Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Park’

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/

Where to capture the very best Christmas lights in Vancouver…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

December is here, the Snow has arrived and the festive cheer is in full swing on the streets in the West End. We have already seen and listened to some great Brass Bands and Christmas Carols being sung on Davie St and Bute St near the new Park and Rainbow Crosswalk, it is just a few minutes walk away so keep an eye out for the Christmas cheer here…

This is the time of year when all the festivities focus their attention on outdoing each other with the very best lights to dazzle all the family, so here we will tell where to go to get the very best Christmas Light displays…

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Lights of Hope
The St Pauls Foundation of Light has been dazzling spectators that walk past the Hospital since 1998 and it is all for a very very good cause.
The aim of the lights is to help raise funds for the hospital itself, so it can purchase the very best medical equipment that it needs, it will enable them to increase funds towards better research and of the course enhanced Patient care for all those in need at St Pauls.
The lights are all assembled by Volunteers and my oh my are they beautiful….If you wish to check out the lights, head down towards Burrard and Davie and walk North on Burrard, it is just a 5 minute walk or so away from the Sunset Inn and Suites.

The hospital has a target goal to reach of $2.2-million – If you wish to help you can make a donation towards the campaign’s fundraising goal, call 604-662-HOPE or visit www.lightsofhope.com.

Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver
It may not seem the best time of year to visit Gardens in the deep of Winter, but wait, we think you should consider this one……The Festival of Lights creates the Gardens into quite a stunning wonderland, it is something that should be on your list when you come here especially as the Van Dusen Gardens are world famous and for good reason!
What is even better, you will be in the company of Elves, Candy-Canes and Hot chocolates to guide your way around this most serene settings.

vand dusen festival of lights map

Website: http://vandusengarden.org/

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park
We have written about the excellent Christmas train and the bright lights before, but it is that good that we feel it should be recommended a visit to come on down…
Check out Stanley Park like you have never seen before, the kids especially will love this trip out to the enchanted Rain-forest that we are proud to show off in the city.
Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years.

Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

Capilano Canyon Lights
A very popular attraction that is a must see location no matter what time of year, Capilano is quite incredible when all lit up on these very dark nights, it also boasts the largest lit up Christmas Tree too, Standing 46.4m (152 feet) tall the Douglas-fir will be adorned in thousands of sparkling lights…..Woohoo!

Website: http://www.capbridge.com/explore/canyon-lights/

Coal Harbour/Canada Place/English Bay
Although not on an official list a very good idea is to head down to the water as there will be trees, boats and yachts all decorated and decked up for the festive season, a great opportunity to see how the locals dazzle at Christmas time.

Halloween Events during October!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

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

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

HALLOWEEN TOURS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunset Inn Newsletter: http://www.hebsmarketing.com/Sunset_Inn/07_July_2013/index.html
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Rainy day things to do in Vancouver!

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Rain Rain go away come again another day! Um…well no…The Rains have well and truly arrived and this is generally the run of things for us till Mid Spring! So what do you do in an inclement climate? In all honesty quite a lot actually – so read on and prepare yourself for some excellent indoors activity for all the family to enjoy! Don’t forget to grab an umbrella from us behind the Front Desk…

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/

VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
Centrally located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver and very close to the Robson St shopping district, the VAG is home to over 9000 pieces of Art, it is also has a fantastic Cafe. Many of the Artworks are from a local source such as the Emily Carr University, also, each year the Gallery presents two to three international exhibits–traveling exhibits from around the world–and 10 to 12 in-house exhibitions that draw from their own extensive collections.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is located at 750 Hornby St, between Robson and Georgia in downtown Vancouver

VAG WEBSITE http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

SCIENCE WORLD
Another huge hit for locals and tourists, Science World is the giant Golf Ball looking building that is situated at the eastern end of False Creek.
The whole family will get great enjoyment out of this place and it is fun fun fun, so get your Geek on and learn some Science!

SCIENCE WORLD WEBSITE http://www.scienceworld.ca/

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
Nestled in the heart of Stanley Park this is the perfect rainy day location as you are in the heart of the beautiful rainforest and with the creatures that love the water the most. A hit for all the family you will all come away with something different young or old. The aquarium has a strong focus on the local environment of the Pacific Northwest waters. They run lots of events throughout the year and the famous Otters and Beluga Whales are sure to put a huge smile on your face because they are so cute!

