Vancouver Tourist Activities
Vancouver International Airport serves as a major gateway to western Canada, and is the main airport for the city of Vancouver and its metropolitan area. It is the second largest airport in the country, with over sixteen million passengers per year, and has the official airport code YVR. Many of these passengers are tourists, as Vancouver attractions are widely known around the world. They are not all considered as typical Canadian attractions, as some historical buildings are included, but there is a very popular amusement park, the Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park, which is one of the city’s main draw cards for tourists.
The city of Vancouver is located along the western coast of Canada, and Vancouver Airport is found approximately 12km, or 7.5 miles south of Downtown Vancouver, on Sea Island. To the south is Washington State in the United States, with cities such as Seattle, Everett and Bellingham, and to the north is Whistler. East of Vancouver are the areas of Chilliwack, Kelowna and Kamloops. Approximately 600,000 people reside in the city area of Vancouver, and 2.2 million are found in the metro area. The main languages spoken are Canadian English and Canadian French. The currency used for the city of Vancouver is the Canadian Dollar. Vancouver is often described as one of the most attractive Canadian cities, as it is lodged between sea and snowy mountains. It also boasts tourist attractions in every corner, and will surely leave no visitor disappointed.
Vancouver Attractions – Stanley Park and the Aquarium
On the north-western edge of Downtown Vancouver is Stanley Park, one of the city’s main attractions. It is also found on a peninsula, which is ideal for its purposes. It is the first park of Vancouver, and has therefore existed for around 120 years. Stanley Park is world-famous, as it is one of the greatest urban parks on the globe. Every year, approximately 8 million visitors frequent the park and its many attractions, which include the Vancouver Aquarium, lovely beaches, the Second Beach pool, a kid’s water park and a miniature railway. It covers an area of 1,000 acres, so there is plenty of room for everyone.
The Vancouver Aquarium has thousands upon thousands of sea creatures that include dolphins, sea otters, three-toed sloths and eels. Many entertaining and educational programs are offered at the aquarium, where adults and children can learn more about the lifestyles of such marine life as sea lions, beluga whales, sea turtles, dolphins and many others. There are also opportunities to get ‘up close and personal’ with many of the aquarium’s residents. After a wonderful excursion through the aquarium, many like to take a break at Stanley Park’s numerous superb restaurants and cafes. An excellent variety of foods are available, including seafood at The Fish House. Other restaurants include The Teahouse, Stanley’s Park Bar and Grill and The Prospect Point Restaurant & Café.
Summers at Stanley Park are especially busy, as there are many lovely places to swim, and to have fun in the water. Two beaches are accessible for swimming, and there is a heated fresh-water pool at Second Beach. Plenty of fun awaits at the Variety Kids Water Park, the largest outdoor water park in Vancouver. The Seawall is a famous feature of the park. It is 8.8 kilometres, and is a paved route that surrounds the park and joins the park to Downtown Vancouver. The Seawall is well-used by people on bicycles and rollerblades, and for walking or jogging. Although the Seawall is long, there are many other lovely trails in the park as well. Additional points of interest at Stanley park include the renowned totem-pole display at Brockton Point, the Coast Salish Gateways, the Brockton Point Lighthouse, the ‘Girl in a Wetsuit’ statue at the Seawall and the Jubilee Fountain. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s sights by miniature railway or by horse-drawn carts.
Vancouver Attractions - Beaches
There are many beaches to enjoy in Vancouver, and not only those at Stanley Park. Kitsilano Beach, or the ‘Kits Beach’ is one of the most popular, and includes an outdoor, heated, salt-water pool with some magnificent views of the city, ocean and mountains. It is large as well, three times the size of an Olympic pool. Jericho Beach is a favourite for picnics, and fishing is popular at the Jericho Beach pier, while Spanish Banks is one of Vancouver’s least crowded beaches. In addition, there are the West End Beaches and Wreck Beach, stretching for six kilometres. Lifeguards are available at some of the more popular beaches, and many have facilities such as food outlets. No dogs, alcohol or fires are allowed on most beaches.
Further Vancouver city attractions and attractions nearby
The Christ Church Cathedral is a historic building in New Westminster. It dates back to 1894, and is still a working religious facility. Another popular attraction is the Vancouver Storyeum, in an underground theatre. Visitors will learn about the history of British Columbia and will also see some magnificent dinosaur skeletons in the Gastown exhibition. Playland is Vancouver’s amusement park open from April to the end of September, and is extremely popular for its variety of thrilling rides and other attractions. It also features a wooden rollercoaster that dates back to 1958, still in working condition. Museums of the city include the Vancouver Museum, the Telus World of Science and the Museum of Anthropology, and the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-see for art-lovers.
Nearby, tourists can do some go-karting in Richmond, at the Richmond Go-Karting centre that features a half-mile long track, and see the Capilano Suspension Bridge just a short distance from central Vancouver. The bridge is a famous attraction. It was built in 1889, and stretches 450 feet across the Capilano River. Watermania is found in Richmond as well, with a wave pool, waterslides and springboards. A little further, exciting activities in Whistler are popular, such as white water rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking and canoeing. In the winter, skiing, snowmobiling and sleigh riding are enjoyed.
Further details regarding Vancouver attractions can be found at the British Columbia Visitor Centres in Vancouver Airport.