Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Biking and Boating around Vancouver!

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The season has now begun where you can get out and about to see Vancouver in some serious detail. The best way to do this is by renting a bike or going on a small boat cruise around the Bay, Harbour and Creek that encircle the city.

ENGLISH BAY BIKE RENTALS
English Bay bike rentals are really very good. They have an extensive selection of bikes to choose from, and they are really decent so biking at your leisure will be comfortable and effortless.
They are also experts regarding repairs and general maintenance here, so if you have a question or a problem – just ask them for help!

If you like the bikes that much, they even sell the bikes – check their website for special deals and sales on these items. Also ask at the Front desk for further details and coupons.

http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

FALSE CREEK FERRIES
When you are visiting Vancouver and you are in the vicinity of False Creek there is a very good chance that you will use their cute little false creek ferry to get to your destination such as Science World and Granville Island.

They also do larger tours of False Creek itself, this is something we feel you will enjoy, along the way you will get to see stunning views of the downtown area, the Olympic Village, Granville Island Public Market and the mouth of English Bay.

http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/sightseeing.htm

HARBOUR CRUISES AND EVENTS
Harbour Cruises are based in Coal Harbour, they do great tours around the north side of the city in the inlet that separates North Vancouver and Vancouver City itself.
These tours include travelling up Indian Arm and the small town of Deep Cove, evening Dinner Cruises and tours to see the annual fireworks display in English Bay.

http://www.boatcruises.com/

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE!!!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

At the Sunset Inn we really really do love chocolate and we are pretty sure that many of you love the Chocolate too! So we are going to recommend some of the best little Chocolate shops in town.

If you are unsure about these little sweet treats, why not buy a box and use the Sunset Inn Staff as Guinea Pigs – we are all about the customer service and if we need to take the fall and test your chocolate just come to us at the front desk and we will taste test the product…

There are a few Chocolate makers in the area worth mentioning as they are not only at the top of their game, but, they are also world renowned and proudly Canadian – they have truly stuck to their methods and their roots.

First up is our Manager of the Inn Michael’s pick – he mentioned this place without hesitation – so his choice of chocolate is at Thierrys.

THIERRY | CHOCOLATE PATISSERIE CAFE
Located not too far away on ROBSON ST in the heart of the Vancouver Shopping district. This cute Patasserie will delight your taste buds with their incredible selection of sweets and other delightful delicacies….it will just be like dining at a wonderful Parisian cafe.

1059 Alberni Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 1A1

http://www.thierrychocolates.com

ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHOCOLATE FACTORY
The Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory is the place to be if you want to see how the yummy sweet chocolate is made. You can take the family there to see how the chocolate process is made from scratch…this is quite a Canadian affair too, so get there and enjoy!

1017 Robson St
Vancouver
(604) 688-4100

https://rockymountainchocolatefactory.com

ROGERS CHOCOLATE – GRANVILLE ISLAND
Rogers were founded in Victoria on Vancouver Island way back in 1885 when Charles ‘Candy’ Rogers would make Candies and sell them from the back of his shop in Victoria…he then went onto become a successfull choclate maker and the rest as they say is history….

1571 Johnston St Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
(778) 371-7314

http://www.rogerschocolates.com

Happy Easter everyone!

Vancouver has been nominated as Earth Hour Capital 2013

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Vancouver is now proud to be awarded the accolade of The Earth Capital of 2013 due to its ongoing efforts to become a greener and more sustainable city in an ever changing climate. This has come in time for the annual Earth Day celebrations that will be happening this Saturday around the world.

http://www.earthday.ca/pub/

This coming weekend is the annual Earth Day – Earth Hour celebrations – this year, the city of Richmond to the south of Vancouver will be host to celebrate this in festival fashion for the 7th year of this occasion. If you decide to bring the family down, you will be entertained with Live music, environmental exhibits, art, dancing, food and much much more…

http://www.hellobc.com/servicefelisting/all-events/4549664/earth-day-celebration-richmond.aspx?KWDS=&LOCID=646&NBY=True&FLID=646&PN=2

Vancouver has a rich history steeped in environmentalism and it makes sense that this city would be so, just by taking a look at the local surroundings – there is a great appreciation of the land it resides in and the importance of retaining each and every ecosystem that is interwoven to each other, this is what puts Vancouver in the driving seat for the cause. The climate and geography of the area is rich in abundance of some incredible species of wildlife and plant-life with areas of special significance that is unique to us alone.

