A September 2004 trip
to Vancouver by SFPhotocraft
Quote: I didn't know what to expect. Meeting a group of people I only knew from the Internet... well, at least it was in a cool city. I was surprised to meet so many great people and new friends, in a city that certainly is cool!
First off, the hotel IGOUGO picked (The Pacific Palisades) was outstanding. It was a great location and the rooms we got were like apartments. Okay, so this blind date knew a good hotel. Not a bad first impression, looks are important.
The first night I met everyone was on Friday for the Chinese dinner. Everyone was coming up to me, shaking hands, and welcoming me. The conversation was lively and fun. This was a fun group. Okay, so this blind date also has a stellar personality.
The rest of the date went really well. IGOUGO arranged some activities for the group, but left a lot of time to explore the city on our own, or with new (and for most, old) friends.
It seems like I ate my way through Vancouver; they sure do have some great restaurants, and the local foods, like salmon and the produce, all deserved my full attention.
The highlight of my trip (besides making so many new friends) was the air tour I took over Vancouver. I have written about the tour in my journal. It was 20 minutes of my life I won't forget. Vancouver is a stunning city on the ground, but get above it and the perspective was breathtaking.
Then came the big banquet night at the hotel. By this point we all knew one another and I felt like we were all old friends. Jim and Tony from IgoUgo gave us some insight on what is down the road for this web site and some well deserved awards were handed out. Helen from IgoUgo put together a fun scavenger hunt and Vancouver trivia contest. It was a very fun evening.
I was happy that this is one blind date I went on. This is a travel community and I can't wait to see all my old friends (and hopefully some new ones) next year.
A great lunch idea is to go over to Granville Island and make your own lunch; some British Columbia cheese, some fresh local fruit, and some of the fresh, homemade bread make a really good picnic. You can sit by the water and watch the life on a marina.
Some of our group rented bikes, which sounded like a lot of fun.
The way to Granville Island is on a water taxi that cost C; it's a fun, short ride, and you can take bikes and pets on the little ferries. It's a fun way to get a little time on the water.
The taxi from the airport to my hotel cost about C.
IGO UGO booked this hotel as the headquarters for our 2004 member get-together, and a good choice it was. First, the location is in the center of Robson Street, so exploring Vancouver is only a few steps outside the front door. The hotel is made up of two 20-story twin towers. The hotel once was a pair of apartment buildings, and by the size of the rooms, they must have been great apartments. From the outside, they are a bit bland, but they blend in well with the Vancouver skyline.
When checking in, the staff was gracious and welcoming. I have found in some boutique hotels that the hip staff can be cold and aloof, but this is, Canada and a being cool does not mean being cold. The staff was helpful and friendly the entire stay.
When I walked into my room, I had to stop and take it all in. It was huge. The hotel has a number of large one-bedroom suites. I was on the 10th floor and had a great view of Vancouver and Robson Street. The living room was all done in bright apple green, persimmon and yellow. It was cheerful and bright. My bedroom was separate, with a huge walk-in closet. It, too, had a large window with a dazzling skyline view. The room comes with fluffy robes and a stocked mini-bar. The balcony was large and had a spectacular view of the city.
With a family, I am always on the lookout for a room with space. I found it here - the only problem was that I was alone!
The hotel has some fun Kimpton features. One really fun item is that the hotel is pet friendly - they will even have the chef down at Zin cook up some doggie treats for Fido!
The health club is large. It has a 55-foot indoor pool that is inviting. It has two workout rooms. The only problem is that the spa and pool are in a different building and you have to take a short, brisk walk outdoors to get to them.
The hotel has full concierge service and offers a Starbucks coffee bar in the lobby each morning. The hotel restaurant is called Zin and is not only popular with guests, but with locals.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2004
Pacific Palisades Hotel
1277 Robson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E1C4
The hotel is not stunning or splashy. It reminds me of a Canadian - it's elegant and sophisticated, without being loud and flashy. The building is a graceful tower that you really won't take notice of walking by. The hotel is in a business pocket of Vancouver and is walkable to Robson Street, Gastown, or the water. However, the few blocks around the hotel are pretty uninteresting.
