A Fool Visits Vancouver. 1.

Jul 31st, 2005, 06:48 AM
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A Fool Visits Vancouver. 1.

I never really had much interest in going to Vancouver. The city as I'd seen it on TV and in postcards, while yes in an attractive setting of mountains and water, I thought would be a too-modern, characterless, soulless generic-feeling-American city albeit in a pretty location. Tending to be interested in more historic locales, exploring other cultures and thinking I could find plenty of pretty locations with these travel tendencies in mind, Vancouver was very low on my priority list. As it happens, though, I love trains and decided to take the train from Montreal across Canada (my first time west of Toronto!) and chose to finish my trip in Vancouver and stay for 4 days before returning since I'd read it was very pedestrian-friendly.

At first, arriving at Pacific Central and taking the Sky Train to Burrard, seeing the usual chains (Virgin Record, Starbucks, etc...) along Robson Street and observing some of the surrounding cold highrises downtown, I felt my suspicions had been confirmed, but I thought "OK let's explore anyway".

I walked west down Davie Street from the Burrard Motor Inn, grabbed a Cappuchillo at Blenz chain. I thought that at least I liked that the city was vibrant, with a wide selection of restaurants and that you didn't need a car to explore. And then I turned on Nicola Street in the West End...

I got on a tree-lined section of Nicola. The wooden Edwardian homes here were charming, I thought! Then I walked over to Cardero, which had a cute grocers in one of these homes and an area blocked off for cars. On a random alleyway I looked down, hearing gulls flying overhead, I could see the Burrard Inlet in the distance lined with a number of these handsome residences and thought to myself how incredibly gorgeous and charming this urban neighborhood was.

After grabbing a pizza on Denman Street, I ambled down to English Bay Beach. I was simply in awe that here I was, in a major city, on a beach with people relaxing, with attractive mountain views. I stopped here for at least 30 minutes and just enjoyed the majesty of it all. The energy was just fantastic, and foolish sceptic had turned into a lover of Vancouver.

I walked through Stanley Park next, passing many Canadian geese & ducks, two families of raccoons (!), not to mention people out rollerblading, biking and walking. It really is an attractive, well-laid-out urban parkspace with views of water & mountains in places and unspoiled woodland in others. I loved that by the beaches and in the park that paths had been created especially for rollerbladers, especially for bikers... such encouragement of outdoor activity I thought superb and noticed a general fitness of Vancouverites.

It was only Day 1, and I was already crazy about Vancouver. I will post subsequent days in Part 2.

Daniel_Williams is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:11 PM
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I wanted to add that one more thing I appreciated about Vancouver was there seemed to be a sense of self-identity, something that can be sometimes lacking in North American cities. I loved that there were Vancouver-produced television shows. I especially enjoyed the TV show Spicy Steve, with his suggestions and critical commentary on how to make Asian dishes and where to find the best ingredients in Vancouver's Chinatown. His Asian woman sous-chef/sidekick was hilarious....

Daniel_Williams is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Have read and enjoyed several of your posts, Daniel. Sounds like I'd definitely like Vancouver.
travlsolo2 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your trip report. As a born and bred Vancouverite, it's always nice to hear good things about one's hometown. I must agree that Vancouver has its share of sterile, characterless architecture and stupid chain stores, but what we lack in history we make up in the eclectic, multicultural mix of Vancouver's inhabitants! They bring the "Spice" into Vancouver's city culture. And, of course, we really are situated in a beautiful part of the world - I think these are the reasons that Vancouver was voted the best(or maybe it was second?) place in the world to live. Keep the trip reports coming - very enjoyable reading! Cheers!
bowen is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Thank you, Bowen for enjoying my trip report. I have such fond memories of Vancouver!

A thought: I've noticed a few too many guidebooks refer to Vancouver as the "California of Canada" and I must say that description seems off... even beyond the fact that it's a US-centric comment and oversimplified, kind of like calling San Fran as the "Vancouver of the States". While I suppose there are certain similarities, I definitely find Vancouver has its own character, shaped by the Canadian context, Asian and BC First Nation influences and the natural surroundings of the BC West Coast.

By the way, the rest of the trip report: "Fool Visits Vancouver. 2. Wreck Beach, etc..." and "FVV. Conclusions" are completed and in Fodor's Forums, but since the Search option is not working, you'll have to double click on my name in blue underline (or choose British Columbia) and scroll down to find them.

Cheers, DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Aug 9th, 2005, 07:51 PM
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Hi Dan,
"...it's a US-centric comment and oversimplified, kind of like calling San Fran as the "Vancouver of the States"
Dan, your comment struck a chord - I'm guilty of that comparison as recently as today while chatting with a native San Franciscan at my bus stop ...
Thanks for the "heads-up" on your other BC trip reports ... looking forward to reading and no doubt feedback will follow!

bowen is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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When is your next vacation Dan? I look forward to it.
yeadonite is offline  
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