Travel to Canada

Day 11 Vancouver

Vancouver: Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, but the city that stands on the west coast is Vancouver. We started visiting the city for its emblematic district, Gastown. Located on the banks of the Burrard canal and lying between Columbia Street, at the east, and Burrard Street, in the west. The neighborhood grew up around the saloon which opened in 1867 Gassy Jack Deighton, whose statue stands in Maple Tree Square.

Vancouver - Canada Place

Vancouver - Canada Place

Today, Gastown is a mix of cobblestone streets, restored buildings and warehouses. The Powell, Carrall and Cordova Streets are flanked by elegant shops and galleries, while the old stables, the courtyards and alleys are full of restaurants and cafes. A very popular cafe occupies the site of the first prison in the city. We can also find several theaters and hotels. In the corner of Water and Cambie streets you can hear the whistle of a steam clock every quarter hour. Samples of the growing prosperity of the city can be seen in luxury hotels in the downtown, especially the Waterfront Center Hotel and the Pan-Pacific Vancouver Hotel. Next to this hotel is the arquitectonic complex Canada Place, which was the Canada Pavilion at Expo 1986, which commemorated the centenary of the city of Vancouver.

Vancouver - Gastown Steam Clock

Vancouver - Gastown Steam Clock

The exterior of Canada Place mimics a clipper that departs from the port, like the Sydney Opera House or Rockefeller Center, and his wavy white vaults have become the symbol of the city and its residents. In Canada Place now is the maritime station where part most cruises to Alaska. Other attractions of the waterfront are the SeaBus (a catamaran that carries passengers across the Burrard channel) and the Harbour Centre Tower, which has an observatory overlooking the city (and Vancouver Island on a clear day) and that is accessed via a glass elevator.

Vancouver - Gassy Jack statue in Gastown

Vancouver - Gassy Jack statue in Gastown

Chinatown, where they live most of the 370,000 orientals living in Vancouver, is older than the city itself. A first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in 1858 with the hope of finding gold, and the second in 1880 as labor for the construction of the new railway Canadian Pacific Railroad. Declared as historic district in 1970 Pender Street stands to appreciate the architectural details that adorn the upper floors of buildings, and its painted wooden decks. The star of the neighborhood are the restaurants where food is served in the dim sum style. There are a variety of shops, from bakeries that offer up sweet and savory pastries, traditional herbalists and specialists in jade jewelry. The neighborhood also has several very quiet teahouses.

Vancouver - Triangular Building in Gastown

Vancouver - Triangular Building in Gastown

In this neighborhood we can also find Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, opened in 1986 on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition. This recreation of a garden of Ming Dynasty 800 years ago offers a haven in the bustling city center. It owes its former tranquility to Taoist principles, intended to strike a balance between the opposing forces of man and nature. The pavilions and covered walkways were built with materials from China, including baked artisan tiles and gravel for the playground.

Vancouver - Chinatown

Vancouver - Chinatown

After visiting the downtown, we go to Stanley Park, a recreational area of 400 hectares of woodland and gardens. This park dedicated to Lord Stanley was originally the territory of the Squamish and Musqueam natives. There is a 10 km road that runs along the perimeter of the park (with different viewpoints to the sea, the different ports and the Lions Gate Bridge). This same road provides access to the three beaches located within the park. Other park attractions are its mini golf, a children´s farm, the Miniature Railway, an open air exposure of totems and especially the aquarium (Vancouver Aquarium), the third largest in North America. Also worth a stroll along the many trails (on foot or bike) in the park, such as Beaver Lake.

Vancouver - Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

Vancouver - Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

Another tourist attraction in the downtown is the Science World, the science museum in Vancouver, with a steel geodesic dome 47 meters high. The museum is famous for its Omnimax theater. Nearby is the BC Place Stadium, noted for its white domed roof. When it opened in 1983 was the first covered stadium in Canada and the dome supported by air largest of the World. You can also visit the Vancouver Art Gallery.