A bellman will welcome you to a very plain entrance on ground level. You enter the hotel and take an escalator up to the next level, where the lobby, check-in, shops, and coffee shop are located. There is a quiet charm to this floor. There are large vases of fresh flowers and polite and professional staff all perfectly groomed waiting to serve you.
The lobby is striking, near the coffee shop a huge, black-and-white Inuit tapestry hangs from the wall. This reminds you that you are in Canada.
The rooms were not overly large (at least mine wasn't). However, they were very well appointed. The funiture is large, sturdy, and serious. The bed has huge down pillows and soft duvets, and each room comes with a thick, terry cloth bathrobe.
The bathroom is large and marble. No matter where you travel, a Four Seasons ALWAYS understands the importance of a good bathroom. They have the best with lots of mirros, marble, large tubs, phones, and great grooming products. This bathroom lived up to those standards.
I did not have a great view. I looked over across busy Georgia Street into another office complex. I guess the views higher up are better.
On this visit, it was just a few weeks prior to Christmas and Vancouver was having a cold spell that even the Canadians were complaining about. It was bone chilling. One night I ordered room service (it runs 24 hours here), put on my robe, and watched TV on my soft bed. The TV even had a play station attached to it! It was a perfect night!
The hotel also offers a great pool and a first-rate spa. The hotel is connected to one of Vancouver's main malls. As I mentioned, it was just prior to Christmas and bone chillingly cold. The dollar was strong and I spent one whole day doing my Christmas shopping at the mall. Vancouver is an outdoor town, but not on this visit!
The Four Seasons is pure luxury. The service level is flawless and comfort is their main concern. It's quiet elegance at it's best. It may not be the most "fun" hotel in Vancouver, but it's sure is one of the most comfortable.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 7, 2004
Four Seasons Vancouver
791 WEST GEORGIA ST
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C2T4
Zin is visual. The interiors were done by famed designer Judy Henderson. She uses bold oranges to accent this room. The room is so bright and wild it seems to be in motion. The bar is mid-century modern, and a large fireplace is framed with plasma screen TVs showing cooking shows. Plush couches surround the fireplace, an excellent spot to enjoy a cocktail on a rainy Vancouver evening.
I only had the pleasure of having breakfast here. I ordered a bowl of Groats, which are steel-cut oats (similar to oatmeal); it comes with seasonal berries and cinnamon froth.
When my meal came, I was reminded that food is indeed art. This simple meal looked as lovely as it tasted. The groats came in a bowl with some huge local blackberries. The brownish cinnamon froth swirled around the mixture. It not only looked great, it tasted great. The berries were local, and so fresh and juicy.
The waitresses were charming and on top of things. They kept my coffee filled and always had a smile. The table next to me was an elderly tourist couple. The waitress gave them her tips for her favorite walks around Vancouver. She spent time giving exact directions and adding her own personal favorites. She then gave a big smile and demanded they return tomorrow morning with a full report. It was nice to see someone so interested in showing off her city.
I am sorry we never had time to enjoy lunch or dinner here. However, I walked by a number of times and it always seemed full and very lively. It seemed to attract a lot of locals as well as tourists.
I did peek at the dinner menu. The chef, Chris Whittaker, uses fresh ingredients from local markets and fish from the waters of B.C. The menu had salmon, scallops and local duck. It all looked delicious. However, what caught my eye was a tasting dinner that changes weekly. The chef picks three courses that are fresh and in season, and the price was only $25.00 (CAD), a deal by any standard. I hope I get the chance to go back - I would love to try it out.
Zin is not just your ordinary hotel dining room. It has class and flair and shows a unique perspective on local foods. It's a perfect match for the Pacific Palisades Hotel.
1277 Robson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
I threw my bags in my room, washed my face and hit busy Robson Street. It was raining, there was a chill was in the air. I knew exactly what I wanted to eat. I wanted a nice, hot bowl of miso soup and some udon or katsu donburi. .