Vancouver is home to some major organizations that are now world renowned for their efforts in conservation, please take a look at some of the links below if you are interested in this.

GREENPEACE
Most of us know who Greenpeace are.
Founded in Vancouver on September 15th, 1971, Greenpeace has grown to become the world’s largest, independent environmental organization.

http://www.greenpeace.org

THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION
David Suzuki is one of the most influential persons to come from Vancouver when it comes to working within the environmental cause. The David Suzuki foundation was created in 1990 and it has grown steadily to be quite a force to be reckoned with. Its primary goal is to bring awareness to the masses of the environmental battle and to create a sustainable practice that will conserve the environment while working with Government, local business and individuals through Scientific research.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org

THE LAND CONSERVANCY
The Land Conservancy is a non for profit charitable land trust that works to preserve and protect lands of significant importance through the process of acquisition.
TLC are modeled after The National Trust in Britain, it is the only organization of is kind that recognizes the importance of the wilderness around us in BC and will do all it takes to enable long term protection of these important land masses that require extensive conservation.

http://blog.conservancy.bc.ca/

A few ideas for Easter in Vancouver 2013

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Easter weekend is fast approaching. Check out the events that are happening in the area and if you wish to find a place for worship there will be a list of churches at the end of this blog.

STANLEY PARK MINIATURE RAILWAY – All, $8.75 per child and includes train ride and Easter egg hunt / $3.50 per adult to ride the train
Spring has sprung at the Stanley Park Miniature Train. Ride the train, hunt for Easter eggs, enjoy Easter themed crafts and visit with the Easter Bunny. Easter egg hunts take place throughout the day. Bring your own Easter basket.

March 25 2013, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/easter-at-the-stanley-park-miniature-train-march25.aspx

EASTER ON GROUSE MOUNTAIN – Easter Brunch, Easter Egg Hunts & the Easter Bunny
This year’s Easter festivities will feature delicious brunch classics for all ages and an exciting Easter Egg hunt led by the Easter Bunny himself.

Between 10am and 2pm, we will be offering a 3-course prix fixe and a children’s buffet menu. Call 604.998.5045 to reserve your table.

http://www.grousemountain.com/events/easter-brunch-2013

PLACES OF WORSHIP
Churches in the DOWNTOWN AREA- http://www.yelp.ca/search?cflt=religiousorgs&find_loc=Downtown%2C+Vancouver%2C+BC

Churches in the WEST ENDhttp://www.yelp.ca/search?cflt=religiousorgs&find_loc=West+End%2C+Vancouver%2C+BC

The Cherry blossoms are starting to dominate the streets of Vancouver.

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival gets under way this April, but that does not mean that you have to wait until then to enjoy these spectacular trees in bloom. Some of the trees are beginning to bloom quite nicely as many have actually started to show off their pink and whites during the middle of January.

As of this date (March 18th) and under gloriously Sunny skies, some of the blossoms in the West End, notably along Jervis St and Beach Avenue are already reaching full bloom on either sides of the streets, and if the weather holds up like this for a few more days, we can expect to see more signs of the mass awakening that is Spring in the city.

The link below is an interactive map that you can scroll your mouse over, so you can specifically pick and choose the area you will be in and what kind of tree is there.

http://www.vcbf.ca/maps/Map.html

The festival is a great appreciation of these majestic trees, and if you go and check out their official Webpage page, you will be able to track the progress of these trees at their locations all over the city. Some of the best places to see them are in the West End, Kitsilano and at The Burrard Street Sky train station – at this location, once these trees are fully blooming you find yourself under a canopy of startling bright pink and whites, a stunning welcome in the heart of Vancouver.

See the listings below for more events regarding the festival and for further reading on the blossoms.
http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/cherry_blossoms/

These are the 5 best spots to view the blossoms….

http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2012/03/17/the-5-best-spots-to-view-cherry-blossoms-now/

And if you really want to get serious about plants and more, look no further than Queen Elizabeth Park and The UBC Botanical Gardens.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx

http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/

Explore the Georgia Strait and beyond as Whale watching Season is coming soon!

