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Travel Center - Vancouver, B.C. Photos and Reviews

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Vancouver, B.C. Park photo taken from Stanely Park.

 

Brief Introduction to Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is quite different from virtually any other city in North America. Despite, the fact it is a large modern Cosmopolitan city, it seems to have a relaxed small-town, close to nature feel about about it. There is little comparison with other large Canadian cities such as Toronto or Montreal, which are more akin to the large eastern US centers like New York and Chicago. In Vancouver, you are never more than 30 minutes away from Wilderness. This has proved fatal on occasion, especially to hikers or skiers who have been lulled into complacency by the proximity of the city, and failed to take appropriate precautions. It is often said that Vancouver is the only city in the world where it is possible to Ski , Sail, and Golf on the same day. I've never tried it, I don't have that sort of energy. Vancouver resisted the trend of virtually every other North American city in the 50's & 60's to bisect downtown with freeways (motorways). While this has created some traffic problems, it has also made Vancouver one of the most livable cities in North America. 

Urban planners from other large North American cities have been flocking here to see how we did it. The downtown area has livable neighborhoods with only a couple of sleazy areas, the waterfront is attractive, and beaches & trendy marina areas are accessible right in the downtown core. A large proportion of people live in the downtown core, and this trend is accelerating. This means Vancouver bucks the model of most North American cities, which empty out to the suburbs every night. Not that Vancouver does not have its share of suburbia, its just that the downtown core is lived in 24 hours a day, not just 9 to 5.  Many European visitors will find the architecture of the city rather boring. Vancouver, like all large North American cities is a conglomerate of high rise cubic office towers, although urban planners have kept the heights down. (the tallest building in Vancouver is only 50 stories. There are some notable exceptions such as the Marine Building at the north foot of Burrard Street, once the tallest structure in the British Empire. The courthouse at Howe & Robson, and the library at Georgia & Hamilton are also variations from the norm.

Whistler, along with Vancouver, has been awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Whistler is a year round resort. Summer or winter, it is crowded with tourists. The town has a very pleasant Alpine atmosphere to it and consists of interesting squares & plazas with open air restaurants (in summer). Its easy to get lost as streets & alleys meander with no set pattern. The town has posted several maps in public areas to assist you. You can ski in Whistler year round, albeit in the summer there is only glacier skiing. It is a strange sight to be sitting in an open air restaurant in 30 degree Celsius heat in July watching people walk by with skis & snowboards over their shoulders. The town offers many other summer activities. There are several pleasant lakes, good to swim, canoe or kayak in, along with many Hiking & Mountain Biking opportunities. Mountain bikes are easily rented in the town.

-Review of Whistler, north of Vancouver, British Columbia

Whistler is expensive. There is plenty of accommodation, but you will pay for it, especially in high season. Even in summer, its hard to find a hotel under $150 Canadian a night, and they run around 70-80% occupancy.. Most have pools, but watch for parking surcharges. Whistler is a nightmare to park and many hotels tend to take advantage of it. Restaurant meals will run you 1 1/2 to twice what the equivalent would cost in Vancouver, but there are always fast-food places like KFC & McDonalds to give you a break. What cheap accommodation there is, is quickly snapped up by people looking for work (especially Australians) in the village and on the slopes. Its not unusual to find several of these people crowded into a single condo to cut costs. Having said that, there is plenty of work available in Whistler, especially in ski season. You would have no trouble finding employment, the problem is sleeping and eating once you are there. There is nearly always a labour shortage. The bulk of the transient work force in Whistler seems to consist of Australians. If it wasn't for the snow capped mountain scenery, you would think your in Oz. It is possible for the budget traveller to stay in one of the nearby towns of Squamish or Pemberton. Squamish has a Hostelling International Hostel for $15 Can a night and also the private Rainforest  Hostel. with a Vegetarian Restaurant for around $20. You can get a bus to Whistler for $17 Return. This will get you to the slopes at opening time and you have a choice of 3 buses back at the end of the day. If you buy a book of 10 bus tickets the cost drops to about $12. Because of the accommodation situation in high season, travellers from abroad are advised to pre-book or use a local operator to arrange their trip.

 

 

 
     
   

 

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