Archive for the ‘Major Attractions’ Category

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/

Kayaking at the gorgeous Deep Cove

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Vancouver has already enjoyed a glimpse of what Summer may be like, the majority of last week we were graced with some pretty stunning Weather that was certainly more like Summer than mid Spring with gorgeous clear skies and very comfortable temperatures. This is great news for anyone who wants to explore a little further afield and are thinking of taking a dip in the water.

Kayaking in Deep Cove.
In the height of Summer you will see plenty of people head out to the open waters from False Creek to English Bay, some will be canoeing, swimming or paddling along, of all the water sports that are really popular in Vancouver renting a Kayak is by far one of the most popular in and around the area.
You can find places to Kayak close by at Granville Island and English Bay, however, we would love for you to get out and explore just that little bit further to a gorgeous small town that is called Deep Cove.

Deep Cove is a located to the East of the city of North Vancouver and is nestled on the Indian Arm waterway between the mountains of Grouse and Seymour. Deep Cove is named as such as the village is located on a natural cove, the geography and location makes the small town seem like a very secluded spot (with North Vancouver just around the corner), there are some stunning views of the Indian Arm Fjord where you can Kayak along the gentle waters – it is a breathtaking spot.

Kayaks are a great way to get around and enjoy yourself in the water, it doesn’t have to be the most strenuous work and is ideal to just paddle around with friends and family on a sunny Summers day.

Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak
These guys are celebrating their 30th year in business and a thriving business it has been! You will be in very good hands with the Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak team The business has grown exponentially over the last few decades with a starting point of just 16 canoes, 3 rowboats and a few paddleboats, as of 2014 they currently have 150 kayaks and canoes, so you can see how much they have grown in popularity.
These guys are probably the most professional in this business and provide classes, tours and more, they also have a retail store too so you can buy plenty of gear associated with the Kayaking.

Check out their website here:
http://www.deepcovekayak.com/

If you wish to try Kayaking out, just come to Front Desk and we can call these guys for availability and make your reservation with us at the Sunset Inn and Suites.

The new Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish and Landsea Tours and Adventures Packages

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

A brand new Gondola experience will be opening in Squamish in May 2014 and we are delighted to tell you about a great day trip to the see this Gondola and more courtesy of Landsea Tours and Adventures.

The Gondola is located in the stunning location on the Sea to Sky highway high above the town of Squamish, which is the half way mark between Vancouver and Whistler. The Gondola will climb to a height of 885m and in total takes 10 minutes to reach the top – here you will be wowed by incredible views of the Howe Sound, Shannon Falls (which is the 3rd highest water falls in the province) and the famous hiking path that is known as The Chief.

Once you have reached the top you will also be greeted to various walk ways and vantage points that will be sure to take your breath away. Some of the paths are not for the faint hearted either, so if you are a bit of thrill seeker and want to experience the dizzy heights just the wildlife do, then this will be for you.
Sea to Sky Gondola: http://www.seatoskygondola.com/

Shannon Falls: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/shannon/

Landsea Tours and Adventures Gondola and Brittania Mine museum package tour.
What goes up must go down and Landsea have tour that will do this for you in the literal sense. Their amazing new Sea To Sky Tour includes stops at Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Falls, Brittania Mine Museum and the NEW Sea to Sky Gondola. This is a perfect Post-Cruise tour. We really love the idea that you will be able to get down deep into the ground where you can discover what it was like to work in a coal mine deep below the ground – and then later in the day you will be climbing over 800 feet up the mountainside for the ultimate view of the surroundings.
Brittania Mine Museum: http://www.britanniaminemuseum.ca/

Their daily scheduled tours will begin May 23 and will be at a cost of $89 per Adult $59 per Child, Tours pick you up directly at the hotel and will last for approximately 7 hours.

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

Hells Gate Fishing Adventures and The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site.

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The Pacific Northwest is famous many things and for most what comes to mind are the incredible Cascade Mountains, the Pacific Weather and of course the Seafood

If you like Seafood and the life on the Ocean waves or just simply anything that is remotely fishy then you will be interested in Hells Gate Fishing Adventures located on the Fraser River in Mission & Vancouver, and The Gulf of Georgia Cannery that is located in the Historic Fishing village of Steveston which is located around 45 minutes South of Vancouver.