Monday, March 11th, 2013

In a little under a month the volume of Orca Whales will hopefully start to dramatically increase in numbers, and this can mean only one thing….Whale Watching Season has truly begun!

http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/activities-attractions/whale-watching/

As has been mentioned before, this area of the world is enriched with some amazing nature and wildlife out there, and along with the mass migration of birds in the air, beneath those chilly waters of the Pacific North West we have another type of mass movement happening below.

The most common Whales that many wish to see out on the ocean are the stunning Orca (Killer Whales). If you are out there on a good day you may witness a handful of Whales, however, if you are extremely lucky, you can be the few who will witness Pods of up to 100 whales at a given time….crazy!

Not only are there Orca’s, but you may even get the chance to see Humpback Whales, Mink Whales, Grey Whales and Dolphins…also, where there are these creatures, there will be birds too…you may even catch a swooping Bald Eagle.

Many will know about the Whale Watching industry in the area – and if this is your thing, you will not be let down. The Vancouver area is ideally situated for this industry to thrive so you will have a variety of options to get out onto the seas, so you too can witness this spectacular passing migration of many sea-faring species.

Some tours do operate all year round, while others are just more seasonal, please check out the links below for tours that may suit your needs – and remember, you can always just come to the Front Desk where the staff will be able to assist in booking a suitable tour for you.

PRINCE OF WHALES
Operating all year round and located not only in Vancouver but Victoria too.

http://www.princeofwhales.com/

WILD WHALES VANCOUVER
Wild Whales are based down on Granville Island, so not a million miles from us and definitely an area to visit while you are down there….you can reserve your spot with us at the Front Desk.

http://www.whalesvancouver.com/

STEVESTON SEABREEZE ADVENTURES
Steveston is a very cute fishing village that is close to the US border, this place is quaint cute and cool and is somewhere unique to explore as it has character that looks nothing like Vancouver, so if you are more adventurous than others and want to explore some pretty neat areas and fancy a bit of Whale Watching, this will be ideal for you!

http://www.seabreezeadventures.ca/whale-watching-vancouver/

Here are a couple of cool little tidbits…a couple of years ago, a lone Grey Whale decided to be a Tourist for a couple of days and wanted to go for a wee swim through English Bay and all the way up through False Creek to its furthest end by Science World…it came by for a couple of days – much to the delight of the visitors that were in the area that day. A very rare occurance but it is not the first time. It is thought that this particular Whale may have not found enough food for its own fat reserves and may have decided to take a drastic turn in its ongoing search for sustenance.

The particular Whale is shown in the picture in the top right hand corner of this page! And check out what the media at CTV News had to say about this…

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/grey-whale-wanders-into-downtown-vancouver-1.509376

And some Surfers in Tofino had a close shave with some Orca’s last week….maybe they wanted to join in the surfing fun, or fancied some fit surfers….we will never know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOtntDW0KnM

Bike, Bus and other Tour Operators…

Monday, March 4th, 2013

One of the regular questions we receive at the hotel is “What is the best way to get around Vancouver?” We have decided to explain how it all works and what are the best options are for you to see the city with the least amount of effort while being informative and as fun as possible.

Using the vehicle may not be the best option within the downtown core, however, we do recommend using the vehicle to go further afield if you are feeling adventurous and will like to go your own way, please make sure that you ask us at the Front Desk for advice and pointers on how to get from A to B.

We will like to introduce you to Tour Operators that will do the hard work for you and really make a day trip work, so you don’t have to get lost and figure it for yourself.

Vancouver has multiple options for you to get around the city, the most obvious being the Public Transportation of either Bus, Skytrain and of course Taxis. The bus and the Skytrain are run by Translink (who also run the Seabus from Vancouver to the city of North Vancouver at Lonsdale Quay). Taxis are everywhere, so when ordering they are usually at the hotel in under 5 minutes.

http://www.translink.ca/

What is so good about the Translink company running the bulk of the public transport is its efficiency, one ticket will last you 90 mins which means you are able to transfer on any mode of transport they offer within that hour and a half, and with Vancouver being a smaller city in consideration, that ticket will get you quite far at a very small cost.

