Vancouver trip highlights

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Jul 8th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Vancouver trip highlights

Some reflections on recent trip, sampling both familiar and new attractions:

Inside attractions: seemed best to have seperate plans for clear and rainy weather. Saving the inside attractions for rain or the end of the tour worked best since Vancouver has relatively fewer inside thrills. Good Warhol exhibit at Art Museum, but most notable now is the new Storyeum in Gastown. You'd expect this theatrical tour thru BC history to be corny and touristy, and part of it are. But some of the scenes are great (walkthru movie sets with live rein-act'ors).

I liked little known no-car ferry excursions you can take from downtown, avoiding the exasperating, congested roadtrips to the big ferry ports to north or south. From downtown seabus terminal you can take HarborLynx, a high speed 80 min ferry to Nanaimo out on Vancouver island. Nice on a Friday when Nanaimo has a farmers market with music and a stand with a zillion brochures on the local activities. There is an arranged tour meeting the ferry on Saturdays. Fun on the stern platform of the ferry where the propwash is spectacular, especially when throwing up splinters of driftwood you just hit hard.

Another downtown ferry ride is near Stanley park at top of Denham where you can go to Bowen Island. The ferry ride takes you close to that beautiful waterway that you also view on the drive to Whistler. Greyline sells a tour where an ecologist meets you and takes you on a nice rainforest daywalk there.

False Creek has a lot of low key attractions that you can tie together with a miniferry daypass - Maritime museum, Granville Isle markets, other attractive eating, park, and museum locations. I didn't grasp this until I trudged the high bridges a few times. I loved the little park with an oversize banquet table (maybe 80 feet long, with 10 foot high concrete chairs); great photo location to show you having a picnic.

Also liked: The long walk around Stanley park is a must, with extensions along coal harbor and english bay a plus (or sample the nearby restaurants of Denham/Robson). Too many to mention places all around have tasty, healthy food. I liked a bus tour combining Grouse Mt and Capilano bridge but it left too little time there. I'd rather take public transport or Greyline offers regular shuttles there for very low price.

Downsides were few: the usual west coast toleration of of bums, either aggressively blocking sidewalks, panhandling, freeloading into your restaurant restroom, or lighting campfires in Stanley Park (feared to burn the place down). Another was an excursion to Whistler with the construction both in town and on the way (highway closes several times a day, and we were almost trapped on the road). Whistler is one of the hottest places in BC, and may be as warm as Vancouver even at the top of it's not overly scenic gondola.
viking is offline  
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Jul 8th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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Great report-Viking-glad to hear you had good time and were able to experience the place on your own terms.

Note however that's *Denman* Street in the West End.
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Jul 9th, 2004, 03:43 AM
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In reference to the mention of severe traffic delays traveling to/from Whistler. In mid-August we are planning on using Route 99 as we travel from Williams Lake to Vancouver with an overnight in Squamish. Would you recommend we use an alternative route? If so, would we be better off using Route 1 and, if so, how much longer will it take us?
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Jul 9th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Westie you can still use the route you've planned via Squamish. Just call the toll-free line to find out when the closures are-
1-877-472-3399 or check this website
www.seatoskyimprovements.ca

Note that no work is being done on the road on weekends.
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Jul 9th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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Dunno, but maybe you can find on the web the specific closure schedule that they have for blasting. I believe we just had one roadblock that we passed 3 min before their noon closure. They also closed for most of the wee hours and perhaps 2 other daytime closures. The times may vary by day of week, and the location should be moving. Also be aware Lion Head bridge merges down to one lane if you are opposing rush hour.

P.S. one more observation on food. Besides the usual good immigrant food choices, there was a surprising number of french-canadians operating eateries that reminded me of the high standards of food in Montreal - maybe they like to defrost there...
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Jul 9th, 2004, 12:47 PM
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Lions' Gate Bridge, not Lion Head. yes, it can be pretty clogged up if you're trying to cross when a lane reversal is on.
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Jul 18th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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viking: I can identify with the last paragraph of your post. We were in Vancouver July 12-13, and boy, were the panhandlers prolific! One guy hit me up for change (unsuccessfully) before we got out of the train station. Minutes later, we saw the same guy on the Skytrain platform, "helping" people buy tickets, so he could ask for their change. On the Skytrain, a "couple" sat down beside me and offered to get off at our stop and show us around. When I said "no, thanks" and turned away, they started telling my teenage son about places where it was "legal" to use drugs! Talk about scary!

Donna
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