AN INTRODUCTION TO VANCOUVER
It’s not just the West Coast location and gorgeous setting where mountains meet the sea. And it’s not just the balmy climate that makes Vancouver a year-round paradise for sports and outdoors-minded people. It’s also the sheer range of enjoyment for body, mind and soul. You can ski, golf and go sailing here all on the same day and then catch an opera or Broadway musical by night.
Other Canadians call Vancouver “lotus land.” They do so with good reason, and perhaps a little envy. The pursuit of happiness and cultivation of beauty are taken seriously here. They find expression in many ways. In lush, plentiful parkland and abundant recreational facilities of every description, from ocean beaches to bike paths along the Mighty Fraser River. In more than 150 galleries, museums, theatres and clubs. In a heady mix of cultures: North American, Asian, European and Indian. In more than 25 different cuisines offered in some 4,000 restaurants, bistros and cafes. In bold architecture and exquisite formal gardens. In North America’s third largest film production centre. In shopping that’s to die for. In music of every type, from classical to Celtic, Caribbean to country, big band to blues and folk to funk. And a slew of festivals, including celebrations for children, jazz, writing, dance, film, comedy, bluegrass, fireworks and folk music.
Life here is an exotic mix: from Ancient aboriginal settlements to ultra-modern high-rises. One of the world’s most beautiful and busiest harbours and the vast urban wilderness of Pacific Spirit Park. A Sea Bus and a Sky Train. Fertile farms and the fertile minds of high tech entrepreneurs. Old Money and New Age therapies. And fibre optic networks and streets lined with 40,000 cherry trees whose blossoms capture Greater Vancouver’s perennial grace.
Here, getting there to see the sights is half the fun. You can walk or bike pretty much where you please. And there are lots of different tours. Neighbourhood, museum, gallery and garden tours on foot. The downtown on foot, bike or trolley. The harbour, by boat or kayak.
Vancouver has recently added a few new accolades to her long list of honours, being named both the “Most live- able City” in the world, and “Best City in the Americas” to visit. The first honour comes care of rankings issued by inter-national business intelligence firm, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In recent years, Vancouver was named one of the three Cultural Capitals of Canada by the Canadian Heritage Minister.