Located 230 feet above the Capilano River in North Vancouver, this 450-foot historic walking bridge overlooks towering evergreens below. The nearby park offers hiking trails, history and forestry exhibits, a carving center, and Native American dance performances. There are also restaurants and a gift shop.
Vancouver's Chinatown is one of the largest in the world. As was Gastown, Chinatown was declared a historic district in the late 1970s. Chinese architecture can be seen throughout the area as well as the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden (578 Carrall St. 604 689-7133) and the amazing 6-foot wide Sam Kee Building at 8 W. Pender St. Almost every kind of tea imaginable is available at several shops as well as art, ceramics and rosewood furniture. If all this site-seeing makes you hungry there are exotic food stores and open-air markets. If you are staying overnight on a weekend, check out the Chinatown Night Market during the summer.
Declared a historic district in the late 1970s, Gastown was named for "Gassy" Jack Deighton who arrived at Burrard inlet in 1867 with his Native American wife and a barrel of whiskey. He set up a saloon to entertain the mill workers who lived in the area. Gastown was a transfer point of trade with the Orient and development boomed. It boomed even more during the great Klondike Gold Rush until 1912 when the "Golden Years" ended. Hotels were then gradually converted to rooming houses, and the warehouse district was located elsewhere. Many of these buildings have since been revitalized and Gastown today is bursting with cafés, boutiques and souvenir shops.
For the more culturally minded, the Museum of Vancouver offers a history of the City. From the Coast Salish Indian settlement to early pioneers and European settlement, the museum has it all. You can go back in time by taking a walk through the steerage deck of a 19th century immigrant ship or sit in an 1880s Canadian-Pacific passenger car, then take a peek into a Hudson's Bay trading post. To see how early Vancouverites decorated their homes, see the re-creations of Victorian and Edwardian rooms. Located at 1100 Chestnut St., (604-736-4431).
The Vancouver Art Gallery, which is located within easy walking distance of the pier, is contained in a building that was originally the provincial court house built in 1906. The collection is an impressive one, including works by British Columbia's Emily Carr and the Canadian Group of Seven. Classic and contemporary, international and regional paintings, photography, sculptures, graphics and video are also on display. The Annex Gallery is geared to younger audiences and features rotating educational exhibits. Located at 750 Hornby St., (604-662-4700).
For something a little different try the Canadian Museum of Craft and Design which is one of Canada's first national cultural facilities dedicated to crafts. Exhibits include historical and contemporary, functional and decorative elements. Pick up one-of-a-kind Canadian crafts in the gift shop. Located at 639 Hornby St., (604-687-8266).
Just blocks from downtown is Stanley Park which is a 1000 acre site consisting of beaches, the ocean, the harbour, Douglas fir and cedar forests and a great view of the North Shore mountains. The park sits on a peninsula and along the shore is a 6 mi (9 km) long pathway. You can take a leisurely drive or rent a bicycle and cycle all the way around the park. Horse-drawn tours have also been offered for more than a century. The narrated, one hour tour departs from the Coal Harbour parking lot beside the park information booth on Park Drive. (604-681-5115).
If you are spending some time in the Vancouver area and need a few days away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, Whistler is a 2½ hour drive from Vancouver. Whistler is a year round world class mountain resort located at the foot of both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Whistler Village contains most of the night-life, restaurants and shops. But the Upper Village on Blackcomb also offers some of the finest restaurants and fantastic summer fun throughout the sunny season.
A former industrial area which was refurbished in the 1970s, Granville Island is now one of Vancouver's liveliest spots. As an urban park it boasts a huge public market, craft shops, art galleries and several museums and theaters.
Vancouver boasts a number of public markets not the least of which is Lonsdale Quay. Located on the beautiful North Shore and just minutes away from downtown Vancouver via the Seabus, the Quay is home to beautiful boutiques, a fabulous fresh market and international take out cuisine.
Stretching from Burrard to Bute Streets, this lively street is full of small boutiques and cafés. This upscale part of downtown Vancouver offers a variety of goods that range from one of a kind items to famous brand name merchandise. There is always an array of street performers and if you are into people watching, this is the place to be.
If it's designer shops you crave, you will find them here (757 West Hastings St. at Granville St.). Located just one block south of the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, Sinclair Centre combines four heritage buildings under glass in Vancouver's central business district.
Start at Canada Place and bicycle up to 23 miles (37 km) on the Seawall bicycle path continuing, with a few detours here and there, around Stanley Park and False Creek to the south shore of English Bay. Rentals are available from Bayshore Rentals (located near the park entrance at 745 Denman St. (604-688-2453) or Stanley Park Bicycle Rentals, 1798 W. Georgia St. (604-688-5141). Helmets are required by law and are included in the rental fee.
If you are a relatively healthy, experienced hiker, then hiking to the summits of the Lions, Mount Hollyburn, Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour, Golden Ears, Cypress Mountain and Garabaldi Provincial Park may be for you. These hikes are for hikers who can follow instructions from a trail guide and are fit enough to carry a daypack containing the essentials of mountain safety. For more information, call 604-924-2200.
