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Rocket79 Jan 15th, 2020 11:42 AM

Vancouver questions - Lots!
 
Hey all - I'll be in Vancouver for a workshop in late May. I live in the Midwestern US, and am trying to plot my course. Lots of variables at play. I have friends in Vancouver, Wash., as well as friends in Coupeville and Poulsbo. I'm trying to figure out where I should fly in and out of, if I can even make it to see all of them (time is somewhat flexible but I'd say 2 weeks max. My workshop is just 2 days). But mostly if I fly into Seattle or Portland, what is the best way to get into Vancouver BC? Just fly, I'd imagine? So that's one question. :-)

My workshop is at the old firehouse theater in Gastown. I've booked a room at the Victorian Hotel, at 514 Homer St. Does anyone know anything about this place? Is it a good landing place for walking to my workshop? How would I get there from the airport? I've been to a lot of places but never Vancouver. I will be doing more research but frankly Fodors is the best place for that. Are there other recommendations for lodging roughly $200 a night or less..?

Another question - As a photographer, I'd love to get onto the water or preferably into the wilderness to see some bears. What would be the recommended outfitter for something like this? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Probably. Please help.
Thank you in advance. This is just a start to my questions, I'm sure.

NorthwestMale Jan 15th, 2020 01:01 PM

Well, that's a slight puzzle...

I would first determine whether you want your workshop to be at the start, the end, or in the middle of your trip.


Most efficient would probably be to have the workshop be the MIDDLE of the trip, and just drive there, in and out in 3 or 4 days.

IF INDEED you ARE going to cover all of the mentioned spots (both Vancouvers, Coupeville, and Poulsbo) then you could even let potential airfares and car rental rates dictate your choices.

Are the Vancouver, Washington friends people you would stay with? And/or could they pick you up from Portland's airport?

Tiz possible that to collect your car at an off-airport location will result in a lower rate... but then you'd have to weigh costs relating to a one-way or a round-trip rental, depending upon whether you want to fly into and out of Portland, OR into SEA/Port and out of the other.

With intentions both north and south, MAYbe flying into and out of Seattle is most ideal. Your northern path can be a loop of sorts, utilizing the ferry to go between Coupeville and Port Townsend.

IF you follow my instinct and drive into and out of Vancouver, you'd suddenly have the problem of expensive overnight car parking IF you stayed at a downtown hotel.

BUT the freedom of having a car in the northern WA / Vancouver area affords you so many more options that it is still likely the right move, particularly for a photographer.

The most scenic path around is that of the North Cascades Highway (path between Burlington, WA and Winthrop, WA) which is uuuuuuuuuuuuuusually open for most of May (May 25 the latest) (6 times in the 2000's when it wasn't open by May 1).

SO... perhaps the first of many possibilities I'd look into would be flying round-trip to Seattle... and IF YOU HAVE designs ON central Seattle, initially take the light rail from the airport to a downtown hotel of your choosing... stay a couple of nights... and only then rent a car at a central locale (OFF airport) ... before driving initially to Poulsbo to see the friends (ferry from Seattle to the west if the weather is clear (for photos from the ferry)) ... (otherwise maybe even drive around via Tacoma)... visit Poulsbo... ... then eventually drive to Port Townsend... and ferry to Coupeville... spend time there... then off the north end of Whidbey Island and on toward Vancouver, CANADA for your workshop.

MY strategic move there would be to find a place to stay in the outlying areas, but NEAR TO A SKY TRAIN STATION... for fairly easy trips into central Vancouver... ideally this lodging spot will have FREE parking, but at least considerably less expensive than the downtown hotels.

(Another option would be to use Priceline.com for downtown lodging, and then ANTICIPATE IN ADVANCE an extra $40 or $50 Cdn. for overnight parking charges) (you could at least BID within your budget and see if any of the larger, nicer hotels downtown will have you)

You wrote of "roughly $200 a night or less"... and we can't tell whether that's US dollars, or Cdn.


BUT IF that is U.S. dollars... it equates to $260 cdn.


SO... IF one were bidding $120 U.S. per night... the Priceline fees would make it about $150... and then the anticipated overnight parking charge might land right at/near your $200 expectation.

BUT WITH THAT you should anticipate a nice, centrally-located hotel in the downtown core, convenient to most everything.

Central Vancouver is mostly flat... for it being surrounded by water on most sides... and you can easily get around in a city where normal people
are out walking the streets at all hours. (not the same normal people - just normal people).

IF you find yourself with free time and interest in looking around Vancouver with camera in hand... Stanley Park in the middle of town would be a good place to start... and a short drive from downtown is Grouse Mountain, where you spend $45 or so and take a GONDOLA some 3000 feet up the side of a mountain, with spectacular views at the top. Consider that.

Central Vancouver has a whole lot of diversity within a short distance, with mountains and water for backdrops... so your camera should be useful in all directions.

Once it is time to return to the USA, you may want to investigate that aforementioned North Cascades Highway...

and IF so inclined, you could even cross the mountains on that path and drive to Oregon on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain Range, stopping wherever you like for photo opportunities.

If you optimize and do just that... perhaps you can reach the Columbia River on the path from Toppenish, WA to Maryhill, WA, where you would find the Stonehenge replica, and that makes for a good spot from which to head west while viewing the Columbia Gorge.

(IF you don't opt for the central Washington path toward the south, then, later, perhaps a LOOP from Vancouver, WA to Maryhill, WA, and then around Mount Hood (stop at Timberline Lodge there) and back to Portland would afford you considerable photo opportunities.)

See how any of this fits with your thoughts and desires.






Rocket79 Jan 15th, 2020 01:27 PM

Holy crackers. Thanks... I think... I am going to read this more carefully but I went to Google maps and wonder about this - fly into Portland. Yes, I would stay with my friends in Vancouver and they would be able to hook me up with a rental car. Drive up to Poulsbo and explore Olympic Nat. Forest, always been on my list. Drive to Poulsbo, etc. and see other friends. Make them help me dump my car at SeaTac and fly into Vancouver Canada for workshop. Fly out of SeaTac. Does that make any sense?

Any info on the Victorian Hotel? I got it through Priceline; I think it's $175 or something, and I don't know if that is US or Canadian! I have time to change it if there is a better option. I don't know if I want to mess with a car in Vancouver BC.

I'm thinking bears, or something like Great Bear Rainforest is another trip, even though I hate to not do that. Thanks again!

sludick Jan 15th, 2020 05:37 PM

Some random thoughts..