I was in luck, I found a little place called Ichibankan about a block from my hotel. The hours posted on the door said closed at 10:30pm. I was in luck; it was only 9:30pm.
The restaurant is downstairs. When I walked in the waitresses seemed very surprised to see me. There was only a small group of three finishing dinner at the sushi bar. The waitress sat me at the bar. The bar is a convyer belt that goes around with small plates of sushi on it. Although tonight it was not full, it only had about 5 plates left on the belt.
The sushi chefs were busy cleaning up and refused to even look up at a new customer now seated at the bar. The area behind the counter was spotless and I assume their fear was I was about to order something which would again dirty up their workspace.
I tried one small plate off the belt. It was a plate of tako and it was dry and tasted like rubber. My guess is this poor fish had been riding the belt all day and I was the unlucky sucker to pick it up at the end of the night.
The waitress also was busy cleaning up, but once I flagged her down I ordered my dinner. I ordered hot sake and Katsu Donburi with a hot bowl of miso soup. It all came quickly. The Katsu Donburi was hot and delcious, exactly what I was on the hunt for.
My pet peeve is that I was here one hour prior to closing; however it was clear the whole place was wishing to shut down and go home now. If you post a closing time I think a customer should expect the same service 5 minutes prior to that closing time to a customer who comes in during the peak of the dinner hour.
I felt rushed during the whole meal to hurry up and finish and let the employees (all now staring at me) go home. I was now the lone diner at Ichibankan. However I will admit I got exactly the meal I was hoping for (except for the piece of rubbery sushi). The food was good and maybe this is a great place in the peak of the evening.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 3, 2004
Ichibankan Japanese Restaurant
770 Thurlow Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Water Street Cafe is picture perfect. It has big baskets of fresh flowers hanging from the patio. It has an attractive patio and big glass window overlooking busy Water Street. I went by looks on this one and headed to the door.
I couldn't have been offered a better table. I was seated right in the window and my view was directly across the street to the steam clock. It was a great people-watching table. The patio was empty as it had been raining most of the day, so my view was totally unobstructed.
The waitress took a bit long to come, but it was okay as I was enjoying the view. When she came I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio. It was a perfect time of day to rest my feet inside a nice dry cafe with a nice glass of wine.
For lunch I ordered a very simple spaghetti ali olio. It’s simple noodles with garlic, butter, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. The meal was so simple, yet so perfect. The pasta, which sounds simple, can (and often is) be screwed up by overdoing it. This however was perfect and delicious. I was very content enjoying it with the wine and watching the world (or at least Vancouver) go by.
My one small complaint may have been that my waitress must have been the hide-and-seek champion of her grade school, as she was very hard to find. If I did want something, I had to turn my head and put on my customer-in-need face. The floor was full of wait staff, but never my waitress. However, when she did show up, she was delightful and pleasant. On the other end of the scale was my busboy who kept watch on me and always kept my water glass full, offered more bread, and cleared my plate seconds after I had finished. I wouldn't call the service bad, and I didn't even mind as the atmosphere was so charming and so great for just sitting and relaxing.
Water Street Cafe is a great place. It's front and center in old Gastown, and, on the day I was there, there was a delightful mix of locals and tourists. The two ladies next to me were local and had just taken a break from shopping to come in to share a dessert. I can understand why this cafe is so popular; the lunch here was a perfect part of my trip.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 4, 2004
Water Street Cafe
300 Water Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Just off Robson Street on Bute, I noticed a pleasant outdoor patio and sign saying BREAD GARDEN. My first thought was that this was a bakery and may have what I was in search of.
When I got closer, I saw that this was one happening place. The tables inside were full, and there was a small line at the register. It looked pleasant - there were some cushy, comfy chairs, a plasma TV on the wall, and great lighting (gay guys know great lighting). They had great music playing overhead. This was a total warm and cozy haven from the wet and gray weather outside. They also have a pleasant patio outside in the hopes of a sunny day; on this one, the poor patio sat wet and empty.
