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Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove is 157 hectares of ancient Douglas-fir located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Since 1137 AD, the aboriginals who were pantheistic named their glorious treasure Cathedral Grove and exalted the magnificent creations of M...

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Chemainus

Chemainus is a charming Cowichan Valley town that situates in the Vancouver Island region of British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in 1858 as a logging town and now, present-day Chemainus is famous for its outdoor murals, sawmills, scuba diving si...

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Gold River


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Nanaimo

Nanaimo is located on central Vancouver Island. Having something for everyone, activities in and around the city include diving, hiking, biking and kayaking to shopping, golfing and visiting local galleries.

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Parksville


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Port Alberni

Port Alberni is allegedly the warmest town in British Columbia. Picnic or shop at the Harbour Quay for family fun. Quaint Historic Uptown features restaurants with local cuisine and views of snow capped mountains. Woven crafts by the Nuu Chah Nulth t...

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Port Hardy

Port Hardy lies along the rocky, beautifully forested northern tip of Vancouver Island, and it has a medley of wildlife and activities.  Market Street is laden with galleries featuring work by First Nations artisans, including jewelry, masks and...

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Swartz Bay, B.C.


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Tofino, B.C.


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Victoria, B.C.

British culture and island informality collide in Victoria. This sophisticated seaside city is full of historic sites, parks and gardens. Take a walking tour - many of which begin at Parliament Buildings at Victoria's Inner Harbor. Combined with maje...

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Vancouver is a thriving metropolis surrounded by natural beauty. With parks, beaches, gardens, museums, art galleries and the second-largest Chinatown in North America, Vancouver lives up to its promise of offering something for everyone. With modern buildings set against green, rolling hillsides, this city is breathtaking; no location offers a more spectacular view than Stanley Park - with a zoo, aquarium, totem poles and honking geese. A short walk from the park leads to Robson Street, which offers the town's best window-shopping. Stores with European flavor share the avenue with delicatessens and tea rooms ready to serve. As architectural heart of the city, Robson Square features a central plaza with a food fair and an old provincial courthouse, which now houses Vancouver Art Gallery. Be sure to stop at 8 Pender St. - "the narrowest building in the world." Other points of interest include the Museum of Anthropology; Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden; and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Capilano Canyon is site of the world's longest and highest suspension footbridge.
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6-Nights Canadian Rockies Adventure with Rocky Mountaineer

Price: $3,349 - # of Days: 6 days
Journey across the wilds of Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies onboard the opulent Rocky Mountaineer on this luxurious 7-day journey. Board the train’s gleaming blue and gold carriages in Vancouver and head west, relaxing and enjoying the fabulous cuisine and sumptuous accommodations that...

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12-Nights Trans-Canada and Rockies Adventure with Rocky Mountaineer

Price: $5,549 - # of Days: 12 days
Take the ultimate tour of Canada from coast to coast, including journeys on two iconic trains! Starting in Toronto, first discover the cascading waters of Niagara Falls on a breathtaking day trip before taking The Canadian train for an epic journey across rural landscapes to the heart of the Canadia...

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8-night Pacific Coast Explorer Cruise

Price: $3,599 - # of Days: 8 days

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10-night Alaska & The Inside Passage Cruise

Price: $5,299 - # of Days: 10 days

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Vancouver


Vancouver, British Columbia, is known as Canada's emerald jewel for its lush rain forests. On a clear day, from downtown you can see the Strait of Georgia's blue-green waters, glacial fjords, islands, and mountains with snow caps and dense forests.

The city is home to people from all over the world and has continued to draw many immigrants from China, other parts of Asia and around the world.

Vancouver is relaxed and outdoorsy, yet cosmopolitan. It's also sports-minded, and its hockey fans cheer hard for their NHL Canucks. The city also boasts high-fashion boutiques, a vibrant arts scene and a fondness for health-conscious eating. The winter weather of gray skies and drizzle only emphasizes Vancouver's attractions at other times of the year.

Must See or Do

Sights—For natural beauty in an urban setting, a horse-drawn carriage ride around Stanley Park; the Skyride up Grouse Mountain for a great view of the city; a drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Howe Sound to Squamish and Whistler for a glimpse of rugged rain-forest terrain; the Vancouver Aquarium; a day trip to Fort Langley National Historic Site, 45 minutes east of Vancouver.

Museums—The Museum of Anthropology; the Vancouver Art Gallery; the Museum of Vancouver.