Consider the train between Seattle and Vancouver. It's approximately a 4 hour trip and we have found it very enjoyable. Right at the U.S./Canadian border area, the train runs along the shore and you can see a myriad of bald eagles among the seagulls competing for food. Although the trains are limited (2 per day, I think), Amtrak also runs buses on the route. All will drop you in Vancouver itself rather than the airport. https://www.amtrak.com/cascades-train

Priceline will have quoted you U.S. dollars. That's something to be careful of, as you will want to keep an eye on the exchange rate that might benefit Priceline in their prices. Did you bid for that hotel? Paid in advance? If not, consider bidding on Priceline. Bid at least a 3 star in the two downtown areas.

Vancouver has great public transportation and is very walkable. If you don't want to mess with a car, it's a good place to do without.

The Great Bear Rainforest - you would need to fly. We have driven to Bella Coola, but it's a solid 2 day drive (each way). Maybe another trip.

tomfuller Jan 15th, 2020 05:46 PM

Fly into PDX and have your friends from Vancouver WA pick you up if you are staying with them for a night. Take one of several trains per day from Vancouver WA to Seattle. There are two trains and several Amtrak buses per day from Seattle King St. station to Vancouver BC Canada. There is no need to drive a rental car into Canada. Once you are in Vancouver, walk, take a taxi/Uber, or use a city bus or a HOHO bus to and through Stanley Park.
If you are traveling solo and are OK with it, there are two HI Hostels in Vancouver. They have dorms and a few private rooms.

Rocket79 Jan 16th, 2020 05:39 AM


Originally Posted by sludick (Post 17046915)
Some random thoughts..

Consider the train between Seattle and Vancouver. It's approximately a 4 hour trip and we have found it very enjoyable. Right at the U.S./Canadian border area, the train runs along the shore and you can see a myriad of bald eagles among the seagulls competing for food. Although the trains are limited (2 per day, I think), Amtrak also runs buses on the route. All will drop you in Vancouver itself rather than the airport. https://www.amtrak.com/cascades-train

Priceline will have quoted you U.S. dollars. That's something to be careful of, as you will want to keep an eye on the exchange rate that might benefit Priceline in their prices. Did you bid for that hotel? Paid in advance? If not, consider bidding on Priceline. Bid at least a 3 star in the two downtown areas.

Vancouver has great public transportation and is very walkable. If you don't want to mess with a car, it's a good place to do without.

The Great Bear Rainforest - you would need to fly. We have driven to Bella Coola, but it's a solid 2 day drive (each way). Maybe another trip.

Thank you for this. I will look into the trains and so forth. I went back and checked my Priceline receipt and I'll be damned if they didn't first quote US dollars but switched to Canadian. So my room is $294 Canadian. The thing is, it's 5 minutes walk to my workshop and includes breakfast, so by the time I add in the hassle of getting where I need to be and eating breakfast, it may just be worth the cost. Do you know the area (514 Homer St.) and is this an OK place to be? That said, I've bid on hotels in Chicago and got incredible deals. Haven't done this in quite a while though, and don't know what a good starting point would be, or which areas to pick. Any thoughts?

Rocket79 Jan 16th, 2020 05:48 AM


Originally Posted by tomfuller (Post 17046920)
Fly into PDX and have your friends from Vancouver WA pick you up if you are staying with them for a night. Take one of several trains per day from Vancouver WA to Seattle. There are two trains and several Amtrak buses per day from Seattle King St. station to Vancouver BC Canada. There is no need to drive a rental car into Canada. Once you are in Vancouver, walk, take a taxi/Uber, or use a city bus or a HOHO bus to and through Stanley Park.
If you are traveling solo and are OK with it, there are two HI Hostels in Vancouver. They have dorms and a few private rooms.


Thanks Tom - I'm a bit over age for hostels. :lol: I'm really starting to feel as though I can't do it all, and that this Vancouver portion is going to cost more than I thought. (We spent $67 a night at Air B&Bs in Italy, so I'm a little spoiled.) I'd be open to air b&b here, but didn't see anything near my venue. Maybe I should look again.

sludick Jan 16th, 2020 06:42 AM

I normally stay a bit more in the middle of things, like the Sheraton Wall Centre or Hyatt or even our Worldmark timeshare. Pricewise, you are at the start of cruise season and potentially over Victoria Day (May 18), so that would explain the higher prices. Not familiar with the Victorian hotel, but the pictures look nice. There are a lot of nice Victorian style structures in leafy neighborhoods, and I'm hoping that's the case here. It is getting a bit close to Chinatown, and the homeless situation in Vancouver has grown considerably, so not sure if you will encounter that at your location. But it should be fine.

There are so many good places to eat - if you like oysters, check out Rodneys in Gastown. Also, if you walk up to Joe Fortes (777 Thurlow), try for a rooftop garden seat if the weather is good. Of course, you'll see lots of casual Asian eateries. If you get a chance, try to visit De Deutch Pannekoek House for one of their pannekoeken for breakfast - I know your room rate includes breakfast, but these are something else. There's a couple in Vancouver itself, but the old one over in North Van is our favorite.

emmajm Jan 16th, 2020 08:14 AM

Grizzlies from Vancouver
 
Seeing grizzlies is an investment in time and money but it is worth it if is one of your dreams. You can fly from Vancouver to Prince Rupert and take an all day tour to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary where in May they will be eating sedge grass along the shore. You have to arrive the day before due to air schedules but Prince Rupert is a pleasant town to visit.

Best is to spend three nights at Khutzeymateen Lodge, going out twice a day In a small boat to see them. We saw lots.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...b6fbfa54c.jpeg

Rocket79 Jan 16th, 2020 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by emmajm (Post 17047273)
Seeing grizzlies is an investment in time and money but it is worth it if is one of your dreams. You can fly from Vancouver to Prince Rupert and take an all day tour to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary where in May they will be eating sedge grass along the shore. You have to arrive the day before due to air schedules but Prince Rupert is a pleasant town to visit.

