By: Susan Gerle
Vancouver is still one of the top 6 cities in the world where you can enjoy a relaxing few days surrounded by the ambiance created by a stable international community. It has recently been rated the top place to visit in the Americas. There are many things to see and do in the city, and one of the most tourist friendly areas is the West End of Vancouver, just steps from the famous Stanley Park.
People from all over the world take in the beautiful view overlooking the ocean with the majestic coast mountain range supplying the backdrop. Swimmers and sunbathers crowd the beaches on hot summer days. 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 uncrowded 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, head over to enjoy the Science World at the old Expo ’86 sight at the south end of the seawall, across from the 2010 Winter Olympic Athletes’ Village. Or take a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, nestled in a corner of the world famous Stanley Park. For those who prefer to be on the water instead of beside it, a leisurely cruise through the Gulf Islands on a BC Ferry is a nice way to pass some time. There is even a chance to observe migrating whales during the journey. A shorter trip is the 10-minute ride in a fun little ferry boat from the seawall to Granville Island, which offers a variety of unique shops and a fantastic farmer’s market.
Denman Street starts at English Bay and has a large selection of excellent ethnic restaurants. Many eateries have fantastic views overlooking the ocean and are open until late at night. At the East End of Denman is Coal Harbour, where the cruise ships and seaplanes come in. It is also a main docking area for the many yachts traveling the coastline from Los Angeles to Alaska. Some yachts offer day or evening cruises in Burrard Inlet. Most have meals and bar service available.
Nestled south of Denman is half of the highly populated West End. The odd 100-year-old house, surrounded by modern apartment buildings, is open to the public to view the history of the city. A quiet peacefulness permeates the streets of the neighbourhood. Children laugh and chase puppies in one of the local dog-walking parks situated at Nelson and Bute.
North of Denman, the area is also highly populated but has a couple of unique boutique hotels and restaurants hidden away on the peaceful streets. Continue walking or riding and the tourist will reach one of the many entrances to the path circling Stanley Park. Thank goodness Lord Stanley had a vision many decades ago for green space. There is even a great Pitch and Putt Golf Course in the park. Allow at least 3 hours for a walk around the park. There are many places to stop and take in the history, including the totem poles standing guard near the entrance. Even though there are a few nice restaurants to eat at in the park, you may prefer to get a takeout lunch and have a picnic on your journey.
This is only one of the uncrowded, quaint neighbourhoods in the coastal city. Vancouver is definitely a place to add to your must-see list.
About the Author:
Susan Gerle lived in the West End for a number of years and still considers it one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to live and visit in North America. Check out her blog at traveltypes.blogspot.com