Most would agree that Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And while it does not have the excitement and vibrancy of a supercity such as Hong Kong, or the colourful multicultural pockets of sprawling Toronto, it does have plenty of fresh air, a laid back west coast lifestyle, and stunning natural scenery with plenty of outdoor activities. No wonder it is consistently listed among the top cities to live. The only downside is that it rains often – probably a small price to pay for the lush greenery and blooms everywhere. The upside is, when the weather is good, it is really good.
On my way from Hong Kong to Toronto, I managed a weekend stopover for a quick family visit, and spent a half-day downtown taking some photos and enjoying the great spring weather. Here are some pics.
Olympic Village Waterfront
The Olympic Village was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics/Paralympics, and is located on the southern shoreline of False Creek. The apartment buildings that were used to house the athletes are now residential condos, a portion of which are designated “affordable housing units”. Not bad considering Vancouver’s sky-high real estate prices. Across the water you can see Science World with it’s distinctive IMAX dome, and also the large BC Place stadium (home of the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps FC).
This traditional Chinese garden is located in Chinatown, and is in fact two separate spaces; the park area is open to the public, whereas the actual “Classical Chinese Garden” is accessible with an admission fee. The two sections are connection by an artificial pond – the photos here are from the public park side. The walled garden/park is quite small, yet contains a good variety of trees and flowers. Apparently everything in the garden is arranged with proper Feng Shui in mind, and it really is a peaceful oasis in the middle of downtown Vancouver.
Every time I am in Vancouver, I seem end up at Granville Island at some point. With its busy public market and many craft studios, it is undoubtedly a bit of a tourist trap, but I like the atmosphere nonetheless. It’s a good example of a former industrial manufacturing area revitalized for tourism and entertainment – much better than being torn down to make space for overpriced condo developments (of which Vancouver has plenty). This place has some character, and a good spot to relax, have a coffee, and people-watch. Buskers often find a captive audience here. The waterfront facing the Granville Street Bridge and luxury apartments is quite nice, too.