By: Susan Gerle

The 2010 Winter Paralympic Games will take place in Vancouver, Canada from March 12 – March 21. The Games aren’t as big as the Olympics but they are just as impressive and this is the first time they have ever been held in Canada. Vancouver and Whistler will be the official hosts for the 1,350 athletes participating from 44 different countries.

It is a fantastic time of year to visit Vancouver, especially the downtown area. One of the epicenters will once again be Robson Square in the West End of Vancouver. The ice rink will have ongoing shows. Vancouver Art Gallery is currently displaying the Leonardo de Vinci Collection. It is the first time in 500 years that the whole collection has been allowed out of Windsor castle in England. The Gallery is also home to a fantastic collection of Emily Carr paintings.

Vancouver Olympics CrowdDuring the Paralympics the zip-line above Robson Square will remain open. It was a popular event during the Olympics. Tickets for the Paralympic Games are much more reasonably priced and readily available in the downtown core. There will be a number of free events offered around the area too.

Even though all the games will soon end, there are so many things to see and do in Vancouver, not only during the Paralympics, but year around.

Once again people from all over the world will take in the beautiful view overlooking the ocean with the majestic coast mountain range supplying the backdrop during the Paralympics. English Bay and the world famous Stanley Park are just minutes away by foot from Robson Square.

Bicycles are a main means of transportation on the English Bay seawall and they can be rented for a reasonable fee close by. Hundreds of visitors also stroll side by side on the walkways, breathing in the sea air. An old style trolley bus makes it’s way past English Bay, the driver giving an ongoing monologue about all the city’s attributes. There are also the popular double-decker busses available for city sightseeing as well as other private tour companies that do pick-ups from local hotels.

If the day is a little wet and rainy, walk over to enjoy the Science World on the old Expo ’86 sight, across from the 2010 Winter Olympic Athletes’ Village. Or take a walk to the Vancouver Aquarium, nestled in a corner of Stanley Park

Vancouver OlympicsGranville Island is a 10-minute ride in a fun little ferry bobble-boat from stops along the seawall. The area offers a variety of unique shops and a fantastic farmer’s market. Venture a little farther out on the Skytrain and visit Commercial Drive with all its wonderful ethnic restaurants. The Skytrain is also a perfect way to visit places like New Westminster and Surrey.

At Waterfront Station you can walk around Canada Place or catch the Sea Bus to the North Shore for more shops and more adventures. The Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park is a fantastic experience to take in. The history and excitement of the bridge is well worth the visit. There is shuttle service offered from some of the downtown hotels and Canada Place.

And when you finally return to Robson Square, don’t forget to check out all the great shopping. Robson Street is known worldwide for “Canadian Made” products. You won’t be disappointed by the selection.

About the author:

Susan Gerle has been writing and publishing articles since 1998. She was born in Vancouver and it’s still her most favourite city in the world.