Vancouver - suggestions on what to do?

Old Jan 5th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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Vancouver - suggestions on what to do?

We're going to Vancouver this month for a few days and taking our 18 year old daughter - art student - any suggestions on what to do, where to go, what to eat? It's my daughter's and my first time there. Hubby goes on business. Daughter will stay for 3 days and fly back alone. We will stay for 3 more days. Is it ok to let her fly back alone? It looks beautiful. Thanks
expat20 is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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The absolute highlight of our visit to Vancouver was the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Your daughter will enjoy the impressive art of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Don't miss this, it's a very special museum.

It's a beautiful city, hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old Jan 7th, 2006, 12:38 PM
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Vancouver is one of my favourite cities. Check out the Vancouver Art Gallery The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has old world charm and good winter rates and is right next to the gallery. Up the street a block is my favourite hotel, the Wedgewood-one of the best hotels in Canada, apparently.

Will you have a car? For the UBC gallery (as the previous writer posted) you'll likely need one. Also bear in mind that there are great restaurants out of the downtown core, just over one of the bridges (cambie, burrard, etc.) West Broadway is a street you may wish to check out in that regard.

However, a restaurant in Yaletown would be fun for your 18 year old.

Be certain to visit Stanley Park. A drive up to the North Shore mountains on a clear day would be spectacular.

There are many things to do--get a good guide book and make some choices and you likely won't go wrong. Have fun.
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Old Jan 7th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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I agree with what SusanEva and robbiep have said.

Because of Vancouver's geography, it makes sense to group activities that are located close to each other.

For example, Stanley Park, Granville Island Market, Yaletown and Robson Street are centrally located, and lend themselves to being done on the same day.

The North Shore is across Burrard Inlet from downtown Vancouver, and its landmarks lend themselves to being grouped together. A North Shore drive could include a visit to free, non-touristy Lynn Canyon or touristy, not-free Capilano Canyon. This could be followed by a cable car ride up Grouse Mountain (but only if the mountain is not socked in by cloud). On a clear day it offers a lovely view of Vancouver below. Finally, you could head over to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. If you had time to drive further north, up Howe Sound, so much the better.

Another group of attractions is to the south of downtown. SusanEva mentioned the Museum of Anthropology. It's my favourite Vancouver attraction after Stanley Park. Be aware, though, that the museum is closed on Mondays.

Also to the south of downtown are Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden. You can enter Queen Elizabeth Park for free, but you need to pay a modest amount if you want to go into Bloedel Floral Conservatory. VanDusen also charges a modest entry fee.

If time permitted, and if you had a car, you could then drive further east to Burnaby Mountain Park. Admission is free, and the view that you get from there is somewhat on a par with the one you get from Grouse Mountain.

On the way back to downtown, you could drive along English Bay.

Vancouver has a good public transportation system, and all the landmarks that have been mentioned so far are accessible on foot or by public transportation. However, if you used public transportation, you'd need to get your ducks in a row.

Here is TransLink's Trip Planning page which enables you to find out which combination of trains, ferries and buses you need to get from one spot to another:

I definitely don't think you need a car for your downtown day. You could do it on foot or by a combination of walking and public transportation.

If you don't want to have to think, you can use Vancouver Trolley Company's hop-on/hop-off bus, which does a circuit of the centrally located landmarks.

Although it is possible to visit the North Shore and the Museum of Anthropology, etc., by public transporation, I personally have visited those outlying places by car. To be honest, I quite enjoyed the flexibility of my own wheels.

Something you could consider doing is renting a car on an as-needed basis. That is, pick it up in the morning and return it in the evening on a day on which you decide you want it. That way you can avoid the parking fee that almost every downtown hotel charges.

I'm fond of the art work of the late Emily Carr. Its dark green colours evoke the shady, wet, temperate rainforests of the west coast.

One can visit the house in which she lived, which is within easy walking distance of downtown Victoria. Perhaps your daughter, as an art student, would find it interesting. However, I don't know that I would recommend a day trip to Victoria if a person had only 3 days in Vancouver. But if the idea appeals to your daughter enough, perhaps you could substitute a day trip to Victoria for the day on the North Shore. Then, once your daughter has returned home, you could visit the North Shore on your own.

If you use Pacific Coach Lines' bus/ferry combination, it takes about 4 hours to get from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria. That means that you spend 8 hours just getting there and back. It makes for a long day, but it's doable when you can leave early and return late in summer.

