Archive for the ‘Parks & Recreation’ Category

Urban Wildlife in Vancouver

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Vancouver is highly rated as one of the most stunning cities in the world to visit and it is very hard not to see why. The city is situated in a temperate rainforest that encompasses much of the Pacific Northwest and is greeted by vigorous weather systems that barrel in from the massive Pacific Ocean for 9 months of the year. Due to this and the large mountains that greet the weather Vancouver and Vancouver Island is an area that has incredible dense forests and amazing fauna that is home to some incredible wildlife.

Nature in the city – meet your fellow neighbours!
It is not unusual for a guest to come in from sightseeing and being quite surprised and astonished at some of the animals that they have just spotted in the city – to many of us it is just a normal every day occurrence, however, we really do appreciate and love the diversity of the local flora and fauna that makes up the fabric of the city. So let us introduce to you the local wildlife of Vancouver.

Skunks, Raccoons and Squirrels
These animals are everywhere and are easily spotted all year round but more especially in the Summer months and after nightfall – however, if these creatures are hungry enough you will catch them in the daytime too. It is likely you will see a skunk more regularly than a Raccoon and when you do you will probably see a few as they tend to wander around with their young.
We do not advise that you feed these animals, they are cute but there is always the possibility that they may bite and Skunks are famous for spraying an oily substance that smells like an awful strong stench of Sulphur and marijuana – not a great smell. They are harmless overall though, so if you wish to have a peak of them you can do so but give them their space as they go on their merry way.

There are so many Squirrels here it seems unreal, you will always catch them scurrying around the streets and up the trees – they are pretty tame overall and have really worked out how to live in harmony in the city.

Bald Eagles, Crows and Herons
These birds are by far the most noticeable of all the animals in the city all year round – the Bald Eagles are certainly more noticeable in the Spring and Summer months due to the Fledgling season where they have many options to hunt for food and this can easily be seen when you are out and about in the city. One of the signs that there is a bald eagle not too far above you is when you hear the Seagulls and Crows crying out a warning cry to each other as they are fearlessly protecting their young from being prey, if you hear this commotion look up – it is almost guaranteed that a large bald eagle or other type of Bird of Prey is about to swoop down and feed itself and its own chicks.

Crows are everywhere in Vancouver and they are one of the most respected and revered creatures that many of us have a love hate relationship with. There is a fantastic phenomenon that happens daily in Vancouver which involves thousands of Crows heading to and from their roosting spot in Burnaby. The murder of crows is quite the sight to see and happens at Sunrise and Sunset every day – if you have a keen eye you will spot the spectacular ‘Crow train’.

Check out this Video of the Crows going home: https://youtu.be/IhVdcjyKdSU

The other gorgeously majestic Bird to spot in Vancouver is the Great Blue Heron. The Herons you can find wading in the shallow waters at pretty much any Beach in and around Vancouver and soaring smoothly in the skies above you. For a better sighting of these birds you need to head to Stanley Park near the Tennis courts, here, the Herons have been nesting at this site for quite a few years and there are roughly around 80 nests at top of the trees and the months of April to June are the prime time to catch them rearing their chicks.

For further Animal watching head to the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park where you can see all the above creatures but lots of Ducks, Canada Geese, Turtles and plenty of people if you like to people watch!

For further information on Vancouver wildlife check these sites out.
Stanley Park Ecological Society http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

Vancouver Aquarium http://www.vanaqua.org/

Popular Vancouver events that are FREE!

Friday, June 19th, 2015

There are many events and festivals to enjoy and it all starts this weekend as Summer is really here folks, plus the weather is playing ball too! Get out there and enjoy it as these events are FREE!

CAR FREE DAYS – VANCOUVER June 20th & 21st.
West EndSaturday, June 20th, Noon-6pm from Davie to Robson on Denman Street: Fun for young, old, families, couples and single folks, which includes music, artists, artisans, and lots of local community groups.

Commercial Drive – Sunday, June 21st, Noon-7pm from Venables to Grandview on Commercial Drive: Roller disco, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs spinning beats, and all your friends and neighbours hanging out.

Main Street – Sunday, June 21st, Noon-7pm from Broadway to 30th on Main Street: Mini-festivals, community-supported stages with dozens of bands, multiple kids zones, artisan markets, roller derby, skateboarding, parkour and more!

