The rest of Canada views Vancouver with slight scorn…and a great deal of envy. It has an ideal setting…mountains, rivers, oceanfront…a perfect outdoor playground. Only Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro match Vancouver in natural beauty.
HARBOR CENTER: Take the glass encased elevator forty floors up the side of the Harbor Center Building for a 360-degree view of the city and surroundings.
GASTOWN HISTORICAL AREA: This is Vancouver’s birthplace. The initial shantytown burned down in 1886 and was rebuilt in concrete and brick. Eventually Gastown became almost a slum and was almost demolished. A few square blocks were saved and have now become one of the favorite tourist spots. It’s a popular strolling area…lively restaurants. The biggest draw is however, the world’s first steam-powered clock, a Rube Goldberg affair operated by chains, weights, and a one-cylinder steam engine, that plays the Westminster Chimes from a steam whistle from an old paddle-wheeler.
CHINATOWN: A few blocks southwest of Gastown is Chinatown…an active community that is fascinating for tourists. Gaudy curio shops sell inexpensive decorations, gifts, and traditional merchants offer exotic potions of the East…oriental pop tunes blare out from record stores. On the corner of West Pender Street stands the building once inhabited by Dr. Sun Yat Sen while he plotted to overthrow the Manchu regime.
GRANVILLE ISLAND: This too was salvaged from a desolated area. ‘The reclaimed island under Granville Street Bridge now shelters a houseboat community, theaters, art galleries, shops and the Emily Carr School of Art. The real action is in the public market, housed in a massive warehouse complete with skylights. Under this one large roof you’ll find fresh produce, cheese, meat, fish, bakeries, pasta producers, a French butcher specializing in pates, and of course crafts. Stands sell salads, pasta, pizzas, submarines, sausages, etc.
STANLEY PARK: 1000 acres of natural rain forest, and the largest urban park in the world…within walking distance of downtown. Here are sandy bathing beaches, tennis courts, a giant checkerboard, lawns, summer theater, and the zoo. Lost Lagoon, at the entrance to the park, is a nesting place for birds and marine life. Other park sights include towering totem poles, the Japanese Monument, Lumberman’s Arch, the statue of the GIRL IN A WET SUIT, Brockton Point Light House, the NINE O’CLOCK GUN which fires at 9 PM, and the Empress of Japan Figurehead. Well worth the visit to this lovely spot.
SEAVIEW: The best and cheapest way of getting a vantage point of Vancouver from the water is to take a ferry. The enclosed SEABUS goes between the North Shore and downtown…take 12 minutes and leave every 15 minutes from the old C.P.R. Station.
SKYTRAIN: This is one of Vancouver’s newer attractions…a mass-transit system that is above ground for most of its 14 miles…between the central Waterfront station and New Westminster, the former provincial capital. The 27-minute trip has been called the “most scenic subway ride in the World”.
OLD HASTINGS MILL STORE MUSEUM: 1575 Alma Street. This 1865 museum was
Vancouver’s first store and post office, surviving the great fire in 1886.
BURNABY VILLAGE MUSEUM: Century Park…a re-created turn of the century settlement.
FORT LANGLEY NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK: …A restored Hudson’s Bay Company Depot. The restored fort features demonstrations of early inhabitant activities from the 1850’s period.
VANCOUVER MUSEUM: Vanier Park…exhibits historic artifacts.
MARITIME MUSEUM: Vanier Park…houses a fine collection of ship models, artifacts, and photographs.