Best is to spend three nights at Khutzeymateen Lodge, going out twice a day In a small boat to see them. We saw lots.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...b6fbfa54c.jpeg

Oh my. This is exactly what I was looking for. Time to ponder. Thank you so much. :)Adding - Did you fly from Vancouver Intl. airport to Prince Rupert?

sludick Jan 16th, 2020 11:15 AM

In case you make it to Prince Rupert - I think the Crest Hotel restaurant's clam chowder is some of the very best. :)

sludick Jan 16th, 2020 11:18 AM

Khutzeymateen is on our bucket list, too. It's just a big investment in money, so haven't made it yet. We do have an Alaska trip planned for July that just about stopped the heart on my bank account...

getgoing1 Jan 16th, 2020 12:18 PM

The Victorian Hotel will be just fine. I do believe all have shared bathrooms, at least they did.
Just stay West of Cambie Street which runs North the South. East of Cambie St you begin to run into the drug and homeless area. It is safe to walk through but very depressing.
Chinatown is East of Cambie Street you can walk along Pender Street which is at the corner of your hotel. Chinatown has gone down hill and is nowhere what it use to be. The new Chinatown is in Richmond, about a 25 minute ride on our Canada Line.
Enjoy your stay in Vancouver.

tomfuller Jan 16th, 2020 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17047149)
Thanks Tom - I'm a bit over age for hostels. :lol: I'm really starting to feel as though I can't do it all, and that this Vancouver portion is going to cost more than I thought. (We spent $67 a night at Air B&Bs in Italy, so I'm a little spoiled.) I'd be open to air b&b here, but didn't see anything near my venue. Maybe I should look again.

I'm 70. The last time I was in a HI hostel in Vancouver we had a private room with a television. The bathrooms/showers are "down the hall" but that doesn't bother me or my wife.
In Canada I've stayed in HI hostels in Toronto, Winnipeg, Jasper and Vancouver.

thursdaysd Jan 16th, 2020 01:30 PM

This is a step up from the hostels: https://ywcavan.org/hotel/rooms

I've stayed in the single/semi-private bath with good rates. It's just downhill from the Stadium skytrain stop

emmajm Jan 16th, 2020 01:33 PM

Re Prince Rupert--yes Air Canada flies from Vancouver International to Prince Rupert. Scenic flight if it's clear. If you book the lodge you fly there in a float plane. (If you decide to do this feel free to private message me about PR.)

Sludick, maybe next year! This year I'm spending our dollars in the Canadian Rockies.

Rocket79 Jan 16th, 2020 01:33 PM


Originally Posted by getgoing1 (Post 17047418)
The Victorian Hotel will be just fine. I do believe all have shared bathrooms, at least they did.
Just stay West of Cambie Street which runs North the South. East of Cambie St you begin to run into the drug and homeless area. It is safe to walk through but very depressing.
Chinatown is East of Cambie Street you can walk along Pender Street which is at the corner of your hotel. Chinatown has gone down hill and is nowhere what it use to be. The new Chinatown is in Richmond, about a 25 minute ride on our Canada Line.
Enjoy your stay in Vancouver.

Thank you! So, my workshop is being held at the Firehall Arts Center on Cordova. That's East of Cambie. I was thinking about nabbing an Air b&b a little closer to this venue, around Powell, Water streets. Sound OK location wise? Closer than the Victorian, which has private bathrooms, as far as I can tell.

sludick Jan 17th, 2020 04:54 AM

emmajm, maybe so. At least we've had two rafting excursions down the Atnarko River in Bella Coola to see the bear fishing for salmon. That was quite the experience as well. This time we are hoping to see muskoxen and other critters from farther north.

getgoing1 Jan 17th, 2020 05:30 AM


Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17047466)
Thank you! So, my workshop is being held at the Firehall Arts Center on Cordova. That's East of Cambie. I was thinking about nabbing an Air b&b a little closer to this venue, around Powell, Water streets. Sound OK location wise? Closer than the Victorian, which has private bathrooms, as far as I can tell.

If you are referring to the Victorian regarding private bathrooms, perhaps and go back to their website and read it again. Three guest share one bathroom.

As for staying in the Powell and Water Street area, that will pretty much put you in the near middle of the homeless and drug users, you will be one block from the epicenter of the problem. Your venue is located one block from Oppenheimer Park which is an encampment for the homeless. It is still pretty safe just not an area that one would stay in when there are so many nice areas in downtown Vancouver including the Victorian.

Rocket79 Jan 17th, 2020 06:16 AM


Originally Posted by getgoing1 (Post 17047756)
If you are referring to the Victorian regarding private bathrooms, perhaps and go back to their website and read it again. Three guest share one bathroom.

As for staying in the Powell and Water Street area, that will pretty much put you in the near middle of the homeless and drug users, you will be one block from the epicenter of the problem. Your venue is located one block from Oppenheimer Park which is an encampment for the homeless. It is still pretty safe just not an area that one would stay in when there are so many nice areas in downtown Vancouver including the Victorian.

OK - Thank you for this. I will check the hotel again. I'm not spending close to $300/nt to share a bathroom. :stress: I guess this is a bit of a conundrum. I won't have a vehicle so taking a taxi or Uber to the venue each day doesn't appeal. If I bid on a nicer hotel downtown, how is public transport and getting to my venue? (I'll look into this further, but tips?)

If you were me and this was your venue, where would you stay? Thanks again - much appreciated!

thursdaysd Jan 17th, 2020 06:38 AM

According to Google maps, if you stay at the YWCA I recommended above you can walk 700 m (eight minutes) north, take an eastbound bus three stops and walk another 180 m north..

getgoing1 Jan 17th, 2020 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by thursdaysd (Post 17047810)
According to Google maps, if you stay at the YWCA I recommended above you can walk 700 m (eight minutes) north, take an eastbound bus three stops and walk another 180 m north..

The bus will let you off directly in the middle of the drug and homeless area, and then you will need to walk through it. You don't need a bus when you can walk around the area and circumvent it.

Walk North on Beatty St. Turn Right on Pender, continue on Pender St through Chinatown. Cross Gore St, turn left on Gore to Cordova and there is your venue. Google maps won't give you this walking direction. It seems to offer two neither are the best.

If you are asking where I would stay, take a look at The Days Inn on Pender Street, close to the water, a nice walk to your venue along Pender East and the left on to Water St East through Gastown to Gore St and the one block right South to Cordova.

NorthwestMale Jan 17th, 2020 12:06 PM


Originally Posted by getgoing1 (Post 17047756)

As for staying in the Powell and Water Street area, that will pretty much put you in the near middle of the homeless and drug users, you will be one block from the epicenter of the problem.



I was going to question some of this, per the Oppenheimer Park reference, but as the Epicenter of the problem is and shall always be Hastings and Main, the point is moot.


The OP still need not worry about much of anything...

