Archive for the ‘Tour Operators’ Category

May Events in Vancouver 2014

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In just a matter of weeks the Bears begin to wake up from their hibernation.

Friday, March 21st, 2014

When you come to visit British Columbia you are not only visiting some incredible terrain that encompasses impressive mountains, deserts and a stunning coastline, you are also visiting Bear country.

BC is home to the most populous of bears in all of Canada, roughly half of all Black Bears and Grizzly Bears that are in Canada actually reside in BC, in fact, the majority of the world’s Grizzlies live in Russia and this corner of Canada and of course neighbouring Alaska.
If you are thinking of coming to visit this part of the world at the end of Spring and into Summer, than there is a very good chance you will get to see some of these stunning creatures as they forage for food after their long slumber. These bears will be mighty hungry and probably looking a little thin due to their long period of inactivity.

The bears typically are in deep hibernation during the dark winter months of November and April, it is not the same sleeping time for all the bears as this depends on their location and habitat, that will dictate the length of rest they need to undertake, for example, the bears that live on Vancouver Island and the more southerly coasts of BC will likely have a shorter hibernation period, this is due to the weather not being half as cold or severe and therefore food is more accessible for a longer period of time.

The Hibernation process for the bears is quite an incredible feat. The bears generally make Dens within or close to trees, leading up to the hibernating time the bears will eat as much food as they can so they can pack on the weight so they are able to shut down for the winter. Many of the bears will not even eat, drink, urinate or defecate for a few months and their heart rate can even drop as much as 50 beats a minute to as little as just 10 beats, (which seems pretty crazy), so of course their oxygen intake will drop dramatically and they will likely lose around at least a quarter of their weight due to abstinence of eating and drinking, which again seems crazy, but that is how these creatures roll!!!!

So come May and certainly June and July the bears will likely be out in force ready to fill their hungry bellies on Berries, Salmon and whatever else they can get to sustain themselves. As these are quite cute looking we must also take due care as these creatures as cute as they maybe are an apex predator and all due respect must be given to them, so we advise that if you want to witness the bears in their natural habitat, there are some tours that will specifically help you out with that.

Watching Bears in the wild – Tour Operators
The habitats of the bears in the wild is actually surprisingly close to us, from the North shore mountains of North and West Vancouver you are beginning to live in bear country. If anything, we have been imposing ourselves to their homes hence the reason we see them wandering around the north shore suburbs! So there are a few ways that you can see the bears in person….

Grouse Mountain – Vancouver
A popular destination just a 45 minute journey from downtown Vancouver – in the summer months this is a great place to visit for incredible scenery, hikes and more……they are also home to a couple of bears in their long term home, the poor things are not fit to live in the wild, so they now reside at the top of Grouse mountain quite literally living the high life!
Website: http://www.grousemountain.com

Ocean Adventures Charter Co – North Vancouver
These guys will get you to see the very best that the wilderness has to offer in this part of the world, from Bears to Whales and awe-inspiring First Nations culture, amidst BC’s most spectacular landscapes.
Website: http://www.oceanadventures.bc.ca

Whistler Discovery Tours – Whistler
‘Exclusive Land Rover Excursions’. Our year-round scenic private/semi-private eco-tours will take you to areas rarely seen by most Whistler visitors: Morning/Evening with the Bears, Ancient Rainforest/Eagle Viewing Experience, Hidden Glacier Lake Hike/Snowshoe.
Website: http://www.whistlerdiscoverytours.com

Whale and Dolphin watching season has begun in spectacular style!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

It has been quite the week for us along the coastal BC waters as we have been treated to some rare Dolphin and Whale pods migrating through the Georgia Strait.
The Whales are not too elusive as they general favour these waters for migrating, but catching a sight of Dolphin pods is actually a rare occurrence – not so rare this week though. A Pod of Dolphins was spotted swimming along False Creek and Sunset Beach which is literally a 5 minute walk from the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel, it wasn’t just Vancouver that was being treated to this rare spectacle, there was also an incredible sight of Dolphins being chased by Orca Whales along Howe Sound in the Squamish area.

The coastal waters of BC is rich in abundance of some stunning sea creatures and none more majestic than the various species of Whales and Dolphins and so far this year, it seems apparent that the pods are looking very very healthy for the 2014 season.

This link has some great footage of the Whales and Dolphins that were in the Howe Sound recently courtesy of the Prince of Whales whale watching operation. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=731808353525929

And some more from the CBC News Website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/dolphins-orcas-delight-watchers-in-vancouver-squamish-1.2574894

Here is a great link that shows how the species are interconnected to a wider ecosystem in the local waters around us.
bc_marine_life

Whale Watching Tours Season runs from April 1st to October 31st
There are various Tour operators that you can use to spend a day out at sea to catch these Whales. Reservations for these tours can be made directly with us at the Front desk of the hotel.

