Cities on the edge of Nature – Vancouver, in ever changing shades of green
Vancouver on the west coast of Canada, with its stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Olympus Mountains, is said to be one of the best places in the world to live. And the impressive 400 hectare Stanley Park as well as the Salish Sea, a popular whale-watching location, are both on its doorstep. Like Victoria, Vancouver is certainly another wonderful city on the edge of nature.
Stanley Park is just one of a number of green spaces in and around the city. It has miles of walking trails through temperate rainforest teaming with wildlife including bald headed eagles and raccooons, as well as sandy beaches, First Nations’ totem poles and beautiful gardens.
Vancouver is also said to be one of the cleanest cities in the world and the mayor has pledged that by 2020 it will be one of the greenest cities too.
Unfortunately, I only have one morning here but it starts with a fabulous zodiac tour with Sea Vancouver. You’ll find their offices in Westin Bayshore Vancouver Hotel on Bayshore Drive. Here we don the bright red survival suites that make you waddle like a duck when you walk in them. They keep you nice and warm as you zoom across the waves and act as a floatation device should you happen to fall in. I didn’t put that to the test though. The tour takes you around Vancouver Harbour through Burrard Inlet around Stanley Park and into False Creek. With plenty of information about the city provided by the skipper the trip is not only great fun, it’s really interesting too.
Granville Island and the Public Market
With plans to become a zero waste zone, Granville Island, is a vibrant example of a thriving eco-friendly community. I had heard a lot about it and in particular its fabulous food market, known as Granville Island Public Market, so while Gary from Tips for Travellers took to the water again with Ecomarine Paddlesport, I went in search of some tasty treats.
One stall that immediately catches my eye is Coconama or rather it’s the flock of people around the stall that I first notice. With a wonderful selection of chocolate from Green Tea to Mango to Chilli, they are extremely generous in letting me sample some superb combinations. Each one is sublime and it’s hard to pick out a favourite but eventually I whittle my choice down to two. I quickly buy a couple of pots and head indoors before any more chocolate makes its way to my hips.
Piles and piles of blackberries, raspberries and cherry tomatoes. Heaps of carrots. Purples, pinks, reds and oranges. Not to mention every shade of green. The delicious smell of the freshest of fresh fruit and vegetables hangs in the air. As I wander further into the market there are so many enticing stalls with every type of cuisine from around the world on offer, I feel as if I’m absorbing calories via osmosis. It all looks and smells so good I’m rather disappointed that lunch is booked else where.
Back outside the sun is shinning. The mild weather here is another reason Vancouver is such a great place to live and visit. I sit down for a while and do a spot of people (and bird) watching. There’s a real holiday atmosphere.
For lunch I meet up with the rest of the group at The Sandbar, on Johnston Street and have a fabulous meal with a glorious view of False Creek. Specialising in fish and seafood, they also serve burgers, sushi, stir frys, soups and salads. There’s so many things on the menu it’s hard to make a decision.
Vancouver and I are just getting to know each other but it’s time to go. First impressions are good though. Very good. I leave already hoping to be back one day. In particular I’d love to explore Stanley Park. Vancouver is a green city in every sense of the word, from the green Salish sea, the evergreen forests and the eco-friendly policies even our hotel, The Burrard, had this lovely green courtyard slap bang in the middle of it.
Inspired and want to find out more? Visit Explore Canada.
I visited Vancouver as a guest of Destination Canada as part of a Travelator Media campaign.