Archive for the ‘Stanley Park’ Category

Cool photos of a Bald Eagle and Crows

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

As I was walking to work on Saturday I could hear quite a din being stirred up by a group of Crows…it was quite evident that something was spooking them as they were cawing quite loudly and dive bombing at something. As I was approaching the intersection of the street my sight was a lot clearer as to what was going on. Directly opposite me on the top of a 3 story apartment building stood a large and very intimidating bald eagle that for the most part was not too perturbed by the 4 or 5 crows that were spooked by it.

April and May is a fantastic time to Bird watch as the city of Vancouver is in the thick of the major migration of Birds who are heading North as Spring will transition to Summer time. The sight of such a huge bird of prey hanging out just a few feet above our heads is not an unusual sight in Vancouver. We actively encourage everyone to to keep looking to the skies around them as it is very very common to witness many types of Birds of Prey, Gulls, Corvids, Herons and of course Canadian Geese to name but a few.

As the Summer starts to take hold the birds really are the dominant creatures that reside in this part of the world, it can get quite noisy as there are plenty of them making each and every building, tree and where else they reside as their home, and with that you will always get predators. Listen out to the birds as some of their sounds are major warnings not to their own species but to others that there is an Eagle about to intercept, this is quite the sight above as as it is one of the few times, the Crows, Gulls and Pigeons among others all gang up together to protect themselves from the Birds of Prey.

If you like this, be sure to get down to the Sea-wall and Stanley Park and take time to observe as you will be sure to catch some spectacular nature at work before your eyes.

Check out the Stanley Park Ecology Society: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

BC GRAND TOURS. CITY SIGHTSEEING & PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

We will like to introduce to you a brand new tour operator that will take you out on day trips around Vancouver, Whistler and Photography tours around the Canadian Rockies. Also, they offer tours to Seattle, Outlet Shopping tours in the Seattle district and winery tours in Langley! They will pick you up at the hotel and drop you off at the hotel once the tour has ended.

BC Grand Tours is a proud small business with owner Gabriel providing an A+ service and creating friendships that cannot be matched by any large-scale corporate tours. http://www.bcgrandtours.com/

BC Grand Tours feel that the best way to experience this great city is by hanging out with someone who’s knowledgeable, personable, and accommodating. They will go above and beyond to provide you with an experience that cannot be achieved by sitting on a bus with dozens of other people. After a tour with us, you’ll leave the city with good memories, great photos, interesting knowledge, and of course, new friends.

They are fully flexible and your day will be delivered by a guide who works to make sure your day is everything that you want it to be, exactly to suit for you special interests. They stop and start as you wish not as the guide might find convenient. Changes to the day’s plan, according to the options available can be accommodated to suit your requirements.
Your safe, considerate and calm driver offers a late model 11 passenger Mercedes Sprinter that has all the latest safety and comfort features such as multi-zone climate control with a 23 inch dvd monitor and a luxurious Cadillac Escalade for small groups when more privacy is required.

SIGHTSEEING TOURS
VANCOUVER Sightseeing Photo Tour
year round 10am/6h tour/ adult $79/child $49
Vancouver Library – Gastown – Canada Place
Stanley Park – Totem Poles – Prospect Point
Maritime Museum – Granville Island – False Creek
VanDussen – Botanical Garden
North Shore – Deep Cove marina
Suspension Bridge – Lynn Canyon Park

WHISTLER Sightseeing
year round 8.30am /10h tour/ adult $98 /child $65
WHISTLER Direct
Dec 01 to Apr 15 / 11h tour /adult $69 / student $50
Sea-to-Sky Highway
Whistler Village – Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Squamish Lil’wat Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Scandinave Spa
Shannon Falls – Squamish

VICTORIA Sightseeing
Year Round 7am /13h tour /adult $155/child $95
BC Ferry to Vancouver Island
Oak Bay marina
Parliament Buildings – Empress Hotel
Royal British Columbia Museum – Craigdarroch Castle,
Miniature World – Butchart Gardens

LANGLEY WINERY
Feb-Nov 10am/ 6h tour /adult $60 only Saturdays & Sundays
(off season tours available by request for minimum group of 6)
Vista D’oro Farm
Chaberton Estate Winery – Bistro Bacchus
Krause Berry Farm – The Market
Township 7 – Winery
Fort Langley City

HARRISON HOT SPRINGS
June-Sept 9am/ 8h tour /adult $70/child $45
Bridal Veil Falls
Harrison Hot Springs
BC Art Galleries

SEATTLE Sightseeing
Year Round 8am/10h tour/adult $99/child $59
& Seattle Premium Outlets
Year Round 8am/10h tour/adult $79/child $49

Museum of Flight -Sky View Observatory
Pike Fish Market – Great Wheel
Space Needle – Experience Music Project
Tulalip – Premium Outlets Mall.