Website: http://www.carfreevancouver.org/

National Aboriginal Day Celebrations – June 21st
Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Join us for a day of celebration that kicks off with a traditional Coast Salish welcome, followed by a variety of Aboriginal performances, including traditional dances, storytelling and more. National Aboriginal Day is officially designated on Sunday, June 21, 2015 to coincide with the summer solstice. This is a special opportunity to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Website: http://www.canadaplace.ca/Events/National_Aboriginal_Day_Celebration

Vancouver International Jazz Festival till July 1
While not all of the events are free, a majority of them are, giving you access to some of the best jazz acts in the city! There are endless options for free performances, including Blue Moon Marquee, Rumba Cazalda, and Karin Plato Ensemble.

Website: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/

Vancouver Buskerfest – Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28
Featuring astonishing and Diverse Street performers from all around Vancouver and all around the globe deliver comedy, circus, music and mayhem on Downtown Vancouver’s main entertainment area that is Granville Street.

Website: http://www.vancouverbuskerfest.com/

Canada Day at Canada Place – July 1st
Canada Day at Canada Place is a celebration that brings communities together to share our special bond of living in one of the greatest country’s in the world and celebrating our freedom, values and diversity. It all ends with a fantastic spectacular Fireworks display.

Website: http://www.canadaplace.ca/

Canada Day at Granville Island July 1, 10 a.m. to midnight
Canada Day on Granville Island is an all-ages event that goes from morning until late! This year, they’ll start with a pancake breakfast, then continue with jazz festivals, a street festival and a parade. The team at Granville Island encourages you to bring your kids!

Website: http://granvilleisland.com/top-things-do-kids-summer-granville-island

Stanley Park Free Outdoor Movies July 7 to August 25
The Evo Summer Cinema Series at Stanley Park is back for another year from July 7 to August 25. Expect classics like Jurassic Park, The Breakfast Club and Harry Potter. Don’t forget to arrive early to get a good spot since upwards of 5,000 people attend each screening

Website: http://www.freshaircinema.ca/summercinema/index.html

Swimming in Vancouver – The best outdoor Pools and Beaches near to the Sunset

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

When the BC bank Holiday known as Victoria Day passes in May we know for sure that this is where Summer begins in earnest and that marks the beginning of the activities for the late Spring and Summer season. The Patios at many restaurants and bars are open for the patrons, Farmers Markets pop up all over the various and varied districts of Vancouver, the best part for us is the opening of the many outdoor swimming pools and the freedom to swim on the many beaches of Vancouver.

Kits beach with North Vancouver in the distance

The best Beaches and Swimming Pools.
One thing you will notice with Vancouver is that it is quite literally surrounded by Beaches, with a great Sea wall hugging the downtown core all the way around False creek to the South and then ending at the Kitsilano district which is where we will begin our tour.

Kitsilano Beach.
Kits Beach as it is more commonly known with the locals is our version of ‘Venice Beach’ in California, it is an appropriate title considering Vancouver is literally known as the Hollywood north of Canada and this Beach certainly fits the bill. It has glorious views of the downtown core, Stanley Park and the North shore cities and mountains, and has no shortage of people getting some serious tans playing Frisbee and beach Volleyball, but don’t be perturbed by the beach loving sun soaked buff bodies – everyone is welcome here and so you should as it is a stunning place to visit.
There is more – Kits Beach is home to Vancouvers largest outdoor heated swimming pool.

Kits Outdoor Swimming Pool
This is the daddy of all outdoor pools in Vancouver at a length of Length 137m which means it is almost three times the size of an Olympic pool. It also features 3 Slides, a Café and is accessible for all as it is wheelchair accessible has aquatic wheelchairs and is fitted with an aquatic pool lift.
The pool is filled with salt water and is heated, this year Windbreakers will be installed as this will benefit the pool in many ways, it will prevent heat loss from the heated pool and it will also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 220 metric tonnes which equates to removing 46 cars from city streets. This was proven the case last year when the city installed windbreakers at other pools, it is anticipated the drop in these emissions will be much more.

Sunset Beach, English Bay & Second Beach
English Bay is undoubtedly the most popular & well known Beach in Vancouver due to its prime location in the downtown Vancouver area and is sat at the entrance to the popular Stanley Park.
A great way to get to English Bay will be to walk south from the Sunset Inn hotel and in a little over 5 minutes you will reach our namesake beach Sunset Beach. Here you get gorgeous views of the Burrard Bridge and False Creek – start waking west along the Seawall and you will be greeted by the famous Inukshuk stone monument which is located at English Bay. Keep following the Sea Wall and after 10 to 15 minutes you will reach Second Beach – it is called this as English Bay is the ‘first beach’.