I got in line and ordered a latte, an orange juice, and a blueberry muffin. The staff members behind the register were very pleasant and friendly. While waiting for my latte, I looked at the food case on the side and was amazed at all the fresh and great-looking foods Bread Garden carries. They had grilled panini sandwiches, they had regular sandwiches, and they had pizzettes and fresh salads. However, the desserts are what really got my taste buds crying - they had tarts that looked yummy, fresh rice pudding, and chocolate mousse. It was all displayed in an appealing and appetizing way. They also offer hot, homemade soups, which seems like something folks in Vancouver need on a rainy day like this one. This is one place I wished I would have had time to come back for lunch since there were so many great choices.
My latte came and I found a table near the door. Okay, so writing about a blueberry muffin is hard. However, this huge muffin was moist and full, and I mean FULL of fresh, local blueberries. It was the blueberry muffin that all other blueberry muffins will be judged against from this day forward.
I was so impressed by a well-run, well-thought out place like Bread Garden. I certainly understood why it was so busy. I also noticed it was open until 1am, Vancouver is not a late-night town, so finding some place great open past midnight is a find.
While walking Vancouver, I did see one more Bread Garden near the financial district. I am a total fan of this place and only am sad we don't have something like this in San Francisco.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 4, 2004
812 Bute Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
The Imperial is located in the historic Marine Building on Burrad Street in the center of the business area of Vancouver. The Marine Building is lovingly restored and has some great architectural details.
The restaurant has a wonderful panoramic view of Burrard Inlet from their elegant, chandeliered dining room. But, I have to admit, the lighting in the restaurant was bad - it was very bright and harsh for such a nice place. I have a friend from Hong Kong who gave me a piece of advice - look for really bad lighting in a Chinese restaurant and you are sure to find a great meal. Going on his word, his theory sure worked here.
Everyone was already seated and the group could not have been friendlier. Everyone at our table was soon talking about everything from travel to politics. It was a great group to share a meal with; I was sitting between Idler and Artnletters.
The waiters would bring each dish and announce it, and then divide it up and serve it. Tony had ordered in advance. It was a great way to go, as none of us had to look at a menu, and we could all just concentrate on our conversations and meeting new people.
The food was so good and there were ooohs and awwws at every bite. The course I remember the most was the first one - the Peking Duck. It was tender and moist and served with a thick plum sauce and a Chinese pancake. It was delicious. We had soup, fish, sweet and sour pork, and a lot more. I read that the chefs here are all trained in Hong Kong, and that most of the dishes here are Cantonese. I know I liked everything I tried, but I am embarrassed to say I can't remember each course, as we were so busy chatting with the staff and other guides.
This was a great meal and a great way to start out the weekend. Nobody had to worry about what to order, as the food just showed up. I got to try a lot of new things and some old favorites - it was like magic, just showing up!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 6, 2004
Imperial Chinese Restaurant
355 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Restaurant | "The Cavery (in the Fairmont Hotel)"
So I went in and poked around the lobby. It was noon and my stomach was asking for some attention. Then I noticed that the lobby lounge was serving sandwiches, which sounded good to me.
The lounge is elegant and warm, with comfortable padded chairs and art deco chandeliers. Most of the time this is the hotel lounge, but from noon until 2pm each day, it's called The Cavery and serves lunch. It's a graceful and calm room. I found a comfortable chair and sat down.
My waiter came. He was very proper and reserved. I would not use the term friendly or cheerful, but he was professional and efficient. I ordered a local honey beer from Granville Island. He brought it to me. It was rich, cold, and had a hint of honey - it was delicious.
I asked about the sandwiches and he seemed very annoyed with me for asking, like I should know all about it. He told me the Cavery does a steak sandwich for C$14 that comes with a classic Caesar Salad. Okay, if that was the deal, I would have one. He found out how I liked my steak and went over to the chef in the corner and had him prepare my sandwich.