The tours can be booked via the Front Desk, please ask the staff for further details.

They have glowing reviews on Tripadvisor – Click here to see what the people have to say about them http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g154943-d7391612-Reviews-BC_Grand_Tours-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

HAPPY 129th BIRTHDAY VANCOUVER!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

April 6th was the official date of Vancouver’s 129th birthday. Vancouver is probably one of the most stunning cities in Canada and of course the world – it is usually rated within the top 3 most liveable cities in the world and it really is very hard to argue against this. We will like to create a list to you as to why Vancouver should be at the top of your destination list.

STANLEY PARK & THE BIKING THE SEAWALL
Stanley Park is a gorgeous wooded forest and Park that completely dominates the centre of Vancouver. At 400 Hectares it is bigger than New Yorks Central park and is home to a vast array of incredible Gardens, Sporting facilities an outdoor pool, playparks for children and the natural Fauna and Flora that make the park come alive.
In the Summer time it is a great place to take your family to explore the dense forest and you can also check out the many beaches that can be found following the Seawall that encircles the outside perimeter.

Stanley Park is also home to the world famous Vancouver Aquarium which is home to the rehabilitation of the beloved Beluga Whales

The Seawall itself is a great way to explore the majority of the city and along the way you will be able to come across some notable features of the city such as Granville Island, Science World, the Totem Poles of Stanley Park, the Inukshuk and the Vancouvers most popular beaches such as English Bay. The best way to explore the full 22km wall is by bike rentals. English Bay Bike Rentals: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

GRANVILLE ISLAND
A cultural hub that lies in the heart of False Creek. Granville Island is home to Vancouver’s largest Public Market which has a huge array of colourful stalls, unique homemade products and the very finest in gastronomic delights. All fresh from the ocean, the oven or the field. Try closing your eyes right now and imagine the rich aromas permeating from the lavish displays. Shimmering seafood, warm baked goods, plump fruit.
There is also plenty of dining out options, entertainment in the form of Theatre, comedy and Arts – it is also a huge hub for busking to delight the masses as they meander around the Island. http://granvilleisland.com/
You can reach Granville Island using the False Creek Ferries which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
Built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River and has created a whole complex within the rain forest canopy that is found located above the river half way up the mountainside towards Grouse Mountain. In the last few years the area has expanded so now we have a daring cliffwalk path that leads you out over the canyon close to the steep Granite cliffs that create the towering gorge that has been cut and eroded by the river over thousands of years. There are also treetop viewing points dotted all over the park.
Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

CLIMB THE GROUSE GRIND AND VISIT MOUNTAIN
Grouse Mountain did not have much in the way of Snow this year which was a troubling for the Ski enthusiasts, however, as Spring turns to Summer it is time for the Hiking season to begin.
Grouse Mountain https://www.grousemountain.com/

The Grouse Grind
This is a great challenge for any able’d bodied person to use if you are up for the challenge and a great well known hike. This very popular hiking trail is a steep trail that climbs 853 m (2800 feet) from the gate and timer near the bottom of the trail to the “Grind Timer” at the top of the trail, a distance of 2.9 km (1.8 mi), with an average grade of 17 degrees (or 31%) and short sections of up to 30 degrees. The total number of stairs is 2,830. https://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind

BIG BUS SIGHTSEEING HOP ON HOP OFF TOUR
This is one of the most effective ways to see the best sights of the city, you can Choose from over 20 stops to create your adventure.
Free one-way ferry ride to the public market, galleries and colourful culture of Granville Island
As many as 7 stops in Stanley Park, voted the best urban park in the world
World-class commentary in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin (May 2015)
Vancouver’s only company with convertible, clear-top bus covers for stunning views rain or shine.