AQUARIUM WEBSITE http://www.vanaqua.org/

GRANVILLE ISLAND
Just a small Boat ride away, Granville Island for Vancouver is what Pikes Place Market is for Seattle. At Granville Island you have the large Public Market, Theaters, Restaurants, Kids Markets, Granville Island Brewery and lots of cute boutique shops to enjoy. It is also a hub for Art (Emily Carr Art University) and live entertainment with the famous Buskers to enjoy.

GRANVILLE ISLAND WEBSITE http://granvilleisland.com/

SHOPPING!!!!
A good old fashioned past time to keep occupied in the rain is shopping – YAY! Here are a couple suggestions for some popular malls to choose from…..go on buy us something pretty…

PACIFIC CENTRE MALL
Located in downtown Vancouver and easily accessible by bus, cab or foot, this has all the brand named stores and food court to suit your needs in a compact and comfortable mall in the heart of the city. Just across the road on Granville St is the famous The Bay Store…check it out!

PACIFIC CENTRE MALL http://www.pacificcentre.ca/en/Pages/default.aspx

METROTOWN MALL
Boasting over 400 Stores and easily accessible via the Skytrain, this is BC’s largest Mall, you can literally spend hours and hours here, so make sure you have enough space on the old credit card as you will want to shop shop shop until you drop.

METROTOWN WEBSITE http://metropolisatmetrotown.com/

We will leave you with a great poem about the Vancouver rain, it really sums it up quite nicely. So please don’t let it bother you, get the raincoat out and the umbrella up and brave those elements, there is so much out there for you to enjoy it will be shame to miss out…

At Kitsilano Point there is a great story that sums up our “Raincity”. Which has been carved onto a large rock, it is a lovely testament to the inclement weather.
This story stone, entitled “Vancouver in the Rain” is one of ten across the city.

“It is probably fair to say that one of the things for which Vancouver is most famous is rain. It is true that it can and will rain here for weeks on end. Several years ago I found myself coming close to being thoroughly disgusted with the rain, unusual for me as it usually bothers me not at all.

I was walking home from work and was mumbling under my breath the whole way, carrying on about how this weather was suited only to ducks. The building I lived in at the time was a large square building surrounding a brick courtyard. I came around the corner into the courtyard and there, to my amazement, was a beautiful Peking duck, having a ball in a huge puddle in the middle of the courtyard. It was quacking and splashing with such obvious delight that I had to smile, glad that such joy could be found in the gray wetness of such a day.

I really love the rain in Vancouver. I have been told that the Inuit have hundreds of words for snow. I have often thought we don’t have nearly enough words for rain, for there are so many types of rain. There is soft rain and hard rain and sideways rain, rain that makes you instantly wet, and rain that leaves soft kisses on your cheek, like the wings of a butterfly. There is cold rain and warm rain, go out for a walk rain and stay in bed with the cats rain. There is booming rain and whispery rain, rain that lulls you to sleep and rain to sing you awake. The rain brings us all the shades of gray, but it also brings us the wonderful greenery which surrounds and blesses us.”

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Event to look out for September/October

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

There are still many more events to look out for if you are visiting the hotel at the end of September and during October.

The following festivals should at least appeal to most of you and one even involves CHOCOLATES! How can you go wrong?

RUNAWAYGRAPE “A TASTE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA”
When: September 20th – Where? The FISH HOUSE Stanley Park

If you like Wine and some of the finer foods in life, want to be surrounded by nature while sipping your finest Vino and really like to have fun while you are at it…..come along to this!
Located in the beautiful setting of the famous ‘Fish House restaurant’ in Stanley Park, you will be treated to taste some fantastic samples of wines from the Okananagan region, you will learn how to taste and test the different varietals of the Best of the BC Wines, and at the same time you will be able to sample some incredible world class foods to accompany the wines.
All in all you will be expanding your knowledge of some yummy fine wines and food, so not only will your taste buds be delighted so will your brain!

For further information: http://www.hellobc.com/servicefelisting/food-or-wine/4579028/runawaygrape-a-taste-of-british-columbia-.aspx

VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
When? Thurs September 26, 2013 – Fri October 11, 2013 Where? Various Locations.

One of the most popular film festivals in North America and one of the largest cultural events in Vancouver. More than 150,000 people attend approximately 575 screenings of 350 films from 50+ countries. Check website for the 2012 Schedule of Films.