When brought it looked great. It had a lot of meat and was spilling out of bun. On the side were some au jus and the Caesar salad. It all looked good. However, when I tried my first bite, it was well beyond good - it was sensational. I will go way out on a limb here and tell you it was the best steak sandwich I have ever tasted. It was juicy, prepared just right and was tender enough to cut with a butter knife. This was a steak worth loving. I thought $14 was a bit high for a sandwich, until I tasted it. It was well worth the price! I am sure the Caesar was good as well, but I barely remember it, as I was having a love affair with this sandwich!
The room is beautiful, the service a bit stuffy - but oh, that sandwich! I could have been eating it in a barn, served by a John Ashcroft, and I still would be giving this place high marks. It was just that good!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004
900 West George Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Attraction | "Chinatown Walking Tour"
The first thing we did was spend some time in the Cutlural Center Museum.
It was interesting, although not well organized. The bulk of the collection was of photographs from different decades in Chinatown. They had some artifacts, but not as many as I would have liked to see. I would have enjoyed seeing more how the people who lived here worked, played, and lived. We spent too much time in the museum.
Our guide took us around the streets and we learned the sometimes sad history. During its early years, the area actually had gates to keep people in.
We also saw some fun things, like the small Sam Kee Building, which is only 6-feet wide and is on record as the narrowest building in the world. We saw the colorful Millennium gate on Pender Street. We learned about the colors and the symbols on the gate. The gate is very new, as it was dedicated in 2002. We saw the beautiful West Han Dynasty Bell that was gift from the city of Guangzhou.
I enjoyed going through the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens.
This was a peaceful and tranquil spot in the middle of busy and often hectic Chinatown. Some of the rock formations actually came from China. It's a peaceful place built around a small pond. Our day was gray and wet, but I could only imagine how great it would be to just sit and relax here on a sunny, warm day.
We then hit the markets, my favorite part. This Chinatown has very few tacky tourist gift shops. This large area is where Chinese people really come to shop and work. The markets had lots of exotic fruits, but also some strange items like dried snake skins.
We got to visit a small Tao temple that was located on the second floor of a commercial building. It was somewhat ugly from the outside, but bright and colorful inside. The guide showed us how to pray and how to tell fortunes.
The tour was interesting and I felt I learned a lot about the struggles of early Chinese people here in Canada. I realized how similar their struggles were here and in the U.S. However, they have not only survived, but they have flourished and now are building a proud history.
The tour could have been about a half-hour shorter. The rain did not help with the atmosphere. The tour gave me new respect for what these people had to go through to get where they are today.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 2, 2004
Chinatown Walking Tours
50 East Pender St
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 3V6
+1 604 687 0729
Attraction | "Harbour Air Seaplane Adventures"
I was walking around the harbor and enjoying the seaplanes coming and taking off. I was having a ball photographing them. I followed the path over to the Harbour Air terminal, trying to get some better, closer pictures of the planes. I went in to pick up a brochure and started talking with one of the ticket agents. She informed me that a Vancouver Panorama tour was leaving this minute and they had one seat open. She called the plane, held it, collected my C$75, and, before I could even think if I wanted to take the tour, I was sitting on the DeHavilland DHC-2 seaplane, ready for take-off.
The take-off was awesome; we built up speed on the water and lifted off right in the middle of Vancouver harbor. Soon we were high up over the city. The birds-eye view of Vancouver was incredible. We soared over the city - Vancouver place, the more industrial area of Vancouver, and off to the small islands of Vancouver, where spacious homes are built on private islands. When we came back after our 20 minutes in the area, we went right over Stanely Park and came back in for a landing - SPLASH - back home into Vancouver Bay! A thrill of a lifetime.
The plane was small, as it only holds six passengers, plus a pilot. One lucky passenger sits in the cockpit with the pilot. The seating is tight and crowded. It was a bit hard to take pictures, as the view is not unobstructed; there are wing braces and pontoons that are part of frame. The pilot does not do a narration, as he is too busy watching for other traffic, so you are not 100% sure of what you are now over and seeing.
