A September 2004 trip
to Vancouver by Wildcat Dianne
Quote: The city of Vancouver is small in land size, but it is a city with a big heart, friendly people, beautiful architecture, and a booming nightlife. I came here for the Igougo.com Get Together and left with many memories for the rest of my life.
Vancouver has got to be the friendliest city in the world. It is a city of about three million people on the Pacific side of Canada. I was surprised to know that Vancouver is a fairly young city, and British Columbia did not become a part of the Canadian Confederation until 1871. Boise, my hometown, was about seven years old by then.
There are many places to see while visiting Vancouver, and I only grazed the surface. But for your viewing pleasure, I will show entries of my favorite places in Vancouver that I saw with my friend and fellow Igougo.com member, Ellen (samepenny).
1. Stanley Park and Prospect Point.
3. Robson Street and the Barclay Hotel
4. The Port of Vancouver and the whimsical whale statues scattered throughout the city.
Meeting the Igougo.com friends who have been in contact with me the past four years since writing for them was a big highlight for me, and it was sad to leave them on Sunday morning.
If you get lost in Vancouver or don't know where to go, talk to the locals. The people of Vancouver are the friendliest people in the world and are more than happy to get you in the right direction. Ellen and I took the ferry and train around Vancouver one day to just see how the people of Vancouver live, and so many of the locals were happy to talk to us and very interested in our lives in the U.S.
Vancouver has an excellent public transportation system. For only , you can get an all-day pass from the local 7-Eleven and ride around the city by ferry boat, train, or bus. Boise's public transportation is nonexistent, and I was hesitant in taking Vancouver's buses, but once Ellen and I took the buses and asked people how to get there, it was like we were natives.
Walking is also another great way to see Vancouver. It was great being able to get up in the morning, throw some clothes on, and run to Starbucks across the street for a latte. I can't do that here in Idaho! I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex in the City" walking around Vancouver in awe of its beauty.
Hotel | "The Barclay Hotel"
It was rainy, and I drove into two parking garages that catered to Barclay customers, but for 2-3 times the fee the Barclay was going to charge me for the day.
Finally, I was told that the parking lot was right behind the hotel. DUH! I thought. If it was a dog, it would bite me! Oh well, I parked my car and locked it up because there was no way it was being used for the next three days of my trip in Vancouver.
Upon entering the lobby of the Barclay, I was greeted by a very nice concierge. After realizing that I had goofed on making my reservations online and asked for the airline employee rates instead of the higher civilian rates, the concierge still gave me a room for the airline employee rate (about $56 US).
After getting my key, I went to my room. It was tiny, but neat and clean. Hey, I thought, "I am only sleeping and showering in here for three days, not living here."
The Barclay Hotel is one of Vancouver's oldest buildings. It used to be a boarding house before it became a hotel, and the old-time ambiance is still there. The rooms are small and decorated with different styles of furniture in each room. My room was an end room facing the back alley. Each time I had to go to my car to load and unload my luggage, I had to put a garbage bag or one of my coolers to keep the door ajar so I wouldn't be locked out and walk around the block to the front entrance. That was my only complaint about the Barclay. The service was great, my room was cleaned every day, and the Barclay is right in the middle of downtown Vancouver. What more could I ask for at $56 US a night?
I thought there would be some cable in the room for when I stayed there, but it was very limited. It was fun watching "Law & Order" on the Quebec TV station.
I highly recommend staying at the Barclay if you are on a budget and want a hotel in the middle of Vancouver near the sights and bus lines. I didn't take advantage of the Continental Breakfast ($5 CAD), since I had my own breakfast stuff with me, but it is the cheapest breakfast in town.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2004
1348 ROBSON STREET
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E1C5
Restaurant | "Prospect Point Restaurant and Souvenir Shop"
After putting a dent in my debit card, Ellen and I went to lunch at the Prospect Point Restaurant, which was highly recommended by our shuttle driver, Mary. The hostess allowed us to seat our selves, and we chose to sit near the windows to watch people and admire Burrard Inlet's blue waters.