For further information read out latest blog on the tour itself http://www.sunsetinn.com/blog/?p=7098

Great Blue Herons of Stanley Park webcam

Friday, March 20th, 2015

When you come to visit Vancouver during the Spring this is the perfect time for birdwatchers to see the Blue Herons at their one of their regular nesting homes next to the Tennis courts in Vancouver.

THE GREAT BLUE HERONS
These majestic creatures have made a small area in Stanley Park their natural home for nesting and it is in surprisingly large numbers considering the species is dwindling elsewhere.
During March we will see the return of the male Herons, the best place to see them are down by the Tennis Courts on Beach Avenue (Which is not too far a walk from the Sunset) the male herons will return to their designated nests where they will hope to attract the females whom arrive a short while later.

Once they do arrive the usual courtship ritual begins, you can spot this when the couples are in their nests and will cross their bills regularly, together they help maintain their nests (some return to the existing ones and like to modernise and spruce them up too).
Come the end of April and early May you will start to see the chicks hatching from their nests, it is quite a sight to see. This location has been a regular home since 1921 there were many nests across the creek in Vanier Park, but now, only a handful remain.

HERON CAM
A Webcam has now been installed at the sight of the Herons nests at Stanley Park near the Tennis courts and went live as of Wednesday March 18th. The heron cam is a remotely controlled wireless camera mounted on the roof of a building near Park Board offices at 2099 Beach Avenue. It gives you a “birds’ eye view” of the drama in the trees.

The heron cam gives you the ultimate close up view of one of North America’s largest urban colonies of Pacific great blue herons. It is a window on the world of these magnificent birds from courtship through egg laying, until the grown chicks fledge in late summer.
Tune in often to watch the drama of new life unfolding in our nests. Spread the word through Twitter using the hashtag #herontalk

The Stanley Park herons typically arrive in February and chicks are generally born in April and in 2014 there were 94 active nests in the colony, producing 131 fledgling herons. The baby birds face predators such as eagles and raccoons before they are able to fly.
Over the past century, the abundance of large trees suitable for Great Blue Heron nesting near foraging areas has declined in some parts of British Columbia because of human population growth and industrialization so this is a great way for the public to be aware of these majestic birds and the fact that they are an endangered species, hopefully this will help raise interest and awareness so these Great Herons do not go extinct.

WEBCAM: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/heron-cam.aspx

STANLEY PARK ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Gardens & Parks to visit in Vancouver during Spring & Summer

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The flowers are responding to the gorgeous weather we are having here on the West coast. This gives us a great opportunity for us to guide you to see where the very best Gardens and Parks are to visit.

QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK – BLOEDEL CONSERVATORY – VAN DUSEN BOTANICAL GARDENS
A jewel that sits in the heart of Vancouver and has incredible views of the city due to is location at 152 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore.
The gardens and the conservatory is located among an old disused quarry which is now home to an extensive array of incredible plants, flowers and trees for you to absorb. You can also enjoy some great recreational time by playing games at the Pitch and Put, Tennis and Bowling lawn. After all that we are pretty sure you will have worked up an appetite – so try out the Seasons in the Park restaurant for some incredibly good food that is typically flavored and inspired by the Pacific Northwest.
The Van Dusen Botanical Gardens are situated here also – during the month of March Kids are allowed entrance for free!

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

STANLEY PARK
New York has central park and we have Stanley Park. Stanley Park is huge and right next to the downtown heart of Vancouver with incredible views of English Bay, the North shore Mountains and Bowen island in the distance. The park really makes you understand the complexities of the rain forest area that Vancouver resides in. It is also home to many animals, birds and other incredible wildlife that call this area home. The highlights of the park are the array of trees that make up the park, the Herons nesting site at the Tennis courts and The Lost Lagoon to name but a few.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx

DR SUN YAT-SEN CHINESE GARDENS
Right in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and adjacent Sun Yat-Sen Park are the perfect urban oasis.
The stunning Garden is an authentic representation of Ming Dynasty-era tradition and the first of its kind outside China. Be enchanted by the Garden’s winding paths, rocks, plants, and beautiful vistas. In the park alongside the Garden, find peace and tranquility in the unique rock forms, water lily-covered pond, pagoda, and lush plants.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/dr-sun-yat-sen-chinese-garden.aspx

UBC BOTANICAL GARDEN & CENTRE FOR PLANT RESEARCH
Located at the historical University of British Columbia Campus these gardens are one of the oldest to be found in Vancouver. During the month of March the Magnolias are what to watch for and my oh my are they responding to the gorgeous weather that we are currently experiencing.

http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/

Cherry Blossoms are blooming 3 to 4 weeks in advance – click on the link to follow the progression of the blossoms http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/03/where-to-see-cherry-blossoms-in-vancouver/

Christmas Events during December in Vancouver

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Here are the major events that will be happening throughout December and beyond in Vancouver.

