Posts Tagged ‘North Shore Mountains’

Dining out with a twist – experiencing the unusual in Vancouver…

Friday, March 7th, 2014

After a reading an interesting article courtesy of the BBC news website about restaurants that thrive on rude service the ELBOW ROOM immediately came to mind. The Elbow room is quite the experience for people who want to have a good hearty breakfast, but be warned, you will not only need a strong stomach to enjoy their excellent food but a good open mind and a sense of humour is a necessity here…

Before we delve deeper on the Elbow Room experience take a quick look at the article from the BBC here that inspired this particular blog:
The restaurants that thrive on insulting their diners http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26468295

THE ELBOW ROOM
To dine here you will definitely need to have an open mind, a great sense of humour and more importantly quick wit. The Elbow room prides itself on the rudeness of the staff and if you can dish it out as good as they can – they will likely up the ante and give you a run for the money. If this is something that you feel will ruin the breakfast then we advise that you dine in the many other breakfast diners in the city, but, just remember, this is all in the name of fun and no harm is intended – it IS absolutely part of the experience that is the quintessentially the Elbow Room and most who dine here do so with roaring laughter!

The Elbow Room Website: http://www.theelbowroomcafe.com/

Other Dining experiences that are not the norm….
The following establishments that we feel you should try have nothing to do with being rude, they just have their own unique environment and we feel you should give them a whirl as they offer a different experience

TOP OF VANCOUVER – REVOLVING RESTAURANT
If you spend more than 60 minutes inside this revolving restaurant then you will have noticed that the restaurant itself had revolved a full 360′ turn. Located at the western end of Robson St, the Top of Vancouver restaurant has views of Vancouver like no other, so if you are feeling hungry yet still want to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Vancouver and its surroundings then this will be the perfect spot, with incredible views that overlook the city, Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains and out over the sea and Vancouver Island……we suggest you get there say a half hour before Sunset, it will take your breath away!

The Revolving Restaurant: http://www.topofvancouver.com/

DARK TABLE
The Dark Table idea may be unique to Vancouver but it is a concept that has been happening in various other cities around the world. The premise is built around what it is like to live and dine as a someone whose vision is impaired. Once you enter the establishment you will be in a lit room first where you can choose what you fancy from the menu, thereafter you will make your way into the restaurant itself. The staff that work at the Dark Table are blind or visually impaired and will guide you to your table into the dark dining space where the experience begins now.
The concept was inspired by a Jorge Spielmann who would blindfold his friends when they would dine at his home so they could understand what it is like to live in the moment as a blind person. We think this is a fantastic idea that will really alter your concept and perception of how people get by while visually impaired.

The Dark Table Restaurant: http://darktable.ca/

12B
Is it a restaurant? Someones living room? An Underground secret that only the special few need know about? Well, in all honesty it is a bit of everything really.
12B is a concept that has been labelled by some as a Guerrilla restaurant, an underground restaurant, one that is only known by word of mouth – the latter being quite true.
The restaurant is run from home by a great host and chef known as ‘Todd’ and the idea is simple, get a big enough group of people to come by, you can bring your own wine and beer and you give a generous donation. Todd will welcome you into his home where you will gather round the dining area and be greeted by Todd before he gets on with finishing the preparations for your meal. After the dining part is over you are more than welcome to stick around in the living area where you can enjoy yourself in the company of friends and Todd who is indeed an excellent host and an incredible chef.

The address is a secret so email Todd here if you are able to get a big enough group: 12breservations@gmail.com.

Spring time in Vancouver – Part 1…Gorgeous Wildlife and Plantlife

Monday, February 24th, 2014

For many of us who live in Vancouver the Season of Spring is by far one of the best, with the longer days becoming more noticeable and the weather slowly but surely warming it is a time where the city and nature start to wake from the long long nights of Winter.

There are many reasons to come to Vancouver between March and June not just because is it still a relatively cheaper time to stay in the city. The tourist season will generally start to really kick into gear during the latter half with the volume of Cruise Ships increasing, Spring break and so on, so if crowds are not your thing then very likely this season should really appeal to you as the city is not too too busy.

