Canada’s West Coast Hub
By David Burke / Images By Joern Rohde
For most first-time visitors, it takes at least a day to tour the downtown peninsula, sandwiched between Burrard Inlet to the north and False Creek to the south.
The 405-hectare (1,001-acre) Stanley Park, one of the world’s best-known urban green spaces, fills much of the peninsula’s western end. Here you’ll find several beaches, a stand of totems celebrating the vibrant cultures of British Columbia’s Native peoples (the three main groups are referred to by Canadians as First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and the popular Stanley Park Seawall cycling, walking/jogging path.
The pathway along False Creek, south of downtown, is a great place for a stroll or a jog. Near the southern shore of the waterway — it’s really an inlet, not a creek — is Granville Island, home of the Granville Island Market, Vancouver’s public market and meeting place, where you can browse among the market stalls and cafés, pick up that one-of-a-kind souvenir and meet the creators of unique arts and crafts in their shops and studios. For an update on what’s open in the market, visit granvilleisland.com.
At the eastern end of False Creek is a geodesic dome that houses Science World at Telus World of Science, a great place for the whole family. It includes interactive displays and demonstrations, larger-than-life Omnimax films showcasing the physical and natural world and galleries focusing on life sciences and the animal kingdom. Daily admissions are capped during COVID, with timed ticket entry to ensure visitors’ safety.
Art lovers will find numerous galleries downtown. The Vancouver Art Gallery is home to both permanent and visiting exhibitions of great art. Advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged (vanartgallery.bc.ca). Nearby is the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, which includes a collection of creations by Reid, who is best known for his two- and three-dimensional depictions of Haida legends (billreidgallery.ca). Those with a keen interest in local art and culture should visit the Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus, at the western end of the city. Reid’s famed sculpture “The Raven and the First Men” is among the great works housed here. See moa.ubc.ca.
Vancouver Art Gallery
For plant lovers, the UBC Botanical Garden includes the Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese garden dedicated to the memory of Dr. Inazo Nitobe, whose wish was to foster world peace. The Botanical Garden is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; visitors must pre-book entry times at (botanicalgarden.ubc.ca). South of the downtown core you’ll find the VanDusen Botanical Garden, a 22-hectare (54-acre) paradise of gardens, forests, ponds and even a hedge maze. Book tickets and entry times at (vandusengarden.org). In Queen Elizabeth Park, the Bloedel Conservatory houses a lush tropical forest complete with abundant bird life under a climate-controlled, translucent dome. Open daily, but tickets and 45-minute time slots must be booked in advance at vancouver.ca.
For information to help you plan your visit to Vancouver, call the Visitor Centre at 604-683-2000, email email@example.com, or visit tourismvancouver.com.
Queen Elizabeth Park
UBC Botanical Gardens
Museum of Anthropology