Archive for the ‘Parks & Recreation’ Category

Granville Island and Vanier Park

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Granville Island and Vanier Park are the areas that you can see from across the hotel if you happen to be staying in one of our Executive Suites, especially from the vantage point of our largest rooms (Called the Executive Large Suites) which are South facing. Check these rooms out! http://www.sunsetinn.com/suites/executive

What you can see from here is the beginnings of False Creek water way, Granville Island and Vanier Park which is home to the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival during the Summer, The Maritime museum, H.R Macmillan Space Centre and Museum of Vancouver.

GRANVILLE ISLAND
This is a must see destination when you are visiting Vancouver and at the height of Summer there is plenty to see and do for all ages. Even if you are here for just one day, it is something that we recommend you visit if you do nothing else at all!!!
The Island is home to the popular Public market which is open everyday from 9am to be 7pm, outside of the Public market there are plenty of cute and quirky shops, lots of fantastic restaurants and plenty of live entertainment from Buskers to live theatre and comedy. Granville Island Public Market: http://granvilleisland.com/public-market

Some places we feel you should check out down at the Island….
Dining out: The Sandbar Restaurant
By far one of the most popular restaurants to dine in on the island – The Sandbar offers something for everyone and has a great ‘pub’ like food, plenty of Seafood and if you like Asian style food more specifically Japanese you will also notice that many dishes are Asian fusion, which is very typical of this part of the world. So if you want Seafood, Burgers, chicken or Sushi, this place has it all!!!!
Website:https://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

The Backstage Lounge – Nightly Live Music and great food.
Live Music, theatre and more can be found here at the backstage lounge – it also functions as a restaurant too with a cute patio located right on the Creek itself under Granville Bridge.
Website: http://www.thebackstagelounge.com/

Granville Island Broom Co – The Broom Shop!
Among many of the quirky shops to peruse on GI you should check out this Broom Shop. They make the Brooms on site and can be really cool and funky, and whats more you are invited into the Studio to see how they are made right in front of you!!!!
Website: http://broomcompany.com/

VANIER PARK
Vanier Park is not too far away from Granville Island – you can walk there in around 15 minutes or so along the far reaches of the Sea wall that joins all of the downtown city to False creek and the district of Kitsilano Or you can simply catch the False Creek Ferry to the Maritime museum.

What you can see at Vanier Park….
H.R Macmillan Space Centre and Museum of Vancouver
Looking across False Creek from Sunset Beach you will see a funny looking building that looks quite literally like a large Decanter for Wine. Well Wine lovers we are sorry to disappoint you but this building is actually the Vancouver Museum and H.R Macmillan Space Centre.
If you have a love for everything that is cosmic and have little ones in tow that love anything to do with the stars and beyond then this is the place for you, it is educational and fun for all the family! Website: http://www.spacecentre.ca/
The Museum of Vancouver is one of the largest civic museums in Canada and has events and exhibits that change on a regular basis, for some reason it is not too much on the radar within tourism which we feel is a shame, as this museum should be on the agenda – its main focus with all its exhibits is that it concentrates on Vancouver with history, artifacts and the future – please go check it out! Website: http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/

Bard on the Beach
A hugely popular event that shows no sign of stopping, if you love the works of William Shakespeare you will be sure to love watching the plays at the Park with a gorgeous city back drop to heighten the senses.
Website: http://www.bardonthebeach.org/

Kitsilano Beach
While you are down at the Park, keep strolling along and eventually you will end up at Kitsilano Beach – which to some of us Vancouverites we see this as our little piece of California! Tell us if you agree….
This beach is gorgeous and has some incredible views of the North Shore mountains, Stanley Park and the downtown core of Vancouver itself. http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/kitsilano-beach.aspx

Yelp Reviews on Vanier Park: http://www.yelp.ca/biz/vanier-park-vancouver

False Creek Ferry Schedule: http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/schedule.htm

Swimming Pools and Beaches that you must visit!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Summer officially began on June 21st up here in the Northern Hemisphere – so its a good time to tell you about the excellent beaches and swimming pools you can enjoy!

SUNSET BEACH
Our namesake Beach is just a short 5 minute walk down the hill from the hotel. At Sunset Beach you get to experience some very good views of the The Burrard St Bridge, Granville Island, False Creek and the mouth of English Bay….it is one of our favorite beaches due to its location and the fact that it does not get as busy as the others…and of course you do get to experience some spectacular Sunsets from this vantage point.