The 11TH annual Rogers Santa Clause Parade Vancouver
This annual event really gets you into the spirit of things and marks the time that Christmas is indeed getting very very close now. Here Santa takes centre stage as he and his helpers guide his sleigh through the city streets for all those wanting to meet him at this very special time of year. There will be plenty of things to do for the whole family, from Arts and Crafts, Face painting, Letters to Santa, live music and much much more – this is one event not to be missed!

Sunday, December 7th, 2014 PARADE STARTS AT 1:00PM
Website: http://rogerssantaclausparade.com/

St Pauls Hospital – Lights of Hope
Lights of Hope is an annual fundraising campaign to support St. Paul’s Hospital. The public play an important role because Lights of Hope donations support the greatest needs as they arise throughout St. Paul’s, ensuring that the hospital has the funding to meet them.
Every year, St Pauls recognize donors to the campaign and inspire the community to show their support through a spectacular display of lights on St. Paul’s Hospital, which is built by volunteers using donated materials.

November 27, 2014 to January 12, 2015
Website: http://www.helpstpauls.com/lights-of-hope/

Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park
During the holiday season, the Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park Train Plaza sparkle with three million twinkling lights.
Buy tickets to ride the Bright Nights Train and experience the lights, breathtaking displays, and live performers along the train route. Or view the displays at the Train Plaza by donation ($4.00 suggested).

From November 27 2014 to January 4 2015
Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – North Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park is one of the most popular attractions for any visitor who comes to Vancouver. An all year round attraction that has events to suit all seasons. Winter is an extra special time as the bridge and the surrounding areas are decked out in gorgeous lights to dazzle your senses – a definite must see attraction if you are visiting with the family you will get to witness the home of the world’s tallest living Christmas tree! Standing 46.4m (152 feet) tall, this Douglas-fir will be adorned in thousands of sparkling lights.

Canyon Lights is on from November 29, 2014 through to Saturday, January 3, 2015. (Closed Christmas Day – December 25th)
Website: http://www.capbridge.com/explore/canyon-lights/

The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – North Vancouver
Just a few minutes further up the hill from Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park you will find yourself at the gateway gondola to Grouse Mountain.
As always there are always some great festivities to enjoy at the top of this gorgeous setting that has incredible views of the whole city of Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the dominant Mount Baker volcano in the US state of Washington.
At the peak of Christmas you will get to meet Santa Claus, his reindeers, watch some great movies of a festive nature in the Theatre in the sky. You will also be greeted with Christmas carollers, have fun sleigh rides and enjoy Ice skating on their outdoor Ice-rink.

Daily from November 28, 2014 to December 24, 2014
Website: http://www.grousemountain.com

Vancouver Christmas Market – Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
This annual German styled Christmas market is back once again – here you can walk around this alpine themed market that sells great Arts and Craft, you can buy festive themed food and drinks and enjoy all the sparkly decorations and entertainment you can come to expect at this time of year!

Daily from November 22, 2014 to December 24, 2014
Website: http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com/

Carol Ships Parade Of Lights Festival at Harbour Cruises – Vancouver Harbour
50 years ago someone decided it would be a great idea to adorn their boat with bright and sparkly christmas decorations – and thankfully they did as fast forward to this year and over 50 boats now take part in what has become a fantastic Chrstmas tradition in Vancouver.

Daily from December 5, 2014 to December 23, 2014
Website: http://www.boatcruises.com

Christmas at FlyOver Canada – Vancouver
One of the most successful attractions for tourists in Vancouver FLYover Canada has wowed visitors with this fun interactive movie that gets you to see Canada from a stunning birds-eye view perspective – Here you will join Santa as he heads up and over towards the North Pole – which of course as we all know resides in Canada right!?!?!