With the short hours of daylight that you have in winter, I think a day trip to Victoria is far less feasible.

However, you could get around that by taking the 35-minute flight in a floatplane from one city's harbour to the other. (But the floatplane also is considerably more expensive than the ferry/bus combination.)

On the Internet, I've seen day tours to Victoria that go by floatplane and return by bus/ferry. I don't know if they operate in winter as well as summer. If they're available, and if they fit your budget, they may represent a suitable compromise.

Fodor's Destinations section (reached via a button near the top of the screen) has a good 3-4 day itinerary for Vancouver and a good 1-day walking itinerary for downtown Victoria. The Vancouver section also has good rainy day suggestions (which could come in usefully in January).

>>>>>>Is it ok to let her fly back alone?<<<<<<

I really don't know what you mean by this. I don't know where "back" is. One of my sons flew from Calgary to Melbourne, Australia and back again on his own when he was 19. My other son flew from Melbourne to Calgary on his own when he was 17. One son had to change terminals in Los Angeles. The other one had to change planes (and terminals as well, if I remember correctly) in Sydney, Australia, and then he had to change planes (but not terminals) in Honolulu.

When our sons undertook these trips, we ourselves were at home. In a worst case scenario they could have called my husband or me. I suppose your daughter's case will be a little complicated by the fact that you'll be traipsing around Vancouver while she's getting hback, so it may not be so easy for her to call you in the event of an emergency. It would help if you put as many back up systems into place as possible (if you and she carried cell phones, if you had someone who would agree to be a contact person at the other end, and so on). Beyond that, I think she should be okay.

Good luck.

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Under Canadian law, because your daughter is an art student, she will be required to dress in black most of the time.

Contrary to rumors, there is no law requiring multiple ear pierceing, nor other piercings.

Vancouver in January can be rainy and chilly, so bring layers of clothes, and some waterproof outerwear.

Vancouver, generally, is an informal city, and dress codes are not big deal, so it's easy enough to be warm and comfortable and still eat in nice restaurants.

Vancouver is full of artists from all across Canada, and you can find all kinds of art there. But the heart of the region is west coast Indian art, which tends towards carvings.

It's always fun for younger traveller to see what's really different from back home. She might think a bit about what makes her home town special, and then compare that with similiar aspects of Vancouver.

Vancouver's got the grungiest part of any Canadian city -- what's called the downtown East Side -- and this can be interesting or frightening, so when you get your local maps, note that Hastings and Main is about as bad as it gets.

Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation launced a new television show -- sort of a sitcom with some serious themes woven through -- called Space for REnt. It's about a group of young people just finished school. One's a lawyer, one's a doctor, one's a philosopher who worked, for part of the first show, selling coffee. One thinks he's a writer.

As I watched this, I thought about just how cool it would be to be young and educated and lively and smart and able to start off adulthood in Vancouver.

I decided not to do that four decades ago, and I've semi-regretted it since then.

So be prepared to lose her to Vancouver.

About flying by herself -- hang a note around her neck saying "I'm an artist -- please be kind" give her a hundred bucks to solve any weirdo problem like a canceled interconnecting flight, and all will be fine, I'm sure.

Eat some salmon.


BAK is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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What terrific suggestions you have all posted. Thanks for taking the time to post such detailed messages. We will be sure to make note of the multiple piercings and black clothes. Actually I'm the one who'll be needing the black clothes because I'm in mourning since she's leaving me for art school next ssummer. Anyway, I'm excited about seeing Vancouver. It looks like a terrific city. We're staying at the Pan Pacific which looks like a nice hotel. Many thanks
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Old Jan 8th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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LOL @ Hastings and Main !!

For south-of-the-borderites, Hastings and Main is pretty tame, but relative to the rest of Canada it is the human wilderness.

Too bad the daughter isn't 19 already, she'd be able to enjoy newfound rights and experiences (even if she had to endure parental guidance in the bars).

I believe that most any young art student would be simply fascinated at Vancouver's beauty and urban life.

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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Arty yuong folks hang out on Commercial Drive. Lots of eateries there too.

Take the Victoira Bus from Granville Street an d you'll get to ride through the downtown Eastside and see the crackheads and honduran refugee drug pushers withouthaving to get out and interact with them.

Get oof around Commercial and Venables and walk up one side and down the other.
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