8:29 PM

Hi friends!

Vancouver, or "Van" as the locals like to call it, embodies everything that comes to mind when you think of the ultimate Canadian experience. Mountains, ferries, canoeing, and friendliness. I recently had the chance to check out Vancouver, BC over the labour day weekend with my family. This city officially gets my rating as the coolest Canadian city I've ever been to, and here's why!

First thing's first - the views. The blue skies and mountains are picture perfect, and make for a dazzling backdrop to the city's sleek skyline.

Seaplanes taking off and landing near Canada Place
The Six Silos at a concrete factory on Granville Island
The lookout out from Granville Island
The coffee culture. Perhaps it's because Seattle is 200km away, but Vancouver has a distinct American flare to it. In fact, The New York Times dubbed it the "Manhattan with mountains" and I think they're right. In the core of the city, there's a fierce competition between Starbucks and Tim Horton's coffee (in which the American powerhouse knocked out its Canadian double). Maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic, but Starbucks literally set up shop on every street corner. Along with various health food stores and fresh sushi restaurants.
Coffee date with mum! I'm impartial - I'll buy my coffee at whichever store is selling Nanaimo bars.
The guys. Famous roads, like Granville Street for example, are chock-full of young scruffians with intricate sleeves of tattoos, spacers, cool hair, wayfarers, and slim-fit chino shorts.

Since hotels were booked up over the long weekend, my family opted to stay in a hostel (which made the trip that much better I think). Here's what I noted about the guys this city attracts. Mind you, these are all light-hearted generalizations of course! The lads frequenting this Canadian hot spot all seemed to be vagabonds. They all had an amiable disposition, were talkative, had free-spirits, their heads on their shoulders, and whose lives I was (clearly) intrigued by.

Most of the guys I spoke to were on some sort of work visa, mini vacation, or were on a world tour of some sort. I exchanged a few words with three French guys from Toulouse who were exploring Canada for a few weeks. As a proud Canadian, I was pleased to hear that they came for the views and the mountains. I spotted groups of Australian backpackers at breakfast who were probably escaping their harsh winter season (did you know it snowed there in July? It's rare!), and I met a friendly Irish lad who was nice enough to share his story with me.

He goes by the name of Damian, the liveliest guy ever with an Irish accent thicker than Bailey's cream liquor. He explained that he's travelling around the world before settling down in life. That he left Ireland on the pursuit of something more, and that he has worked in Australia for two years on a work visa. Then he found himself in South America, stayed over in Canada for a few weeks, and is jetting off to Korea next week! Another thing. He's been doing all of the above while making preparations for his best friends wedding (he's to be the best man). And he's been communicating with the wedding party via facebook chat. Quite impressive!

Two more!

There's also Lee. A British boy from Oxfordshire that recently moved to Calgary, and who was on a mini vacation from work. My brother and I met him over a game of pool and coincidentally, we shared the same dorm room. One evening, he hunkered into the dorm looking super tired and distressed. He was in bed by 7pm. He explained he was completely "knackered" from doing the Grouse Grind - a cardiac arrest-inducing mountain workout disguised as a trail - that I've been reserving for a personal trip if I'm lucky enough to visit Vancouver again).

Also, I have to mention the really nice waiter that served my table at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. He was cool too! When he took my order, I couldn't help but notice the large silver ring on his left pinky ring*. I asked him if he's an engineer. Taken a bit by surprise, he recovered and confirmed that he will be upon graduation from Simon Fraser University. (Wishing him all the best... you know, just in case he sees this post by a strike of chance!)

*My sister's husband and my best friend's boyfriend both have his ring. It's a weird engineer right-of-passage thing apparently.

Any whom.

Vancouver is neat because it makes you want to go outside... and stay outside. Everyday.

The parks are well-designed, equipped with crazy jungle gyms, and giant trees that I kept hugging, much to the amusement of the locals passing by. There's something so inspiring about seeing people of all ages enjoying nature and the fresh air with their loved ones. Stanley park was my favourite attraction, and I wish I had the time to spend a day exploring it's depths.
Vancouver Rowing Club
Little vancouver-ites hanging in an uprooted tree
A new friend from the Vancouver Aquarium (located in Stanley Park)
I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave a comment. Have a day/evening/night!

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2 commentaires

  1. This is a well captured and interesting post. If I hadn't been there before I definitely would. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures. Wonderful!

  2. Hey Mom! Thanks. It was definitely a great family trip :)