Many of us love Vancouver in the Spring for one thing overall and that is for the blooming of the plants and the explosion of colour because of this. As the leaves begin to unfold and the increase of the local wildlife who are during their rounds, where they will be getting ready for the mating season and need to fill their hungry bellies – so much to choose from that will no doubt grab your interest.

We will break down this blog into 2 parts so that there is something for everyone to be interested in, and, as always we will have further blogs that will keep you up to date on all the major events over the coming months.

CLIMATE
The Climate in Vancouver is very well known as soggy, mild with lots of rain! However, this year has been different, admittedly this particular Winter has not played ball as normal as it has been predominantly dry, it has had the odd blast of the Arctic air licking our shores (albeit brief) and its snowing as I type so we are still reminded that it is still the Winter season.

It has also been a remarkably sunny winter so therefore that means it has been very very dry. This area of the world is known as a temperate Rain-forest and we do normally average quite a few inches of rain each month during November and May respectively, in fact, the crazy weather that has been occurring in Europe and more specifically the UK is what we would call typical. So in a year that has been anything but normal we have to admit – it has has been quite nice to be able to get outdoors when we normally bunker down.

So what remains for the rest of 2014? Of course we will never really know, but many are predicting that it could be a year when we may get water advisories due to the lack of the precipitation, it could also mean that for all the visitors coming here in the Spring and Summer it could very well be an outstanding season to come. Meteorologists who are looking at the El Nino and La Nina fluctuations in the Pacific are seeing a possible transition to a mild El nino pattern which we has not been present in the last few years, if and a big if as always this is the case, this area of the world could expect a dry and warmer pattern -top that with the effect of this dry winter Summer 2014 may seem warmer than usual, only time will tell.

Spring in Vancouver is typically changeable with the rains becoming more showery with the odd brief cold spell, there is always an outside chance that snow may fall even as late as the end of March and at a push April – due to its topsy turvy nature, either way the great thing about Vancity is that you can get some late season skiing in on the slopes and then come back down to earth for a nice stroll down the beach – the Sun is starting to have an influence so it may be pleasent and warm down at sea level. In turn that means the world around us is waking up so the next section will explain about the blooming of the Plants and what wildlife to expect here.

TREES AND PLANTS
It is fair to say that the Spring season is one of the most colourful and stunning of all seasons and in Vancouver it is very visible- what you will also notice is the many varieties of Plant-life that hail from areas such as the Far East Asia with the main feature dominating are the Cherry Blossoms, they seriously show off what they have got especially during late April and May – there is a great Festival and Website that is dedicated to the Cherry Blossoms it gives you a comprehensive guide as to where the blooms are occurring around the city, what kind of blossoms they are, and what to expect over the next few weeks as they progress.
A major highlight of the Cherry Blossom blooms are the trees that line the square at Burrard Street Skytrain station – here there are so many Blossoms in bloom that they create a stunning pink and white canopy ceiling above you, its gorgeous.

Although the Cherry blossoms tend to take the most accolades in the area there are more amazing plants and trees to check out.

Cherry Blossom Festival: http://www.vcbf.ca/

Deciduous Trees
Vancouver is also home to some pretty stunning Deciduous trees in the area and in the Spring they really show off the very best of their Spring Blooms, trees such as Magnolia Vulcan this tree dazzles with a brilliant ruby-red 20-cm flowers. It thrives in every soil type and has sturdy upright growth. You can find this on the Corner of Beach Ave and Burrard St nearby, Magnolias are found all throughout the West End and vary in size and shapes.
Found all over but you can see it in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park The Prunus ‘Akebono’ (ornamental cherry) its pink blossom slowly turn to a soft pink-white from mid-March to early April.

Just around the corner from us is a wonderful Magnolia tree that is getting ready to put on its own Spring show, take a left turn from the Hotel and Burnaby Street onto Thurlow St and you will see this gorgeous tree!

