Canada is in a celebratory mood this year as it celebrates its 150th anniversary of the country’s Confederation. Vancouver is no exception to the party as it gears up to mark this milestone affair with a host of events.
With its stunning scenery, mild climate and friendly people Vancouver is recognised across the globe as a must-visit destination, as well as one of the best world’s best places to live and work. It is also home to a world-leading arts and culture scene, diverse neighbourhoods, tantalising cuisine and one of the most multicultural populations in North America.
Here are our Top 5 reasons why you should travel to ‘Vancity’ to join in on Canada 150 celebration in and around Vancouver.
Canada Day at Canada Place
Welcoming close to one million people each year, Canada Place is set to host the largest Canada Day celebration outside of Ottawa. It’s a double whammy of a party, as 2017 also marks the 30th anniversary of the event. Highlights of the extended two-day (July 1 – 2) celebration include concerts, a parade, a Canadian Forces Zone, a Youth Zone, food truck and of course, the fireworks out over the water.
999 Canada Place
BC V6C 3T4
2. Grouse Mountain Resort – the Peak of Vancouver
Grouse Mountain is a must-do experience for visitors to Vancouver. Located just 15 minutes from downtown, the gondola ride to the top of the summit will provide spectacular views of Vancouver and beyond. There’s something for every adventurer, in winter, the mountain is a snowy wonderland with outdoor skating, snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding. While in summer, it’s a hiker’s paradise with challenging trails and the famed Grouse Grind.
For Canada’s 150th, the mountain will be offering uniquely British Columbian activities including axe-throwing and hockey. Films buffs can watch Canadian movie classics in the Theatre in the Sky, or enjoy live music while sipping on a cold one in the beer and barbecue garden. Not to be missed are the special Canada 150 edition of the World Famous Lumberjack Show, ranger talks at the Grizzly Bear habitat, and the Birds in Motion demonstration.
To make your visit to Grouse Mountain even more special, book a reservation at The Observatory for a fine dining experience. Situated on the top floor of Grouse Mountain’s Peak Chalet, The Observatory is the crown jewel of the resort’s restaurant collection. The culinary team utilises the finest regional produce, crafting dishes that showcase the best of BC while minimising its environmental footprint.
6400 Nancy Greene Way
BC V7R 4K9
3. Canada 150 Murals – July onwards – various sites throughout the City of Vancouver
Although a very small percentage of Vancouver’s current population is comprised of First Nations people their connection to the land run deep. The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are BC’s most visited tourist attraction and an alluring entry point to the First Nations’ colourful culture.
For the country’s sesquicentennial the city has commissioned First Nations artists to create public artworks and murals celebrating Canada 150+ across at high-profile sites like the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Larwill Park.
4. Make a date with Timber Restaurant for the best of Canadian comfort food
Timber restaurant’s Long table Canadian supper is the perfect way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Intended for groups the experience features a family-style dinner with cribbage boards, a Canadian theme “photo boot” and make-em yourself s’mores at the Timber Campfire.
FYI s’mores is a traditional night time campfire treat popular in the United States, consisting of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of a graham cracker. All guests will depart with a small gift from the restaurant. The experience won’t break the bank as it will cost $30 per person but the catch is you’ll need a minimum of 15 people for the booking. This has to be booked in advance via an email to email@example.com
1300 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5
Phone:+1 604- 661-1400
5. Have a ‘beertastic’ time in Vancouver!
Canadians and tourists alike have 12 more “beertastic” reasons to celebrate Canada’s 150th with Central City Brewers + Distillers announcing a country-wide collaboration with breweries from all 12 provinces.
The Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration 12-pack features the joint efforts of 12 brew masters who have crafted exclusive brews, each representing their home provinces, at Central City’s brewery in Surrey, part of Metro Vancouver.
The Red Racer Across the Nation Collaboration 12-pack (330 ml bottles) will be available in most provinces in early May 2017, and as two unique 6-packs (East and West) in some provinces.
Sign up for an intro tour to Vancouver
Vancouver is not a big city but the attractions are spread out so enlisting the services of an escort may come in handy. For an intimate and private sightseeing tour try A.E Private tours & Charters inc which is owned by Alfred Esmeijer. If you want the real scoop on Vancouver then Al’s your man! With Alfred being an honorary Vancouverite for over thirty years he has a wealth of knowledge on Vancouver’s social, political and economical climate.
Couples can be treated to the V.I.P experience as they explore the city in the company’s latest SUV model, where small groups or families can travel in style in a Ford Transit van. Hot spots on the tour include Yaletown, China Town, Stanley Park and Granville Island. The tour can also be available in English, French, German and Dutch (other languages upon request).
