Archive for April, 2014

Try the Canopy walkway at UBC Botanical Gardens and visit the UBC Campus.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The UBC Botanical gardens have installed an amazing Canopy Walkway into the gardens for a great way to view the gardens from high above among the towering Douglas firs, Red cedars and Grand firs trees.

UBC BOTANICAL GARDENS AND CANOPY
The canopy was designed and built by the local Vancouver business Greenheart who specialise in building trails and canopies in parks and Green areas that are protected for their environmental significance.
The walkway is located high above the gardens among the huge trees that are a significant feature of the pacific North West and at a height of 20 metres above the ground and running at a length of 310m you will get an incredible ‘Birds eye’ vantage of these amazing trees that are more than 100 years old.

When traversing the Canopy walk way you are more than welcome to take your time and soak in the sights at your own leisure and pace, or alternatively you can take a guided tour along the walk way as well as the gardens. Tours are offered hourly from 10am to 4pm during operating months. If you wish, you are welcome to experience the walkway at your own pace. The walkway will be open between 10am and 4pm.

For further information on the Gardens and Canopy click here: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/canopy-walkway

UBC CAMPUS AND PACIFIC SPIRIT REGIONAL PARK/WRECK BEACH
While you are visiting the gardens we do highly recommend that you visit the whole campus of the University of British Columbia as the grounds and the surroundings are just absolutely gorgeous to explore.

UBC CAMPUS
Located at the western end of Vancouver city, the buildings and parks that envelope the campus makes it one of the most desirable and scenic of universities in the world. The University has been educating students since 1918 and is one of the most prestigious schools of learning in the world. Not only is the architecture of the buildings that make the campus appealing to the eye, you should also check out the trees and gardens that are dotted all over the campus and in particular the ‘upside down tree’, the branches of the tree resemble roots, and the reason for the unusual shape comes from the way tree has been cultivated, rather than sprouting from a seed this Weeping elm tree grows from a Camperdown elm that is grafted onto the trunk of a Wych elm.

MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY at UBC
A huge hit among the guests here and with the locals alike. Located in the beautiful grounds of the University of British Columbia the MOA has a vast collection of Pacific Northwest and First Nations artifacts and historical information on the way of life in days gone by of human activities and civilizations.

MOA WEBSITE http://moa.ubc.ca/

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

Website on Wreck Beach http://www.wreckbeach.org/

Shop with style courtesy of Posh Shopping Tours.

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Vancouver has a fantastic shopping scene and it is quite noticeable with the different styles of fashion that the locals choose to wear. The one thing that is very obvious about the fashion in Vancity is that if you find yourself in a different neighbourhood not only is the scenery different but so is the dress sense of the people, fashion seems to dictate the area in quite a remarkable way, and what with Vancouver being known as the City of neighbourhoods it makes sense that each area has an individual style and striking identity. If you are visiting the city and want to treat yourself to a good dose of shopping but do not know where to go or you are simply just at a loose end with ideas, well, help is at hand…

Posh Shopping Tours
Posh Shopping Tours have it all figured out, not only will they help you with your Shopping needs but you will also get to visit the best shopping districts that Vancouver has to offer, we feel this is a great concept as the majority of visitors that come to the city do not get to explore these districts which is a shame. Vancouver is actually a surprisingly small city considering its stature and status in Canada and the world stage, however, many visitors tend to stay put in the ‘bubble’ of the downtown area and like many that live here we tend to stay where we are. Posh Shopping tours will actually take you a that little bit farther afield to some very special districts such as the eclectic and bohemian areas like Commercial Drive (which is in the East Vancouver area), Main St and of course the older and very trendy downtown area that is Gastown and the downtown shopping district that is of course Robson St.

The Tours are run by the wonderful Brandy Kawulka who is a self made entrepreneur – Brandy is no stranger to running a successful business as she and her husband Paul Keller set up their first venture called Wood be Art http://www.woodbeart.com/ which specializes in custom made wood furniture and has been a success for quite some time now, they both met in school while studying woodwork so you are seriously talking to the real deal professionals in Wood work.

Brandy’s latest venture Posh Shopping Tours looks set to just grow and grow – Brandy has an obvious eye for detail and is attentive to what people need, it is such a good idea to fuse sightseeing and shopping in one package with someone who is knowledgeable of the surroundings and obviously cares for Vancouver and fashion.

Not only will you be able to shop for what you desire, the tour will also help you get to know the areas you are in while you are at it, so your group will be able to get some sightseeing around the district that has been specifically chosen to suit your needs, and, when you are ready you can shop shop shop to your hearts content.
The tours will completely cater to the fashion and style that you are looking for, so if you are a complete Fashionista that
cannot get enough of the variation of styles such as Vintage, high end expensive brands or something that is cheap and comfy this will be no challenge at all!

So take a look at their website and if you have a group of people that want to shop in style and also see the sights then this will definitely be a great tour for you.

Website: http://www.poshshoppingtours.com/

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

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

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 14th, 2014

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploring 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

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

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Bus Route.

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

Big Bus Website: www.bigbus.ca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://vantagewhistler.com/

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

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

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

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

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/