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Vancouver Travel Guide

flights to Vancouver

Often called Canada`s own San Francisco, Vancouver is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The hilly terrain, gorgeous beaches with stunning ocean views, mild climate and the friendly disposition of the natives all conspires to make this an easy going and vastly memorable holiday destination. It is said that Vancouver is probably the only place in the world where it is possible to ski, play golf, and go sailing all in the same day. Busting with activity, it is Canada`s premier recreational resort. You will soon discover that the heart and soul of Vancouverites is found in the great outdoors. If you want to go native here, grab your roller blades, trainers or mountain bike and cruise around the six-mile Seawall at Stanley Park.

One of the City`s favourite spots, Stanley Park, was once home to native Canadians. Now a 1,000 acre green space only 5 minutes from the heart of Vancouver it is inhabited by a fascinating array of wildlife and offers a wide range of leisure activities and attractions, including beaches, waterparks, aquarium, zoo, two freshwater lakes, Gardens, totem poles and other native art. The Park`s breathtaking view of the pacific makes a dramatic backdrop to the many local arts events held there and with such idyllic surroundings it is quite easy to forget that you are anywhere near a city. In the words of Lord Stanley at the dedication of the park in 1889, "To the use and enjoyment of people of all colours, creeds and customs for all time." A fine sentiment thankfully upheld.

Vancouver may have a reputation for a predominantly outdoor/nature orientated tourist destinations. But don`t be fooled, there is a vibrant heart beating in a City bustling with festivals, colours and an expanding arts scene. In recent years Vancouver has become a popular location for movie and TV productions and hence is on of Canada`s premier places for `star-gazing`. The favourable tax concessions and diverse locals have made the cityscape a star in its own right and led to the creation of three major film studios - Lions Gate, Bridge and Paramount with more planned. The popularity of programmes such as the X-Files has ensured Vancouver`s status as a rival Tinseltown well into the future.

As you stroll around the City is quite easy to see why it lends itself so easily to movie production the sheer diversity of architecture is enough to convince you that your actually wandering through a studio backlot. From the Space age stainless steel Science world building to the classic Old Courthouse on Robson Square that houses the Art Gallery; the high tech high rise commercial towers and remarkable Capilano Suspension Bridge to the cobbled streets and old European Buildings of the Gas Town there is eye candy in every area. The streets are alive with tourists and shoppers eager to soak up the atmosphere, spend some of their well earned or enjoy the numerous street performers. The myriad coffee houses and eminently chic shopping areas create a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere, which has more in common with Europe that North America.

In the region surrounding the City you are spoiled by the stunningly beautiful landscape and the wealth of sporting and leisure opportunities on offer. For more young at heart, free-spirit living head to the resort town of Whistler, home to the finest ski resorts. Nearby, Tofino`s Chesterman Beach has superb kayaking and Vancouver`s own beaches, wreck beach and English bay combine excellent watersport facilities with incredible ocean-vistas. Vancouver Island is a magnate for sport-fishing enthusiasts offering the very best whether you prefer sea or fresh water, and there are quite literally dozens of golf courses spread throughout the region. Of course the multitude of trekking and climbing possibilities really go without saying.

If physical activity is not your thing, don`t fret. The hip and cool can be found sipping lattes on Robson Street, cutie cafes are in abundance in Kitsalano, and fresh market produce and unique gifts can be found on Granville Island. Other areas worth checking out include Gastown for indie music and a visit to the legendary Town Pump, the city`s best and most diverse live music venue. Yaletown is a great drinking area famous for its plethora of pubs, microbreweries, music and warehouses scene. Head north and you`ll find posh, high-end properties; fine dining in chic restaurants complimented by wonderful views. Too often overlooked as the festival city it is Vancouver actually holds several International Festivals ranging from The Vancouver International Film Festival to the International Dragon Boat Festival, Jazz and Fringe Festivals. During these events the city-folk really pull out all the stops to demonstrate their expertise in playing genial hosts and entertainers.

Vancouver has really only just begun to emerge as a major force in international tourism, although, it has to be said, the industry is growing at a pace. Previously a destination for the predominantly athletic out-door types it`s burgeoning artistic and cultural scene has already made its mark and the City now boasts over 30 Museums and Galleries. The general laid back feel and vibrant nightlife means that Vancouver will probably remain a favourite for the young and trendy for quite some time to come but there really is something to be enjoyed by folk of all ages and walks of life. All the signs point towards a tourist boom in the not too distant future; the ramifications of which are somewhat uncertain. So if you have ever had an urge to visit Canada`s most beautiful City`s now may well be the ideal time.

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