And were it ME, walking the 3/4 mile from 514 Homer St. to 280 E. Cordova, I would simply walk the opposite way, toward Richards street, and then northeast, toward the water, crossing to Water STREET (with lots of Gastown tourism all around it) and then onto Powell St. before approaching the venue from the north.

Central Vancouver
is still much safer than is the typical U.S. city of similar size, mostly because normal people are roaming around in nearly all areas at nearly all hours. (so many LIVE downtown that they can't help but want their neighborhoods to be safe)

It's just... sensible to avoid walking near to Hastings and Main, if only for your own visual comfort.


As to the newly-evolved logistics...

Hmmmmmmmmmph... IF you could fly into Portland, and burden the Vancouver people with your complete presence for a few days... THEN rent a car for the period of "one week"... (off-airport)... perhaps you could go north, see the Olympic Peninsula as you'd hoped... timed so that you reach Poulsbo and Coupeville with suitable time for those friends, and MAYbe return the car in the central Seattle area in time to TAKE THE TRAIN to VANCOUVER. (this still involving a ferry ride from Port Townsend to Coupeville with your rental car, which is NO problem) (from Coupeville, drive to the NORTH... visit Deception Pass State Park... and then exit Whidbey Island to the north before turning south toward Seattle. (La Conner, WA is a cute little town worthy of a visit, if there is time and interest)

The Vancouver train station is SO central that it would entail a walk of ONE mile from the station to your hotel.

OR a bus called the "Expo Line" would run from near the train station to a spot a block or two from your hotel, every SIX minutes
.


The train from Seattle to Vancouver is scenic in many spots, and Vancouver is very walkable.

FROM your hotel, Robson Street is just a couple of blocks... and it's full of life and zest and perhaps tourists as well. (perhaps first get to Robson St. when targeting interests sightseeing in other directions {than your workshop place}, as perhaps it is slightly less-likely that anything will go dramatically wrong on a busier street)

You can't really make too many mistakes when walking in central Vancouver... (the nearest thing to a 'mistake' would be Hastings and Main area at night... )

(BUT there's even a police station at Cordova and Main... so how bad can it really get?)


IF flying home from Vancouver is feasible, then perhaps that is the move to make, otherwise the train back to Seattle is the likeliest option.


Based on such a projection, I think it sensible to put the Vancouver leg on either SIDE/end of your trip (and if you happen to want Vancouver at the beginning, then just reverse this whole scenario as painted here)


You'd make a thorough representation of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest.

NorthwestMale Jan 17th, 2020 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17047793)
OK - Thank you for this. I will check the hotel again. I'm not spending close to $300/nt to share a bathroom. :stress: I guess this is a bit of a conundrum. I won't have a vehicle so taking a taxi or Uber to the venue each day doesn't appeal. If I bid on a nicer hotel downtown, how is public transport and getting to my venue? (I'll look into this further, but tips?)

If you were me and this was your venue, where would you stay? Thanks again - much appreciated!


BASED ENTIRELY upon how relatively compact and relatively FLAT Vancouver is... I would opt for a nicer hotel right in the midst of the central hubbub.

If it is truly "central", then it's convenient to everything, and if it is down by the water, then perhaps the mountain/water views will make up for having a little hike.


For knowing that your ultimate location interest is in an area that is otherwise unappealing, it doesn't make too much sense to shoot for lodging very near to Hastings and Main.

Thus I think you have the optimum freedom for PRICELINE BIDDING... shooting for any nice hotel which will have you at something up to U.S. $150 per night... especially if you're going to be there withOUT a car. (and without the overnight parking concerns)

Central Vancouver just isn't spread-out enough to where you could go very wrong EVEN IF you managed to (randomly) land the furthest 3-star or 4-star hotel from your venue.

EVEN IF it's raining, there will likely be a simple city bus ride that would cover the bulk of any local trip you'd need to make.


Are you familiar with the "bidding" feature on Priceline???? (it is their trademark appeal, BUT as they are perhaps trending away from it, they likely don't have the Priceline BIDDING link easy to find at their website)

When precisely IS your workshop?

IF it is on/over the weekend of MAY 16-18, you may not find much available as that is a 3-day weekend in Canada.


Same is true of the following weekend, with USA tourists coming north on U.S. Memorial Day


It'd be great if your workshop were mid-week somewhere in there...

NorthwestMale Jan 17th, 2020 12:26 PM

A link to the BIDDING FOR HOTELS process at Priceline.com is here:


https://www.priceline.com/hotels/ver...=1579296043876


For purposes of Vancouver, zones 4 or 5 are the only ones you would be interested in.

(but tell us clearly if you are at all familiar with the 'bidding' part of Priceline)


NorthwestMale Jan 17th, 2020 12:38 PM


Originally Posted by getgoing1 (Post 17047968)
The bus will let you off directly in the middle of the drug and homeless area, and then you will need to walk through it. You don't need a bus when you can walk around the area and circumvent it.

Walk North on Beatty St. Turn Right on Pender, continue on Pender St through Chinatown. Cross Gore St, turn left on Gore to Cordova and there is your venue. Google maps won't give you this walking direction. It seems to offer two neither are the best.

If you are asking where I would stay, take a look at The Days Inn on Pender Street, close to the water, a nice walk to your venue along Pender East and the left on to Water St East through Gastown to Gore St and the one block right South to Cordova.


My vision of the walking path (from the originally-stated hotel) is from the opposite direction, via Water Street and the touristy area... still avoiding much of the riff-raff.


And The Days Inn is crazy...

Why would anyone want to stay at a Days Inn for $359 a night in mid-May ??? (and that's booking now to save 10% ) (2 nights, $844 cdn. total)


IF not going on either holiday weekEND, it would be best to wait until early May to use Priceline bidding to land a nicer hotel for $350 U.S. total for two nights. (= $410-ish cdn total for TWO nights)

(* clarity: each of those references to "total" includes taxes and fees)


Rocket79 Jan 17th, 2020 02:40 PM


Originally Posted by NorthwestMale (Post 17047993)
My vision of the walking path (from the originally-stated hotel) is from the opposite direction, via Water Street and the touristy area... still avoiding much of the riff-raff.


And The Days Inn is crazy...