For further information:http://www.viff.org/

ARTISTS FOR CONSERVATION FESTIVAL
Where? GROUSE MOUNTAIN – When? Sat September 28, 2013 – Sun October 06, 2013

If you are interested in environment, you have a creative streak or simply just love Art and need some scenary, then this festival will be for you!
Taking place at the top of Grouse Mountain this signature cultural event will be one of the largest worldwide gatherings for conservation.
You will see incredible works of Art, meet some very inspirational people who will be involved with the project through exhibits, lectures, live demonstrations and more….

For further details: http://festival.artistsforconservation.org/

FESTIVAL OF CHOCOLATES
When? Tue October 15, 2013 – Sun November 10, 2013 Where? Various locations

The Fall Festival of Chocolate showcases everything one can learn about cocoa and chocolate. The magical mystery of these ingredients is explored through seminars and pairings held at local chocolate shops, wineries, breweries, restaurants, cafes, and bakeries across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Don’t miss out on this delicious opportunity to celebrate all things chocolate. Check website for a Schedule of Events.

For further information: http://www.festivalofchocolate.ca

Davie Village, Pride celebrations and other LGBT related events

Friday, July 26th, 2013

The time has come for the West End to come alive with the spectacular fireworks display and Vancouver to host its annual Gay Pride Parade and festival.

This is truly the time when Summer is in full swing in Vancouver and the West End district is the place to be, there are no shortage of events at this time of year, so please read on to find out the very best events in the area. We will also have a comprehensive list of resources for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual & Trans community.

MAJOR EVENTS
Picnic in the Park – At The Brockton Oval (Stanley Park) JULY 27th
This is a preview event leading up to the main Gay Pride event the following weekend. get down to Stanley park and bring your picnic along where you can enjoy the fun and festivities while networking to meet new friends.
There will be food on offer, a game of Tug of War and at 4pm you will get the chance to meet the Stewards who will be running the Pride parade for a much anticipated preview.

http://vancouverpride.ca/o_events/pride-launch-picnic-in-the-park-2/

QMUNITY EVENTS
Coffee at Qmunity JULY 29th
Pop by for some coffee and a chat with the Executive Director at Qmunity (formerly known as The Centre) Here you can discuss with Qmunity ideas and suggestions in ways to enhance the community that is Davie Village.

http://www.qmunity.ca/events/?cal_cat=5

G(r)ay and Glamorous!
If you are over 55 and are wanting to Strut your wares with pride, then this is the place for you! A wonderful event that is sponsored by the Pride Society.
Located at Barclay Manor which in itself is a beautiful historical location within the West End, this event wants you you to glam it up and wear the very best dazzling costume you can find, there will be prizes and lots if giggles in store!

http://www.qmunity.ca/events/?cal_cat=5&month=aug&yr=2013#

CELEBRITIES NIGHTCLUB EVENTS
GAY BINGO FOR LIFE at CELEBRITIES NIGHTCLUB – Every WEDNESDAY
Starting at 8pm – This is a great night to have some Bingo fun, lots of drinks, laughing and some excellent prizes and all for a very good cause… this event is on going on a weekly basis at the Celebrities Nightclub.

http://celebritiesnightclub.com/bingo-for-life-ft-joan-e-celebspride/

HISTORY CELEBPRIDE 13HR EXTRAVAGANZA
Join in the fun and festivities at Celebrities with a 13 hour marathon of excellent DJ’s to get your boogie on and celebrate the Vancouver Pride.

http://celebritiesnightclub.com/history-celebspride/

OASIS ULTRA LOUNGE
Oasis Ultra Lounge not too long underwent some incredible refurbishments and looks pretty classy indeed! With nightly events here are a couple of highlights!

KARAOKE
Every Tuesday night come on down and see Grogan who is hosting this fantastic night of entertainment, whether you are a budding singer wannabe or just want to sing your heart just because, then this is the place for you, there are excellent drinks specials and pretty awesome and entertaining staff to get you through the night.

A Deeper Love Drag Extravaganza – MONDAY JULY 29th
A benefit gala for Vancouver Pride, here you will get to see the brightest and biggest stars of the Drag scene, this will be an awesome night to remember…

http://oasisondavie.com/

THE JUNCTION PUB
Absolute Pride – August 3rd
Have an absolutely crazy time at the Junction and enjoy the very best drag show in town in celebration of the Pride festivities.
Doors open at 9pm and the music will be spinning till 4am.

http://www.junctionpub.com/events/absolut-pride/

PRIDE FESTIVAL & PARADE!
Vancouver Pride comes to the West End this Sunday August 3rd hot on the heels of the final celebration of light fireworks.
This weekend is sure to be fun, festive and full of eccentric people to get you in the party mood.

http://vancouverpride.ca/official-events/

DAVIE STREET PARTY Saturday August 2nd
Kick off the Pride weekend with a bang, Davie village will come alive with some amazing street partying to be enjoyed by all. Beginning at 4pm there will be an All Ages section to kick things off and this area will be free. From 7pm the actual street party begins for real, great stalls and live music will be sure to get the festivities on in style.

