Vancouver: My Favourite Canadian Destination – Part 1

About a year ago, I purchased a map off of this neat website that had all sorts of unique and beautiful products.  Although I loved the look of the map, it wasn’t just the design that encouraged me select it among the many choices the website offered.  This map is special, because you can scratch off areas of the world that you’ve visited.

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About a month ago, Dave got around to making a proper mount for this beautiful map.  He spent a few hours finding supplies on TaoBao, and a few hours making it, and I decided to take care of the fun stuff: scratching the places we’ve been!   Being the travelers that we are, I figured that I’d spend hours scratching away.  I was disappointed, however, to discover that so much of the world remains unseen by my eyes!  So, tomorrow, we set out on our Golden Week Holiday to Xi’an, with our friend Kevin.

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Of course, now that I’m about to head out on another adventure, I realized that I should probably write about our last adventure:  Vancouver.  So here it is, the post all of my Canadian readers have been waiting for!   Part 1 of our stay Kitsilano, Vancouver!

Kits Beach and Area

When first pricing out hotels in Vancouver, we were a little overwhelmed with the cost of accommodations.  Vacationing in Canada is EXPENSIVE when you compare it to the places we’ve been in Asia, so I was a little worried we’d need to forgo some of the things we wanted to do because hotel prices were so high.  I’m pretty sure we are the luckiest people in the world though, because as it turned out, a good friend of ours was going to in Manitoba while we were in Vancouver, leaving her apartment in Kitsilano free for us to rent for the week!  We couldn’t have planned the timing better if we’d tried!!

We fell in love with Kits pretty quickly.  The beach was gorgeous, Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe was an adorable place to stop for a good breakfast, and we were a short walk or bus ride away from pretty much every thing we wanted to see.  We were originally thinking of staying downtown, but I am SO glad we spent our time in this little suburb of Vancouver.

Downtown, Gas Town and Canada Place

Two days of our trip to Vancouver were spent exploring downtown and Canada Place.  When I first visited Vancouver 8 years ago, I was blown away by its gorgeous skyline.  Of course, now that I’ve traveled to cities like  Shanghai, Bangkok and Mumbai, Vancouver seemed a little less spectacular, but the little areas in the city’s center still impressed me.

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Gas Town is probably my favourite area of down town.  There are tonnes of little shops where you can find maple-flavoured everything and tonnes of little restaurants to try. Best of all, the architecture in Gas Town is pretty cool.  I regret that I didn’t get many pictures of that particular area, because every time we visited it was after dark, and the area can be a bit shady.  My camera is one of my most prized possessions, so it stayed tucked away in my bag.

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Gas Town’s Famous Clock

Canada Place was quite impressive too.  The last time I was in Vancouver, it was all under construction because of the upcoming Olympic games, so it was nice to see it all finished. Dave especially enjoyed this part of our time downtown as he was able to watch planes take off while I hunted Pokemon!!

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Granville Island

Of all the places we visited in Vancouver, Granville island is where we spent the most time. We wound up on that sweet little island 4 or 5 times throughout our stay and this was mostly because we enjoyed walking down there so much!  It took about 40 minutes to walk from Kits Beach to Granville island, but it was such a lovely walk through parks along the beach, that we tended to gravitate in that direction any time we went out.

Granville is the place to go if you want fresh sea food, craft beer, shopping or if you want to book a whale watching tour. There is also a lovely park on the island, where we walked around a few times…just to breath in the fresh air and admire the ducks and geese that hang out there.

Meeting New Friends

During our week in Vancouver, we met up with a couple of people that I’d never met before.  Dave’s cousin, Michael, lives in the area so we met up with him and his girlfriend, Gabriella, during our stay in Kits.  We hit it off, and I think we were all a little amazed at how much Dave and Michael are alike!  This new friendship lead us to take a trip up to Mount Seymore for the Persius Meteor Shower, which was spectacular and unlike anything I had really experienced.

We also spent an evening down in New West Minister with an old friend of Dave’s.  Sitting by the harbour, eating wings and poutine, was a fantastic way to spend a night in that lovely city.  While enjoying our evening in New West, Kaitlin gave us lots of tips and ideas of places to go while in Vancouver.  This led us to one of the most exciting parts of our stay in BC; the Vancouver observatory!  While we were there, we were able to see a gorgeous view of Saturn (rings and everything!), a close up of the moon, and the Herculese star cluster, which happens to contain 300,000 stars and is 200 thousand light years away.

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The Vancouver Museum of Anthropology 

Although we very much wanted to climb Grouse Mountain, I realized that after 6 days of being on my injured leg, walking 10km+ per day, I needed to take it easy(er).  I did a quick look online to find a more low-impact activity for our last day in Kits, and came across the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology.  It was a lovely visit and we saw everything from traditional and modern Aboriginal art, to 4000 year old pots.

It was difficult to even understand the number of artifacts this museum contains and I know that we could have easily spent an entire day (and then some…) exploring every little thing the museum had to offer.  The museum has little areas for countless cultures and in each area, there are pull-out drawers that contained hundreds of small artifacts to admire.  Although it wasn’t the most glamorous thing we saw in Vancouver, I’m really glad we made the stop.

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That’s it for part 1 of my post. In part 2, I’ll be writing about my 2 favourite parts of our stay in Vancouver:  Stanley Park and seeing Resident Killer Whales off the coast of British Columbia!

Stay tuned!!!

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