Daily from December 5, 2014 to January 4, 2015
Website: http://www.flyovercanada.com

Halloween Vancouver events during October

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

It is that time of year again where we look towards the dark side and scare ourselves silly for the hell of it! Read about all the cool events that are happening close by and around the city!

Friday Late Night Movies at the Rio Theatre
Check out The Rio Theatre’s late night movies on Friday nights. A Vancouver institution.
It’s got everything you could ever want:
- Cheap tickets
- Booze
- Hyper-into-it hipsters in costume, and hopefully yourselves in costume too!
- Yummy, delicious, buttered popcorn
The Rio Theatre hosts late night movies for adults (19+ only), so you won’t have any kids kicking the back of your seat and crying (that’s just that annoying drunk guy). The movies shown are classics, the kind that you haven’t watched since you had a VCR and a non-HD TV.

Halloween Films
Friday October 17th
SHOWGURLZ 2: A Halloween Horror Drag Show 9:30pm
Rocky Horror Picture Show *All Ages* with LIVE Shadow Cast 11:55pm

Friday October 31st
Showcase from The Crypt 8:00pm
BEETLEJUICE *All Ages* Screening 11:30pm

Website: http://riotheatre.ca/

Vancouver Halloween Expo and Parade 2014
Halloween Expo Saturday Oct 18, 10 AM – 9 PM – Sunday Oct 19, 10 AM – 9 PM
The Vancouver Halloween Parade happens – Sunday, October 19, 2014, from 12pm – 3pm
This is a brand new event and we hope that it is a success as there maybe a chance it will be a regular downtown fixture.
First the Expo itself will be a two day event that includes Cosplay with some famous scary and not so scary celebrities such as the following, The Alien, The Predator, The Smoking Man from X-Files, Dragon Ball: Gohan, Pokémon: Ash and May, Naruto: Kiba, Bleach: Aizen, One Piece: Nico, Robin, TMNT: April, and the Street Fighter: Ryu There will also be lots of other attractions and stalls with prizes for you allt o enjoy.
Starting at very close by at Davie St. and Granville St, the parade will then head north on Granville St, turns west on Smithe, then south along Howe St. back to Davie. Which is conveniently just a 5 to 10 minute walk from the hotel.
It is anticipated that there will be large crowds coming to this event – and we encourage everyone to take part in costume – because why not! Bear in mind this is a family friendly event so lets not try to scare the little ones too much, well, maybe just a little bit!

Website: http://www.vanhalloween.com/ihc/event/vanhalloween/en-us/index.php?cpcode=

Regular Vancouver Halloween fixtures.
The Stanley Park Ghost Train
All aboard all aboard for the train ride of your life – once again we invite the brave and the fearless to board the annual Stanley park ghost train, nestled deep in the dark depths of the forest this is the train ride you will never forget!
Stanley Park’s famous Miniature Train becomes a Halloween-themed ride that takes you on a a journey of mystique, magic and some surprises for young and old alike, this will be pretty cool in the deep dark forest!


Tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.ca/Stanley-Park-Halloween-Ghost-Train-tickets/artist/933873

Fright Nights at the Playland and PNE
Runs from October 10 to November 1
Located at one of Canada’s oldest Fairground attractions which also hosts its original wooden rollercoaster, Playland now for the rest of the month becomes a ghoulish haven for the ghosts and other scary entities such as the humans that visit there. Featuring 7 haunted houses, including a brand new house, 13 rides, The Monsters of Schlock, and The Kinshira Fire Performers plus other terrifying shows and attractions.

Website: http://www.pne.ca/fright-nights/

May Events in Vancouver 2014

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

May 2014 is shaping up to be a very busy month in Vancouver, not only is it the beginning of Official tourist season what with the arrival of the Cruise Ships, it is also the time when our weather is becoming sunnier and warmer and that means the festivities start to commence! We cannot wait and are looking forward to a great Summer season ahead of us.

Here are a list of Events to look out for in May – it is a jammed packed month so we are sure you will be kept busy!