ENGLISH BAY (FIRST BEACH)
English Bay is the most popular beach of them all due to its location at the Western side of the city – this is where the West End meets Stanley Park. You can reach English Bay by heading west from the hotel, we feel the best and most scenic route is to walk South to Sunset Beach and then head West along the seawall towards the Iconic Inukshuk
To many locals this is also known as First Beach as it is the first beach you reach as you make your way along Stanley Park.

SECOND BEACH

Heading West along the Seawall from English Bay and after about a 10 minute or so walk you will reach the beginnings of Stanley Park and Second Beach. Not as crowded as English Bay but it can get pretty busy when there are some events happening such as the Outdoor Movies at the height of Summer.
Close by to Second Beach are the Tennis Courts where the Herons annually congregate to raise their young high above the courts. Take the family along where you can enjoy a BBQ and Picnic at Ceperley Meadows and the famous outdoor Second Beach Pool – read further down to the Swimming Pool section for further details.

THIRD BEACH
Keep walking West along the Sea wall and as you start to turn towards the North West you reach the third and largest of the Stanley Park Beaches Third Beach.
Very popular among the locals who are willing to walk a little way around the park, here you will get to see unobstructed views of English Bay, Bowen Island, North Vancouver, The Spanish Banks and UBC towards the Southwest.
At the height of Summer, the beach is very popular among the drumming crowds – its well worth a visit to see the crowds congregate with their drums, especially as the Sun is beginning to set you hear the drummers increase the beat and volume which ultimately ends on a voracious high just as the Sun Sets, its quite the spiritual experience and a great sense of community as another day ends in Vancouver.

Greater Vancouver Beaches
KITSILANO BEACH

Some say this is out little version of California….so check it and lets us know what you think. Its a stunning vantage point of Downtown Vancouver, the North Shore and Bowen Island. There are also some great restaurants here to dine in that overlook the beach. If you like dogs, walk north towards The Maritime Museum and there is the smaller Dog Beach, this place will put a smile on your face!

Close by attractions:
Museum of Vancouver http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/
Bard on the Beach http://www.bardonthebeach.org/
H.R Macmillan Space Centre http://www.spacecentre.ca/

JERICHO BEACH/SPANISH BANKS
Located further West along Kitsilano – Jericho Beach and its parks is a stunning place indeed, with the city of Vancouver out East in the distance and towards the north you have Cypress Mountain dominating the sky line, this is an awesome area to see the Sun set over Vancouver Island at the height of summer.
Check out the Jericho Beach Webcam http://www.jericho.ca/webcam/webcam.html

WRECK BEACH
Wreck Beach is famous really for one thing….and thats the nudists! A world famous nudist beach that is a popular destination in the summer….clothing is optional so you have been warned.
Located at the Western end of the University of British Columbia and flanked by some steep cliffs here you will enjoy stunning views of the Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island.

OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOLS
SECOND BEACH POOL

A very popular outdoor pool for all the family to enjoy – its locations is close to English Bay and by Stanley Park, at the height of Summer the near by Ceperley Meadows is the location for late evening after dark movies, so bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy!
The Pool is heated and has a cafe located nearby if you fancy an Icecream, Hotdog or a Burger.
http://vancouver.about.com/od/sportsrecreation/p/secondbeachpool.htm

KITSILANO POOL

The most popular Outdoor beach of them all, located just to the West of Kits beach, this pool is huge – it is 3 times longer than an Olympic sized pool…pretty impressive!
http://vancouver.about.com/od/sportsrecreation/p/kitspool.htm

NEW BRIGHTON POOL
Located out in East Vancouver on the Burrard Inlet, it is the 3rd open air pool to enjoy.