Our waiter was quick to serve us and immediately brought us hot tea and menus. After a few minutes, he returned to take our orders. Ellen and I both decided to order a teriyaki salmon bowl in our desire to have locally caught seafood.
Our food was brought to us quickly by our friendly waiter, who also brought more tea for me with no trouble. Our lunches were served in deep dishes with grilled salmon that tasted so fresh. There was zucchini squash and rice along with the meal in a mild teryaki sauce. It was sooo good, and it filled Ellen and I up nicely. We passed on dessert since we were so full.
I highly recommend this restaurant for its good and courteous service, the location, and the delicious food. So if you want dinner or lunch, the Prospect Point Restaurant is the place to go.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
Prospect Point Restaurant
5601 Stanley Park Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver is not the only city in the world that has this kind of city promotion. There is a city in the Midwest that has cow statues everywhere. Berlin, Germany, has bears, and Warren, Rhode Island, has decorated fire hydrants.
Like a little kid, I had a ball taking pictures of as many Orca statues I could. They are a colorful and whimsical way to promote the city of Vancouver and its treasures.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2004
We got an all-day bus pass from the 7-11 near our hotels and got on the bus to Stanley Park. We were let off at the beginning of the park, from where we proceeded to the information center. The park's trails are about 30 miles long, and we decided it would be best to shuttle around to see what the park was like before walking.
The lady at the information center told us to take the shuttle from the stop across the road to look around. A shuttle came shortly after and we climbed aboard. The lady driver, Mary, was a New Zealander with a very pleasant personality and who was very willing to recommend where to go within the park. Mary highly recommended we go to Prospect Point, where there are great views and a good restaurant. So that is what Ellen and I did. We were very happy with Mary's cheery disposition and willingness to help that we left her a little tip as we left the shuttle.
Stanley Park is located as you go towards North Vancouver. It is surrounded by the Burrard Inlet and English Bay and is an oasis of trees and woods in the middle of the city. To Ellen and me, it was the most beautiful and clean park we have seen in a long time. Prospect Point is located about halfway around the park on Burrard Inlet. Mary wasn't wrong about saying it was the most scenic part of the park, and Ellen and I spent a couple of hours there eating lunch and taking pictures of the Lion's Gate Bridge from the lookout. A wild raccoon was looking at all of the tourists from behind a fence in amazement. He didn't run when I took a close-up of him. Ellen was in awe over all of the tall pine trees and lush woods. I have seen a lot of tall pine trees in my 12 years living in Idaho, but this place never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.
Stanley Park is a welcome respite for tourists and locals who need to get away from the city but don't have the time or money to leave town. It is well worth a day's trip or more when you visit Vancouver.
843 Avison Way
Vancouver, British Columbia V5K 1A1
Attraction | "Abbott House."
Nestled in a sea of highrise hotels and apartments, the Abbott House is a great example of old blending in with the new. Rhis is one of the only early 20th-century buildings left in downtown Vancouver.
There is a sign posted on the fence of Abbott house that tells you about its history. It was built in 1900 by one of Vancouver's wealthy families. By the end of the century, Abbott House was showing its age and underwent a major renovation and paint job. The present-day look is a magnificent sight, and we were tempted to go inside, but, since it looks to be private apartments, Ellen and I decided against it.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia
Attraction | "Walking Tour of Vancouver's Chinatown"
Ellen and I met at her hotel and took a taxi cab to Chinatown since the valet said it would take about an hour to walk there, and he was concerned about her bad ankle. So, after taking the cab to Chinatown, we met our fellow Igougo guides and waited a while in the rain for our guide to take us around.
We started the tour in the museum of Chinese Culture and History in the Cultural Center. It showed a very interesting exhibit of the Chinese miners, who first came to Vancouver, followed by the Chinese who served in the First and Second World Wars, and the Chinese in Vancouver today.
After the museum tour, we began the walk all over Chinatown. Our guide was a young man named Ken who was very knowledgable about Vancouver's Chinatown, but seemed to be a reluctant guide to a bunch of Americans. Anytime one of us asked a question, he would tell us to read the plaque of the sight we were at. I asked him how the 1907 riots started, and he said, "Look at the plaque." There was nothing about the cause of the riots on the plaque. I found out later from Ellen that the riots were caused because the Chinese couldn't take being confined in a gated and locked area of town with bad sanitation and food.