WILDLIFE and STANLEY PARK
Spring is also the season when you notice the influx of the migrating birds and of course the critters that are now waking up from their deep winter slumber.
We recommend that when you do visit the parks (Its our stunning oasis in the city) we really do encourage you to keep your eyes peeled as there is plenty of wildlife to spot on the ground and in the skies.

The Great Blue Herons.
These majestic creatures have made a small area in Stanley Park their natural home for nesting and it is in surprisingly large numbers – it seems that in many other areas of the world the Herons are found to be dwindling in numbers, thankfully this is not the case in Vancouver, we hope that this is a healthy continuing trend.
During March we will see the return of the male Herons, the best place to see them are down by the Tennis Courts on Beach Avenue (Which is not too far a walk from the Sunset) the male herons will return to their designated nests where they will hope to attract the females whom arrive a short while later.

Once they do arrive the usual courtship ritual begins, you can spot this when the couples are in their nests and will cross their bills regularly, together they help maintain their nests (some return to the existing ones and like to modernise and spruce them up too).
Come the end of April and early May you will start to see the chicks hatching from their nests, it is quite a sight to see. At the last count there are around 165 to 170 nests, this location has been a regular home since 1921 there were many nests across the creek in Vanier Park, but now, only a handful remain.

Heron Colony of Stanley Park: http://www.greatervancouverparks.com/StanleyHeronColony01.html

Here is a video of the Herons in the Park
Blue Herons of Vancouver

The Elusive Coyote
Coyotes breeding season occurs from January through April and there is always a chance that you will catch a quick glance of them as Spring progresses to Summer. Cubbing season will be well under way by then so the Coyotes will be busy looking for food not only for themselves but for their new offspring too. If you do manage to see them – just let the Coyotes be, they may look a little under nourished but don’t be tempted to feed them as these critters are more than capable and happy to forage by themselves.
An interesting fact about the Coyotes, they were introduced into Vancouver in the 1980s and very quickly established themselves into the urban setting. They are a little fearful of humans when they are not treated or respected as the animals that they are, however, this is not a cause for alarm, just leave them be and they will carry on their merry way as long as they are not distracted – it is not unusual to find them wandering the street or even venturing deeper into the city, Coyotes live where ever they can get comfortable, they only make Dens for the purpose of bringing up the cubs, otherwise, leaves and shrubs will be more than fine for a home sweet home.

Living with Coyotes: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/co-existing-with-coyotes/

Migrating Birds
A sure sign of Spring is the sound of the Birds that are making their way around the globe and at this time of year start to make their presence known in the city, this is really noticeable by their chirping, whistles and regular songs that become more and more familiar, and of course the plumage, they really do begin to get more and more colourful!
The birds that arrive come in all shapes and sizes of course and there are far too many to mention here, but we will note a few to look out for, and please click on the link below so you can read in depth of the many other species not mentioned here. Keep an eye out for Hawks, Bald Eagles, Chickadees, Hummingbirds and of Canada Geese – easily spotted by their famous flying V formation!

A cool occurrence that happens everyday is when the Species of Gulls and Crows make their way home to their respective nests and roosts, if you look up at the skies roughly an hour before and up to Sunset you may get to witness a very large Murder of Crows heading east to their roosting spot in Burnaby, its is quite a sight to see – at the very same time, you will see the Gulls making their way home from inland out to the coast where their nests are.

Birds of Vancouver: http://birdvancouver.com/blog_april12.html

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/

Arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Vancouver YVR Airport

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The much anticipated arrival of the Dreamliner 787 aircraft to be rolled out by Boeing will be coming to Vancouver YVR Airport as of Monday February 2014 under operation with Japan Airlines.

If you are an aviation enthusiast this will be an exciting day for you to check out this brand new Aircraft on its arrival, a special occasion as this will be the very first Boeing 787 to ever land on Canuck soil, a moment in history that we are sure Vancouver International Airport and the city itself will be delighted and proud to be holding this inaugural event.