For further information on Pools and recreation – http://vancouver.about.com/od/sportsrecreation/tp/outdoorpools.htm

INDOOR SWIMMING POOLS
AQUATIC CENTER

Just a few minutes walk down Thurlow St from the hotel and at the Foot of Sunset Beach and The Burrard Bridge – The Aquatic Centre is a great all year round facility for Water related activities.
http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/vancouver-aquatic-centre.aspx

HILLCREST POOL
The jewel in the crown for Aquatic facilities, Hillcrest is a state of the Art Sports centre than not only boasts a swimming pool, but much more for Sports and recreation.
Located next to the Stunning Queen Elizabeth Park, Hillcrest was the former curling venue for the 2010 Winter Games.
http://www.hillcrestcentre.ca/

Queen Elizabeth Park.. http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx
“> http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

A day out to the Gondola and the Britannia Mine with Landsea tours.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Last Wednesday Landsea Tours & Adventures invited us to take a a trip with them to visit the brand new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish – this was an offer that could not be refused and what a great day out this was, so we are happy to tell you all about how the tour went and what you can expect to see.

SEA TO SKY TOUR – Running from May to September 8th 2014
Tour Itinerary includes:
Horseshoe Bay
Porteau Cove
Shannon Falls
Sea to sky Gondola
Brittania Copper Mine
The tour lasts for approximately 7 hours and you will be visiting all these various locations along the Sea to Sky highway before you reach the main destination in Squamish.

The pricing per person is $89 Adult and $59 for Children – this includes Taxes.
Tour begins around 10am where you picked up directly at the Hotel.

Landsea Tours and Adventures: http://vancouvertours.com/

The Tour!
The tour was an absolute delight and what really made it so very special were our two wonderful guides that took us to see some very special sights along the way. Our guides were Amy and Graham and we could not have asked for better guides to show us the sights in their comfortable Mini Coach.
Both Amy and Graham have been working tirelessly for Landsea tours for the past 3 years and really knew what they were doing on the job, they have extensive knowledge of the surroundings and never failed once to inform us of some incredible information. The one thing that struck us about the tour was their attention to detail and it is quite apparent that they know alot about the wilderness, Vancouver and beyond. No question was too silly and nothing was left unanswered, they also gave us plenty of opportunity to grab some great photos of the scenery as we made our way to the final destination towards the brand new Sea to Sky Gondola.

The weather forecast for the day was predicting a rainy and overcast day, as we set off sure enough there were some ominous clouds hanging out overhead, but, as we were making our way out of Vancouver and over the Lionsgate Bridge, the skies were beginning to clear and the clouds started to lift – it was starting to look quite promising for us.

First stop – Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver – 10.35am. 15 minute stop
Our first stop along the way was to have a 15 minute stop at the stunning Horseshoe bay which is located in the city of West Vancouver – here you get to experience some stunning views of the Howe Sound Fjord. it is the perfect start to the journey and if you are a little slow to wake up you get the chance to stretch your legs and grab a nice cup of coffee. While you are at the cafe take a wander downstairs to Sewells Marina these guys have been running Boat rentals here for many many years now, and, as other Boat rentals in the area have seen their business come and go, Sewells have been steadfast in running Boat rentals during that whole time and at present are the only Boat Rentals in the area, you can take tours up and down the Howe Sound with these guys.
Check out the Spirit Gallery and the Lookout Cafe.
Spirit Gallery of West Coast Native Arthttp://www.spirit-gallery.com/
The Lookout Cafe (Sewells Marina) - http://www.sewellsmarina.com/thelookout.html

Second Stop – Porteau Cove – 11.25am – 15 minute stop
Howe Sound stretches from the beginning of the Sunshine Coast gateway and West Vancouver, the fjord itself stretches north all the way to its end at Squamish – where it gives way to the majestic mountains and Valleys that will eventually lead you to Whistler. This is the most southerly fjord to be found in all of North America.
The halfway point between West Vancouver and Squamish is a gorgeous little spot called Porteau Cove, this is a famous spot for Scuba Diving and just off the coast there are vessels that have been deliberately sunk to create new thriving ecosystems that is successfully attracting Marine life and of course for the pleasure of the Scuba divers to enjoy!

Porteau Cove Provincial Parkhttp://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/porteau/

Third Stop – Shannon Falls – 12.00
After taking some very impressive shots of Porteau Cove it was time for us to get back in the vehicle and make our way to the first major destination of the tour – the gorgeous Shannon Falls.
The Waterfall is a breathtaking 387 ft high making this the third highest falls in BC behind the Della Falls and Hunlen Falls.
Shannon Falls: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/shannon/