Last Thursday there was a great meet and greet for the Vancouver Tourism Industry and at the event we got to meet some very nice people who will be running some great Tours in 2014 that we feel you will all enjoy. Many of the blogs that you will be reading over the next few weeks will showcase these tours.

Hells Gate Fishing Adventures – STS Guiding Services.
STS Guiding Services have been in operation since 1994, run by a husband wife team of Vic and Teresa Carrao. They have some incredible Fishing excursions that will have you experiencing a great Boat ride along the famous Fraser River or you can go further south out into the Georgia Strait and enjoy a Fishing trip around the Gulf Islands.

These guys will pick you up in Vancouver and they will boat you along the Fraser River for an excellent Sturgeon Fishing tour all along the river up to the destination of the town of Mission.
If you are interested in Fly Fishing you will likely know that Mission is the Sturgeon capital of this part of the world, and although you can Fish along the Fraser river at anytime of year, the Sturgeons are best caught between the months of June till October. There are many other species of Fish to be found too, such as Salmon which tend to live side by side with the Sturgeons, and of course there are the crustaceans to fish as well such as Prawn and Crab.
The Hells Gate excursion looks like quite a wild ride and for us we feel it will suit anyone who loves nature, wants the experience of White Water while speeding along the famous Fraser taking in all the sites and of course to get some decent Fishing in.
The boats are all heated and STS will provide all the essential Fishing gear that is required. The fun part of this is that you can bring whatever catch back to the hotel and you have a full kitchen to cook the catch of the day right here at the Sunset Inn and Suites.

They also have excursions throughout the year with many of them specifically heading out to the Gulf Island just off the coastline of Victoria, the Gulf Islands are absolutely stunning and especially so in the Summer months as the Weather is generally much dryer and calmer – you will likely get to see some extraordinary scenery and spot some Whales!

Here is what they have to say about their operation…
“We pride ourselves on our personal and friendly service, our ability to catch fish on 95% of our guided charters. We are fishing the area 12 months of the year. For us fishing is a year round commitment, not just a summer job.
If you are a novice or an expert, we will make every effort to insure your full satisfaction. So come and join us for fun and adventure exploring the beautiful waters of the Fraser Valley.”

For further information please check out their website here: http://www.guidebc.com/

Hellsgate Tours: www.hellsgatejetboattours.com

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site.
This Cannery is a great place to visit if you like Seafood, Fishing and your history. Located in the quaint and Historical village of Steveston, this is one of the oldest and longest running Cannerry’s in the area.
The Cannery has been in operation since 1894 and at the time the Cannery was built it was the largest of its kind and was also the largest producer if Canned Fish goods in its day.
The Cannery is now owned and run by Parks Canada and is now run as a non for profit organisation. The Cannery operates every day of the year and offers full tours, videos and stories of the BC Fishing Industry.

For further information please check out the Website here: http://gulfofgeorgiacannery.com/visit-us

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 Vancouver’s West End. Part 2 – Historical buildings of the West End.

Friday, April 11th, 2014

When exploring the West End pay attention to the buildings and architecture that is a mixture of young and old, Victorian among modern era which makes the West End one of the most unique districts that Vancouver has to offer. As you wander around the area you will find an interesting mix which makes the West End stand out very strikingly, it really sets up your imagination where you can wonder what this area actually looked like around the end of the turn of the century, it also coincides with the incorporation of the city of Vancouver (April 6, 1886 – looking good for 128).

HISTORICAL BUILDINGS AND COLOURFUL STREETS
We wholeheartedly encourage you to meander around the suburbs of the West End and more specifically we will guide you to some of the more notable buildings and streets to visit.

Bute Street
This is one of our most favorate streets to walk along as it has plenty of history and some really quirky looking buildings that are awash in colour, at different times of year these properties (specifically Ashby House) are decked out in plenty of festive cheer depending on what event is happening at the time of year. As you wander further along Bute Street you will see some pretty large impressive buildings all the way up till Robson St many of these were built at the turn of the century and were residential buildings for many of the large Corporations that were making homes for themeselves and staff alike, nowadays these buildings are purely residential.