Almost any day of the week you will see sea kayaks gliding along the shores of Burrard Inlet among cruise ships and freighters. Kayaks are sleek and stable one or two person boats that are the small and the most maneuverable craft on the water. Sunshine Kayaking Ltd. provides day tours, lessons and rentals.
If you are an active senior or you are travelling with children, an eco-day trip into the wilderness around Vancouver may be the way to go. Trip includes whale watching, sea kayaking and canoeing with a salmon barbeque on the beach. Fitness and experience are not required. All trips include hotel pick-up.
Go on a city tour, explore the north shore mountains and beyond. Be sure to visit our shore exursions site before you head here.
Take a ride on a miniature train or a free bus tour into the Greater Vancouver Zoo's North American Wild exhibit. The zoo has over 700 animals on display on over 120 acres.
Vancouver doesn't have an abundance of wildlife unless of the human variety, but that is a whole other story. If it's wildlife of the animal variety you are seeking then perhaps a wildlife viewing and marine sightseeing tour is appropriate. Get to Sewell's Marina in West Vancouver and climb aboard the Sea Safari Eco-tour that holds up to 12 people or try the Sea Safari charter and dinner/tour package. They also offer group events such as fishing derbies, scavenger hunts and guided salmon fishing charters.
16,000 - 11,000 BC
Segments of the Coast Salish people - the ancestors of the Squamish, Burrard, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam (Xw'muthk'i'um), Tsawwassen, Coquitlam (Kwayhquitlam), Katzie and Semiahmoo Indian bands - arrive from Asia. The beaches are teaming with seafood, the forests teaming with wildlife, and nearby is the mouth of a big river emptying into a vast ocean where big, fat, silvery salmon swim by six months out of every year.
1592 - 1774 AD
The Spaniards cruise by as part of their exploration of Canada's west coast and claim the whole west coast of North America for Spain. Their presence is still felt today as Vancouver has a number of streets named after Spaniards: Cordova, Cardero and Valdez (Galiano Street is in Coquitlam).
Captain George Vancouver arrives. Spending only one day, he discovers the Spanish had already claimed the area and left. British Captain Vancouver meets with Spanish captains Valdes and Galiano at what today is known as one of the best beaches in Vancouver: Spanish Banks. English Bay is named in the same fashion. However, it is interesting to note that the Bay is larger than the Banks and there are many more streets in Vancouver named after the British.
1808 - 1900
Simon Fraser, an explorer and fur trader, arrives in 1808 following an overland route from Eastern Canada by a river he mistakenly thought was the Columbia. In spite of this error, the river is eventually named after him.
The Hudson's Bay Company builds a trading post on the Fraser River. It is the first permanent non-native settlement in the Vancouver area. Since 1893, the Hudson's Bay Company has been trading at the prime location at the corner of Georgia and Granville in Vancouver's downtown core.
Approximately 25,000 prospectors arrive to confirm the news that there is gold to be found along the banks of the Fraser river.
A community called Gastown is built in the vicinity of a very popular saloon owned by a talkative fellow, nicknamed "Gassy Jack".
A brickyard is built by three Englishmen called the "Three Greenhorns." After a lot of "I told you so's" and ridicule from the local populace, the business flops. This area is now known as the West End, one of the most populated places in North America and there is no shortage of brickwork in the surrounding buildings.
In 1869, Gastown is incorporated as the town of Granville.
The Canadian Pacific Railway moves its terminal from the head of Burrard Inlet to the area of Granville, now known as Coal Harbour.
The town of Granville, with a population of 1,000 people, incorporates as the City of Vancouver. On June 13th of the same year, a runaway brush fire burns the city to the ground in less than 30 minutes. The Mayor, savvy in real estate, begins rebuilding in a matter of days.
The Canadian Pacific Railway's (CPR) first train arrives: The final stop of the first transcontinental trip.
Vancouver surpasses the provincial capital of Victoria in size, but the seat of government remains in Victoria where it still is today.
The University of British Columbia opens its doors to a handful of students. UBC currently has over 210,000 alumni, living in 131 nations.
The Dominion Trust Building is built. It is the very first skyscraper to grace the Vancouver skyline. Today, it appears very small in comparison to the more modern buildings in Vancouver.
Vancouver's population grows larger than Winnipeg's, despite the fact of Winnipeg being the main city in Western Canada at the time.
The first Second Narrows Bridge is constructed, connecting the city with North Vancouver. In 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge is completed.
From 1959, there is an abundance of construction including shopping centers, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the George Massey Tunnel, to name only a few.
The SkyTrain is accessible to the public and Vancouver puts on "a really good show" with 1986's very successful Expo '86, located on the north shore of False Creek. In 1995, the Vancouver Public Library building opens and General Motors Place opens, becoming home to hockey, skating and basketball events as well as musical performances.
Visit the official Web site of Tourism Vancouver, including information on hotels, dining and activities in Vancouver, British Columbia.
View the official Web site of the City of Vancouver. Read more about the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, plus more visitor information.
See information on the various convenient methods of public transit in Vancouver, including the SkyTrain service.