Fourth Stop – The Sea to Sky Gondola – 12.20
After being wowed by the Shannon Falls it was now time to reach the first stop of the two main attractions of the tour the Sea to Sky Gondola.
The Weather was playing ball although there were some Shower clouds bubbling up over the surrounding mountains, but luckily for us they just helped create a gorgeous array of colour over the local surroundings.
The gondola ride itself took 10 minutes for us to ascent to the lookout point and walkways. Once at the top we were absolutely stunned at how far you could see high above Howe Sound, overlooking the town of Squamish which looked quite minuscule from our vantage point.
We were given plenty of time to look around and enjoy the various walkways and paths that have been created, there is also a very large suspension bridge to walk across too, if you have ever been to Capilano Suspension Bridge then you will know what to expect.
We were allowed to spend around an hour and a half to explore the sights and trails this gave us plenty of time to enjoy a meal and a drink at the lookout restaurant and the food here did not disappoint.
Sea to Sky Gondola - http://www.seatoskygondola.com/

Fifth and final Stop – The Britannia Mine 2.30
Just a few minutes south of Squamish and the Shannon Falls you will find the Britannia Copper Mine. Here the tour takes you all over the mining village, here you will get to learn about mining, great information on the day to day operations of the mine and interesting information on metals and more. The mine was in operation for a total of 70 years and at its peak it was the biggest producer of Copper at the time in the world.
We do recommend that you take a jacket with you as you will be taken on a train ride into the mountain where you can see how the miners went about their daily business, as we are deep in the bedrock the temperatures stay at a cool 12c all year round, so it may feel a little chilly below the ground….
Britannia Mine: http://www.britanniaminemuseum.ca/index.html

Hometime! 4.30
At 4.15 we all gathered and assembled back onto the bus to make our way back to Vancouver where Amy and Graham kindly dropped us all off at our specific hotels.
it was a great day out and we could not have picked better guides to help us along the way, the ride was comfortable, the sights were undoubtedly spectacular and we all came away with some incredible information.

This tour we believe will be a massive hit over the years to come, we highly recommend that you include this on your visit.

June 2014 Events in Vancouver.

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Here are some great events to enjoy during the month of June in Vancouver!

The Vancouver International Children's Festival - This event is actually occuring right now but will end on June 1st
A world-renowned festival of performing arts for young audiences, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival has been educating, entertaining and inspiring young audiences since 1978.
Festival Site on Granville Island
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival moved to Granville Island in 2011, after 33 years at Vanier Park.

Website: http://www.childrensfestival.ca/tickets_and_info/public_tickets.php

The PNE at Playland – every weekend during the month of June.
The PNE has played an important role in the history of Vancouver. From its beginnings as a showcase for the region’s agriculture and economy, it has grown immensely. This growth has resulted in many questions about the fair’s future at Hastings Park. Beginning in 1997, the city has restored a large portion of the park. Many old fair buildings have been demolished and replaced by a more natural character.

Other than the fair, Hastings Park is also the home of Playland, a horse racetrack (which also bears the name Hastings Park), the Pacific Coliseum (an ice hockey arena), the PNE Forum, and the PNE Agrodome. It was formerly the site of Empire Stadium, which has been demolished and replaced with a public soccer field. It is also the location of Hastings Skatepark, a skateboard bowl located to the south of the Pacific Coliseum.

Playland Hours and Admissions: http://www.pne.ca/playland/index.html

Monty Python’s Spamalot – running till June 29th.
Whether or not you’ve seen the movie that inspired it, Spamalot will make you laughalot. Favourites old and new—the Knights Who Say “Ni!” and the Laker Girls among them—appear in this highly irreverent and ironic musical that parodies not only the legend of King Arthur but also well-tread Broadway theatrical conventions. With songs like “The Song That Goes Like This,” “Twice in Every Show,” and “Find Your Grail,” the show will have you looking on the bright side of life.

Running time: Approx. 2 hours 15 minutes, including intermission.

Artsclub Tickets: https://secure.artsclub.com/tickets/production.aspx?performanceNumber=8639

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 us!

Website: http://www.richmondnightmarket.com

Bard On The Beach – Shakespeare Festival 11th June till 20th September
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival was established in 1990 with a mandate to provide Vancouver residents and tourists with affordable, accessible Shakespearean productions of the finest quality
Over the years Bard on the Beach attendance has grown significantly from 6,000 patrons in 1990 to more than 90,000 patrons in 2009. Over a million patrons have enjoyed the Bard experience over its 23 seasons. Its budget has increased from $35,000 in 1990 to $4 million in 2012. The programming has of course expanded from one play to four, and from 34 performances to almost 200 two decades later. In 2003, through a collaboration with Mission Hill Family Estate winery called ‘Bard in the Vineyard’, Bard on the Beach also presented a production in the Okanagan for the month of August.