Vancouver operations
Wild Whales Vancouver
1806 Mast Tower Road – Granville Island
Vancouver, B.C.
V6H 4B6 Canada Phone: 604-699-2011 Website: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

Vancouver Whale Watch
Suite 210 – 12240 Second Avenue
Richmond (Steveston), BC
Canada V7E 3L8

Phone: (604) 274-9565 Website: http://www.vancouverwhalewatch.com/index.html

Victoria operations
Prince of Whales Whale Watching
812 Wharf Street, Lower Causeway Level
Victoria, BC V8W 1T3 Canada

Toll-free 1-888-383-4884
info@princeofwhales.com
website http://www.princeofwhales.com/

Its a great weekend to be Irish! Come and along join them this St Patricks Day weekend…

Friday, March 14th, 2014

There are a lot of events coming up this weekend for the celebration of St Patricks Day which falls on Monday March 17th, not only will there be a great parade to attend, great live music to get your ‘Jig’ on, there is also the finale to the European rugby tournament called the ’6 NATIONS RUGBY’ we have a sneaky feeling that Ireland will be title holders this year.

Before we delve into the sports, lets us fill you in on the upcoming events over the weekend…

CELTICFEST
There are some excellent events to attend with the grand finale of Celtic-Fest, here is a free event you can attend with all the family.
Celtic Village & Street Market
Free for all the family!
Saturday, March 15 | 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, March 16 | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Granville Street from Robson to Nelson & Robson Square

Just follow the sounds of laughter and music…Celtic culture and spirit lights up downtown streets & squares all weekend long!
Sunday March 16 |12:30 – 4:30 pm – Featuring a live bands on the Mahony & Sons Music Stage
Further Information: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/schedule-tickets/2014/mahony-sons-stage.php

Celtic Circles
Special on-the-street locations where you can come upon Medieval sword-fighting and song and dancing olde worlde style!

CelticFest Community Stage at Robson Square
Delight in Irish and Scottish community dance groups, pipe up at the Penny Whistle Party, feel the beat at the Bodhrán Drum Circle, and groove to some hip Gaelic rap!

Celtic Street Market
Wander through happy crowds and shop! Artisan and craft booths offer everything from woven goods to jewelry, face painting and more. As we get closer to the festival, check the Street Market page for a list of market vendors.
Wander through happy crowds and shop! Artisan and craft booths offer everything from woven goods to jewelry, face painting and more. As we get closer to the festival, check the Street Market page for a list of market vendors.

Website: http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/

IRISH BARS
Doolins Irish Pub – 654 Nelson Street @ Granville Website: www.doolins.ca
Doolins will be showing the 6 Nations rugby Live – read further below for more details…..

Ceili’s Modern Irish Pub (Granville) – 670 Smithe Street @ Granville Website: www.ceilis.com

Johnnie Fox’s Irish Snug – 1033 Granville St Website: http://www.johnniefox.ca/

Irish Heather Gastro Pub 210 Carrall St Gastown Website: http://www.irishheather.com/

ST PATRICKS DAY PARADE
The 10th Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the festival’s largest and most popular free event, drawing people from all cultures, backgrounds, ages and all walks of life. This colourful (very green) display of fabulous sight and sound takes to the streets on Sunday, March 16th at 11:00 AM.

6 NATIONS RUGBY – Live @ Doolins.
The finale of the 6 Nations rugby will be happening on Saturday March 15th – it will be an early morning event, but if you are keen and eager get yourself down to Doolins where they will show all 3 games. This finale will have an extra bit of Spice as not only are Ireland likely to clinch the title due to an excellent points difference, and if they get the win over France it will absolutely be theirs! It will also be quite an emotional occasion for the Irish fans as their hero and now legendary player Brian O’Driscoll (who is the most capped played in Rugby union history to date) will be playing his very last game – so we anticipate it will be huge!
6 nations Website: http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/home.php

Just for a bit of fun here is the Big Bus team having some St Patricks Day fun!
http://havefunwithus.ca/stpaddys2014.html
Big Bus are awesome they are one of the best ways to see the city and they have sweet deals with the hotel, so come to the front and purchase your 2 day for the price of 1 ticket with us.
Website: http://bigbus.ca/home/

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/

Springtime in Vancouver……Part 2 – Activities to explore.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

NORTH SHORE MOUNTAINS AND ACTIVITIES IN SPRING
Some of you may have heard that Vancouver just received a considerable amount of snowfall over the weekend although accumulations were at a premium in the downtown area, this was not the case for the rest of the greater Vancouver area. This comes as welcome relief for the Ski hills of Cypress mountain, Grouse mountain and Mount Seymour as the snow pack was looking a little thin up till this point, but with 3 days of constant snowfall it was the giddy up that the Ski hills sorely wanted.
This makes for excellent news for anyone who wants to see us in the Spring, and like we had mentioned in the first installment of this blog, in the Spring season you can get a few hours of Winter sports in – whether that be skiing, snowboarding or Snowshoeing, and then back down to sea level, you can enjoy a walk around the sea wall without feeling too cold, that sounds like a win win situation for us. It may also increase the chances of a late season for the hills, if we are to look at how last years season transpired, the hills were able to keep open until the first week of May, we are keeping everything crossed that this will happen again this year!

