Nowhere in BC will you feel the pulse of Westcoast life as in Vancouver. Everyone, from tourists to students, businessmen to politicians, filmmakers to celebrities, thrill-seekers to artists, gravitate towards this diverse place. And everyone finds something to suit them; be it extreme sports, ocean bathing, community festivals or dining on local wine and seafood. The general impression that everyone takes with them from Vancouver is one of delighted surprise at discovering a new place of such limitless possibilities.
Throughout the year, residents and guests to the city participate in the numerous events held in Vancouver. Some of the favorites that have become city traditions are:
- The International Film Festival, which attracts prominent world film figures every fall;
- The Jazz Festival; it takes places in the summer across the city, and draws crowds of fans to its open air performances;
- The Wine Festival, during which winemakers from around the world congregate here and delight the locals with their fine wines;
- The Fireworks Festival, also known as the Symphony of Lights, is held on the beach and is one of the city’s most highly anticipated summer events;
- The Antique Auto Show in the city’s largest botanical garden;
- The Snow Ball – an international ballroom dance competition;
- An annual hit among locals and visitors is the Shakespearean festival called “Bard on the Beach”. Held in an open-air tent on the bay, it runs Shakespeare’s plays throughout the summer.
Canadians are good-naturedly teased around the world for their clannish love of hockey. It truly is a cultural phenomenon here. It is said that when the question of Canadian flag design arose, one suggestion involved two crossed hockey sticks. The “Vancouver Canucks”, Vancouver’s team, are our local heroes. Hockey matches attract thousands of fans to the city.
Being as we are on the threshold of the 2010 winter Olympics, world-class athletes are visiting Vancouver to try out the Olympic tracks and facilities. For now, the elite playgrounds are being used to host large international competitions.
More and more people around the world are taking an interest in culinary tourism. And if some people are prepared to pass up a museum or tourist attraction during their stay, nobody will turn down the superb local cuisine. Here too, Vancouver excels. Vancouver boasts a wild assortment of seafood, which is served at our tables fresh out of the ocean. When we are asked about traditional local dishes, our reply is always “Salmon, served in any way…and seafood”. Besides that, one can sample foods from any part of the world in Vancouver. Apart from the local Chinese restaurants and Japanese sushi-bars, known for their high quality, huge selection and reasonable prices, you can also indulge in exquisite French and Italian food, sample a Mediterranean cuisine in one of many Greek taverns, or discover unique Indian and African dishes. And naturally, we cannot forget American steak – well done or rare, fit for any appetite and wallet, it will undoubtedly satisfy the most discerning eater.
No trip is ever complete without a little unnecessary spending, and even though in our time, most things are available in most parts of the world, shopping in a new place is always a pleasant novelty. The most popular part of the city in that respect is Robson Street. Popular international and Canadian stores span the length of this glamorous street. Strolling down this avenue, shoppers happily spend time and money not only in stores, but also in the numerous boutique cafes and sushi-bars which line it. For the choosiest buyers, Vancouver offers such exclusive stores as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany’s and Holt Renfrew, just to name a few.
Apart from the “standard” selection, Vancouver is rich in stores offering local goods; these are often clothes and equipments for outdoor adventures.
Particularly beloved by tourists is the art and jewelry, hand-crafted by local natives.