Through its constantly expanding community outreach, Bard hosts the immensely popular Young Shakespeareans Summer Workshops for youth and teens on site during the summer, and Bard in the Classroom workshops for students and teachers during the school term. Artistic Director Christopher Gaze spreads enthusiasm for the magic of Shakespeare’s plays through frequent guest appearances at corporate, scholastic and private events.

Website: http://www.bardonthebeach.org/

Fathers Day – June 15th AND CAR FREE DAY VANCOUVER
Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, but it is also celebrated widely on other days.
So get papa top enjoy the Car free day festivals that happen to fall on the same day, click on the link below and see where the Car Free Festivals are happening!

Celebrate with your neighbours at one or all of the festival sites: Commercial Drive, Main Street, West End and Kitsilano (Kits block parties take place Saturday, June 14th and Sunday, June 15th).

Car free days: http://www.carfreevancouver.org/

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

Exploring our neighbourhood – Vancouver West End. Part 1 – Dining and Shopping.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When coming to Vancouver and especially our community be sure to make the most of the local area that is the known as The West End. In this blog we will write about what you can find when you are checking out the community – The West End has plenty of history and a unique vibrant look and vibe – from Historical Buildings with some that have been turned into cute museums, a great extensive shopping district that is Robson St, Parks and Beaches to a vast restaurant scene for your dining pleasure – The West End really does have it all.

RESTAURANTS – WEST END DINING
From Davie Village (which is where we are located) to Denman St and Robson St you will find so many choices for places to eat and be merry, some places have been part of the fabric for many many years, while some are brand new and a welcome change as some of these places you may have never tried before!

Davie Street (which is immediately adjacent to the hotel) offers a large selection of delicious ethnic, international and local dining options favored by Vancouver residents, as well as specialty shops, there is also Denman and Robson to discover for excellent food options.
Here are some of our best picks for the West End……

Banana Leaf – Malaysian 1043 Davie St.
Prepare to step out of Vancouver and into the warm heart of Malaysia at the award-winning Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine. Cheerful atmosphere, friendly service, colourful traditional décor, and excellent prices create a dining experience to remember.
Website: http://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/locations.html
They also have locations on Denman and Robson St too!

Raincity Grill – Pacific Northwest, 1193 Denman St.
Open since 1992, Raincity Grill has become a fixture in the West End, capturing the essence of Vancouver in food, wine and atmosphere. The menu focuses on seafood, game, poultry, and organic vegetables from British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. Dedicated to developing a menu based on local ingredients, the team behind Raincity Grill believes local resources will increase as restaurants look more and more to their own backyard and local waters for the best ingredients.

Website: http://www.raincitygrill.com/index.php?pg=home

GUU- Japanese “Izakaya” 4 downtown locations – The West End location is on Thurlow St
Guu serves home style Japanese food in a loud and electric atmosphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapas-sized.
Website: http://guu-izakaya.com/

Cin Cin – Italian – Robson St
As Vancouver’s leading Italian restaurant, CinCin is your destination for authentic Italian flavours in the heart of downtown. A contemporary Italian cuisine, smell the wood-burning forno, and drink from the award winning wine list.
Website: http://cincin.net/

SHOPPING on ROBSON ST
With the most fashionable shopping in Vancouver, this major thoroughfare in downtown features a concentration of trendy shops and restaurants. It hosts some of the hottest names in fashion including Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Lacoste, Coach, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Robson Street is a short walk from Sunset Inn & Suites.
For further information on Robson St: http://www.robsonstreet.ca/

Want to see Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler but short on days….Follow our lead here….

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

As the seasons starts to get that little bit busier throughout April we find that many of our visiting guests are generally here for a few short days. In most peoples minds there is never really enough time to get any sort of sightseeing done, and, if the weather is not too good is it really worth it? Well, in all honesty we think YES!

The Staff at the Sunset Inn and Suites really do pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of the city and we feel with our direction and expertise that we have to offer, we will be able to figure out the very best way you can enjoy the city.