Grouse Mountain
This is one of the best seasons to visit Grouse and its not just for the Sporting activities which of course is the big draw up here. Grouse Mountain is home to many animals that cannot live in the wild due to injury or that fact that they were unable to learn the skills required to survive in their natural habitat. Grouse is home to many creatures who are now in a safe and comfortable environment where they are well looked after – you too can visit them when you are up there and as it is the spring season if they are the hibernating type of critter, they will be ready to wake up. The animals that you will get a chance to see are Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, Owls and the visiting Hummingbirds to name but a few.

Grouse Mountain endangered wildlife refuge: https://www.grousemountain.com/wildlife-refuge

Grouse Mountain Website: https://www.grousemountain.com/

Whale Watching
Whale watching season begins in March and typically runs till October. The Georgia Strait is in the direct path of these large mammals and have been wowing people for many many years. The various types of Whales that you can expect to see are Orca’s (Killer Whales), Gray Whales and various Dolphins which are the most common sightings. IOn some occasions we may even be treated to a visit from these amazing animals close to the Vancouver shoreline itself a very rare occurrence! A few years ago a single Gray Whale decided to meander its way up False Creek for a few days at a time, our guess is that there was a great deal on Fish at the Granville Island Market and the Whale wanted to see what was happening, and who can blame it?

There are various ways to watch the Whales with guided tours, we recommend Wild Whales Vancouver down at Granville Island, you can also make a reservation at the Front Desk at the Sunset Inn and Suites.

Wild Whales Vancouver: http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

VANCOUVER GARDENS
As you will have read in the previous Blog article before we wanted to share with you the sights that Vancouver has to offer when the plants and trees start their blooms. If you are into trees and plants then we highly recommend that you visit the local gardens in the area, and even take the trip over to Victoria to see what they have on show.
Queen Elizabeth Park – Van Dusen Gardens
Queen Elizabeth Park is located in the central area of Vancouver, its location is fantastic due to its elevation, you will find the park is on a hill that overlooks the entire city with unobstructed views of the Mountains and beyond. Van Dusen Gardens is such a delight for all plant lovers, the gardens are to be found among an abandoned quarry with some interesting geological features.

Van Dusen Gardens: http://vandusengarden.org/

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

In our next post we will inform you of all the major events that will be happening in Vancouver during March

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/

Halloween Events during October!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

October is here and that can mean only one thing………..HALLOWEEN!!!

This is a great time of year for kids and adults alike as it is the best time of year for fun dress up! If any of you will be in the area during the festivities and you want to find a good costume, we recommend that you visit DRESSEW on Hastings St, this fabric shop is amazing and will be a great place to find a fab costume for a Halloween Dress-up party. Please get there early as this place will have a huge line up closer to the event!
http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/09/halloween-costumes-vancouver-dressew-supply/

HALLOWEEN TOURS

HAUNTED VANCOUVER TROLLEY TOUR
2.5 Hrs of Vancouver Ghost Stories featuring stops at Vancouver Police Museum and Mountain View Cemetery
When: OCTOBER 18th – OCTOBER 31st, 2013 – excluding Sundays and Mondays
http://www.vancouvertrolley.com/tours/seasonal/haunted-halloween

FORBIDDEN VANCOUVER – THE LOST SOULS OF GASTOWN
Take a journey into the cobbled stone streets of Gastown and venture through some of the back alleys on the scary Macabre Journey that will be sure to make your hair stand on end….
http://forbiddenvancouver.ca/home/the-lost-souls-of-gastown/

HALLOWEEN GHOST TRAIN IN STANLEY PARK
Travel through the silver screen into the world of classic horror movies! Take your velvet seat on the Halloween Ghost Train and journey back to a time when moving pictures unearthed the shadows that lay sleeping in the dark recesses of our minds. Awake Dracula! Awake Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Phantom of the Opera. Crawl out from your coffins, slither from your slabs, and ooze out from your tombs! These October nights summon you from darkness.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/ghost-train.aspx

Friday, October 11 – Saturday, November 2, 2013
Closed Thanksgiving Monday, October 14
Afternoon matinees
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00am – 6:00pm (train only)
Nights
6:00pm – 10:00 pm seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving Monday)

FRIGHT NIGHTS AT THE PNE
Western Canada’s Scariest Haunt – Face your fears. Fright Nights possesses Playland, featuring 6 fright houses, 12 rides, and the freaky sideshow, The Monsters of Schlock.
October 11th to November 2nd
http://www.frightnights.ca/

NIGHTCLUBS-HALLOWEEN PARTIES & EVENTS
For the younger crowd out who are looking for an awesome Nightclub party Halloween Style, click on this link for all the big parties to choose from: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/09/halloween-parties-vancouver-2013/

Sunset Inn Newsletter: http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html
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