Why would anyone want to stay at a Days Inn for $359 a night in mid-May ??? (and that's booking now to save 10% ) (2 nights, $844 cdn. total)


IF not going on either holiday weekEND, it would be best to wait until early May to use Priceline bidding to land a nicer hotel for $350 U.S. total for two nights. (= $410-ish cdn total for TWO nights)

(* clarity: each of those references to "total" includes taxes and fees)

Just a quick thank you for ALL of this. I will be back. But the workshop is indeed May 22-24. I guess that is a US holiday. Crud.

getgoing1 Jan 17th, 2020 02:45 PM


Originally Posted by NorthwestMale (Post 17047973)
I was going to question some of this, per the Oppenheimer Park reference, but as the Epicenter of the problem is and shall always be Hastings and Main, the point is moot.


The OP still need not worry about much of anything...

And were it ME, walking the 3/4 mile from 514 Homer St. to 280 E. Cordova, I would simply walk the opposite way, toward Richards street, and then northeast, toward the water, crossing to Water STREET (with lots of Gastown tourism all around it) and then onto Powell St. before approaching the venue from the north.

Central Vancouver
is still much safer than is the typical U.S. city of similar size, mostly because normal people are roaming around in nearly all areas at nearly all hours. (so many LIVE downtown that they can't help but want their neighborhoods to be safe)

It's just... sensible to avoid walking near to Hastings and Main, if only for your own visual comfort.


As to the newly-evolved logistics...

Hmmmmmmmmmph... IF you could fly into Portland, and burden the Vancouver people with your complete presence for a few days... THEN rent a car for the period of "one week"... (off-airport)... perhaps you could go north, see the Olympic Peninsula as you'd hoped... timed so that you reach Poulsbo and Coupeville with suitable time for those friends, and MAYbe return the car in the central Seattle area in time to TAKE THE TRAIN to VANCOUVER. (this still involving a ferry ride from Port Townsend to Coupeville with your rental car, which is NO problem) (from Coupeville, drive to the NORTH... visit Deception Pass State Park... and then exit Whidbey Island to the north before turning south toward Seattle. (La Conner, WA is a cute little town worthy of a visit, if there is time and interest)

The Vancouver train station is SO central that it would entail a walk of ONE mile from the station to your hotel.

OR a bus called the "Expo Line" would run from near the train station to a spot a block or two from your hotel, every SIX minutes
.


The train from Seattle to Vancouver is scenic in many spots, and Vancouver is very walkable.

FROM your hotel, Robson Street is just a couple of blocks... and it's full of life and zest and perhaps tourists as well. (perhaps first get to Robson St. when targeting interests sightseeing in other directions {than your workshop place}, as perhaps it is slightly less-likely that anything will go dramatically wrong on a busier street)

You can't really make too many mistakes when walking in central Vancouver... (the nearest thing to a 'mistake' would be Hastings and Main area at night... )

(BUT there's even a police station at Cordova and Main... so how bad can it really get?)


IF flying home from Vancouver is feasible, then perhaps that is the move to make, otherwise the train back to Seattle is the likeliest option.


Based on such a projection, I think it sensible to put the Vancouver leg on either SIDE/end of your trip (and if you happen to want Vancouver at the beginning, then just reverse this whole scenario as painted here)


You'd make a thorough representation of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest.

There is no bus called the Expo Line. The Expo Line is part of our automated Skytrain system. It operates from Waterfront Station to Surrey BC

Rocket79 Jan 19th, 2020 09:03 AM

Thanks everyone. I'm going to sit on this for awhile. I really need to figure out if I can swing the bear thing up north. I really, really would like to make it happen. It looks like I should be fine and not be homeless in Vancouver. And yes, I have bid on rooms in Chicago, but it has been awhile.

If anyone has other thoughts, I am all ears. Thanks again - great group here at Fodors.

sludick Jan 19th, 2020 09:09 AM

Just that I think if you keep your current hotel as a safety and then bid Priceline on the two downtown areas as I suggested closer to your arrival, you have a good chance at a better place for less money. Vancouver downtown is pretty compact - even if you end up taking something like Uber or Lyft in the mornings, you might feel just fine walking back in the afternoons. We have won both the Wall Centre and the Hyatt on Priceline, as an example (those were both 4* on Priceline).



raincitygirl Jan 20th, 2020 11:24 AM

I'd just like to point out that Vancouver does not have Uber or Lyft yet unfortunately due to a very powerful taxi cartel. The government has apparently finally given approval but so far none are up and running. Hopefully by your trip in May they will be operational.

raincitygirl Jan 20th, 2020 11:52 AM

https://www.whistler.com/activities/bear-viewing/. Apparently there are grizzly tours in Whistler which would be easier/quicker to get to than the Great Bear Rainforest, although I think your chances of seeing them may be greater in the GBR.

Grouse mountain which is a local ski hill has a refuge for orphaned grizzly bears, I think there are two of them. But they are in a large enclosure, not the same as seeing them in the wild.

As far as your hotel, the Victorian should be fine in terms of where it is located, you can walk all over from there. If you fly into Vancouver you can hop on the Canada Line train at the airport, take it right to Waterfront station, then you can walk to your hotel from there, you can easily find the directions in Google maps. I am seeing prices on Expedia and Booking.com for that hotel for Canadian $219.00 including all taxes and continental breakfast and wifi. It looks to be nice and clean, you have your own sink in the room but have to share a bathroom.
If you decide to take Amtrak you could walk from the train station to your hotel as well or it would be a short cab ride.

As others have mentioned, the area you will walk through from the Victorian to the Firehall Theatre is pretty sketchy looking in places. During the day you will be perfectly safe, (probably at night too but things ramp up at night there, it's even more ugly and grim to see what goes on) it's just we have a very big problem in that part of town referred to as the Downtown Eastside or DTES with drugs, homelessness, mentally ill people etc. It is not the prettiest view of our city and I hope you will go to other parts of town to see the nicer side of things. Believe it or not at least 360 million dollars are spent in that area annually and yet it continues to get worse. The danger in this area is mostly property crime, not violent crime, so it's not somewhere you really want to park a car, especially do not leave ANYTHING in your car there if you do have a car.

Rocket79 Jan 20th, 2020 06:48 PM

Thanks for all of this info. I will get back to it tomorrow; it’s too hard writing on an iPad!

BC_Robyn Jan 26th, 2020 03:25 PM


Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17046725)
Hey all - I'll be in Vancouver for a workshop in late May. I live in the Midwestern US, and am trying to plot my course. Lots of variables at play. I have friends in Vancouver, Wash., as well as friends in Coupeville and Poulsbo. I'm trying to figure out where I should fly in and out of, if I can even make it to see all of them (time is somewhat flexible but I'd say 2 weeks max. My workshop is just 2 days). But mostly if I fly into Seattle or Portland, what is the best way to get into Vancouver BC? Just fly, I'd imagine? So that's one question. :-)

I live in Vancouver, so I normally just drive to Seattle and Portland. It's a 3-hour drive down the freeway from Seattle to Vancouver, not including any waits at the border. Portland's another three hours south of Seattle.