This blog will explain some of the major attractions that you can see in a short space of time. Ideally if you are planning on visiting Vancouver for a few days make it 3 if possible. That way you can dedicate one day to getting around the city of Vancouver and then the remaining last few days you can venture further by checking out Whistler and/or Victoria.

There are many Tour operators here that are on hand to chauffeur you around the city and many of them are an excellent way of getting around where you can effortlessly see some spectacular sights without having to think too much! The best part of using these tours is that they generally have some excellent rates set up directly with the hotel so you can even save some money by booking through us, as opposed to booking ahead of time, this is a good idea for organizing for sure, but you can save more in the long term by asking for deals at the Front Desk.

Sightseeing in Vancouver
There are plenty of tours to choose from that will get you to see the city efficiently and with some fantastic guides to help you on your way. Our favorite pick for Sightseeing is undoubtedly the Big Bus – Hop on Hop off sightseeing city tours.

BIG BUS – HOP ON HOP OFF CITY SIGHTSEEING.
Big Bus are a cool bunch of people, they have extensive knowledge of the city, they have a fantastic team of dedicated staff that will make your excursion around the city memorable.

“What better way to see the sights of Vancouver than from a seat on one of our unique sightseeing buses! When you select a BIG BUS tour, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time at any of our stops, including major attractions, shopping areas, and many of Vancouver’s fine restaurants. On BIG BUS, there’s no need to rush!

When purchasing your ticket from the Front Desk, the ticket will be valid for 2 full days at a value fo 2 for the price of one and the Big Bus Hop-on/Hop-off policy means you can spend as much time as you’d like at any particular destination. We stop at Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street Shopping District, English Bay, Entertainment District and more.”

Operating Hours
April 15 – September 30 – 7 days/week
9:00 am – 6:30 pm

Big Bus Route.

We recommend that you do a full circuit tour of the city first so you can get to see everything, and then start to do the Hop on Hop off – also, you do not have to use the tickets in 2 consecutive days, you have a 3 week window in which you can fulfill the 2 days sightseeing – perfect if you are stopping over in Vancouver at the beginning and end of a nice Alaskan Cruise!

Big Bus Website: www.bigbus.ca

Biking around the city.
What better way to really get to see the city on your own time than by hopping on a bike and taking advantage of all the bike paths that are spread out all over Vancouver. Cycling is a very efficient way of getting around the perimeter of the gorgeous Stanley Park too! If you are adventurous enough you can even bike the whole Seawall (all 22km of it) from Downtown Coal Harbour area right through to Kitsilano and Kitsilano Beach via Granville Island.

ENGLISH BAY BIKE RENTALS
These guys are our preferred choice for Bike Rentals. They have a great selection of different types of bikes to choose from, they also do bike repairs and buy and sell bikes too!

English Bay Bike Rentals is pleased to announce that they will be working with Vancouver Bike Tours, an interpretive guiding company that offers daily bicycle tours of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. The tours make use of Vancouver’s picturesque seawall, Stanley Park’s vast network of forest trails and the City’s ever-expanding grid of bike lanes. Along the way you will hear local stories, receive historical information and experience the thrill of cycling through a living rainforest.

English Bay Bike Rentals Website: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Please click the following link for the Vancouver Bike Tours website for booking information if you wish to join a tour. http://biketourvancouver.com/tours-offered/

Tours to Whistler and Victoria
It really would be shame to miss out on taking a quick visit to see Victoria and Whistler as these smaller towns are really not too far away at all. There are various ways you can get here. Here are our 2 preferred Tour Operators.
The following two options work on the same principle, you will be picked up at the Hotel and then they will drive you to various scenic locations as well as the towns that you wish to see, you will also have time to walk around Whistler/Victoria too. We highly recommend that you book this with us as it is a good tour to book last minute, you will get to see way more with a guide and time will be something that you do not have to think about, and when you bundle the price it will be so much better for your wallet in the long run.

VANTAGE WHISTLER TOURS
Vancouver to Whistler sightseeing van tours.
Experience the best in Whistler sightseeing. A full day, 11 hour tour, which includes 6 stops. The stops include Prospect Point, Cypress Mountain, Porteau Cove, Shannon Falls, Brandywine Falls, and Whistler Village. The tour starts with a pick up from your hotel, followed by a scenic drive around Stanley Park, over the Lions Gate Bridge, onto the Sea-To-Sky Highway, through Squamish, and ending up in Whistler. In Whistler, enjoy 4 hours of free time to explore the village, which is full of great restaurants, shops, and attractions. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the new Peak-To-Peak Gondola or a Zip-Line tour or even Bungee Jumping! Vantage Whistler operates all tours using Mercedes_Benz Sprinters.

