopping is Metropolis at Metrotown. With 450 stores, Metropolis at Metrotown is British Columbia’s largest shopping destination. It’s a destination in itself with must see attractions, world class restaurants, theatres and two indoor courtyards.    

Another park worth visiting is Van Dusen Botanical Garden which is a living museum of plant collections from around the world; this spectacular 55-acre botanical garden is beautiful in every season. Highlights: Spring – Rhododendron and Laburnum Walks, ornamental cherry trees; Summer – Perennial and Water Lily Gardens; Autumn – brilliant autumn colour display; Winter – witchhazels, viburnums, hellebores. The Garden is also home to 65 species of birds.

Of course, as we saw when Vancouver hosted the 2110 Winter Olympics, Just outside of Vancouver are some excellent ski resorts, which include Grouse Mountain, only 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver across the Lions gate Bridge; Cypress Mountain, only 30 minutes from downtown which provides skiers, riders and sliders with the most vertical drop, most terrain, most lifts and best snow conditions on the highest skiing and riding peak of Vancouver’s Legendary North Shore Mountains. Cypress Mountain has a mere 51 ski runs!

Mount Seymour is located in North Vancouver where the winter park caters for family fun tobogganing and snow tubing, over 10km of marked and maintained snowshoe trails, and instant access, via four lifts, to over 23 downhill ski and snowboard runs of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. Mount Seymour is also home to its renowned terrain parks, Northlands, Young Guns and Mushroom Terrain Parks, boasting over forty snow, rail and box features from small to x-large, as well as a half pipe.

Finally, Whistler is internationally known as one of the leading ski resorts in the world. Whistler Resort offers all the services of a cosmopolitan city, while feeling like a true mountain getaway, including 115 hotels, condos, bed & breakfasts, with more than 5,202 rooms; 93 restaurants, bars and lounges; 207 retail shops; banking/foreign exchange and Interac banking machines; church services, medical and dental clinics; physiotherapy and massage therapy; office services; public library; museum; movie theatre and video rentals; health and fitness centres; swimming pool; ice rink; indoor tennis courts; spa facilities and beauty salons.

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