Vancouver is British Columbia’s biggest city.
It’s the gateway to the glaciers of Alaska, the wilderness of Western Canada andthe slopes of Whistler, and it’s also one of the world’smost desirable places to live.
Wherever you roam in Vancouver, the salty sea breeze carries the fresh scentsof the forest and the promise of adventure.
It’s welcoming neighborhoods are filledwith the aromas of incredible cuisines, roasting coffee beans, brewer’s hops, and all the urban delights you’d expectfrom city which is regularly voted, “the World's most livable”.
The secret to Vancouver’s success is that it has always been developedwith livability in mind.
Ever since European settlement only 150 years ago, the people of Vancouver have protected the rivers, coastline and forest, maintaining the perfect balance between natureand the built environment.
And there’s no finer example than the city’spride and joy, Stanley Park, which dates all the way back to 1886.
Because Stanley Park spans more thana thousand acres, you can return over and over againand always discover something new.
To get to the park, simply cycle or walk along the century-old Seawallfrom the nearby downtown area.
The wall not only keeps the sea at bay, but ensures Vancouver’s waterfront is accessibleto everyone.
Water has always played a major rolein this port and river city.
Watch ships come and go from Brockton Point, where a lighthouse marks the easternmost tipof Stanley Park, or from the viewing platform at Prospect Point, on the park’s northern tip.
The coastal First Nations people are seafarers too, having paddled to these misty shoresover 17, 000 years ago.
In the Museum of Anthropology at theUniversity of British Columbia, totems and sculptures depict the rich mythologiesof the Haida people and the other indigenous tribes of the Northwest Coast.
The modern city takes its name from theBritish navigator George Vancouver, who landed here in 1792.
The original settlement, however, was called “Gastown”.
In 1867 Gassy Jack, a sailor and renowned storyteller, convinced local timber cutters to build hima saloon in exchange for all the whiskythey could drink in one sitting.
No one knows who got the best end of the deal, but a tavern was quickly erectedand a town was born.
Gassy Jack and his makeshift pub may be long gone, but in the historic neighborhood of Gastown, his spirit lingers on, in the good company, the hearty food and in the vapors that risefrom the city’s iconic Steam Clock.
Vancouver’s early history continues at nearbyWaterfront Station, the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The railway’s construction broughtChinese workers by the thousands, whose descendants have enriched Vancouverever since.
Experience this interweaving of cultures at the Dr.
Sun Yat-Sen Park andClassical Chinese Garden, the first garden of its kind createdoutside of China.
And in Vancouver’s Chinatown, where the fusing of Oriental flavors withfresh local seafood has helped earn the city the title, “the Culinary Capital of Canada”.
Back in Downtown, admire yet another of the city’s iconic landmarks, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
Opening in 1939, this Castle in the City, became a reflection of the city’s growing prestigeand confidence.
Just a short stroll away, is Canada Place, where cruise ship travelers from all overthe globe arrive to explore the city, or embark on epic voyages to Alaska.
If you’re visiting Vancouverwith younger adventurers, they’ll find plenty to discover at Science World.
And at the Vancouver Aquarium, little Jacques Cousteaus can meet the cold-watercreatures of the British Columbian coast, or simply watch in awe as tropical speciesglide on by.
After visiting Vancouver’s central highlights, explore the city’s south side.
Ride the ferry or aquabus across False Creekto Granville Island.
Stock up on provisions and delicious treatsat the famous Granville Island Public Market, then, sample a few craft ales at GranvilleIsland Brewing.
From Granville Island, head south to Queen Elizabeth Park onLittle Mountain, the city’s highest peak.
Once scarred by quarries, the city transformed these former gravel pitsinto a stunning network of gardens, creating a peaceful oasis high above the city.
After you’ve breathed in the views, check out the Bloedel Conservatory, a lush greenhouse filled with some of Vancouver’smost colorful residents.
When it’s time to answer the call of the wild, cross the Lions Gate Bridge, named after the nearby twin peakswhich loom over the city.
The North Shore Mountain range is dissectedby three deep valleys.
It’s a wilderness where bears roam, and salmon-filled rivers flow through old-growth forests.
Cross the 450 foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge, which has been testing the nerves of visitorsfor over 125 years.
Then take a Treetops Adventure, high above the rainforest floor.
For a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver, head to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Or to go even higher, climb into the viewing pod of The Eye of the Wind, the mountain’s landmark wind turbine.
Vancouver offers extraordinary outdoor experiencesand mind-blowing vistas, all within its city limits, but venture a little further and you’ll arriveat a whole other level of awesomeness.
Less than a two-hour drive from the city is the world-renowned mountain village of Whistler.
This adventure playground is simply magicall year round, but when the season’s first snows come whirling down, it transforms into a wonderland.
Hit the slopes of the Whistler Blackcomb Resort, the largest ski resort in North America.
The beautifully connected runs herecater to all skill levels and attract elite skiers and beginners fromall over the globe.
And while you could drive to back to Vancouverthe same day, why not put the world on hold for a few nights, warm yourself by a fire, and enjoy some of Canada’s finest hospitality.
Vancouver is and always has been, a city connected with nature and adventure, it beckons from the breeze, the waters, the mountains, her very street corners.
So whether your idea of living, is testing yourself in the wilds, or adventures of a more urban kind, you’ll feel perfectly at home, and alive, in Vancouver.