If you're driving, the border line-up is the real wild card here. It could be 5 minutes, it could be 2 hours. As others have said, Amtrak does have one train per day up to Vancouver and one train per day back south again. They have countless Amtrak buses, so if you're looking at the Amtrak schedule, make sure you're choosing the train and not inadvertently choosing the bus option!

Or, as you said, you could just fly. I've never once flown between Vancouver and Seattle or Portland, but mainly because I've always wanted my car while exploring there, so it's less hassle for me to just drive.


Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17046725)
My workshop is at the old firehouse theater in Gastown. I've booked a room at the Victorian Hotel, at 514 Homer St. Does anyone know anything about this place? Is it a good landing place for walking to my workshop? How would I get there from the airport? I've been to a lot of places but never Vancouver. I will be doing more research but frankly Fodors is the best place for that. Are there other recommendations for lodging roughly $200 a night or less..?

Ahh, the Firehouse Theatre. I've been to shows there. It's a great little indie theatre, but be prepared for a real shock in terms of the thousands of drug addicts and homeless people and generally unwell street people (some with severe mental health issues) who wander those Downtown Eastside No-Mans-Land blocks between Gastown and Chinatown. It's not actually dangerous but it looks bad and you may feel uncomfortable, especially if nobody warns you about this ahead of time. So consider this that warning. :) The good news is that people don't get mugged or murdered there. The drug addicts and homeless folk will wander around like zombies or scream to themselves... but they will totally ignore you. But that is where you'll be based, so just set your expectations ahead of time and don't be surprised that such a part of the city exists. All the homeless shelters, welfare offices, soup kitchens, supervised injection sites, and other charities and services that serve that community exist within those few blocks. This video may shed some light on what's going on there: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us...-addicts-lives

The Victorian is a little historic inn on a side street on the outskirts of Gastown. I've never stayed there but those who do typically like it given it's a cheaper place to stay in town. It looks like it has character.

Another place to consider is the YWCA Hotel, which is more like college dorm-style accommodation (basic but clean). It probably doesn't have the same character as the Victorian, but it's in the same area and would be just as convenient for you. It may be slightly cheaper, not sure.

One thing about downtown Vancouver is that it is tiny. Everywhere is central and will be walking distance to hundreds of restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, etc.

From the Victorian, it would be a 15-minute walk to get to the Firehall, but there are some fairly sketchy blocks along the journey. To avoid the worst blocks, walk down Pender Street to get there. Look at a map of downtown Vancouver, but you'd want to walk from the Victorian along Pender to Gore. From Gore, walk north across Hastings one block up to Cordova and the Firehall will be on your right. The secret is to just use Pender as your main walking route for those blocks, not Hastings or Cordova. Pender's the main shopping/dining street in Chinatown. Hastings will look like scenes from that video I linked to above.

From the airport to downtown Vancouver, you could take a taxi. It shouldn't cost more than $36. Those are Canadian dollars, by the way. It goes without saying that the only currency used in Canada is the Canadian dollar, which seems to come as a surprise to visiting Americans, so... it kind of does have to be explicitly said, haha! You can also hop on the Canada Line (our airport-to-downtown rapid transit train) for a third of that price and get off at the end of the line: Waterfront Station, and then the Victorian Inn would be a 7-minute walk away. All in all, the Canada Line takes about the same time as the taxi... the taxi might be just a few minutes faster, but not by much.



Originally Posted by Rocket79 (Post 17046725)
Another question - As a photographer, I'd love to get onto the water or preferably into the wilderness to see some bears. What would be the recommended outfitter for something like this? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Probably. Please help.
Thank you in advance. This is just a start to my questions, I'm sure.

Here's the thing about Vancouver. Unlike most other cities in the world, Vancouver's a major city where wilderness is literally right out the door. Steps away. You don't come to Vancouver to hang out in the city streets (though you certain can and you certainly will). The way you interact with Vancouver is to spend your days out in the wilderness and then come back into the city to eat, and then you head out into the wilderness or to the beach, etc. and repeat that as many times as necessary. To experience Vancouver is to spend your leisure time out in nature, on the shore, in the forests, or on the mountains. Beaches, forests and mountains are all within minutes away from downtown Vancouver.

Wake up, have a coffee and a bite to eat at a cool cafe (look up Nelson the Seagull, Matchstick, or Revolver), then head into the rainforest for a morning walk (Stanley Park, which is a 30 minute walk west from your hotel, is larger than NYC's Central Park and is 1000 acres of temperate rainforest wilderness surrounded by beaches and mountain views). Then come back into the city, grab a cheap lunch (in Vancouver, Asian food is where it's at, specifically sushi/Japanese food and authentic (not westernized) Chinese food). I'm a fan of Heritage, Peaceful, Kaide, and Dinesty. Then you head out on your next adventure, like heading into the mountains (look up Seymour, Grouse, Cypress) or pop over to an island (look up Bowen) for a kayak along an ocean fjord (seriously, look up Bowen Island Kayaking). Then come back, grab a flight of craft beer in East Vancouver (East Van is Vancouver's Portlandia - the heart of the city's arts/weirdos/counter culture) ... somewhere like Strange Fellows or Parallel 49 Brewing or Brassneck or R&B Brewing. Grab a bite to eat on Main Street or Commercial Drive and then grab cocktails later on in Gastown. Or chill out on the beach at Jericho, Locarno, Spanish Banks, English Bay, Third Beach... and everyone will be there with blanket and guitars and beach volleyball watching the sun cast a glow over the mountains and distant islands. And that's where Vancouver really comes alive.

Don't stretch yourself too thin. Give yourself at least 3 days in Vancouver, outside of your work duties, to scratch the surface there. Prioritize the nature right there immediately available in the city. You don't really have to travel far to experience what you're after. As a photographer, you'll probably want a week.

For water, there are countless opportunities right in Vancouver. Make sure you stroll the entire seawall (you spend hours doing this). You could literally spend the whole day in Stnlay Park if you wanted. Grab photos at Third Beach, from under the Lions Gate Bridge, and then keep going along the seawall to English Bay then over to Science World and Olympic Village.

