Oh Canada. Though your people barely let me through border patrol because my American money is too fancy for you, I drove onto your soil one August day and then didn’t want to leave. So many trees. So many mountains. So many rugged men who look like they live in those mountains. So many interesting international people who seemingly don’t hate each other just for being different.
First stop: Vancouver, a coastal city in British Columbia and the largest on Canada’s Western coast. Vancouver can be seen in a long weekend, unless you’re a particularly inefficient person. A few things that stood out to me:
Stanley Park – Giant park the size of the rest of the city. Everyone goes here. Rent bicycles and bring a few picnic items and get lost for a while.
Sylvia Hotel – I’m sure there’s a sad, slow song on my iTunes named after this hotel, and it’s totally about missing your lover and instead trying to hang out with cats in the bar of the hotel but the cat only speaks French so it won’t come when you call to it. Basically it’s going to be a really lonely night, but the upside is that you’re staying in a designated heritage building.
Gastown – Before it was named Vancouver there was a guy named Gassy Jack (jokes for days) who started building taverns and whatnot along the waterfront, and this eventually turned into Vancouver’s Gastown district, which is now where all the tourists go out (and maybe some locals, but lots of tourists, though remember that tourists of Canada are generally better people than tourists in America). There’s a clock on a corner in Gastown that emits steam and for some reason the tourists find this fascinating; I imagine anyone who stands around watching this display at length is likely 65+ or American. God help us all.
Granville Island – It is indeed an island, so it has that going for it if only for the sake of posting #ImOnAnIsland on your Instagram. Bring money because it’s a shopping mecca for people who like to support local (art, crafts, home goods, food, no babies for sale – that’s China). The island’s highlight is an artisan food hall with more cakes and tarts than even I can handle, and at my rate I should’ve developed diabetes years ago.
Capilano Suspension Bridge – a 460 foot long suspension bridge in North Vancouver that draws in 800K+ visitors each year. Basically you’re paying to spend your afternoon in the second world of Donkey Kong Country for SNES.
Commercial Drive – I stayed a few blocks from this, ahem, commercial corridor. The number of fruit stands drove me wild. Wild! Lots of cute (read: locally owned) restaurants and bars that look like they serve craft beer. ‘Tis good. The residential streets around Commercial are quaint and dreamy and worth wandering through on foot. A final note: one morning I drank my tea at nearby Grandview Park and observed many hot 30-something fathers with no wives or girlfriends in sight. Vancouver for the win.
Learn more about Vancouver here.