British Columbia is all about location, location, location writes Karen Creed
Nestled against the mighty Canadian Rockies, on the Pacific coast of northernmost America, British Columbia is a place where you can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon. Vancouver is the capital – a city consistently voted by tourists as one of the most beautiful in the world. Modern Vancouver is a welcoming matrix of design shops, coffee bars and outstanding restaurants. Food in Vancouver is diverse, sophisticated and so good it is worth visiting the city just ot eat. You can sample the best Japanese cuisine outside of Japan while GranvilleIsland food market is the heart and soul of the city.
Vancouver is easy to navigate and is an ideal base for exploring the rest of the province. The city has eight major bridges, linking downtown Vancouver to the rest of the lower mainland. In the spectacular, unspoiled countryside you can enjoy whale watching, sea kayaking, canoeing, downhill skiing, wine tasting, hiking, biking, and more. If you want to do the most popular tourist itineraries, try Gastown and Granville Street, and don’t miss Robson Street for shopping or people watching.
The heart of Vancouver is StanleyPark, where tourists mingle with locals. Families stroll and couples jog or rollerblade along the shoreline with views back to the city skyline. It’s a remarkable urban space, the size of New York’s Central Park, with a 10km seawall walk and an aquarium. For a rather off-beat adventure, there are numerous choices in Vancouver, including the early morning Flower Auction.
For families:Vancouver is a great place to bring children any time of the year. In the winter they can spend days exploring Science World, the Aquarium, The Space Centre and local museums. If they prefer snow, they can build snowmen or snow tube at one of the mountains. In spring, there are plenty of parks to visit, forest walks in the sun, skateboarding or a visit to one of the indoor amusement centres. In summer enjoy the giant outdoor pools at the beaches, watch spectacular fireworks, ride the tiny ferries that ply the waters of False Creek, play golf at a local pitch and putt or simply play at the beach.
For couples:Catch the Vancouver spirit and do as many active things as you can, whether it is climbing, dining in a chic restaurant or dancing until the place closes in one or more of Vancouver’s exciting night spots. For entertainment, Vancouver has a varied, sophisticated theatre and music scene. You can attend the opera, theatre, ballet or symphony or listen to chamber music, early music and baroque music. You can also visit some of the best jazz bars while in town.
When to visit?There are numerous festivals to enjoy during the summer including the jazz festival, film festival, lantern festival or the Children’s Festival. Also you can enjoy the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival all summer long. Vancouver's weather is mild year-round. With pleasant low 20’s in the summer, the climate is always hospitable. The winters can be wet, but it rarely snows.