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All the elements that have allowed Vancouver to top the list of the world’s most liveable cities also make Western Canada’s gateway a great place to visit. The beautiful Coast Mountains tower over the city, providing a breath-taking backdrop as well as the opportunity for skiing, hiking and mountain biking of the highest calibre. The ocean is equally pervasive, offering a lively beach scene, a 28 km sea wall promenade, and easy access to world-class kayaking, canoeing, sailing, scuba-diving and whale watching.
Vancouver’s population is young and vibrant, supporting more restaurants per capita than any other Canadian city, and, with 30% of its residents of Asian origin, this is also a meeting place of east and west, affectionately nicknamed ‘lotus land’. Vancouver’s bustling Chinatown, is the third biggest in North America and is best experienced at the open-air Night Market, which features food stalls and cultural performances.Read more
Vancouver’s compact Downtown peninsula is a fine example of postmodern aesthetics: a constantly evolving hotchpotch of architecture, where sleek glass-and-chrome skyscrapers rub shoulders with Gothic churches, Victorian warehouses and a handful of curiosities. Surrounded by water on all sides, and largely undeveloped, Stanley Park is a green oasis, containing possibly the peninsula’s best sight, the Aquarium. Granville Island is another must-see, combining a Covent Garden-style market with BC’s finest arts and craft galleries in an attractive marina setting.
A short stroll away are museums in Vanier Park and trendy Kitsilano, which boasts one of the city’s finest beaches. Further west is the unmissable Museum of Anthropology, with its vast collection of Northwest Coast art and carving. South and East Vancouver have some fascinating neighbourhoods and some beautiful parks and gardens, but the semi-wilderness parks that head up into the giant mountains on the North Shore represent for many people the city’s finest feature.
The city’s distinctive neighbourhoods, burgeoning culinary scene, delightfully eclectic architecture and numerous parks are major selling points, but just as compelling is its close proximity to many other prime destinations. Varied Vancouver Island and the laid-back Gulf Islands are a short ferry-ride away, while Squamish and Whistler promise world-class skiing, fantastic hiking, plus every other activity imaginable. Closer still are the watersports and picturesque harbours of the Sunshine Coast.