The west coast city of Vancouver is where your Canadian adventure truly starts. Its green spaces, beach shores and historic architecture create a hub that's all eclectic shops, sensational art galleries, trendy streets and cosy forest trails, all framed by snow-capped, steely mountains and the glorious views we've come to expect of Canada.
Much of Vancouver’s allure lies in its old-age buildings and innovative architecture, from the iconic wonder of Canada Place to dynamic Gastown’s streets peppered with 19th century buildings, unique art galleries and boutiques. Over in the West End, public art and sculptures dot colourful streets, while historic Yaletown is all charm, with charming shops and buzzy bars lining picturesque oceanfront walkways.
Vancouver's population is sparklingly diverse, reflected in its endlessly varied food and drinks scene, from street food to restaurants even impressive to the most seasoned culinary connoisseur. Don't miss the, perhaps surprisingly, excellent Japanese eateries and trendy coffee shops of Gastown before checking out Granville Market, where fresh produce and local wines are showcased in a sprawling indoor fair.
But it’s Vancouver’s outdoors that really shines. It’s been mentioned many a time, but there's certainly a unique beauty in being able to ski in the morning and sail in the afternoon. Not merely satisfied with the mountains that lie moments outside the city, Vancouver is also filled with forest trails and gardens, particularly beautiful between March and April when the city blooms in cherry blossoms. There's also the serene Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the third largest outside of China, and Stanley Park, which plays host to acres of water-lined greenery and forest. The Capilano Suspension Bridge, the world's longest and highest of its kind, is a wonderful way to absorb the surrounding woodland and waterfalls, or the craggy rocks of Lighthouse Park provide a gorgeously scenic place to while away the hours. Vancouver also acts as a starting point for tours to the surrounding archipelago, including the national parks of the Sunshine Coast and wonderful whale watching opportunities of Vancouver Island.