A.E Private Tours & Charter
Reservation email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find your Zen at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
Amidst the noise and frantic pace of the city rests a tranquil place like no other. It is as new as this morning’s sunrise, as old as civilization. It is the Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, situated in the heat of Vancouver’s Chinatown – the third largest Chinatown in North America.
This gem of a park reflects the serenity of a Ming Dynasty garden and features a tranquil pond, covered walkways edged by vibrant greenery and materials entirely imported from China. Adding to the authentic eastern theme is a complimentary hot Chinese tea!
Elsewhere in Chinatown Vancouverites are discovering that the area is fast becoming a hot bed of cool restaurants, cafes, boutiques and designers while still being just a fortune-cookie-toss from high traffic ‘hoods like Gastown, Yaletown and downtown hotels.
578 Carrall St
BC V6B 5K2
Rent a bike to cycle the seawall
Cycling Stanley Park’s Seawall is Vancouver’s most famous ride and is a wonderful way to watch boats, seaplanes, and even cruise ships come and go from Vancouver’s busy harbour. If you cycle the entire 15 Kilometre (9.4 mile) route you’ll have a glimpse of Vancouver’s West End, Yaletown, the Olympic Village neighbourhood, Fairview, Kitsilano, and Point Grey. Boris bikes are made in Canada, and sturdy version are easy and cheap to rent in Vancouver.
Cycle City Tours
Take a False Creek Ferry to Granville Island
Hop onto a False Creek Ferry to Granville Island and explore this vibrant arts and culture hub. Stop for lunch at the famed Public Market where you can wander through arrays of vendors are selling fresh produce and gourmet goodies. If you want to feel very patriotic don’t miss Edible Canada, a retail store and bistro that only sells and serves products made in Canada.
Fly over Canada
With Canada having the second largest land mass in the world it will be virtually impossible to travel the whole country in one trip… well not in reality anyway. A 4D flight simulation will have you soaring above the country’s astounding natural landscape.
You will hang suspended, feet dangling before a 20 metre spherical screen while the films whisks you away on an exhilarating 8-minute journey across Canada, from east to west. Special effects include wind, midst and scents combine with the ride’s motion to create an adventure of a lifetime!
Where to stay
The West End is a beachside neighbourhood at the foot of Stanley Park, and home to the city’s LGBT community. The Sandman suites on Davie Street is the perfect accommodation with views of the ocean and mountains.
The Sandman suites’ amenities include parking, pHresh Spa, Moxie’s Grill & Bar and some of rooms include a kitchen suite. Located close to beaches, Stanley Park, and Granville Island, this hotel is the perfect place to combine sightseeing and nature walks.
It’s definitely worth a 3 minute walk wander to English Bay Beach to take a paddle boarding lesson, sunbathing or just to watch the sunset. Just over the bridge is Kitsilano, Vancouver’s original hippy enclave with a bustling beach.
At the other end of Davie, is Yaletown, the city’s trendiest district with sidewalk cafes and upscale restaurants. The walk from one end of Davie Street to the other takes about 25 minutes and is definitely worth the walk.
How to get to Vancouver?
The long haul ten hour flight to Vancouver means travelling in comfort and style will be of benefit for you. For our trip to Vancouver we flew with Air Transat, which has been named as the Best North American Leisure Airline four-times running. By using the airline’s Option Plus we had the benefits of first class journey while having our seats in economy. So what are the perks?
Travel can be tedious enough let alone without having to deal with the slow-moving queues which require every inch of patience. Option Plus’ guests will thank their lucky stars as they bypass the masses with priority check-in at a dedicated counter. Travellers travelling from Canadian destinations, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, will have the added advantage of access to the priority queue at security checkpoints.
Our Air Transat flight to Vancouver was off to a flying start when we were given a small bottle of prosecco following take-off. This was followed by other enjoyable inclusions such as an alcoholic drink and a snack when the beverage cart comes around. It’s the little things that count on a long journey and Option Plus ensures you’ll be looked after with a comfort kit that includes a neck pillow, blanket and eye mask, plus great quality ear buds, all of which helps for a pleasant and refreshing landing to Vancouver.
With Option Plus as you can also benefit from standard seat selection with your booking. There’s no need to put your luggage on a diet or cut down on your shoe selection, because Option Plus guests receive a supplementary checked baggage allowance of up to 10 kg per flight segment. In addition, luggage is prioritised, so it will be among the first off the carousel when you arrive at your destination. Additional gems of travelling with Option Plus mean you’ll be among the first passengers to board the flight thanks to priority boarding.
Air Transat (00 800 872 672 83 /www.airtransat.co.uk ) offers a return Economy Class flight direct from London Gatwick to Vancouver from £366 per person. Based on travel in May and June 2017. Option Plus is available for £42 one way, £84 return.