Take those little water taxis (Aquabus and False Creek Ferries) to Granville Island (a public food market open in the morning/afternoon). Kitsilano "Kits" Beach is one of my favourite waterfront views of the city skyline with a mountain backdrop, and along Yew Street up to W 4th are all sorts of cute, local neighbourhood haunts - cafes, diners, shops, flower markets, etc. A side of authentic Vancouver.

Take the SeaBus (a 10-minute boat ride) from Waterfront Station across to Lonsdale Quay for a photo op of the downtown skyline at sunset. Be sure to check out the Polygon Gallery there, a by-donation photography museum that has a sweet view over the city. And yeah, take the express bus to Horseshoe Bay, about a half hour away, and hop on the 20-minute ferry to Bowen Island. Go on a guided kayak tour if you can.

For bears close to Vancouver, unless you want rescued bears in enclosures (North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain has two rescued grizzlies), the next closest place would be going on a bear tour in Whistler, which is a 90-minute drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Vancouver: https://www.whistler.com/activities/bear-viewing/. This is totally feasible.

There's also Tofino for bear-watching on the magical west coast of Vancouver Island, home to ancient rainforests and gorgeous beaches, but... you'd want to fly there and rent a car. It's otherwise a 5-hour journey from Vancouver. And you'd want 3-4 days there. Look up Pacific Rim National Park, though it is absolutely stunning: https://www.oceanoutfitters.bc.ca/bear-watching

For bear-watching in Bella Coola or Prince Rupert, you're talking about places that book months in advance, that have distinct bear-viewing seasons which I think depend on the fall salmon run in September. For those places, you're looking at 1-2 hour flights, and then you're going to want to be there on the ground for 3 days at least. There is where you may be getting into "biting off more than you can chew" territory.

raincitygirl Jan 26th, 2020 10:13 PM

Just like to add that Uber and Lyft are finally up and running in Vancouver.

Rocket79 Jan 27th, 2020 06:09 AM

Ran City Girl - Amazing, generous posts. I will get back to this with some thoughts later - meetings today! THANK YOU!

sludick Jan 27th, 2020 06:48 AM

Great information, BC_Robyn! Your post is well worth saving.

emmajm Jan 27th, 2020 07:37 AM

Very useful post Robyn but can I correct for benefit of future bear searchers-

Bear season from Prince Rupert runs May to July because viewing is not based on salmon runs but on sedge grass! They come to the estuary shore to eat sedge. As of now they still have availability.

Rocket79 Jan 27th, 2020 07:50 AM


Originally Posted by BC_Robyn (Post 17053097)
I live in Vancouver, so I normally just drive to Seattle and Portland. It's a 3-hour drive down the freeway from Seattle to Vancouver, not including any waits at the border. Portland's another three hours south of Seattle.

If you're driving, the border line-up is the real wild card here. It could be 5 minutes, it could be 2 hours. As others have said, Amtrak does have one train per day up to Vancouver and one train per day back south again. They have countless Amtrak buses, so if you're looking at the Amtrak schedule, make sure you're choosing the train and not inadvertently choosing the bus option!

Or, as you said, you could just fly. I've never once flown between Vancouver and Seattle or Portland, but mainly because I've always wanted my car while exploring there, so it's less hassle for me to just drive.



Ahh, the Firehouse Theatre. I've been to shows there. It's a great little indie theatre, but be prepared for a real shock in terms of the thousands of drug addicts and homeless people and generally unwell street people (some with severe mental health issues) who wander those Downtown Eastside No-Mans-Land blocks between Gastown and Chinatown. It's not actually dangerous but it looks bad and you may feel uncomfortable, especially if nobody warns you about this ahead of time. So consider this that warning. :) The good news is that people don't get mugged or murdered there. The drug addicts and homeless folk will wander around like zombies or scream to themselves... but they will totally ignore you. But that is where you'll be based, so just set your expectations ahead of time and don't be surprised that such a part of the city exists. All the homeless shelters, welfare offices, soup kitchens, supervised injection sites, and other charities and services that serve that community exist within those few blocks. This video may shed some light on what's going on there: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us...-addicts-lives

The Victorian is a little historic inn on a side street on the outskirts of Gastown. I've never stayed there but those who do typically like it given it's a cheaper place to stay in town. It looks like it has character.

Another place to consider is the YWCA Hotel, which is more like college dorm-style accommodation (basic but clean). It probably doesn't have the same character as the Victorian, but it's in the same area and would be just as convenient for you. It may be slightly cheaper, not sure.

One thing about downtown Vancouver is that it is tiny. Everywhere is central and will be walking distance to hundreds of restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, etc.

From the Victorian, it would be a 15-minute walk to get to the Firehall, but there are some fairly sketchy blocks along the journey. To avoid the worst blocks, walk down Pender Street to get there. Look at a map of downtown Vancouver, but you'd want to walk from the Victorian along Pender to Gore. From Gore, walk north across Hastings one block up to Cordova and the Firehall will be on your right. The secret is to just use Pender as your main walking route for those blocks, not Hastings or Cordova. Pender's the main shopping/dining street in Chinatown. Hastings will look like scenes from that video I linked to above.

From the airport to downtown Vancouver, you could take a taxi. It shouldn't cost more than $36. Those are Canadian dollars, by the way. It goes without saying that the only currency used in Canada is the Canadian dollar, which seems to come as a surprise to visiting Americans, so... it kind of does have to be explicitly said, haha! You can also hop on the Canada Line (our airport-to-downtown rapid transit train) for a third of that price and get off at the end of the line: Waterfront Station, and then the Victorian Inn would be a 7-minute walk away. All in all, the Canada Line takes about the same time as the taxi... the taxi might be just a few minutes faster, but not by much.




Here's the thing about Vancouver. Unlike most other cities in the world, Vancouver's a major city where wilderness is literally right out the door. Steps away. You don't come to Vancouver to hang out in the city streets (though you certain can and you certainly will). The way you interact with Vancouver is to spend your days out in the wilderness and then come back into the city to eat, and then you head out into the wilderness or to the beach, etc. and repeat that as many times as necessary. To experience Vancouver is to spend your leisure time out in nature, on the shore, in the forests, or on the mountains. Beaches, forests and mountains are all within minutes away from downtown Vancouver.

