Surrounded by mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that vibrant Vancouver makes the most of the great outdoors. With beautiful beaches and exciting ski slopes on its doorstep, this is an energetic city that lives life to the full.
What to see and do
The 1,000-acre Stanley Park is the largest urban park in North America. It includes forest, a collection of totem poles, and a six-mile sea wall that is popular with walkers and cyclists.
Get a bird’s eye view of the lush countryside around Vancouver from the Capilano (c) Suspension Bridge, which spans a 230-feet deep canyon. A series of seven suspended walkways near the bridge also allows visitors to get close up to the tree canopy.
Take a cable car to the 4,000-feet summit of Grouse Mountain. A ski area in winter, major attractions in summer include hiking trails, lumberjack shows, and a wildlife refuge for grizzly bears and grey wolves.
Where to eat
Voya (c) at the swish Loden Hotel (www.theloden.com) is one of the city’s top spots for fine dining. The menu at this elegant eatery specialises in global cuisine.
Blue Water Cafe (www.bluewatercafe.net) in trendy Yaletown was named Vancouver’s restaurant of the year in 2010. The restaurant is renowned for its seafood. It also has a raw bar serving sushi and sashimi.
Sun Sui Wah (c) (www.sunsuiwah.com) has a loyal following among Vancouver’s large Chinese community. Specialities include dim sum and delicacies such as roasted squab (pigeon).
Where to drink
Bacchus Lounge is a sophisticated piano bar at the Wedgewood Hotel (www.wedgewoodhotel.com), a luxury boutique property in downtown Vancouver. Dark-wood decor and plush red banquettes add to the elegance.
Irish Heather (www.irishheather.com) in the Gastown district is an old-school Irish bar, complete with oak-panelled snugs. The tiny Shebeen Whiskey House in a courtyard behind the bar claims to stock the biggest whiskey selection in British Columbia.
Steamworks (www.steamworks.com) is one of Vancouver’s most popular microbreweries. The lip-smacking selection includes lager, pale ale and stout.
Where to stay
The luxury Fairmont Pacific Rim (www.fairmont.com/pacificrim) was among a range of accommodation to open in time for the Winter Olympics. The light and airy hotel offers spectacular views of the harbour and mountains.
Another new property, the four-star Coast Coal Harbour (www.coasthotels.com), is just one block from the waterfront. The 220-room hotel is furnished in chic, retro style.
The Pinnacle at the Pier hotel (www.pinnaclepierhotel.com) in North Vancouver is within easy reach of attractions such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. The 106-room, boutique-style property has great views of the downtown skyline.