The aircraft is by far one of the most advanced aircraft of its day to date with great detail at the design of the engine technology and its composite structure which is unique to this particular aircraft. The idea is to deliver a big jet plane in a mid sized body, with a cool speed of Mach 0.85 that is also fuel efficient. The Aircraft aims to give you maximum space, comfort, with larger seats, aisles and windows all topped with excellence in service to make the trip between Canada and Japan memorable.

For the first month there will be just one scheduled flight, however, come March 2014 there will be daily non stop flights to Japan courtesy of the Dreamliner.

Please keep a check on the Vancouver Website as there will be events and other news postings leading up to this big day, so please watch this space.
YVR BLOG http://www.yvr.ca/en/Blog/Posts/Aircraft_of_the_Month_Boeing_787-9_Dreamliner.aspx

As we know many of you who are reading this blog will be at some point using Vancouver International Airport, while you are there we do encourage you to explore the surroundings as it is quite a gorgeous facility and has plenty to offer so you an occupy your time with great comfort.

Public Observation Area
One of the main attractions at YVR is the Public Observation Area here you will be able to see the aircraft coming and going while overlooking the spectacular scenery of the North Shore Mountains that overlook Vancouver, a huge Panoramic view of the central belt of Vancouver Island and the waters of the Georgia Strait, and if you are there at the right time you may even catch a dramatic Sunset.

For further details click here: http://www.yvr.ca/en/community-environment/community/community-engagement/Public-Observation-Area.aspx

Further information regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner: http://www.boeing.com/boeing/commercial/787family/

If you need help getting to and from the Airport and The Sunset Inn, read the following information:

TO AND FROM VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YVR)
To Vancouver
This Route involves 1 transfer. 2 ZONE TICKET
AT YVR SKYTRAIN
Purchase a 2 Zone ticket to Yaletown Station.
Transfer to Bus C23 to Davie and Thurlow St. Walk 1 block South along Thurlow – turn your first right onto Burnaby St and we are the 2nd building along heading West.
Adults $7.75 Concession $6.75

The mountains have a dusting of snow…Time to think about the North Shore Mountain Ski Resorts!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Earlier in the week Vancouver witnessed the very first dusting of snow high up on the peaks of the North Shore mountains that overlook the city. It’s a nice change to see first hand the beginnings of the impending Winter that will be soon upon us in over a month and half’s time, and we do not complain, when the wet stuff is falling on our heads down here, the White fluffy flakes of snow will be falling in abundance guaranteeing the locals and visitors alike some Winter Alpine fun.

In this blog we will give you a detailed look at the 3 popular Ski Resorts of the North Shore Mountains that dominate the Vancouver Skyline and bring in various visitors from all over the world who love to Ski, Snowboard and more….

CYPRESS MOUNTAIN
A popular resort for Skiing and especially for those who prefer the more challenging runs then this will be the place for you. Cypress Mountain Ski Area is located in the West Vancouver area and is part of the Cypress Provincial Park which is avery popular area for Hiking in the Summer and long distance Skiing in the Winter.

Cypress mountain was also used for certain events during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games that was hosted between Vancouver and Whistler Mountain resorts, the climate leading up to the games had some worried as the weather was unusually warm leading up to the games which had an impact on the amount of Snow on the hills, as the pack was very very low, it was decided that snow would be transported in and extra time was given for the Snow Making machines to salvage the events due – and thankfully it was a success…huzzah! Cypress hosted all of the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding competitions (Moguls, Aerials, Ski Cross, half-pipe, snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom)

The Ski hill have 53 different Alpine Runs and 19 km cross country of trails which are extremely popular for Snowshoeing. Tours are available for many of these activities.

For further information: http://cypressmountain.com/

GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Probably the most well known of all 3 Ski hills, Grouse Mountain sits directly above the city of North Vancouver and is just one Bus Stop away from the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Grouse Mountain is a very popular destination all year round due to its well known hiking paths such as the Grouse Grind and its Summer activities at the top of the peak such as the Lumberjack shows, Eye in the Sky (Wind Turbine) Theater & Restaurant.