However, even with those minor complaints, this is not an adventure to miss. You get a sense of the city layout, and see areas not even a boat can get you to. It's the only way to see the whole area.
After the tour, I talked to the staff and learned everyone's favorite tour is called Alpine Lakes and Galciers - it's an hour and a half tour of Mount Mamquam and a landing on a secret Alpine lake. The cost is C$199, and for C$45 more, you can add a delicious picnic lunch. I am hooked and can not wait to return to Vancouver to take this Alpine tour. You can check out more fun tours at Harbour Air. Once again, my impulsive nature has paid off.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 2, 2004
Harbour Air Seaplanes
4640 Inglis Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia V7B 1W4
I took a walk down Hornby Street to catch the small ferry to Granville Island. I was almost at the water when I walked by a rather plain building that said Appleton Gallery and had a sign for original Canadian Inuit art. I was rushing to the island, but something told me to go inside and take a quick look around - I was glad I followed my instinct.
The gallery was nowhere as slick as some of the more trendy galleries, as a matter of fact it almost looks sterile. It's very plain and functional. But the art inside is creative and unique to this part of our continent.
I saw totems and ceremonial masks; most of them were carved from red and yellow cedar. I saw stone carvings of all sizes, from very large to small and delicate. Most of the carvings were of the gods the Inuit worshipped or everyday scenes of fishing and hunting. It told the stories of how these people lived for centuries.
The piece I spent the most time with and was in awe of, was a Hawkman Sun Mask made by an artist named Emil Thibert. It was carved from traditional cedar and was of a totem face, or a hawkman, with rays coming from his head. The whole piece was painted in the typical red and black. It was stunning.
The back of the gallery looks more like a garage. This is a combination workshop, warehouse, and gallery, and yes, the public can go back where artists are busy working. There were three local artists that day, and they told us about their art, how they learned the craft, and a little about Inuit history. It was as good as any museum tour.
I was totally in love with the art form and decided I wanted to bring a piece (small piece) home with me. Then I saw the prices. There are pieces here that cost as much as my car. Even the smallest pieces are near $500. This was a gallery for the serious Inuit art collector.
Even if you don't plan on dropping several thousand dollars for a piece of local art, it's a wonderful place to stop and look and learn about the art. It's easy to find, and if you walk down Hornby to the ferry, you will walk right by it. It's worth a few moments to check out the inside. Here is their webpage; check out some of the great pieces they offer.
Webpage: APPLETON GALLERIES
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2004
1451 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 1W8
The peninusla was an industrial complex for years and years. It was loaded with factories, cranes, and a place you stay clear of. During the Second World War, the peninsula became the hub of Candian ship-building activity. Then when the war stopped, the little peninusla feel into disrepair. It was urban blight at it's best.
A few insightful city planners wanted to turn this area into the city's premier entertainment, art, and cultural center. It was an uphill battle. Who would pay for it? Who would clean it up? If you built it, would people really come? But they fought for their dream and the island was tranformed. Today it is one the best sucess stories for urban renewal in the world.
The best way to get to Granville island is to take the Aqua Bus.
The ferry to the island departs at the foot of Hornby Street in Vancouver. The cost is only C$2. Aqua buses are small ferries that run every 5 minutes. When I was here, there were three ferries working the route. The ferries carry passengers, dogs, and bikes. The captains are young guys and very friendly and chatty. Part of the fun of Granville Island is getting there!
The island is a mix of theaters, galleries, yacht brokers, a first-class hotel, and the famous Granville Island Brewery. The Brewery does tours and I urge you, before you leave Vancouver, to try their honey beer. It's served all over the city.
There are two famous markets on the island. One is the farmers market, that is full of fresh produce and foods (see the seperate journal entry) and the Kids Only Market. The Kid's Only Market is full of fun things for kids. You can find books, games, toys, dolls, and unique kid's clothing. If you have kids, this a must-visit.