EVERY THURSDAYS of every Month
Forbidden Vancouver City Walking Tours
On Prohibition City you explore the strange, corrupt and colourful history of prohibition-era Vancouver. Hear of the unlikely alliance of temperance campaigners and anti-saloon activists who together convinced the province to go dry back in 1917. Discover what life was like under prohibition, with stories of blind pigs, private members clubs, corruption, bootlegging, and free-flowing medicinal liquor. And learn the stories of the city’s most notorious mayor, LD Taylor, its most beautiful showgirl and its greatest rum-runners.
Website: http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/home/prohibition-city/

Fairview Pub – Thursday Night Jazz
One of Vancouver’s best venues for live Jazz, Rhythm & Blues entertainment. This legendary Vancouver pub is popular with locals and guests alike and features live music and drink specials at the full-service bar. Our popular Thursday Night Jazz features John Nolan Jazz trio followed by the house band. Visit us online for schedule of upcoming shows.
Website: http://www.fairviewpub.ca

MOTHERS DAY in Vancouver – May 11th
There are plenty of options for Mother to enjoy her day – take a look at this comprehensive list courtesy of About.com Vancouver http://vancouver.about.com/od/vancouverevents/tp/mothersday.htm

Soul Reflexions Spa
If you really want to pamper Mother we do recommend a great Spa that is in the local neighbourhood and run by Zsuzsanna Szokendi – it is just a few minutes walk away from us, a very initimate setting and at a great price! Mum will be happy.
Website: www.soulreflexions.com

NIGHT MARKETS
The Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market 2014 event is located at No. 3 Road & River Road, Richmond, just 1 block from Bridgeport SkyTrain Station. It runs from May 18 to Oct 8 on every weekend starting at 7:00 pm. This outdoor event offers 88 food booths (the largest international food court ever), over 200 merchants & corporate sponsor booths, more than 1,700 on-site parking stalls, free admission, free live entertainment nightly on a top-notch performing stage, games, contests & hundreds of give-away prizes. Come & spend your summer in this fun-filled shopping & eating paradise with you.
Website: http://www.richmondnightmarket.com

Vancouver Chinatown Night Market
The street market contains booths with different merchandises on sale including artistic handicrafts, creative gifts & decors, modern electronics, fashionable clothes, popular music, delicious snacks & ethnic food…etc.
Vancouver Chinatown Night Market
Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Venue: Keefer St. / Main St. (Between Main & Columbia St.
Website: http://vancouverchinatownnightmarket.com/

FAIRGROUND – Playland at the PNE Vancouver May 3 – Sept 21, 2014
The Playland amusement park is now ready to open its doors for the 2014 season
The Park is also home to the PNE and the Hastings Race Course – the Playland Amusement park itself is Canada’s oldest amusement park, it opened its doors to the public way back in the 1950s and still has the original wooden Rollercoaster in operation, which has been entertaining thrill seekers since 1958, there are also 2 other rollercoaster rides at Playland.
Website: http://www.pne.ca/playland/

MARATHON – Vancouver May 4, 2014
Named as one of the Top 10 Destination Marathons, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is a Boston Qualifier that takes runners on a 42.2 kilometre (26.2 miles) adventure past beaches, through natural parks, and along Vancouver’s bustling Seawall.
Website: http://www.bmovanmarathon.ca/

CHILDRENS EVENTS!
Vancouver International Children’s Festival 27th May to June 1st
A world-renowned festival of performing arts for young audiences, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival has been educating, entertaining & inspiring young audiences since 1978.
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival moved to Granville Island in 2011, after 33 years at Vanier Park.
Website: http://http://www.childrensfestival.ca

Exploring Vancouver’s West End. Part 4. Parks and play areas.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

To end our series on the West End we will point you in the direction of the numerous parks in the district that you can enjoy. The parks and play areas in the West End vary in all shapes and sizes and appear in areas where you will least expect it, we want to make sure that you can get to enjoy these areas just as much as we do.

Green Space Parks within the West End
As built up as Vancouver seems to be you have to applaud the effort that has been made at integrating the Green spaces that seem to be dwindling from many other cities around the world.
As many people make their way into Vancouver for the first time you would not be wrong in thinking that the city just looks like it is a built up mass of Glass Skyscrapers, however, once you make your way to the West End area all is not what it seems. The West End has really done a great job with the immersion of nature and suburbia and many of the parks have their own unique style and charm, so we will guide you through them by starting with the smaller ‘hidden’ parks to the larger parks more well known parks in the area.