THE PRIDE PARADE – Sunday August 3rd
The parade begins at Robson Street and Thurlow Street, heads west to Denman Street, follows Denman to Pacific Street and Beach Avenue and finishes at the Sunset Beach Festival site. – See more at:

Parade begins at 12pm on Robson St to Denman St to Pacific St and Sunset Beach.

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 3. Wildlife of Stanley Park

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Stanley park will be celebrating its 125th birthday in August, we are writing about the highlights in a series of blogs leading up the special celebrations on August 24th & 25th 2013.

In our continuing series of where we explore the very best of Stanley Park we will like to introduce you to the large array of wildlife species that live within the park.

While staying at the Sunset Inn you may be quite surprised to see many animals casually taking a stroll close under your feet (and we don’t mean the small doggies that sometime reside in peoples handbags or the local domesticated cat), we are referring to the squirrels, raccoon’s and Skunk’s to name but a few that live in the West End like we do.

Wildlife is abundant in this city and if you keep your eyes open all around you, you will certainly see many many species of all walks of life (even the people watching is pretty incredible here too, so many weird and wonderful varieties of humans to check wandering the streets)! Joking aside, we will guide you so you know what kind of critters you will expect to see within the park and its beaches.

BIRDLIFE
If you take a peak up in the skies, there is no shortage of spectacular bird species of all varieties, these include Bald Eagles, Crows, Ravens and Herons.
Many of these birds have nesting sites throughout the parks, be sure to keep a beady eye open – you will see them all in action.
There are also quite a variety of differing Bat species in the park, we were lucky enough to have some Bat specialists stay at the hotel and on that very trip they had discovered a brand new species of Bat that was not familiar to them in the park.

The Bald Eagle population in Vancouver was limited to just a couple of pairs, one pair in Stanley Park and the other out at UBC, nowadays the population has grown to a very healthy size and you will be more than likely to see these huge majestic birds of prey in their natural habitats.

The herons are very famous in the park, especially as there are many of them who nest during the Spring season just above the Tennis Courts, to date there are more than 170 nests at any given time, these birds are known for therei huge beaks and large wingspan, they are quite the sight to behold.

The Goose population are also thriving in these parts too, and of course, Canada would not be Canada without seeing the Canadian Geese flying in their unmistakable V formation, it is not unusual to see them frolicking down by the beach, seawall and other areas around the city.

There are also sightings of elusive Peacocks in the park too, these birds are from the old Stanley Park Zoo that has long since shut down due to the living conditions there that were deemed not livable.

Here is some cool footage of a Raven interacting with a human for some help after it got itself into some bother with a Porcupine: http://youtu.be/hlwxLtFQcrY

MAMMALS
As well as the eccentric species of people that are known to visit the park, you will see no shortage of the cute and furry variety animals in the park.
The most popular Park and Urban dwellers in this area of the world are the large populations of Skunks, Raccoon’s, Rabbits and Squirrels.
At times you may get to see the Raccoon’s foraging for food in all parts of the city, some you will even see at the waters edge fishing for clams and mussels while enjoying a soak in the sea.

The Squirrels are the most visible all around the city, in fact, the Grey Squirrels that you will encounter were actually given to Vancouver as a present from New York where in the eastern part of North America is where they naturally reside. The Park was given two in the early part of the twentieth century, and, within a few decades the population has grown to a considerably large population, so much so that they thrive and have become one of the most dominant animals in the area.
Coyotes are very popular in and around Vancouver, yet they are hard to catch as they are quite elusive, if you are going to see them it will likely be after dark.

WATER DWELLERS
At the seawall and if you have a keen eye, look out along the water you may just see a head pop up from below the surface, this will likely be a sea lion taking a wee look at the tourists in between some hunting for fish.

Down at the Lost Lagoon there is no shortage of cool animals that reside around this small but stunning lake. As well as the herons wading in the water, take a look at the rocks and you will see Turtles, plenty of species of ducks and other wonderful birds.