Spend time walking the island. There are tiny little alleys and side streets that hold wonderful surprises everywhere - little galleries, quaint shops, or even a train museum. Granville Island is a place for your senses. I was sitting near the water when I realized I was smelling some exotic Indian food from the food stall behind me, listening to a street performer singing a French folk song, tasting the fresh blueberry muffin in my mouth, feeling the warm Canadian sun on my back, and looking across the water and seeing the blue sky and the Vancouver skyline. This was truely sensory overload!
Granville Island is not to be missed. I can easily spend a full day here. The locals have embraced it, and tourists fall in love with it. Thank goodness for city planners with a vision!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 7, 2004
False Creek, under Granville Street Bridge South End
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 3S3
Well, this trip, I made the ferry ride to see what I had been missing. To call Granville Island Public Market, JUST a farmer's market is like calling the Grand Canyon just a hole. This is the granddaddy of all farmer's markets.
Once you hit the front door, your senses go into overload. There are vendors all over selling all kind of foods. There are butchers, fishmongers, bakers, green grocers, and dairies all setting up shop here, selling their goods. You can walk around and find food stands from all over the world: Indian, sushi, German, Chinese or French Crepes. If you crave it, you can most likely find it here.
I had a great time seeing all the local produce. In September, all the fresh, local blackberries were in season, and they were the biggest berries I have ever seen. I went over and saw the fresh salmon booth. I got a sample of local smoked salmon and it was outrageously good.
I was lucky that I didn't have lunch in Vancouver before! I now had time to explore the stalls and put together my own perfect lunch. I got some fresh summer sausage from Oyama's, I found some local goat cheese from a stall called The Milkman , I found some fresh-baked rolls and got a pint of local, freshly picked blueberries and a homemade ice tea. I could not have asked for a better lunch and the price was less than C$6 for all of these treats! I then took my lunch and headed outside. I sat on the cement steps and looked across at the city of Vancouver; the sun had finally come out. I watched and listened to a few street acts while eating; one guy sang sad French ballads, the other guy was a juggler from Australia.
I had to ask myself - could there be a better lunch anywhere in Vancouver? Here I was munching on some of the freshest local food I could find. Each bite was worth remembering. Here I was sitting outside with a million-dollar view of the water and of the city. Restaurants charge double for a view like this! I even had free (okay, I did tip them), live entertainment. Plus it was downright cheap! I quickly decided this was the BEST lunch stop of all of Vancouver.
The market is open 7 days a week, all year long. Their hours are from 9am until 6pm daily. The ferry from Hornby Street costs C$2 each way. Granville Island's webpage is Granville Island.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2004
Granville Island Public Market
1689 Johnston Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Attraction | "ROOTS"
ROOTS stores are all over Canada. You can find a ROOTS store in most major Canadian cities, and they always have a shop in major ski areas like Whistler or Banff. A few have started to spring up in the U.S.A., like in Aspen, Park City, Sun Valley, and, of course, Beverly Hills.
The Vancouver store is located in the middle of Robson Street. The 1001 address only carries men's and women's, while a seperate store about a block away carries only kid's. The stores are clean, hip, and fun. They are fashion forward, but not overly trendy. Their look is more active, the kind of clothing people who enjoy the outdoors wear. At first glance, you may feel they are more expensive than places like the GAP or Old Navy, but there is no comparison to the quality of the merchandise. I have had ROOTS products for years and years. They never seem to wear out.
After each Olympics, they are allowed to reproduce the uniforms they made for the athletes. This is always a favorite time, as people love these uniforms, and, when they hit the stores, they sell like hot cakes.
I was lucky during the time we went because the trend was wrapping up. It was just enough time after the Olympics for the leftover merchandise to be marked down. I got each kid a warm-up suit that the Canadian divers and gymnasts wore in Greece. They were bright red with the Candian maple leaf and the Olympic rings in full view. However, best of all, they were 30% off!
ROOTS is a great company with a unique look. It makes a wonderful gift for a loved one. I don't usually buy clothing out of the country, as with the world shrinking, there are so few unique clothing products. However, ROOTS keeps its quality and its look Canadian.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2004
Downtown and West End
Vancouver, British Columbia