Second Beach Pool
Second Beach Pool is a heated, outdoor pool located near the beach & sea wall, trails, and forest of Stanley Park.
The summer pool is open May to September. It features a a sloped entry and gradual depths for families, and separated lanes for lap swimmers. The pools Length is 80m with a 50m section for some serious swimming lengths -like the Kits pool it is wheelchair accessible.

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/

Spring in Vancouver

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

As the rest of Canada is still locked in the deep cold of Winter, it is looking and feeling more like the end of April in Vancouver. The rains have cleared away and we anticipate that the Flowers, trees and wildlife are going to be waking up from the slumber of the long nights of Winter.

Here we want to show you what Vancouver has to offer during the Spring time – it is one of the most gorgeous seasons as the city erupts in Colour and life!

WHALE WATCHING
Wild Whales Vancouver offer great trips to watch the majestic Whales as they swim through the Georgia Strait. The Whales will be migrating sooner than April when Wild Whales begins its operations so if you travel between Vancouver and Victoria you may catch them.
Beginning in April and departing from Granville Island in downtown Vancouver, the Wild Whales experience allows you to observe Killer Whales and the diverse wildlife of the Pacific Coast in their natural habitat. It is an unforgettable, trip of a lifetime!
Board one of our three vessels at Vancouver’s unique and historic Granville Island. Keep your cameras ready as you travel down False Creek and into English Bay, where the views of Vancouver, the Coast Mountains and Stanley Park are unparalleled. From English Bay, we pass the Fraser River estuary into the Strait of Georgia.
Trips and Rates: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/trips-rates/

GRANVILLE ISLAND
If you visit Vancouver you must visit Granville Island – it is famous for its world renowned Public Market, Artisan Shops and entertainment that includes Theatres, Live buskers and more.
The Granville Island Public Market features a farmers’ market, day vendors, and artists offering local Vancouver goods. There are fifty permanent retailers and over one-hundred day vendors in stalls throughout the market selling a variety of artisan cottage-industry foods and handmade crafts on a rotating schedule – a true jewel in the crown of Vancouver
Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
This annual festival for us heralds the fact that Spring is well and truly here, the city looks absolutely incredible once the Blossoms are in full bloom, it is impressively bright and really tells us that the gloom of Winter becomes a distant memory.

Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver
“This is why I live here!” is a phrase many Vancouverites exclaim during cherry blossom season. Each spring, as the rainy season fades, city dwellers pack their sweaters away and are rewarded with one of the world’s most cheerful sites: 40,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blooms.

The West End is flush with the Blossoms, Harwood St which is one block South of us becomes quite an impressive site, also, check out Bute St the architecture and the trees make this street look very romantic.
Vancouver’s many parks and gardens are ideal showcases for the beloved trees, but there are also a number of urban places to view these pink beauties.
Queen Elizabeth Park touts several varieties of cherry trees, which bloom at different intervals throughout early March and late April
Stanley Park also has rows of blossoming trees near the formal rose garden and the Japanese Canadian WWI war memorial
VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts more than 100 cherry trees, representing 24 varieties.
Vancouver international Cherry Blossom Website: http://www.vcbf.ca/

BIG BUS CITY TOURS
This is an excellent way to sight-see around the city and to take in all the major attractions. Big Bus have an excellent reputation and the Big Bus staff are incredibly knowledgeable and fun! They offer 1 day and 2 day passes where you can Hop on and Hop off at your leisure. Tickets can be purchased directly at the Hotel, ask the staff about discounts!
Website: http://bigbus.ca/home/

SEAWALL, STANLEY PARK AND VANCOUVER WILDLIFE
The Vancouver Seawall is absolutely breathtaking and circles the majority of the Downtown Peninsula and encircles Stanley Park. This area is great to walk around during the Spring as there is no shortage of incredible Trees, Flowers and wildlife to stun your senses. We recommend that you look all around you as there will be Racoons, Geese, Herons that nest in the Spring in the Park and plenty of Birds of Prey and more. We are very lucky to have such stunning nature within this busy metropolis.
Stanley Park Ecological Society Website: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/