Skiing on Grouse is certainly the most popular for all ages and abilities, so if you are a complete newbie then this will be the ideal location for you to fin your feet so to speak, some runs are much more gentle than others.

The resort has 26 runs, half of which are lit for Night Skiing and Snowboarding The most prominent run on the mountain is the Cut, one of two beginner runs, which is easily visible from the Vancouver area. It runs alongside the Screaming Eagle chairlift. East of the Cut are several intermediate runs, which take skiers and snowboarders down to the Olympic Express, which accesses the mountain’s easternmost expert runs, most of which originate from the mountain’s 4,100-foot (1,200 m) peak. Grouse Mountain features three green (beginner), 15 blue (intermediate), six black diamond (advanced) and two double black diamond. There is also an Outdoor Ice Rink located in the Village.

For further information: http://www.grousemountain.com/

MOUNT SEYMOUR
Located above North Vancouver, Deep Cove (a popular area for kayaking in the Summer season) and the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm waterways The resort has 4 lifts, the Mystery Peak Express quad chairlift, Brockton, and Lodge double chairlifts, and the Goldie Lake covered magic carpet. Seymour also offers great Snowshoeing trails that are very popular with groups or just as a solo excursion.

For further information: http://www.mountseymour.com/

The best 3 tour operators to see Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler right at your Doorstep.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

As the official start of the Tourist Summer season is right around
the corner, we will like to help you see the best of Vancouver,
Victoria and Whistler. We want to show you how you can maximize your
time at a an excellent cost that will not damage your budget, all of
this right from the doorstep of the Sunset Inn and Suites hotel.

There are 3 major tour operators in the area that we feel confident
will show you the best of Vancouver and the surrounding areas
including the North Shore Mountains, the Suspension Bridges and
further afield to Whistler and Victoria. All of this in just one
day!!!!

Not only should you spend time in Vancouver, but you must see the
wonderful capital of BC, Victoria. This tour – like Vancouver, gets you
around the city and also the world renowned Butchart Gardens. Then
there is Whistler, where you will head north along the stunning sea to
sky highway that takes you directly to Whistler and its alpine
village, along the way you will see spectacular water falls, looming
mountains, popular hiking trails and have time to peruse the village
at leisure.

For the City of Vancouver, try either Vancouver Living Earth Tours
(and Big Bus city tour – which we will explain a little further down),
where you will visit the most popular and famous sights all in just
over 4 hours. You can also do a “snapshot” tour of Vancouver in 2
hours with Landsea Tours, an ideal tour if you have time to kill in
between checking out and your next destination to St Elsewhere…..

For the sights of Victoria and the gloriously beautiful Butchart
Gardens, again, you can choose Landsea Tours. They will pick you up and drop you
off at the hotel, where you will get to see Victoria without having to
worry about the how to get from A to B as they will have the whole day
planned out for you. We try our best to discourage you from getting there by yourself, it takes roughly 4 hours to get to Victoria itself, and after trying to orientate yourself around Victoria, we feel through experience that may lose
out on the best sights, these tours are designed to do all the hard work for you so you don’t have, you ARE on holiday!

And finally, good old Big Bus, they offer a fantastic One Day or Two
Day city pass, where you can use their Hop on and Hop off tour at your pleasure> The
bonus of this is that the pick up stop is literally a 30 second walk
around the corner from the hotel, if you decide to take the tour all
at once it is roughly a couple of hours to get around the city.

We highly recommend that you use these tours which you can book with
us at the front desk, we will help with advice and make sure that this will
be the perfect trip to Vancouver and the surrounding area.

http://www.vancouvertours.com/

http://bigbus.ca/home/

http://www.livingearthtours.com

Ski Season comes early to Vancouver!!!!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

As soon as Daylight Savings time arrives to greet us, so do the very first falls of Snow begin to appear on the North Shore Mountains, and what a beautiful sight it is! It provides a stunning backdrop to the city skyline of Vancouver. As always, we really want our visitors to get the best of what the area has to offer and we sincerely hope that you come away with a little bit of knowledge about the surroundings, so we will explain in some detail about what you can expect to see when you visit these mountain areas.