Memorable Meals— Chambar for a quintessential Vancouver dining experience; Bishop's or Hawksworth Restaurant for serious, intimate dining; cozy Nuba in Gastown for inexpensive eats.

Late Night—The Fortune Sound Club in Chinatown for the younger crowd; The Diamond for Gastown cocktails; Vancouver TheatreSports League for easy laughs.

Walks—The seawall in Stanley Park; the family-friendly beaches at Spanish Banks; the waterside path around False Creek; the docks on Granville Island.

Especially for Kids—Trails at Lighthouse Park; hands-on exhibits at Telus World of Science; the labyrinth of vendors at the Kids Market; astronomy shows at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

Geography

With the North Shore Mountains as a reference point, finding your way around the coastal seaport city of Vancouver is pretty easy. The core of downtown radiates outward on a grid system from the intersection of Georgia Street, which runs east-west, and Granville Street, the main north-south artery.

In navigating Vancouver, it helps to know that the city proper lies on the Burrard Peninsula. It is bordered by the Burrard Inlet to the north, the Fraser River to the south, and the Strait of Georgia to the west. Directly across the strait sits Vancouver Island, which shields the city from the Pacific Ocean. The downtown occupies a smaller peninsula formed by False Creek.

Vancouver is also home to the 1,000-plus-acre Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America.

History

The original inhabitants of what is now referred to as Vancouver, were the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Unlike so many other hunting-and-gathering peoples, these inhabitants achieved a high level of cultural complexity for a food-gathering base: wild berries, game, fish, water and building materials. This system encouraged hard work, and quickly allowed for the accumulation of wealth and status. There was so much of it, in fact, that potlatches (gift-giving feasts) were a regular event among the Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, Haida and other tribes.

George Vancouver, the British Navy captain who lent the city his name, sailed into Burrard Inlet in 1792. He called it "the most lovely country that could be imagined." Settlers didn't immediately respond to his superlatives, though. The British didn't establish a permanent fur-trading post (Fort Langley) until 1839. The area remained sparsely populated until the gold rush in 1858 enticed fortune-seekers to the Fraser River.

Lumbering and mills became responsible for keeping Vancouver afloat. What truly established Vancouver as a city, however, was the decision by the Canadian Pacific Railway to make Vancouver the terminus of its transcontinental route. The first regular transcontinental train from Montreal arrived at a temporary terminus at Port Moody in July 1886, and service to Vancouver itself began in May 1887. Vancouver's population that year was 5,000. Six years later it reached 15,000 and by 1900 it was more than 100,000. The railroad, in turn, increased the city's importance as a seaport. Today, Vancouver is considered one of North America's finest natural deepwater harbors.

Vancouver has experienced a real estate boom that began after the city hosted the 1986 World's Fair. Foreign investment, especially from Southeast Asia, has transformed the downtown area. Dozens of old buildings have been renovated or razed to make way for innovative postmodern architecture and imposing glass-and-steel skyscrapers. These days, the city has some of the highest real estate values in the country.


Vancouver is also known for its colorful history of social controversy and vice. The early to mid-1900s in the city were characterized by two organized labor strikes. Fueled largely by a series of economic recessions in the region, discrimination against Asian immigrants was also prevalent at this time, and the labor-organized Asiatic Exclusion League was thought to have instigated the Vancouver riots of 1907. While Prohibition was raging in the U.S., Vancouver maintained an active liquor trade led by the infamous rum-running schooner Malahat, nicknamed "the Queen of Rum Row."

Vancouver's progressive stance on social issues can most likely be traced back to its former mayor L.D. Taylor, who introduced and maintained an "open town" policy, whereby vice crimes such as prostitution, gambling and bootlegging were managed rather than criminalized. His policies did not last after his re-election defeat in 1934 (his opponent and subsequent mayor Gerry McGeer ran on a staunch law and order platform), but they are not all that dissimilar to more recent social policies in Vancouver regarding drug use, harm reduction and treatment for addicts. Vancouver was the first North American city to have a medically staffed safe injection facility (known as InSite), and the city is also home to several controversial but effective opiate maintenance programs and research trials.

Potpourri

Stanley Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America, spanning just a little more than 1,000 acres/400 hectares (New York's Central Park is 843 acres/341 hectares).

The gray squirrels in Stanley Park are descendants of the eight pairs presented to Vancouver in 1909 by New York City.

Vancouver has radio stations that broadcast in Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi, a reflection of the city's multicultural nature.

Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park was Canada's first civic arboretum. It contains specimens of all the trees native to Canada and is located at Vancouver's highest point—501 ft/152 m above sea level.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is Vancouver's oldest (dating from 1889) and most famous visitor attraction.

Vancouver has the largest gay and lesbian population in western Canada.

Well-known Vancouverites include singer Sarah McLachlan, singer and photographer Bryan Adams, Generation X author and artist Douglas Coupland, and actor Michael J. Fox. The presence of a huge film industry makes celebrity sightings a common occurrence downtown.

Greenpeace, which started in Vancouver, is known around the world for its environmental movement.

Vancouver is second only to Los Angeles in North American television production and ranks third for feature film production. Entertainment studios such as Paramount and Lionsgate have outposts there, and the city often plays host to A-List celebrities.

Measuring the size of nearly three Olympic-size swimming pools, Vancouver's Kitsilano saltwater pool easily holds the title of Canada's largest pool. The outdoor pool boasts a temperature of 77 F/25 C, making it a summer favorite.

Location

If you happen to be one of the many travelers arriving to Vancouver by cruise ship each year, you will dock at one of Port Metro Vancouver's two cruise terminals—both regularly receive praise for luggage handling, customer service and visitor ease. If your ship docks at Canada Place, at the foot of Hornby Street, you may think those five white sails are flying over one of the many ships in Vancouver's harbor. It would be an honest mistake. From its mast down, the main cruise-ship terminal resembles a seagoing vessel.

Just 1 mi/2 km east of Canada Place, at historic Ballantyne Pier, is the city's second cruise terminal. In all, there are berths for five ships. Annually, that means about 240 ships and more than 800,000 passengers, figures that have increased significantly in recent years, as Port Metro Vancouver now offers the most ship and departure date options in Canada.

The Canada Place complex has a five-star hotel, shops, restaurants, a spa, secure underground parking and rental car agencies. The Ballantyne terminal is geared primarily for processing passengers. Canada Place is downtown, and Ballantyne is a short taxi ride from the city center. Although the walk between the two cruise terminals is doable, we don't recommend it: The neighborhoods in between are potentially unsafe, and the route is not pedestrian-friendly.

There is no tourist-information booth at Ballantyne Pier; however, there is one at Canada Place. The city's main tourist office is just one block west of Canada Place on Burrard Street. As the passenger processing and customs terminal, Ballantyne also offers many other amenities such as food and drink concessions, wheelchair and scooter rental, shuttle and bus service access, baggage carts, parking and taxis.

Tourists arriving by ferry from Vancouver Island or the gulf islands can expect to dock at Tsawwassen (pronounced ta-was-sen), about a 45-minute drive from the city. For ferry information and schedules, visit http://www.bcferries.com.



Shore Excursions

If your cruise begins or ends in Vancouver, your ship may offer add-on packages that include sightseeing tours and accommodations. Tours aren't the least expensive way to see the city, but you won't have to spend your limited time making arrangements.

Excursions vary from cruise line to cruise line: Typical tours may take you through the city itself, explore the natural vistas around it or focus on cultural offerings, such as the totem poles at Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Check with your travel agent or the ship's shore-excursion staff for additional information.

Travel and scenic tours by seaplane (known in Canada as floatplane) are also quite popular, and most tour and charter flights depart just west of the Canada Place complex from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre. Some cruise lines offer floatplane excursions in add-on packages or can assist visitors in scheduling such services, and it is advisable to plan for and reserve such trips in advance. For more information on individual floatplane providers, tours and charter schedules, visit http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/floatplanes.



Vancouver


Don't confuse this Washington city in the far-southwest corner of the state 165 mi/265 km south of Seattle with the much larger Vancouver, British Columbia, or with Canada's Vancouver Island, both of which are just north of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Washington state's Vancouver is home to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This former fur-trading outpost and depot for the Hudson's Bay Company gives a glimpse of life in the settlement circa 1845. Near the fort is the Officers Row National Historic Monument. Among the 21 buildings are residences once occupied by Ulysses S. Grant and George C. Marshall. Three of the houses are open to the public.

Location

The homeport on the Columbia River for American Queen Steamboat Company, Vancouver was incorporated as a city long before Washington became a state.

It has a rich Native American and Western history, but among the things cruisers most enjoy are the artisan brewers and winemakers that have colorful names, such as Burnt Bridge Cellars, A Beer at a Time, Confluence Vineyards and Amnesia Brewery.




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