TOUR OPERATORS

BIG BUS SIGHTSEEING TOURS.
As for sightseeing and a tour that will be fun and engaging, you will need to look no further than Big Bus. We have been recommending Big Bus for many many years, we strongly feel that they are one of the best ways to get yourself around Vancouver, they have great knowledge of the city, they are fun, engaging and above all very experienced within this industry. Their routes pretty much hit every major attraction within the city, such as Granville Island, Gastown and Stanley Park.

http://bigbus.ca/home/

There are various tours that they have on offer, the most popular being their Hop on Hop off excursions, you have an option of 1 day or 2 day passes, the best thing about Big Bus is that you can Purchase your ticket directly with us at the Front Desk as the stop is literally just around the corner from us, no more than a 30 second stroll on Thurlow Street. Perfect!

LANDSEA TOURS AND ADVENTURES.
For travelling further afield such as Whistler and Victoria, we will recommend Landsea Tours & Adventures. Landsea Tours are perfect if you have a limited amount of time, and are looking for a day trip to Whistler or Victoria or even the North Shore of Vancouver. The tours will come directly to the Hotel and from here, they will whisk you away to your destination where they will set the agenda that you get to see the major hotspots and have time to sight-see and explore the destination for a few hours.

The Victoria trip also includes the Famous Butchart Botanical Gardens, we highly recommend that if you need to visit Victoria and the Gardens, please consider this tour option, as it will be more productive to let Landsea tours set up your trip, whisk you away from your doorstep with less fuss and more to see!

http://www.vancouvertours.com/

ENGLISH BAY BIKE RENTALS
Located close to English bay on Davie St (a wee 10 minute walk down the hill) You will find these guys! They have a large stock of different bikes to suit your needs that you can use to get around the city, ask the Front Desk so you can get a discount voucher.

http://www.englishbaybikerentals.com/

Just remember, you can purchase your Big Bus and Landsea Tours at the front desk, we can also point you in the right direction for Limo Services if there are 5 or more that would like to travel together…

Celticfest and St Patricks Day Parade.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Spring is coming, it really is, and that means that we will get to see many more fun events to choose from as the season starts to slowly warm and wake from the long Winter slumber.

One of the biggest events that has taken a life of its own is CelticFest and the St Patrick Day celebrations and parade. This festival is quite the phenomena, its funny how all of a sudden we become Irish overnight – and in all honesty, why not? The Irish know how to party, have a great Beer that some of you may know about, they know how to dance, and, if you believe the stereotype, are ‘to be sure’ to have Red hair and will ‘thank you a million’ for coming out to celebrate with them.

The Festival runs from March 9th to March 17th where the big day and Parade concludes this festive period. the festival is one of the biggest of the early Spring season and you should wear something green in solidarity. This years parade follows the same route as 2012

If you want to catch an awesome parade – click on the links below where you can see the best of the St Paddys Day celebrations around Vancouver. The festival attracts well over 300 000 visitors a year featuring dancers, stilt walkers, music, some Irish Wolfhounds and more – so get your Jig on!

http://www.celticfestvancouver.com/parade.php

Popular Irish style pubs to visit are -

Doolins Irish Bar.
A popular favorite on Granville Street right in the heart of the entertainment district (especially the younger crowd) This will be bursting at the seams during the St Paddy Weekend.

http://www.doolins.ca/

Johnnie Fox’s Irish Snug.
A small but cute bar that is opposite Doolins on Granville, this to us is by far one of the most authentic looking Irish bars and really seems to have captured the essence and flavour of what an Irish style bar actually looks like. The food here is fantastic too…!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnnie-Foxs-Irish-Snug/122975751089380

At the time of writing, the webpage for Johnnie Fox’s seems to be under maintenance, please look at the facebook link above as this will be just as beneficial if not more!

Ceili’s
Located a couple of blocks north from Johnnie Fox’s and Doolins, this bar also captures the imagery of what a Celtic themed bar should look like, check out the impressive display of Whisky on the walls there, so many that it takes a wee ladder to find the items.

http://www.ceilis.com/

The Irish Heather
A fantastic Irish Gastropub that has undergone some major renovations over the years. This is fine Irish dining at its best, it has a high end quality to the place without necessarily breaking the bank either, unless you choose the more expensive route. A must see dining out fixture when you are visiting Gastown.

http://www.irishheather.com/

Historical Heritage in the West End

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

When arriving in Vancouver the first thing people seem to notice about its look are the tall Glass Skyscrapers that dominate the downtown Skyline, you can easily think that this is a city that is somewhat bereft of history…but that is not simply not true. If you decide to get around the city by foot, you will be amazed at the pockets of history that are dotted all around, and there are the more obvious older areas sheltered by the tall structures, such as Gastown and Chinatown, some of the oldest areas of the city. http://www.gastown.org/

The West End where we are located is steeped in history, we highly recommend that you take a small stroll all around the district, it will be an excellent way to visit some hidden gems and to see the beauty of the West End area.