Check out the Google Street-view of this area: https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.284092,-123.129884,3a,75y,287.02h,85.53t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sKefKwZHuWqY_B3x2BCwkVw!2e0

Roedde House Museum and Barclay Square
Coming to visit the famous Roedde House which is part of the Barclay Square complex you will immediately find yourself back in time to the late 1800s era. The house is named after the very first Bookbinder in Vancouver named Gustav Roedde and the house was built in 1893
The house is under the property of the City of Vancouver and way back in 1976 it was decided to be placed under the Heritage building list.
The most unique aspect about this museum is the fact that none of the Artifacts are behind Rope or a Glass box – the idea is that you are literally meant to realistically take a step back in time so you experience the House as it was in 1893.

Website: http://www.roeddehouse.org/

Barclay Square Gardens
The Roedde House museum is one of a few properties that are built around the gorgeous Barclay Square gardens The gardens are tended by the city and are open for not only the visitors to Vancouver but West End residents alike. The park opened up in 1985 a year before the Roedde House opened for the public – the reasoning behind the park was to encourage more Green spaces in the already congested downtown core, even though there is Stanley Park which is not too far away and is pretty huge, it is still a nice surprise to find a little Oasis among the smaller older properties and the towering high rises.

The Gabriola House
This was built for a Mr B.T. Rogers who was the founder of B.C. Sugar Refining Co. This Queen Anne style grand mansion, is located on Davie Street and Nicola Street.
This is a gorgeous building that really stands out in the neighbourhood, however unfortunately it is standing derelict at this time with rumours that it will open as a Keg restaurant. Even though the property is currently empty the stunning gardens are still maintained and certainly worth a visit on lovely Summer days.

Heritage Vancouver Society
For further information on the West End historical buildings click on this link:http://www.heritagevancouver.org/topten/2013/topten2013_08.html

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

Celestial News and happenings in April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Full Lunar Eclipse
On April 15th the majority of North America will be treated to a spectacular full Lunar eclipse, this occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun.

The viewing time for this celestial treat will occur at a reasonable hour for once – so for us Vancouverites here in Sunny Canada will be able to watch the show from from the start time at 9.55pm when the Earth’s shadow begins to darken the moon. Totality occurs 12.08am – this is by far the most breathtaking moment to witness – the Moon will darken a-lot but will glow with a deep dark red colour as the Earth still reflects the Suns Rays – seeing the Earth eclipse the Sun from the Moons vantage point you would be treated to a darkened globe of the earth with a red fiery Halo circling the earth – which really is an infinite image of the Sun rise and Sun set- quite an awesome trick of the light.

Totality ends at 12.46am as the deep red glow moves over so you just have a more darkened disc of the moon as the larger earth shadow still prevents the full light from the sun penetrating the Lunar landscape. The whole spectacle will all be over by 3.36am. This event is quite a long one as we are luckily enough to be in the direct path of the full eclipse.

This event is also a little rare as it is the first of Four Full Eclipses that will happen between now and September 2015. This series is known as a Tetrad of eclipses. The next full eclipse in our part of the world will happen again on October 8th 2014.

For further information on future events: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/vancouver

Other Celestial events this month to watch for.
Planet Mars at opposition.
Carrying on with the Red colour – the month of April also marks the best time to witness the Red planet Mars which sits at opposition where our planet Earth sits directly between the Red Planet and the Sun – this gives us the best viewing of Mars in a couple of years, it will rise at Sunset and set when the Sun rises and should be easily visible in the night sky the whole night!

For further details on the oppsotion of Mars click here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/28mar_opposition/

April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower.

These may not be the strongest of Meteor showers, but with patience you may get to see some pretty bright streaks across the sky, especially if you are in a location that is away from the bright street lights.
These showers happen every April as the Earth swings around the Sun on its orbit and during this part of the year it passes through the dust trail once left by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

The actual event lasts around a week – but the dates of April 22 and 23rd will be the peak times to watch the show.

For further information on the Lyrids:
http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1204/19lyrids/

Airing on right now is a great TV show called COSMOS which is a reworking of the original TV series from 1980 that was concieved by Carl Sagan – the new updated version is now airing every Sunday and presented by Neil Tyson Degrasse

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Link: http://www.cosmosontv.com/

If Science and Space is your cup of tea then you really should be heading to Telus World of Science aka Scienceworld and the H.R. Macmillan Space museum.