Website: http://vantagewhistler.com/

LANDSEA TOURS – Great for Victoria Excursions.
Like Vantage Whistler they pick you up and drop you off at the hotel. They have a great day trip to Victoria that includes the ferry trip too!

Victoria and Butchart Gardens; our most popular excursion, is the best if you want to visit our provincial capital and the world-renowned gardens in just one day. Maximize your time and save money, by turning a potentially difficult transfer between Vancouver and Victoria into an easy, fully-narrated day tour. With plenty of free time in downtown Victoria and at Butchart Gardens, this will be a day you will never forget.

The bus drives onto the ferry for a 1.5 hour cruise to Vancouver Island. Full restaurant facilities on board.
A scenic drive through exclusive residential areas and parks surrounding downtown Victoria.
See the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel and more of Downtown Victoria’s vibrant harbour front during your free time to explore.

Landsea Tours: http://www.vancouvertours.com/victoria-tour

How to see the very best of Vancouver in just a few short days.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Its been a crazy Winter here in Vancouver as we have not seen this much Sun over the winter period for as long as anyone can remember – maybe, just maybe this is a sign of a good tourist season to come for 2014.
We are starting to notice a big upswing in reservation calls for people who are now looking ahead to the Spring and Summer season get away’s. We feel this will be a good time to give you advice on how to utilise your time in the city with the few days that you may be stopping over. So we will guide you on what to do if you are stopping by the city for just 1, 2 or 3 days…

1 DAY VISIT
One day in the city may seem like there is no time to see anything, but we feel you can actually see a fair bit of the city due to the size and geography of the area, so, if you are only making a whistle-stop tour and still want to catch some sights, here are the places to see for just one day.

BIG BUS CITY TOUR – HOP ON HOP OFF Big Bus will be the very best way to see the sights of the city while having the freedom to get around at different stops so you can experience some pretty decent areas that Vancouver has to offer. The bus stop is quite literally a 1 minute walk from the hotel on Thurlow St – we suggest that you do a full circle tour on the bus, and then once back around, its time to use the Hop on Hop off option to good use.
Granville Island is a must see area in the city, it is our own version of Seattle’s Pike Place market There are some amazing boutique shops to browse and shop in, the wonderful Granville Island Market whic is open from 9am till 7pm seven days a week. There are also some really excellent restaurants to choose from too, our suggestion is to visit The Sandbar Restaurant, this really showcases the very best Pub style dishes, Seafood and an Asian infusion twist which is very very Vancouver.

Granville Island Website: http://granvilleisland.com/

After spending some time on Granville Island we highly recommend that you take a walk inStanley Park A diamond in the rough – Stanley Park is one of the largest public parks that shows you what the area once looked like before the rapid expansion of the city. The Park is located at the Western end of the downtown peninsula and at 1,001-acres there is plenty to see. Here you are in the heart of an ‘urban Rainforest’ so to speak, there is no shortage of spectacular scenery with the various species of Plants, trees and wildlife, it is a must see area of the city, just like Granville Island.

We also recommend that you purchase your Big Bus tickets with us at the front desk as it will be a cheaper deal for you – as opposed to buying a ticket directly from their website. We will send you their link below so you know what to expect when you get here.

BIG BUS Website http://bigbus.ca/home/

Sandbar Restaurant http://www.vancouverdine.com/sandbar

2 DAY VISIT
Now that you have gotten some of the downtown area out of the way, you can now start to explore a little deeper, if you have purchased a ticket with Big Bus you will have seen that they have a 2 day Pass – this will help get you to explore some of the older areas of the city.
Gastown and Chinatown are also a must see area of Vancouver, here you will step back in time and get to see where the original and oldest areas of the city began, you can check out the famous cobble-stoned Streets, incredibly stunning architecture and historical landmarks such as The Steam Clock, the Chinatown district (which is one of the oldest in North America and Canada – including the majestic and beautiful DR SUN YAT SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDENS website http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/