For further information on the local ecology click here: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/urban-wildlife/other-wildlife-resources/

And of course the Vancouver Aquarium that is located close to the Lost Lagoon: http://www.vanaqua.org/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 2. Family Activities

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In the second part of our ‘Exploring Stanley Park’ series we shall be explaining about the very best of family orientated activities you can do and the very best places to dine in with the family around the park.

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
One of the more popular destinations within Stanley Park, the aquarium has something to offer for all ages in the family, with fabulous exhibitions that will wow the children, and, more in depth details regarding the local ecology of the Pacific North West waters for the adults to understand and enjoy.
Website and informationhttp://www.vanaqua.org/

WATER-PARK & SWIMMING POOLS
With Summer really settling in now and some hot days to enjoy when visiting the park why not take the kids to the Water Park for some splish splashing fun! The water park is located close to the Miniature Train and Aquarium.
Water park Informationhttp://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-water-park.aspx

There is also a great open air outdoor Pool to enjoy close to Second Beach and playgrounds within the meadows.
Second Beach Outdoor Pool: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/second-beach-pool.aspx

MINIATURE TRAIN
A huge hit with the children. A beautiful 2km train ride through the magical forests and lakes of Stanley Park, you will step back in time on a miniature replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway #374, famous for pulling Canada’s first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s.

STANLEY PARK PLAYGROUNDS
There are quite a few playgrounds for the young kids to enjoy while the rest of the family can just laze in the sun with a nice picnic, what a perfect way to watch the world go by and soak up the local wildlife and scenery.
Further information on the Playgrounds in the park:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-playgrounds.aspx

HORSE AND CART
Tired of walking? Love horses? Well why don’t you experience the park using the good old fashioned Horse and Cart…its pretty awesome!
Horse and cart information:http://www.stanleypark.com/Schedules%20&%20Rates_Group%20Rates.html

PITCH AND PUTT
Located close to the famous FISH HOUSE RESTAURANT, this pitch and putt could not be in a more idyllic location in the park. Here you can spend some leisurely few hours with a game that will keep everyone entertained, with 18 holes ranging from 40 to 100 yards, this is perfect for people who just want to have some fun and if you are a beginner, well begin here!
Further information:http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-pitch-putt.aspx
The Fishhouse restaurant information http://www.fishhousestanleypark.com/

CYCLING THE SEAWALL
Stanley park is best seen while cycling around the Seawall, it is a stunning way to capture the very best scenery around the 10km seawall, it is also predominantly a flat ride so nothing strenuous, just a leisurely trip that will blow you away with the stunning setting of the North Shore mountains, Burrard Inlet and notable natural attractions that are dotted around the park.
Please see the front desk for Bike hire information and vouchers.
English Bay Bike Rentals information http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Exploring Stanley Park. Part 1. Landmarks of the Park

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Stanley Park truly is the jewel in the crown in the city of Vancouver – it is located right next to our district of the West End with Downtown Vancouver nestled by its side. On August 24th and 25th the park will be celebrating its 125th birthday and there will be plenty of celebrations to mark this occasion. Please check our website for upcoming details of the events as and when they will be announced. We will be writing a series of blogs so are up to speed with everything you need to know about this beautiful destination.

The park is pretty big, in fact, it is roughly the same size as the downtown core of the city itself with the sea wall encircling the outside perimeter of the park at a distance of around 10km. It can easily be explored in a few days if you wish to really look at what this stunning park has to offer. We will like to highlight the very best that Stanley Park has to offer, so let us guide you around so you know what to do once you come by and visit.

LANDMARKS OF STANLEY PARK
There are many notable landmarks to visit in the park that are full of art and natural areas of interest.

Lost Lagoon
The Lost Lagoon is an important area that has a major influence on the local ecosystem and biodiversity in the park, it was formerly a tidal mudflat until the Stanley park causeway was built through the middle of the park – now it is a body of freshwater that acts as a natural filtration system in the park. The flora and fauna is very rich around the lagoon and you will be mesmerized by the fantastic colours of the plant life. The animals that live here are quite diverse too, the lagoon is a natural sanctuary for a wide variety of species.

Beaver Lake
Found in the very middle of the park like a small oasis away from the main drag, this is an area that is a peaceful, tranquil spot that is great to just drift away and reflect.
Like the Lost lagoon, Beaver Lake serves a purpose for natural biodiversity and if you like Ducks, well there are plenty of species to take a look at.
The lake is actually rapidly disappearing due to human influences around the park and overtime has been filling up with sediment – conservationists are working very hard to try and save the lake from filling up altogether.

