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A Week in Vancouver...

vancouver.jpg...Is Not Long Enough To See All the Sights! By Nichola Pell

SET ON THE west coast of Canada, Vancouver has one of the most spectacular natural cityscapes in the world, set beside the water and ringed with mountains.

Our base for the week was the Holiday Inn & Suites, North Vancouver, conveniently located 15 minutes from downtown and 90 minutes from Whistler as well as being close to North Vancouver’s many tourist attractions. The rooms are well-equipped and spacious, with all the things you wish you’d find when you stay over in a hotel - microwave, fridge, television and hair dryer in every room, all within a relaxed and homely atmosphere. Suites with kitchenette facilities are also available. We made good use of all the facilities including the jacuzzi, indoor pool, fitness facilities and day spa.

If you don’t want to prepare all your own meals, The Pantry Restaurant is open daily and has a casual dining setting.  Adults can enjoy a wide selection of alcoholic beverages at the cozy Churchill’s Lounge located in the Hotel Lobby.  The popular Seymour’s Pub offers a lively and entertaining atmosphere with a natural stone fireplace, six foot satellite TV and dancing in the evenings, with a mouth-watering menu.
In central Vancouver, fantastic for families is Stanley Park – a huge area of public parkland with sweeping grassy areas, play equipment and even a beach.  It’s also home to the Vancouver Aquarium where you can see dolphins, beluga whales, turtles and various strange-looking giant tropical fishes.

We managed to squash in visits to The Lookout (tall tower with a viewing gallery across the harbour), The Holiday Inn was also great for heading out of town toward all the attractions northwards.  You are never far from the great outdoors in Canada. Just ten minutes away is the Capilano Suspension Bridge, strung over a gorge where you have tremendous fun timing your steps with the swaying of the bridge. We did not make it as far as Whistler, venue for the 2010 winter Olympics, because of a landslide – when it rains in Vancouver, it really does rain.

A little farther up the road from Capilano is Grouse Mountain with its kilometre long cable-car ride to the top. A popular winter sports destination with breathtaking views from the summit all year round. And we did most of our travel by public transport.  Seabus, trolley-bus, tram and skytrain are all clean, punctual, link up and are staffed by helpful drivers, apart from the skytrain – the automated monorail which is an interesting change from the underground.

The trip across the water to the city centre by Seabus is one of the most scenic approaches to the place and a great novelty for small children. Whether you have your umbrella or not, Vancouver is definitely worth a visit.


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