I learned a little about the Founding Fathers of Chinatown and the buildings throughout. Chinatown has the narrowest building in the world, which is only six feet wide.
It was rainy and cold through most of the walk, and my legs were starting to feel it. I felt relieved when we finally got back to the Cultural Center and rode back to our hotels. Next time, I will tour Vancouver's Chinatown on my own because I felt I missed a lot of history and culture by taking this tour.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
Chinatown Walking Tours
50 East Pender St
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 3V6
+1 604 687 0729
On the bus ride to Canada Place, Ellen and I spoke with a native about our trip, and he made sure we got off at our stop without trouble. He pronounced Burrard like burr-ahdee and looked like a throwback to the '60s, but he was very nice and made the bus trip to Canada Place very enjoyable.
Once we got off the bus at Canada Place, we were amazed by the size of the place. Not only is Canada Place the cruise ship port for Vancouver, but the building also has a mall, the Pan Pacific Hotel, and an IMAX theater for one to pass the time while waiting for their ship to come in or for us two landlubbers to spend a leisurly afternoon enjoying the sea air and atmosphere.
Ellen and I walked the entire Canada Place Pier to an observation spot where one can take pictures of beautiful Vancouver. The Holland America cruise ship, The Ryndam, was in port loading passengers and food for another cruise to points unknown. Ellen told me it reminded her of seeing her mother-in-law off to a cruise many years ago. You just have to imagine confetti and ship horns blowing and episodes of The Love Boat!
After walking the pier, Ellen and I stopped in a little coffee shop to rest up before taking a seabus across Vancouver Bay. We had a couple of cold drinks and were talking about life and our adventures that day. After 12 years of living in Idaho and only seeing the ocean about five times since then, I loved seeing the Vancouver Bay and breathing in the sea air.
A short walk to the Sea Bus terminal later, Ellen and I boarded the huge sea bus and took a round trip ride across the bay and back. We bumped into fellow guides travelprone and Harry Potter, who were enjoying a day in Vancouver, too.
Your C$8 day pass covers all sea bus trips within Vancouver and is worth buying. You can go from island to island or just sit and enjoy the scenery and meet the locals like Ellen and I did.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2004
Breathing in the Sea Air at Canada Place
Vancouver, British Columbia
I enjoyed getting together with guides samepenny, zabelle, Linda Kaye, SF Photocraft, Re Carroll, and others. It was great meeting the editors and CEO Tony Cheng, and talking to them about our writings and lives in the U.S.A. and Canada.
Our first get together was on September 16 at the Cloud 9 Restaurant and Lounge. Not only is Cloud 9 forty-two stories up, it is a revolving restaurant. I was standing near the entrance talking with my new friends and felt the place move. "YIKES!" I thought. I haven't even had a drink, yet! I don't think my acrophobic mother would enjoy this!" I had just arrived in Vancouver that afternoon and felt I deserved a drink to celebrate another successful driving adventure. I met samepenny for the first time at the Pacific Pallasaides, and we walked up Robson Street and took the elevator up to Cloud 9. We met zabelle and her husband Al and waited a while for everyone else to show up. We thought we were in the wrong place or that we were the only ones who had come to Vancouver, but our patience paid off and everyone showed up. Everyone enjoyed a great night of getting to know each other, drinking, and talking about life and traveling.
On September 18, the Igougo guides and staff gathered one last time at the Pacific Pallisades for the Awards Banquet. Almost all of the winners that night were present, and I was very surprised to receive a Distinguished Journal award for my Silver City, Idaho journal. I had my Halle Berry moment (Minus the Elie Saab gown, but in a Chinese suit from JC Penney) and tearfully thanked all for being there for me after my Nana's passing and my assault by my ex-boyfriend's son this past year. Writing for Igougo.com has been a great source of fun and therapy for me, and I hope to be writing for them for years to come. It was so nice talking about Idaho and not having some bozo ask, "Isn't Idaho where the potatoes are?"