Gastown Website:http://www.gastown.org/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN & CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE can be visited after spending some time in Chinatown and Gastown, you can head over to Waterfront Station where you can catch the Seabus over to North Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay (which is North Vancouver’s version of our own Granville Island, its smaller but very cute and offers some great views of the Burrard Inlet, Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Grouse Mountain overlooks Vancouver and can be easily spotted as the middle of the three North Shore mountains that overlook the city, it is nestled in between Cypress Mountain to the West and Mount Seymour to the east. Grouse is excellent for Winter sporting activities for all the family – and in the summer it has great hiking trails, the famous Grouse Grind if you are up for a steep walking challenge and entertainment at the top for all the family to enjoy, this includes a lumberjack show which is funny and breath taking and a Bird Sanctuary and Grizzly Bear enclosure.
Just one stop down from Grouse is the world famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, here you will get to experience one of the worlds largest suspended Suspension Bridges, high above the Capilano river and canyon, there is also a daring cliff walk and glass paths for the especially daring – its a stunning sight to be so high among the trees in this amazing rain-forest canopy.

Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver https://www.grousemountain.com/

Capilano Suspension Bridge Website: http://www.capbridge.com/

3 DAY VISIT
if you happen to be here for 3 days or more, then we absolutely encourage you to start to explore further out to areas like Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is a pretty big place – many believe that it is a fairly small place but don’t be fooled it is actually close in size to the UK!
Victoria which is the capital of BC is a very quaint and beautiful town, much smaller than Vancouver and certainly steeped in rich history of its colonial past – it too has a decent China town to explore.
We recommend that you use a Tour Operator to visit Victoria, the one way trip itself take roughly 3 to 4 hours to get from Vancouver to Victoria – this includes the stunning Ferry ride that meanders through the Georgia Strait and the Gulf island, if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some travelling Whales…..when you are in Victoria, take a visit to the Empress hotel for some High Tea!

We really like LANDSEA TOURS, they have an excellent package that will take you directly from the hotel to Victoria, they will also ship you around the town so you can get to enjoy the world famous Butchart Gardens, The Museum of Victoria and some time to walk around the downtown area, they will also bring you back to the hotel too – its an awesome tour where you can sit back, learn about the area and not have to think! We like that very much!

Victoria BC Website: http://www.victoria.ca/

High Tea at the Empress Hotel Victoria http://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining/afternoontea/

Landsea Tours http://www.vancouvertours.com/

Cycling around Stanley Park during Fall witness the Deciduous Forest come alive.

Friday, September 20th, 2013

This past week has been spent cycling a fair bit within Stanley Park and it has been such a pleasure watching the Fall Season begin to show its influence with the changing colours of the Leaves, Plants and Shrubs all around the park.
Watching the leaves fall and leave their marks on the pavements can be quite the sight the sight to see, although the leaves are not dropping heavily there is something surreal about the ones that have fallen on the pavements, take a look at the concrete paths after the communities have swept up the leaves to prevent them blocking the gutters before the rains dig in, you can see that the leaves have left their shadowy imprint on the ground, it almost has a ghostly quality about it, another year over in the ongoing process of the birth and death of the leaves life cycle.

As the fall season progresses we encourage you still to get down to Stanley Park for many reasons, ok it will likely be more overcast with rains in the air but it should still be explored for the beauty of the Fall Season, not only that, it will be much quieter too, so getting around either on foot or preferably bike you will have more of the park to yourself.
The Rain-forest also becomes more visible with life when the moisture is in the air, its times like this when the trees and the air around it comes alive and the forest seems to steam with clouds hugging the trees like cobwebs.

The Park has many trails for you to explore and along some of them are some of the biggest trees in the area, many of these trees are evergreens while many of the trees are of a Deciduous nature which means “falling off at maturity”.
In Canada and the US it is well known that the North Eastern side of North America boasts some incredible Fall colours, but do not overlook what we have on out doorstep, Vancouver will dazzle you with its own spectacular Fall display.

We hope that you decide to hire a bike and enjoy this time of year, we recommend that you head down to English Bay Bike Rentals – and don’t forget we have some discount vouchers for you to use behind the Front desk and we will help with any questions of course.

http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

It is not only Stanley park that you can enjoy the natural Fall colours – below is a list of the best parks to check out during Fall in the area and on the Island courtesy of Tourism Vancouver.

Fall Parks: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/fall-colours/