Wake up, have a coffee and a bite to eat at a cool cafe (look up Nelson the Seagull, Matchstick, or Revolver), then head into the rainforest for a morning walk (Stanley Park, which is a 30 minute walk west from your hotel, is larger than NYC's Central Park and is 1000 acres of temperate rainforest wilderness surrounded by beaches and mountain views). Then come back into the city, grab a cheap lunch (in Vancouver, Asian food is where it's at, specifically sushi/Japanese food and authentic (not westernized) Chinese food). I'm a fan of Heritage, Peaceful, Kaide, and Dinesty. Then you head out on your next adventure, like heading into the mountains (look up Seymour, Grouse, Cypress) or pop over to an island (look up Bowen) for a kayak along an ocean fjord (seriously, look up Bowen Island Kayaking). Then come back, grab a flight of craft beer in East Vancouver (East Van is Vancouver's Portlandia - the heart of the city's arts/weirdos/counter culture) ... somewhere like Strange Fellows or Parallel 49 Brewing or Brassneck or R&B Brewing. Grab a bite to eat on Main Street or Commercial Drive and then grab cocktails later on in Gastown. Or chill out on the beach at Jericho, Locarno, Spanish Banks, English Bay, Third Beach... and everyone will be there with blanket and guitars and beach volleyball watching the sun cast a glow over the mountains and distant islands. And that's where Vancouver really comes alive.

Don't stretch yourself too thin. Give yourself at least 3 days in Vancouver, outside of your work duties, to scratch the surface there. Prioritize the nature right there immediately available in the city. You don't really have to travel far to experience what you're after. As a photographer, you'll probably want a week.

For water, there are countless opportunities right in Vancouver. Make sure you stroll the entire seawall (you spend hours doing this). You could literally spend the whole day in Stnlay Park if you wanted. Grab photos at Third Beach, from under the Lions Gate Bridge, and then keep going along the seawall to English Bay then over to Science World and Olympic Village.

Take those little water taxis (Aquabus and False Creek Ferries) to Granville Island (a public food market open in the morning/afternoon). Kitsilano "Kits" Beach is one of my favourite waterfront views of the city skyline with a mountain backdrop, and along Yew Street up to W 4th are all sorts of cute, local neighbourhood haunts - cafes, diners, shops, flower markets, etc. A side of authentic Vancouver.

Take the SeaBus (a 10-minute boat ride) from Waterfront Station across to Lonsdale Quay for a photo op of the downtown skyline at sunset. Be sure to check out the Polygon Gallery there, a by-donation photography museum that has a sweet view over the city. And yeah, take the express bus to Horseshoe Bay, about a half hour away, and hop on the 20-minute ferry to Bowen Island. Go on a guided kayak tour if you can.

For bears close to Vancouver, unless you want rescued bears in enclosures (North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain has two rescued grizzlies), the next closest place would be going on a bear tour in Whistler, which is a 90-minute drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Vancouver: https://www.whistler.com/activities/bear-viewing/. This is totally feasible.

There's also Tofino for bear-watching on the magical west coast of Vancouver Island, home to ancient rainforests and gorgeous beaches, but... you'd want to fly there and rent a car. It's otherwise a 5-hour journey from Vancouver. And you'd want 3-4 days there. Look up Pacific Rim National Park, though it is absolutely stunning: https://www.oceanoutfitters.bc.ca/bear-watching

For bear-watching in Bella Coola or Prince Rupert, you're talking about places that book months in advance, that have distinct bear-viewing seasons which I think depend on the fall salmon run in September. For those places, you're looking at 1-2 hour flights, and then you're going to want to be there on the ground for 3 days at least. There is where you may be getting into "biting off more than you can chew" territory.

Thank you so much for all of this incredible information and insight. I will say that I have booked a loft thru airbnb just down the street from the venue (secure building). I appreciate all of the warnings, and I will add that the video is very troubling. There will be a little over 100 people at the workshop. I just felt that at the end of the day, it will be better to be closer to the venue (since I need to get there, one way or the other.) It will be light out when I walk the couple blocks; I think for me, it was worth it over the hassle/cost of getting transportation there and back from a hotel farther west. That said, the situation in that area will no doubt be unsettling. I may have misjudged this and I hope I don't regret it, but I can't cancel without losing 50% of the cost. So my timeline:
- Thursday night of my arrival and all day Friday on my own
- Friday night and full days Sat and Sun are the workshop
- I have Monday and Tuesday (and Friday during the day) to myself for whatever
- Check out of the loft Wednesday

So the question is, what to do on my free days and on Wed. do I just fly home, or do I head over to Vancouver Island. Tofino is quite alluring! So is Bowen Island. I'm just not sure kayaking is up my alley, although I wish it was! I may get enough of a nature fix on Monday and Tuesday, too. I love the idea of getting on a water taxi or ferry to do some exploring. I wouldn't mind adding perhaps three days to this and doing something like this. So I'll be doing more research before I book any flights or trains. It's always a little difficult planning a trip to someplace you've never been. Once I get the lay of the land of a place, I'm fine. Anyway, thank you again - I may have more specific questions later!





BC_Robyn Jan 27th, 2020 12:04 PM

Re: your AirBnB loft, what's weird about that part of that city is that it can be unsettling on one street and then totally a different scene one block over. I'm thinking this might be the case with your loft. There are some luxury condos right in Chinatown a block away from the madness on Hastings, and they're hip happening places. There are also some slick lofts in old warehouse type buildings just to the north of the Firehall in what's called Railtown (also home to the Alibi Room and Belgard Kitchen, which are worth checking out). As well, clusters of old Victorian heritage homes to the east of the Firehall in a place called Strathcona. All are steps away from the unsettling few bits, and it would feel as if you're a million miles away from the chaos.

So chances are, your loft will be fine. And again, it's all about setting expectations so it's not a shock when you accidentally stumble through this, but you go in knowing that this is there and there are streets where you can avoid the worst of it.

Vancouver Island's a two-week destination, and if you're not flying, it's time consuming to get to from Vancouver. If you can spare 3-4 days, go to Tofino. Fly into Tofino and rent a car to explore. It's bliss.

As a short afternoon outing from Vancouver, Bowen Island makes sense. Bowen Island is a day-trip or half-day trip destination. You don't need a car to get there. You don't even need to kayak. It's more or less an excuse to get onto a scenic 20-minute ferry ride onto an island in the middle of Howe Sound. There are all kinds of trails and parks on Bowen, but it's also a semi-rural residential area... a Vancouver bedroom community. This site might help: https://www.tourismbowenisland.com/

For an afternoon in nature in Vancouver, I'd just take the Seabus + bus to somewhere like Lynn Canyon: https://lynncanyon.ca/
And spend a day exploring Stanley Park.


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