Telus World of Science http://www.scienceworld.ca/

H.R. Macmillan Space museum. http://www.spacecentre.ca/

ART DECO – Where to look for Art Deco buildings in Vancouver.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours are promoting the Month of March as Art Deco Month and want to show off the buildings that were built in this style around the city, we will also like to write a little about this as we feel Art Deco Buildings are truly magnificent and really do stand out in the city. Vancouver does not have too many buildings left in this style – but what we do have is truly stunning and each place has its own piece of history besides just the look.

For further information on Forbidden Vancouver, please click on the link below….
Forbidden Vancouver: http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/

Art Deco can be traced back as early as the 1900s with its origins hailing from France, it became popular during the 1920s before flourishing widely through the 1930s and 1940s where it pretty much reached its peak, after the second World War its popularity waned and in time became an historical relic as other modernistic designs and fashion had a greater influence.

Art Deco can be found not only in Buildings but in Art, movies and fashion – if you spend time in coffee shops around the city you can see the influence of Art Deco merging with Abstract inspired works of Art, there are some amazing works hung up on the walls that have images of Vancouver in the style of Art Deco with a more modern twist, an example of this are some works from a local artist called Laura Zerebeski who works at The Beaumont Studios. Laura’s Art is certainly in the flavour of Surrealism yet from what we can see it looks like some Art Deco influence has crept in too….

To see more work from Laura Zerebeski: http://laurazee.com/

The Beaumont Studios: http://www.thebeaumontstudios.com/

Vancouver is home to some exquisite Art Deco designs and the first building that comes to mind is the old Marine Building. Located in the Downtown Core where today the district is now home to the Financial Sector, this building still stands out today (although it is dwarfed by the more modern day glass structures), however, when you do walk by it, you will see the unmistakable design which tells it apart from the other structures in the area and that it is truly Art Deco at its finest.
The inside of the Marine Building is stunning too, there is so much to look out for within this building and it has so much intricate detail that you could spend a few days uncovering the Artwork that is so special and unique to this wonderfully historical landmark in the heart of the city.

The Marine building opened its doors on October 7th 1930 right in the heyday of this popular design and at that time it proudly held the record of being the tallest skyscraper structure within the British Empire, standing at an impressive 97.8m and holding 22 floors the building kept this record until 1939. It would have been quite the sight if you were coming to Vancouver back in the day, as many of the surrounding buildings and structures were no bigger than a couple of storey’s high with a few buildings barely reaching ‘mid level status’ – the few buildings that did were likely built by the big CEO’s of their day as large mansion houses for themselves, staffers and workers that were earning their keep at the various industries of the day.
The building that was originally the tallest prior to the Maritime building as the tallest skyscraper within the British Empire was ‘The Sun Tower’, this too being a very popular building in Vancouver with its distinctive faux-patina steel dome painted to imitate copper cladding, is a structure that is easily spotted from many vantage points around the city – especially if you are looking with your back facing the North East looking at the downtown skyline.
The design of the Sun tower also hails from the influence of French architecture that is known as Beaux-Arts architecture this type of design was very popular from around the 1600s right through to the same era as Art Deco, this can be seen throughout Canada and especially The Prairies with many of the structures being built between the 1900s and 1960s.

Other notable buildings that were built in the Art Deco design are the Vancouver City Hall which reminds me of the Fritz Lang Movie ‘Metropolis’ which was undoubtedly a champion of Art Deco in film – even the Band Queen got in the act when they were promoting one of their biggest hits Radio Ga Ga which used footage from the film and created their stage set courtesy of this movie from 1927.
The Bay Theatre (Starlight Theatre) which was built in the Art Moderne style of Art Deco and is now home to Blenz coffee shop located on Denman Street which is not too far away from us here in the West End.
The Vogue Theatre – located in the heart of downtown Vancouver on 918 Granville Street, the Vogue has been one of the defining architectural achievements in Vancouver since its opening in 1941 (and still entertains the masses to this day) it is a true Art Deco/Art Moderne building.

The Vogue Theatre is a very popular venue and it actually features extensively within the entertainment scene in Vancouver, in our last few blogs we had written about events in March – well take a look at the Vogue as it will be showcasing performances from the upcoming CelticFest as well as many other acts….

The Vogue Theatre: http://voguetheatre.com/

For further information on historical buildings take a look at the Vancouver Heritage Society http://www.heritagevancouver.org/