For further information on the Stanley Park ecology plans – please click here: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/stanley-park-ecological-action-plan-01102011.pdf

Hollow Tree
One of the most significant landmarks in the park and has also been at the center of controversy over the years regarding whether or not the tree should be left alone or removed.
The tree is the remnants of the stump from a 700 year old Cedar tree and has been wowing people for many many years, it become a major feature by tourists since the park opened way back in 1888.
In 2006, Stanley park was seriously damaged by a major windstorm that swept across Vancouver and in the process felled many of the trees in the park along its western flank – many parts of the park were damaged as well as the sea wall which had to undergo major reconstruction. The hollow tree itself became very very unstable after the wind storm and many of the soils around the tree rapidly eroded.

Siwash Rock
35 Million years in the making this is a stunning beacon of a natural geological process on the western side of the park along the seawall.
Standing at a height of 18 metres tall (60 feet) the rock which is known as a basalt stack and is the remnants of magma that was forced up to the surface through a fissure from a volcanic dyke. It is a symbolic relic that has been ingrained in indigenous folklore. It is believed that the rock was a man who was transformed into rock “as an indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood.”

Prospect Point
By far one the best vantage points to view the stunning scenery from Stanley Park of the North Shore, the Burrard inlet and English Bay.
There is also a cute cafe at the point so you can soak up the views and have a bite to eat while you are there.

For further information on the park: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-125.aspx

Enjoy the great outdoors & the spectacular scenery in and around Vancouver…

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The Summer season is here so that means its time to get out there and explore the best scenery that the local surroundings have to offer…

THE NORTH SHORE and WALKING/HIKING TRAILS
The cities of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Deep Cove are truly quite specalur areas to visit when you are coming to Vancouver. The North Shore is home to the the three Mountain peaks which are Cypress, Grouse and Seymour – and with the best weather soon to really dig in, we highly recommend that you visit these peaks for the incredible views alone.

The North Shore website: http://vancouversnorthshore.com/

It is also a great time of year to get the walking boots on and explore the multitude of trails and popular hiking paths.

We have some suggestions of a few trails that we feel are the most popular!

BADEN POWELL TRAIL
The Baden Powell trail connects Lynn Canyon to the gorgeous small town of Deep Cove…it is a relatively gentle trail that is 12km long and pet friendly. Along the way you will get to see the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge (Which is smaller than the Capilano Suspension Bridge and FREE), also you will come across the Lynn Canyon and Indian Arm – the scenery is truly stunning.
Allow yourself around 5 hours or so to complete the trail.

http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/baden-powell-deep-cove-to-lynn-canyon/

KAYAKING at DEEP COVE
We adore Deep Cove, it is a small town situated at the eastern side of the North Shore where the Burrard Inlet meets the Indian Arm Fjordway which separates Grouse Mountain and Seymour Mountain.
In the Summer this is a fantastic place to head out too (especially if you have a vehicle) It is also quite easy to get too via public transport (Ask the front desk for the details).

Deep Cove is also one of the best areas to go Kayaking, you can kayak your way around the natural cove itself and onto Indian Arm where you will be treated with some stunning Scenery.

http://www.deepcovekayak.com/

Deep Cove Website: http://www.deepcovebc.com/

THE GROUSE GRIND
Grouse Mountain is by far one of the most popular destinations to visit in Vancouver and it is just around the corner from the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Once all the snow has melted (usually all gone by mid July or so) then the Grouse Grind Hiking trail is open for business. many of us will have enjoyed this popular trail due to the challenge of tackling such a famous trail. It is one that you have to work at as it is a lot of steps to get to the top, but once there it will be well worth it. On average the regular person will complete that trail in 90 minutes to a couple of hours…the crazy fit professionals who run up the hill like there is no tomorrow can complete it in under an hour…sheesh!

http://www.grousemountain.com/grousegrind

CYCLING & BIKE RENTALS
Vancouver is fast becoming a cycling kind of city and over the last few years it is very noticeable the changes that have been occurring with regards to encouraging people to cycle more and more – the evidence is with all the new bike paths that are plentiful around the city.

We do encourage you to do this as its a fantastic way to see the sights of Stanley Park, False Creek or even Granville Island, you can even transport your bike with the public transit system on the front of each bus and the skytrain (although at peak hours you are not permitted to bring the bike on the skytrain).

We recommend English Bay Bike rentals: http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

City cycling information: http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/cycling-routes-maps-and-trip-planner.aspx

Translink Cycle Maps: http://www.translink.ca/en/Getting-Around/Cycling/Cycling-Maps.aspx