Archive for June, 2014

Swimming Pools and Beaches that you must visit!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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

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

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

SECOND BEACH

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

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

Greater Vancouver Beaches
KITSILANO BEACH

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

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

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

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

OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOLS
SECOND BEACH POOL

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

KITSILANO POOL

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

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

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

INDOOR SWIMMING POOLS
AQUATIC CENTER

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

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

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

Ideas for Fathers Day in Vancouver.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Fathers day is coming up this Sunday June 15th and there are lots of things you can do in Vancouver to treat your Pa!

Father’s Day With The Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Team at Grouse Mountain and the Grouse Grind.
Three major attractions in Vancouver all rolled into one. Grouse Mountain is a must see destination in its own right, and then you have a great Vancouver Soccer team the Whitecaps which are becoming quite the force in the city and are starting to really make a name for themselves in the world of Soccer.

So why not mix up the two and take your dad for lunch with the team and the staff at Grouse mountain for a well earned brunch meal after taking a nice hike up Grouse Grind? After the hike has been achieved you can then participate with the Whitecaps team with signings, a spot of Soccer and of course some incredible views that overlook the city!

Fathers day on Grouse mountain: https://www.grousemountain.com/events/fathers-day-with-the-whitecaps#.U5eSIfldWuk
Whitecaps Soccer Team: http://www.whitecapsfc.com/

Vancouver Brewery Tours
Ok, lets be fair, a lot of dads like to have a wee tipple now and then and if that is the case for your dad then look no further than heading to a beer tour!
Vancouver Brewery tours are great and will certainly be a great place to visit on Fathers day. The tours are fun and informative, they will provide you with exclusive behind the scenes access to life in a Vancouver brewery and are a great way to explore some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Vancouver brewery tours: http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/

41 Restaurants with Father’s Day offers
Vancouver is a foodie city, we love it, embrace it and have pretty much every ethnicity under the Sun so you will all be spoiled for choice! Here is a comprehensive list of 41 restaurants that are offering Fathers day specials/and or deals!
http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?pid=85&m=73

Car Free Days
This year fathers day appropriately falls on the first day of the annual car free festivals that happen throughout the various neighbourhoods within Vancouver – we have our own West End car free day for the whole family to enjoy. Click on the link below to see what festivals appeal to you!
Car Free Festivals: http://www.carfreevancouver.org/

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.