Barclay Heritage Square & Roedde House Museum
To get an idea of what Vancouver looked like in the late 1800s you should take a visit to Barclay Heritage Square and the Roedde House Museum.

http://www.roeddehouse.org

This is a great museum that lets you see what a house in the 1800s looked like, all the materials and furniture are originals from that era, and the difference in this museum is that the artifacts are not behind a rope or glass wall they are there for you to get up close with and personal, some items you can even touch!
The house is situated in an area call Barclay Square, its like an oasis of history that is on of the 9 houses heritage buildings that surround the square.

http://www.heritagecanada.org/en/visit-discover/find-historic-places/historic-sites-canada/british-columbia/barclay-heritage-square

Signs that Spring is approaching.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

After spending a great evening with a friend and reminiscing over our usual catch up on nature, (the Crows are always on top of the agenda in this conversation), it inspired that time should be spent on some walking in and around the West End. The forecast was for an improving picture as the day would go on, and judging from what we have seen so far, it indeed is improving, the conditions are certainly what is more akin to late March as opposed to where we are at the moment – February!

We were also debating and comparing predictions about the weather as it had been pretty mild for this time of year, we were wondering if this is game over for Winter, the clues are there, such as the sound of the Spring birds arriving during their migration, it does seem that there is a good chance that it will be a Green Winter, or are we being fooled? Will there be chances of brief snapping stabs of Winter like conditions at the turn of Spring?

The next afternoon was spent sitting in one of the small Inner city Parkways that are used by Pedestrians and Cyclists to pass through, a nice place to take a break and have a moment. This small little Oasis is one of many dotted all around the West End and the rest of Vancouver, they are really cute spots to use and enjoy, you can easily be occupied by all the trees and plant life that have been cultivated around you. There is also no shortage of wildlife to entertain and enthrall as they go about their lives (you will be no stranger to Squirrels, and overnight Skunks and Raccoons), it is easy to actually hear the wildlife even as the city noise buzzes near by, it is really actually not that audible and more of a quieter background hum, the birds conversations really are the dominant sounds of this environment at this time of listening.

On a really beautiful Spring day as today, in this small park alone you can see and hear the hints of a spring stirring up, it is waking the hibernating plant life and other creatures from their long slumber. The sounds of the birds are beginning to change, it is a sure sign that the first birds of Spring are arriving in the city, the area of Canada and the US that is known as the Pacific North West is their regular stop at this time of year. It seems like their migration is a never ending cycle, its almost unfathomable to comprehend at how large the distances some of these birds cover – some spanning the whole globe. The noises of their language is really fascinating to hear, some are like songs, some have the sound that is spoken as if in some Science Fiction setting -as if it came out of the mouth of a robot. Others are not so glamorous, some sound threatening, some sound horrifying and kind of scary, its certainly not dull up there and is a life that is constantly on the go.

It really is quite the sight to see the abundance of trees and plant species around the West End, there is quite the variety to take in. On days like these it is a good time to absorb the colours of the plants as they become illuminated by the sun, marking a vivid contrast among the colours of brown and green. The mountains are also awash with colours that the Sun is beaming its light upon and in between the towering columns of cloud. It seems like an age since Vancouver last saw the sun, yet, when it does make an appearance it has this uncanny effect on us in the city. People seem to have this extra skip in their step and a grin on their faces, with the seawall beginning to get busier with the leisure walkers and joggers making the most of a beautiful day, its quite nice to get a glimpse of Spring in the winter time. Hopefully this is a sign of a good things to come.

So if you are staying at the Sunset Inn and Suites this Spring, make sure that you have a nice stroll around the streets of the West End, it maybe the city, but the nature is all around us, and Spring Season is quite stunning in this area.

Click on the following link from Tourism Vancouver, it explains what you need to do in Spring in Vancouver
http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/7-ways-to-enjoy-spring/