A September 2002 trip
to Vancouver by C_Wheel
Quote: Vancouver is a beautiful city framed by ocean and mountains. Its a great place to start in Canada, as a gateway to further travels. But its also worth spending some time in the city itself - seeing the sights and using it as a base for various local attractions.
Hotel | "The Cambie (Seymour location)"
On the downside the hostel is pretty small and cramped, doesn’t have any organised activities and it''s not the easiest place to meet people - there’s no common room and only a small kitchen and TV room (you’ll need a $10 deposit for the remote control). While the location is very convenient, it''s also sandwiched between two very noisy late night bars, and in one of the rooms I stayed in, the window was broken and couldn’t be closed.
If you’re willing to overlook all of these points, the hostel is cheap and central.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 16, 2002
Cambie Hostel- Gastown
300 Cambie Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Restaurant | "F & M Pizza"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2002
F & M Pizza
Pendar and Seymour
Vancouver, British Columbia
Attraction | "Musuem of Anthropology"
The musuem concentrates on First Nation artifacts. The exhibitions are impressive, especially the mask collection but not particularly meaningful for the casual visitor. The collections aren’t very large and I’d reccommend going on a guided tour. The guides bring the artifacts to life and also tell about their relevance today as part of the First Nation's re-creation of their cultural identity.
There's also a collection of totem poles outside the musuem that’s worth wandering around.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 16, 2002
Museum of Anthropology at UBC
6393 North West Marine Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2
There are various attractions in the park - the Aquarium, Totem poles, the Lost Lagoon, various statues and sculptures. Most of all though, its nice to just for a wander around the park away from the city. You could easily spend an entire day just chilling out here - the park is pretty huge and you have a choice of walking through open fields, following the tree trails or the walkway along the coast.
The trail paths are marked but an overall map of Stanley Park would be useful if you’re just wandering about - there's a lot of space to cover.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 18, 2002
843 Avison Way
Vancouver, British Columbia V5K 1A1
Attraction | "Harbour Centre Tower"
Apart from this, it's a tower, go up and visit it if you want a good view of the city.
555 West Hastings
Vancouver, British Columbia
The Space Centre is actually part of a complex with the Vancouver museum, and you can get combined tickets to both. You also have a choice of tickets for the Space Centre, and these can include entry to the International Space Station display, the VR rides, the planetarium show, and the basic space exhibits.
The main exhibits were quite fun. Some were interactive, and most were aimed at children, of which there were hordes. Try to get to the planetarium show early to avoid the aforementioned kiddies. The show itself was quite interesting, focusing mostly on the development of astronomy for a change.
The VR trip to Mars involves you in a life-saving space mission as well as the special effects and the bumps.
I most enjoyed the International Space Station display, which included a life-size replica of the station and all its gadgets. At the time, the ISS was passing directly overhead Vancouver, and I was able to spot it in the night sky, which quite impressed me.
If you fancy a walk in Vanier Park afterwards, the park is pretty unexciting-- a flat stretch of green alongside the water--but there are a few picnic tables for a sunny day.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 29, 2002
HR Macmillan Space Centre
1100 Chestnut St
Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 3J9
+1 604 738 7827
This is actually one of the most enjoyable aquariums I've visited. It has a wide variety of displays that include the usual tanks of fish as well as turtles, octopus, seahorses, whales, and even a sloth in the rain-forest section. Check out the events board near the entrance--it lists various displays throughout the day, e.g., the penguin feeding times.
I went to the beluga whale talk, and seeing the new beluga baby and mother was one of the highlights of the day for me.
The aquarium has several tanks that allow you to view the mammals both under and above water--belugas, sea otters, and sea lions. The sea lion especially was quite incredible as it circled around its tank close to the viewing window.
The aquarium also has an open-air cafe that does basic sandwiches and junk food.
845 Avison Way
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3X8
Check out Gillian Wearing’s multimedia study of alcoholism, it includes several videos which are both painful and fascinating to watch. I also reccommend Paul Wong’s displays. Gender Studies explores contemporary sexuality via a number of video testimonies of people's own sexual experiences. More hard hitting were the series of photographs of Wong’s lover in the months before his suicide. Wong’s other exhibit Murder Reasearch documents the discovery of a body and the consequent investigation.
These exhibits weren’t exactly cheery viewing. Some of the images were painful, fascinating and stayed in my head. I really recommend visiting this gallery. And as an added (and cheerier) bonus, the cafe does good food, fairly reasonably priced with a little terrace for a sunny day.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 21, 2002
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St.
Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 2H7
Shops also line the main streets downtown. Granville St has the usual mix of clothes shops etc including a movie memorabilia store and a couple of cinemas. It degenerates into dodgier shops further away from downtown. Robson St has more upmarket shops including the MAC make up store and any number of little boutiques. Downtown Vancouver also has a huge Virgin Megastore on Burrard.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, try the arts and crafts shops on Granville Island. And if you’ve just gotta have that tacky souvenir, there’s no better place than Gastown - the challenge there is to find a shop that doesn’t sell souvenir junk. Chinatown is the other option for more oriental style souvenirs and also the place to pick up some authentic ethnic foodstuffs from the food shops.
The first warehouse/shop complex is aimed at children, lots of toyshops under the one roof. If you walk further in, past the carparks and odd workshop, you’ll come to the main art and craft complex which does have some very tempting bits and pieces. Nearby is a random sailing themed shopping complex.
If you’re at all hungry, in fact even if you’re not, visit Granville Public Market. It's huge and full of food of any and all description from fresh fruit or meat to cakes to ethnic food stands of whatever kind, it's likely to be here. I tried perogies, a Canadian speciality of pasta stuffed with mashed potatos and served with sour cream and fried onions. Mmmmn.
There are a couple of places to sit down at either end which fill up fast come lunchtime. In the summer take your feast outside by the water and try and block out the cheesey sounds of the buskers in the square.
Gastown does have a number of nice little coffee shops and restaurants to while away a few hours - although these are aimed at the tourist and the prices reflect that. If all the fakeness gets to you, walk a street or so down to the dodgy area bordering downtown and Gastown. This is not a good area to wander into.
The streets are lined with shops including some souvenir shops. But Chinatown, Vancouver seems mostly for the locals. The signs changed to Cantonese and if you're a westerner you will be in the minority on these streets. Most interesting are the food shops with tubs full of unfamiliar stuffs and worrying smells. This is definately the place to come for an authentic Chinese meal.
The gardens are a step away from the hustle on the streets. It's lovely and tranquil, although not particularly large. I'd recommend waiting for a guided tour to explain and appreciate the garden design (and complimentary chinese tea). Plants, tiles, rocks every little detail is laid according to the philosophy of Daoism. It's all pretty impressive not to mention beautiful. The other side of the garden doesn't look as pretty but is free to enter.
Note: There's a little shop selling various souvenirs including fingertraps - these do work. I asked the shop assistant to demonstrate it for me and she got it stuck on her finger!
Auckland, United Kingdom