Is Vancouver, British Columbia the best place on earth? Absolutely: It says so right on the residents’ license plates! And it’s not just a slogan, it’s the truth.
Vancouver is a city of astonishing geography: Snow-capped mountains. Stunning gorges. Dappled ocean. Mighty pines and ancient cedars that anchor awe-inspiring rainforests. All of this natural beauty has become the window dressing for a city that itself boasts a spectacular array of architecture, culture, entertainment, and recreation.
Vancouver is home to the BC Lions in the CFL, Vancouver Canucks in the NHL, Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 1986 World Exposition. In 2015, the City will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup!
A mild climate all year round also makes Vancouver a Mecca for those who like to experience their recreation first-hand. Golf, hiking, skiing & boarding, cycling & blading, swimming, triathlon, scuba & snorkelling, rock climbing, beach combing, rafting, geocaching…. Too much physical exertion? How about a leisurely stroll along the 22-kilometre long seawall that rings the waterfront all the way from Stanley Park to False Creek. (And while the City doesn’t like to brag, it does like to point out that Stanley Park is more than 10% larger than New York’s Central Park.)
Vancouver is a city bursting with galleries, festivals, first nations heritage, the highest of the high-end shops and brands, and the bargains to end all bargains (a quick jaunt over the US border will take you to the land of factory outlet malls). Bard on the Beach. The Capilano Salmon Hatchery. The gruelling Grouse Grind. Wreck Beach (yes, Vancouver’s infamous nude beach). Playland Amusement Park. Richmond Night Market. And every summer, an international fireworks competition that lights up the water of English Bay.
With its superb public transit system, you can travel in scenic comfort above the traffic on SkyTrain, the city’s almost 70 km long elevated monorail.
And it doesn’t hurt that Vancouver is less than 2 hours from Whistler (along the aptly named and stunningly beautiful Sea to Sky Highway), Victoria and the majesty of Vancouver Island, and the tiny, eclectic Gulf Islands.
As you would expect in a city as rich and diverse as Vancouver, your accommodations and vacation rental options are limited only by your imagination (and your budget). You’ll find luxury vacation homes, condos, and villas to suit every traveller. Not to mention more tasty microbrews, creative food, live music, theatre, and comedy than you can shake a totem pole at.
Insiders tip: If you can, plan to visit Vancouver during the Pacific National Exhibition (third week of August through Labour Day). The PNE is a modern take on a country fair with rides, food, concerts, shows, agricultural exhibitions and demonstrations, and of course carnival games and once-a-year treats like deep fried Mars bars!