Ah, Vancouver. It’s the western paradise that sits along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. To some, it’s miles apart from the flat prairie lands of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and worlds away from Central Canada. Known for its eco-friendly vibe, booming real estate market and cultural diversity, Lotus Land is home to plenty of exciting outdoor adventures for tourists and locals to enjoy. If there are any hidden secrets the locals may not be so quick to share, but we will — here are four Vancouver facts you didn’t know.
Transit is on another level — literally
Have you ever heard of the Vancouver SkyTrain? The mass transit system opened in January 1986, and now this rapid light transit system is one of the best and easiest ways to get around the city — and still is. Wait. It gets better. The SkyTrain — which links downtown Vancouver to a number of commuter cities, as well as the city’s international airport — operates as a driverless system. It also uses both underground and elevated tracks and is considered one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get around the Greater Vancouver Area. The city continues to add routes and extend the lines which currently span over 80 kilometres across the Lower Mainland.
Public art is extremely relevant
Vancouver sometimes gets a bad rep when comparing the art scene to other large Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal. However, it just so happens that the inner city has a thriving arts community, specifically with regards to public artwork. Because the climate is conducive to presenting art all year ‘round, you’ll find plenty of pieces adorning the streets. From Douglas Coupland “Digital Orca” to Myfanwy Macleod’s “The Birds” (in the former Olympic Village) — this is a city that prides itself on lining the streets with stunning visuals.
Green space in Vancouver is large and in charge
Most people don’t believe it when they see it, but Stanley Park in Vancouver is a sprawling masterpiece of greenery that would take multiple days — maybe even weeks — to truly explore. Not surprising then that Vancouver and the surrounding cities are known as the haven for hikers. Within Stanley Park, you can visit the Totem Poles, the Vancouver Seawall, and even the Vancouver Aquarium. But don’t stop there. Travel to the North Shore to explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Joffre Lakes or take a gander up one of three mountains (Cypress, Mt. Seymour or Grouse Mountain). If you’re willing to drive 60 to 90 minutes you could also explore world-class skiing, rock climbing and mountain biking at Whistler or Squamish.
Downtown is cool, but don’t miss these key neighbourhoods
Like most large cities, downtown Vancouver is an exciting place to be and to experience. However, locals will explain to you that hip and trendy upscale neighbourhoods like Gastown and Yaletown are where the wheel-heeled urbanites come to play. With plenty of unique dining establishments, cocktail bars and mixology studios and boutiques, you’ll feel like you never left downtown. Spend a day in Gastown, and you’ll be sure to get a good read on the fun city vibes that Vancouver has to offer. For those looking for a bit more down-to-earth trendy spots check out Commercial Avenue as well as East Hastings (closer to downtown), which continue to gentifry with each passing year.
The West Coast lifestyle firmly lives in Vancouver, as a city that is known for being laid back, relaxed and a much less “chaotic” large city. Locals pride themselves on this fact, and will often tell you that the quality of life here is just plain better than anywhere else. There’s only one way to find out for sure, though, and that’s to see it for yourself and don’t miss these fun Vancouver facts.