If you haven’t already, please check out our previous pitstop before Vancouver – Whistler here.
- The Shannon Falls
- Sea To Sky Highway
- Vancouver City
- Fly Over Canada
- The Butchart Garden
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Stanley Park
The Journey :
We left from Whistler and set out for Vancouver. This time we took a stop to visit The Shannon Falls. This fall is quite high. The lower side to the fall is on ground level, and one can hike all the way to the top of the fall, or take a Gondola all the way to the top. We did not have a lot of time on our hands and did not go to the top.
After resuming our journey, we set out on our way to Vancouver via the famous ‘Sea To Sky Highway’. This route has the blue sea on its right, then a small hill where lies the road, and immediately big mountains to the left of the road. So while watching it from a boat or ship, it seems one can start their climb from the sea on to the hills and make their way to the heavens via the mountains. Hence the name.
Vancouver has a total population of about 7-8 lakh people and is divided into 5 parts : Downtown, Surry, North Vancouver, Richmond and the West Vancouver. The Western region is meant mainly only for powerful government officials, politicians and VIPs we were told.
The local transport includes taxis, electrical buses and trains. The electrical bus run with a wire connected above like trams and the routes are divided into zones. Zone 1 has a cost of 2.75 CAD for 2 hours, unlimited transits within that time. Zone 1 and 2 at 4CAD and Zone 1,2 and 3 at 5.5 CAD. And on public holidays and weekends, it’s 2.75CAD flat. The taxis start at 3.20 CAD. One thing to note is that although traveling is cheaper, the wait time is too high. Asking a cab to wait for 5 minutes may cost you more than the ride itself. Ideally it’s recommended you give that cab up and take another one. But if you’re not so lucky, you won’t find another one for sometime. Every cab is a 4 seater by compulsion and the bigger cabs have a wheelchair access too.
One thing about Vancouver is that there are nearly three of every big hotel here. Three Fairmonts, one in downtown, other on the waterfront and the third near the airport. Hyatt, Four Seasons, etc follow a similar trend.
One thing about Vancouver (and this is a very personal opinion) is it seemed very similar to Chicago. If someone were to drop me in the middle of Vancouver and say it’s Chicago I’d believe them until I see some details that suggest otherwise. I can’t really put a finger on why I felt it was similar, but if you feel the same way, do hit me up!
Unlike the other previous places on our trip so far, Vancouver has a lot to offer in terms of shopping. The Robson street has the best brands and shops, of which majority have discounts going on this time of the year (June – July). One can also find cool stores on Burrard Street or any other cross street around Robson. There’s also an outlet mall near the airport which is said to be good, although that’s word of mouth and I avoided going there when I had the chance to just explore the city.
Fly Over Canada
FlyOver Canada utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-meter spherical screen while a film will be played. The film manages to whisk you away on an exhilarating 8-minute journey across Canada, from east to west. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience.
It is important to note there are specific show timings, although they range throughout the day. One can also buy tickets online, in advance. It usually has a queue too. So spare about an hour or so for the experience.
It is located in the downtown area, by the pier. And piers have always been wonderful places to walk, or sit and enjoy some food with wonderful cold winds and a view of the sea. You can also see the cruises getting docked, people and goods entering in and getting out.
The Butchart Garden
This is a very famous tourist spot near Victoria, on Vancouver Island. The garden has been designated a National Historic Place of Canada. The park is huge, and has over a million visitors each year. If visiting from Canada, one can take a ferry. Don’t worry about your vehicle, as an additional ticket will allow you to take your vehicle along in the ferry. The ferry is scenic, although time consuming. One can also hire a small sea plane or speedboat from the harbor.
It plays host to hundred and thousands of flowers, plants and birds; of all colors, shapes and sizes. It has various activities inside for kids and food stalls too. One can also spot a small pond with a beautifully dancing fountain. The ideal time to visit is between May and August. However, May and August being extremes. A lot of variety of roses and flowers do not bloom completely until June, and start to wither by August as winter starts setting in.
Capilano Suspense Bridge
One of the most famous places to visit in Vancouver is the Capilano. That’s somewhat a garden or a museum or a small natural wildlife park in itself. It has six activities that include a Suspension Bridge over the river, Suspension Bridges connecting trees, Two Small Trails, She Cliffwalk, Story Centre and The Merchandise Shop. One can find a lot of varied vegetation inside, a treat for people who love forests and vegetation. The suspension bridges are fun to walk on and quite unique.
Capilano Suspension Bridge crosses to towering evergreens, cedar-scented rainforest air and Treetops Adventure, 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along Capilano River with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms and only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure!
This heart-stopping cliffside journey takes you through rainforest vegetation on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River to previously unexplored areas of the park. Not for the faint of heart, it is high and narrow and, in some sections, open grated walkways is all that separates guests from the canyon far below.
Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the urban landscape of Vancouver. It is 405-hectare natural West Coast rainforest and enjoys scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along Stanley Park’s famous Seawall. Discover kilometres of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great eats, natural, cultural and historical landmarks, along with many other adventures. The park offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for all ages and interests, including Canada’s largest aquarium.
Designed and engineered in such a way that the steam accumulates and blows sharply every hour, and the whistles last for a whole 10 seconds. Gastown’s most famous landmark is the steam-powered clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. It was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver’s distributed steam heating system, as a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather. One can also find a lot of Gift Shops around this area and the Maple Syrup being a favorite amongst the tourists.
Ps. Stay tuned to find out about our experience on The Alaskan Cruises.