Water wherever you are, runners, skaters, kayakers, bikers, city beaches, parks, free concerts, sun-kissed people playing volleyball... I admit, it sounds like a dream – but I found it come true in beautiful Vancouver. Do you know these places that immediately make you feel at home? Where you can picture a future you walking your brown Labrador, meeting friends for brunch, working in a young company with like-minded people and spending your evenings at the beach? Well, I can in this wonderful city.
Vancouver is not as huge as comparably attractive cities in the US. Its population of approximately 600.000 makes it rather feel like a big neighborhood. With its multi-ethnic and multi-lingual inhabitants, Vancouver is one of the most diverse areas of Canada. Beautifully located in the South of the Canadian West Coast and surrounded by water on all sides, the city does not only invite for kayaking, stand up paddling and other water sports, but it is also highly attractive for any other outdoor activity. No wonder that Vancouver is consistently ranked among the top five cities worldwide for livability and quality of life. Definitely not the right city for couch potatoes!
One of my absolute #favoriteplaces in Vancouver is its huge urban park. Stanley Park – also almost entirely surrounded by water – borders downtown and is the best place to go to enjoy nature close to the city. The Seawall invites for long walks, you can observe different birds at the Lost Lagoon, take your kids to a fun water park (with an all body dryer to walk in), or visit the impressive aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium is a place where you can watch thousands of fish and other water creatures and also learn a lot about maritime research, ecology, and conservation.
And the Mountains
But Vancouver is not only blessed with the many attractions you can explore in the city, but also with its location close to the mountains. If the water gets too cold and the winter arrives, people in Vancouver take out their skis and snowboards and hit the road towards Whistler – a famous ski area not even two hours outside of the city. But the area is not only fun in the winter! During warmer times of the year, it offers spectacular hikes. Most famous are Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain connected by the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which offers a breathtaking 360 degree view.
Lucky me that my stay in Whistler included July 1 – Canada Day. After a public pancake breakfast organized by the Whistler Public Library, everybody got ready for the day’s big parade. Hundreds of people, equipped with flags and Canada tattoos, lined the streets, fighting for good spots in the shade. And soon the red/white spectacle started: kids on decorated bikes, people on stilts or in canoes on top of trucks, everybody of the Whistler community celebrated the creation of their nation. As a highlight of the day, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra gave a public concert on the Olympic Plaza.
A big thank you goes to my wonderful hosts Alana and David for sharing their #favoriteplaces, their apartment, and their incredibly entertaining friends with me! Vancouver: I will be back!