We also recommend Cycling around the Seawall and Stanley Park, you can get a great deal with a selection of Bikes to choose from using English Bay Bike Rentals – we have discount vouchers at the Front Desk.
English Bay Bike Rentals: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

SHOPPING FOR THE SPRING SEASON ON ROBSON ST
Robson Street is Vancouver’s main shopping district that connects the West End to the downtown area and is a little over a 10 minutes walk north of the Sunset Inn Hotel.
If you are really up for a good old fashioned spending spree why don’t you go on a Shopping tour? Posh Shopping Tours will help out you out with exactly that, taking you to some great brand named stores and other major Shopping areas that Vancouver has to offer.
Robson St Website: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/
Posh Shopping Tours: http://www.poshshoppingtours.com/

For further tourism information click here Tourism Vancouver: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/

Tips on what to do in Vancouver if you are visiting on an Alaskan Cruise.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

It maybe the middle of Winter but we can see that the reservations are coming in thick and fast for the upcoming Cruise ship season to Alaska. Once the Cruise ships arrive the city gets pretty busy and of course that means we generally have full occupancy.

The Cruise Ships dock very very early at Canada Place http://www.canadaplace.ca/ so we find that the majority of our Cruise Ship guests will arrive at the hotel between the hours of 7 and 8am. Our check in time at the hotel is guranteed at 4pm as our guests are allowed to stay in their rooms until 11am which is the Sunset Inn and Suites regular check out time, this of course means there is still the majority of the day to occupy your time, so follow our lead and we will help you maximise your stay if you are here for just a day or two, we will make sure you get to see the major sights even if the stay seems short. We will strive to get the rooms ready earlier but that is dependent on the volume of occupancy at the hotel.

Getting to the Sunset Inn and Suites Hotel from Canada Place
The cruise ships usually dock around 6am and we get many people asking us what is the best way to get to the hotel and how much does it cost?
We do not have a shuttle that connects us to Canada Place, however, there are plenty of Taxis ready and waiting to get you to your destination, and if you feel a little lost there will be lots of Agents from Tourism Vancouver http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ on hand to help guide you to the nearest Taxi, these guys and girls will be wearing Sky blue jackets so you know who they are and will be extremely helpful!

Taxis in Vancouver
A taxi ride between Canada Place should cost around $12 and will take around 10 minutes or so to reach the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel. Within Vancouver, the taxis are only allowed a maximum of 4 persons per Car and you can pay by Debit, Credit Card or Cash. Any taxi can be picked up anywhere on the streets if the yellow light is on, this signals that it is unoccupied and ready to take you to your desired destination.

Checking in and Luggage storage
Once you arrive at the hotel – we will make sure that we complete the check in process and will be ready to answer any questions you have on the city, we will then help formulate a plan on what to do to occupy your time in Vancouver that day, you are more than welcome to enjoy our Light Continental Breakfast even if you are are unable to check into the room, so grab some fruits, croissants and yogurts which we sell for 50c and you can start the day fed, energised and happy.

BIG BUS HOP ON HOP OFF City Sightseeing tours.
The Big Bus city tour is a great way to to see all the major sights of the city and will give you excellent information and insight of the city, they are fun, informative and have plenty of experience, all the while you will see the very best attractions within the city of Vancouver and can Hop On Hop Off at anytime so you can take your time to enjoy the sights.

Big Bus Video Clip Hop on Hop Off city Tour

The Big Bus stop is literally a 30 second walk away from the hotel on Thurlow Street and you can purchase your ticket directly with us at the front desk, we do encourage this as there are plenty of hotel deals for you to enjoy. http://bigbus.ca/home/

BIG BUS TOUR Highlights include:
Granville Island http://granvilleisland.com/
Stanley Park http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/stanley-park-complete-guide/
Gastown http://www.gastown.org/
Chinatown http://www.vancouver-chinatown.com/
Robson St – Shopping District http://www.robsonstreet.ca/

Davie Street and Davie Village
We are situated one block South of Davie Village which is one of the gems of the West end, here there is a wealth of restaurants, bars and cafes for you to enjoy and it is located right in the heart of Gay District of Vancouver – so naturally it is awash with colour and a vibrant atmosphere. West End Business Association – Davie Village http://westendbia.com/neighbourhood/davie-street/

We hope that this advice is helpful and will go to some length on being able to plan what to do when you arrive!

We look forward to seeing you all in the Summer.