West End Garden Oasis among the Streets and Lanes.
Before we head to the larger parks in the area, take a small wander around the West End and look out for some of the many Bike Paths that connect the small streets to the more larger Streets that criss- cross the area, along some of these pathways you will come across cute mini gardens that are dotted all over the city. These areas are surprisingly cute and are awash with colour and all kinds of Plant and Tree life. These spots are quite good at nullifying the city noise and always have some cute animals going about their business, expect to be greeted by a Black or Gray Squirrel, or even later on in the day a Skunk or Raccoon will likely amble on its way.

One of the closest little gardens that connect the Bike Paths to the Streets in the city is just two very short blocks away on Burnaby St and the cross street of Jervis St, there is a really cute park with a cobbled pathway that is a used for biking as well as pedestrians, this is a stunning spot if you just need a small rest on your travels. It will take a little over 5 minutes to reach this little city Oasis.

Click on this interactive Map and you can check out where the local parks are situated in the West End.
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir//49.28718,-123.132167/@49.2871023,-123.1371274,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!4m2!1m0!1m0?hl=en

Nelson Park & Mole Hill
Located just a couple of small blocks away from us & easily reached when you head North on Thurlow St – you will be there in 5 minutes.
After some major redevelopment in 2007 Nelson Park has been treating our local neighbourhood for quite some time now, it looks beautiful at all times of the year, but is particularly striking in the Spring (with blooms) and Fall (with the falling leaves in the park).
At this park you will find a play area for the little kids, some nice benches dotted all around – and one quarter of the park is a dedicated Off Leash Dog park, where the pooches are allowed to be unleashed and run amok without a care in the world.
Mole Hill
Like we had mentioned in previous Blogs, the West End has many areas that are classified as heritage building, well, Mole Hill which is situated next door to Nelson Park is a whole block of Co Op Heritage Houses that have been kept in excellent shape by the people for the people who reside there.
The Alley and gardens are stunning and if you go for a little exploration in the area, you will find that half along the Alley you will come across a small pathway that connects the Alley to Nelson St, here, you will find a cute small creek and a little bench, its a really nice ‘secret’ nook where you can have a small moment among the flowers and trees.
Where? Thurlow St and Nelson St

Barclay Heritage Square
As we have also mentioned in previous blogs Barclay Square is surrounded by some very interesting Heritage Buildings that lets you step back in time at what Vancouver looked like at the end of the 1800s.
whether you are a local or visitor the Barclay Square gardens are among many a really nice and tranquil spot to enjoy all year round. The Gardens are well kept and are inviting for all who wish to laze around and enjoy the natural colours that flowers, shrubs and trees can offer!
Where? Barclay St, Broughton St and Nicola St

Alexandra Park
Just nestled into the corner of the West End where English Bay meets False Creek this corner nook is a great place to watch the ocean without stepping foot onto the sandy beach. You can enjoy people watching here if that is your kind of thing to do, and you can even check out the stunning Bandstand that is the center piece of Alexandra Park. The park has been around for over 100 years and the Bandstand is exactly 100yrs old this year opening up for the public in 1914.
Where? Beach Ave and Burnaby St

Sunset Beach Park
Sunset Beach park overlooks Sunset Beach of course! This just a small 5 minute walk down the steep hill from the hotel, the Park overlooks Sunset Beach and False Creek and is a hit among all the locals here, you get amazing views of English Bay, Bowen Island and some of Vancouver Island from here, and you can also enjoy a play Hockey, kick around of a football or skateboard and Rollerblade in the designated play areas here.

So get out there and enjoy the Green Spaces among the concrete Jungle!

Exploring Vancouver’s West End. Part 3. Beaches and Seawall.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

On Sunday evening the skies were clear and you could feel the warmth of Spring in the air, the breeze had a slight chill to it but nothing to make you uncomfortable or ruin the moment. It was the perfect evening to catch the Sunset at one of the beaches that hug the Seawall around the West End.

Beaches of the West End
Walk westbound for around 10 to 15 minutes down the hill on Davie Street and you will reach the western boundary of the West End district – here you will be greeted by the very popular English Bay Beach and the entrance to Stanley Park with the gorgeous Lost Lagoon dividing suburbia and nature – read our next Blog installment on the West End and we have more to say about the Lagoon.

