Located in British Columbia, Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada and the third-largest in all of Canada. It is known for its natural beauty, as it is nestled between the mountains and the ocean. Vancouver’s proximity to the ocean and the mountains provides for an excellent location: within minutes, you can get from downtown to the mountains or the beach. Vancouver is a dream for city dwellers who need some fresh air but can’t quite move into a rural area. Vancouver’s true appeal comes from this blend of nature and man, where you can go from city to mountain and back all in one day.
Vancouver is just over 100 years old, and its namesake, Captain George Vancouver, sailed through the First Narrows in 1792. The first settlement on the downtown peninsula was Granville, located on the spot of today’s Gastown. Its location and harbor made it an excellent spot for a port, and Vancouver soon became the biggest port in the region. Today, it is still Canada’s main western port and the launching ground for most cruises up the Inside Passage.
Vancouver is perhaps best known for its scenic beauty and the opportunities afforded by its natural environment. Surrounded by water on three sides and crowned by the North Shore mountains, Vancouver is a great starting point for discovering the area’s many outdoor activities. Vancouver’s main park is a gem among city parks worldwide. It may not be the biggest, but Stanley Park is second to none. Perched on the edge of the city, this park is an oasis of calm in an already relaxed city. The park has an aquarium, beaches, and miles of trails that let you dissolve into nature while still being a stone’s throw away from the city. It makes for a great mid-day break location, a place to walk or hike, or a spot to just relax. In the park, you hear none of the sounds of the city.
Vancouver is a hip city, walking around, everyone is relaxed, friendly, and very cool. The buildings are ultra modern, and there are cafes everywhere and outdoor restaurants when the weather is nice. For foodies, Vancouver represents a delight for those who love Asian cuisine. As Canada’s major western port, immigrants from the Far East have long called Vancouver home. This has lead to a city with a high Asian population and Asian food on every corner. Sushi, Chinese, and some amazing Korean food can all be found here. Vancouver is home to the second-largest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco. And there’s also the wonderful Granville Park, a collection of eclectic shops and eateries for the yuppy liberal in all of us.