Friendliest city: Vancouver
We travel all over the place and visiting Vancouver again was so good that I considered it the friendliest city.
As we travel more and more, our perspective seems to keep changing and evolving into something greater. We want to find more meaningful experiences while traveling, and our own personality seems to mature into something that we’re not sure what will be. Sounds familiar?
Last time I was in Vancouver, British Columbia, was back in the Summer of 1997. Almost twenty years ago, and things have changed but its essence still prevalis. Twenty years ago I was spending most of my time enjoying interior spaces: The Pacific Mall, galleries, shops, Canada Place. And all these are good spots to check out for sure, however, this time I wanted to see more of the Vancouver’s outdoors.
Funny enough, I was there for work, a convention at the newly built Vancouver Convention Center, which I must say it was stunning and beautifully designed in a way that they incorporated the outdoors into its interiors with impecable rustic woodwork throughout the space, floor-to-ceiling glass with great views of the harbour, and an easy flow that you actually felt that you were part of the outside.
I was really impressed with the way that I saw the town this time. With new eyes, more mature eyes with a different perspective and appreciation for nature. I must say that the city keeps its integrity and commitment to nature, with clean spaces all over, water flowing from different water fountains and installations around the highrises, and the magnificent views of Stanley Park and the snowed-in mountains guarding the city in the background. A treat to the eyes.
Another aspect that I hadn’t noticed on my last stay, was how friendly and polite the Canadian citizens are. I’m used to San Francisco and New York attitude and avoiding interaction with strangers whenever possible, because we don’t trust, we are in a hurry and simply we don’t care. So, it took me a couple of days to get used to the sincerity of the locals, truly friendly and happy to connect with you. To be honest, in the beggining I didn’t trust that attitude, I was skeptic, later on I just went with the flow and felt like I was a friendly person again.
After spending about four days at the conference, finally it was time to explore more of the city and not only restaurants, bars and the Convention Center. My first stop was Stanley Park. I don’t jog, I don’t ever jog and this time it was just the perfect excuse to room around Stanley Park on a mid-day rainy break to check it all out. What a treat. The park is situated in a peninsula that is covered with so many pine trees, with beautiful clear water surrounding the park and its trails. It was slightly raining and I didn’t care, kept jogging and got to see the totems garden, the lodge and the breathtaking views of the mountains. Totally recommend exploring Stanley Park.
During the next days, I explored Gastown, the waterfront, Robson street shops and restaurants, Davies street and its lively gay bars and all places were just unique in their own way.
Thanks to our U.S. Dollar being so strong during the time I visited, everything was more affordable than SF, so dining and shopping were actually nice to do without breaking the bank. Tip of the trip: shop for electronics, most of them were significantly cheaper than in the U.S., I did visit the Apple store and came back with a brand new MacBook Pro for a much lower price.
There were actually good restaurants in the area, and some that I’d recommend are: Flying Pig (great brunch and dinner spot), Cactus Bar (with multiple locations in the city but the best one was next to the Convention Center, right on the waterfront), YEW (with great seafood selection at the Four Seasons) and Tableau, which was actually my favorite find with a french twist and great dishes.
It was January when I visited, middle of Winter, and I tried to book a day-trip to Whistler but because of snow being great, all places were booked. It’s a very popular destination for skiing and snowboarding so I learned my lesson that it’s better to book in advance during the Winter months. Although, I have visited Whistler before in the Summer time and it has much to offer with outdoor activities.
It’s in the books, at least to try to go back this Summer and see more of Vancouver, its parks and outdoors, summer festivals and some water sports for sure. Now, I have a new perspective on Vancouver.