The good news about the snow falling is that in the last few weeks the Ski Hills have been busy preparing for the new Ski Season of 2011/2012. It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Cypress Mountain has opened some of their runs as of TODAY! For further information on Cypress and the transportation options, please visit their website on www.cypressmountain.com. Cypress Mountain was a venue that took part in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, it hosted the Snowboarding and Freestyle events, however not with a glitch, as unbelievably so, the lack of snow on the Mountain during the Olympics led to Snow being transported by Truck and Helicopter so the games could still go ahead.

This is the earliest known date for Cypress to open for the upcoming Winter so we all feel confident that the Grouse and Seymour Ski hills will be opening very soon, for further information here you can visit their websites too, www.grousemountain.com and www.mountseymour.com. It has also been predicted that this Winter season could very well be one of the coldest in the past 20 years, so lets keep our fingers crossed as Skiing, Snowboarding or Snowshoeing on these hills is something you will never forget.

The North Shore Mountains are part of the Cascade Mountain Range that extend from Southern BC, over the US border travelling down through the States of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. When visiting the North Shore Ski resorts on a clear day you will be taken back by the breathtaking views of Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and the stunning Mount Baker at the head of the Fraser Valley. Another very popular and definitive landmark of these Mountains are ‘The Lions’. These are a pair of Peaks that are instantly recognizable landmarks and can be seen from a large area of the lower mainland, these distinctive twin peaks (also known as ‘The Sisters’ according to the local indigenous Squamish tribes of the area), overlook the Capilano Lake and Cleveland Dam. The Lions are the reason for the name of the BC Lions Football team.

The Cascade themselves are a mountainous region that is part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, this is a very active area of Plate Tectonics that are home to Volcanoes and ongoing seismic activity that encircles the majority of the Pacific Ocean, The Cascades are also home to the famous Mount St Helens situated in Southern Washington State. Mount Baker is an active Strato-Volcano and also happens to be one of the most snowy areas on earth, its location primed for the regular Pacific Storms that dumps a huge amount of rain on us and Snow on the summit each year, thus creating this incredibly white and imposing figure as a stunning backdrop to the South East of Vancouver, is is indeed our very own Mount Fuji.

The Grouse Mountain Ski resort added a new tourist attraction in 2010 that is also helping the resort to become a more environmentally friendly use of energy. On top of the peak you will see a huge Wind Turbine that is known as the ‘The eye of the Wind’, since the Turbine has been in use, its aim is to generate around 25% of the resorts energy so that the resort is able to function with sustainability at the forefront of its activities. Grouse Mountain is also home to the world famous ‘Grouse Grind’, although closed during the Fall, Winter and early Spring, this is worth a try if you are feeling daring and want to burn off some calories….it is called the Grind for good reason, as it is a trail that is 2.9km, and with just under 3000 steps and an incline in some parts of more than 40 degrees, it has become one of the most popular challenges for locals and tourists to complete, even a few of us at the hotel have managed to complete the Grind, so if we can do it so can you!

These Mountains also play a very important role with the weather here in Vancouver, the city and the whole of the Lower Mainland region is situated in an area called the Fraser Valley, and as we all know, rain is a very common weather event in this area. Due to the shape of the valley, the influence of the mountains is that they are a barrier to the incoming moisture from the passing storms, this enables the systems to drop more moisture on the city due to air funneling down through the valley from an easterly direction where it piles up against the North Shore Mountains, this in turn drops plenty of rain and snow on higher elevations on us during the Fall, Winter and Spring Seasons, Summer is commonly very dry as is typical of any Rainforest region.

This moisture is also what has helped influence the greenery that is associated with the Pacific North West, this area of the world is found among a Temperate Rain Forest, and if you do decide to go for hikes along the North Shore, you will get to experience the amazing green growth of a northern temperate jungle that is teeming with a wide variety of Wildlife, Flora and Fauna .

Vancouver is known for Raincity for a reason, and we have to be thankful for all this rain as it really makes this area unique and a wonderful playground for all ages.