June 29, 2017

Why Vancouverites don’t need to go away on vacation!

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

Vancouver

Vancouver Seawall

Well, the answer is simple: it’s hard for them to pick a destination better than their hometown! They have ultra clean air with an unmistakable oceanic scent, cool breeze wafting from mountains, panoramic views of lush green forests, and uncountable activities to engage in all year round. Oh, and by the way, they are not held hostage by the famous Canadian winter!

The most glorious months to be enjoyed in this culturally diverse and energetic city are July through September, when the seawall running around the shores of the English Bay beach (surprisingly in downtown Vancouver!), bustles with tourists and locals swimming, sunbathing, biking, jogging, dog walking or just taking pictures of the breathtaking sunset.

It seems the entire city lives under the expansive sky during summer, and retailers churn out their best gelatos and smoothies, ice cappuccinos and chilled fresh fruit juices to enhance the outdoor experience. Fine dining is a brain-racking job, given the choices. Pick an elite restaurant with ocean view and menu boasting fresh Pacific-catch seafood selection, or grab take-out from a burger or pizza joint. Mobile hot-dog vendors are never too far to entice you with the appetizing smell of fried onions and grilling sausages. The non-fussy lemonade vendor will quench your thirst with a cool dose of vitamin C for just a few loonies.

If you are a tourist, you might be tempted to hop on and off the antique-looking Vancouver trolley, but for the traveler who owns a pair of sturdy sneakers and a light-weight backpack, most destinations are within walking distance of each other, or maybe just a bus or Aquabus ride away.

For example, if you have basked enough in Stanley Park, walk along the English Bay beach from where you can hire an Aquabus to soak in the fun of Granville Island. The Public Market here is the jewel in the island’s crown. An amazing assortment of stalls awaits you with choices enough to befuddle the most seasoned traveler. From farm-fresh cheeses and fruits to homemade baked delights and ocean fresh seafood, Granville Island is definitely a star attraction in Vancouver.

BC Ferry

BC Ferry

Too tired to discover anything else on foot? Retire for the night with light dinner to save appetite for authentic Chinese cuisine in the famous Chinatown. This historic part of town fascinates with its striking heritage buildings and tales that hold testimony to the precarious lives lead by early Chinese settlers and pioneers. After savouring the rich cultural history of this great nation by visiting their museums, monuments and the famous Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, pick up a deal from the colorful stores displaying souvenirs of laughing Buddha, handmade wicker baskets, blazing red pouches, keychains and keepsakes of mind-boggling variety.

Looking for a trendy dress for that hip cocktail party over the weekend? Stroll along the fashionable Robson Street in downtown Vancouver for an unmatched selection of elitist brand names in clothing, shoes, cosmetics, and much more. Tired of shopping? Hit the nearest salon and spa boutique to pamper your face, hair, nails, or just relax yourself with a body massage.

Your adventure in this exotic paradise has only just begun. Take the magnificent British Columbia ferry to visit the capital city of Victoria and get a suntan, or immerse in the surreal views that pass you by in the ocean by going up to the ferry’s deck. Even the regular ferry traveler will be spellbound by the endless charm of God’s changing canvas, summer or winter, sunrise or sunset.

Whistler

Whistler Gondola Peak 2 Peak 360

You simply can’t depart from Vancouver without visiting the tourist Mecca of Whistler. Together, the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb boast the largest skiable area in North America, justifying its choice of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.  If you aren’t visiting in winter to take advantage of the scenic skiing, explore the enchanting trails of this wonderland by biking its meandering forests. Craving the indoors? Lose yourself in mesmerizing concerts and cultural events, or exchange stories with buddies or strangers over a piping-hot café or chilled beer in Whistler village market arena.

Do you still think Vancouverites need to look any further than their backyards for a vacation spot that can offer them all this or more? I don’t think so!

Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. 

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