As the Sun was setting on Sunday April 14th there were many many people who were gathering at the English Bay to see it, we were at the peninsula where the stunning Inukshuk is standing – which is an excellent area to watch the Sun set. The waters of English bay were quite calm and had a stunning metallic gold shimmer with dashes of blue reflecting from the stunning blue skies above. As the Sun was setting the crowds had swollen in size and there were lots of cheering and drumming as the spectacle came to its finale!


Photo courtesy of Kyle Pearce at Unifiedstream – visit their site at http://www.unifiedstream.com/

Inukshuk Monument at English Bay
Standing by the Inukshuk you really get to see the beauty that this city has to offer and also the realisation of what a wonderfully cute area that the West End is, the location of the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel is indeed a prime spot for us and our guests.
The Inukshuk itself looks very majestic overlooking the ocean and the North Shore mountains as a great backdrop, it is a great opportunity for some incredible photographic shots and memories of your stay in Vancity. It is also one of the most recognised landmarks in this part of the world and is a symbolic representation for the First Nations peoples and adopted for the Winter Olympic Games of 2010. Traditionally the Inukshuk were used as markers for a point of reference when navigating the land especially during hunting in the more northern climes of Canada- they were also used as Sign posts for settlements in the area.

Click Inukshuk and you will see a great video on the meaning of this symbolic monument is.

Looking at the map, you will find the Inukshuk is located at the South Side of English Bay at the mouth of False Creek – our Hotel is at the same spot marked where the HI Hostel is..

The Seawall
The Seawall is one of the most walked, run and biked paths in Vancouver and at 22km long it encompasses Stanley Park, and much of the Downtown peninsula with a plethora of sights to absorb and photograph- one things for sure you will certainly remember this part of your visit.

Balancing Rocks
We suggest that you walk from English Bay back South to South East where you start to follow the seawall along the opening of False Creek towards Burrard Bridge and Granville Island, along this path you will come across some really cool Rock structures balanced on the large boulders and rocks embedded among the pebbles and sand.
Everywhere you go along the beaches in Vancouver, if there are rocks, there are likely to be plenty that are balancing on top of each other, and as much as you may believe that they are glued on, well, you will be wrong, the glue that is holding them together is quite literally the natural force of gravity and the awesome art of balance!

Rock Pools and Sandy Beaches at Sunset Beach.
Further along the Sea Wall you will notice that there are more options to hang out at the waters edge, here the rocks make way for Sandy beaches and large Logs that have been lined up for you to hang out and have a picnic. This is called Sunset Beach the hotels namesake and is the quieter option in comparison to the popular English Bay.
As the Rockier beaches transition to more Sandy style beaches you can easily explore the area with your family, just be mindful of the tides of course. Along the beaches you can come across some cool Rock Pools and see some smaller fish, crabs and all varieties of colour from the Seaweed and Algae that adorn the rocks and pebbles. It is also a great area to watch all the local Birds such as Geese, Gulls, Crows and the majestic Herons, if you have a really keen eye, you may even catch a glimpse of a Seal popping its head up from the water…

Events that are best seen from Sunset Beach and English Bay during the Summer
There are lots of events that happen in Vancouver throughout the year, here we will highlight a couple of the major events that come to our neck of the woods.

Celebration of Light Fireworks Display.
These Fireworks come to Vancouver every single year and draw in very large crowds of locals and tourists alike every year, the display is a competition that travels the world each year and our turn comes at the end of July and the beginning of August – the masses love to get their prime seat down at English Bay, but for us, we feel that Sunset Beach will do the job and is quieter too, so if you do not like the crowds – Sunset Beach it is!
Celebration of Light: http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/

Pride Parade and Festival.
Davie Village which is adjacent to the Hotel is home to the Gay District of Vancouver so naturally that means we have fun with the annual Gay Pride Parade. This event always happens on the final weekend of the Celebration of Light fireworks.
The Parade winds it way from Robson St through to Denman where the procession ends at Sunset Beach and then the party truly begins!
Vancouver Pride Parade: https://vancouverpride.ca/

For further information on other Vancouver Top Attractions – click here: http://www.sunsetinn.com/leisure/attractions