Picture this: towering buildings composed entirely of glass, streets completely dedicated to gastronomical endeavors, lively waterfront attractions and just a few miles away, majestic mountains, elegant waterfalls, forests as far as the eye can see and whatever else your inner John Muir could desire. Sounds pretty good? Well, it’s all there in British Columbia, Canada! Whether you’re a tree hugger or a city dweller, there’s tons of things to do, and it’s all right here on the West Coast (because West coast, best coast, right?). We at the Clog have listed our (hopefully convincing) reasons why BC is worth visiting!
One of the main attractions of BC (if not the), if you haven’t guessed it yet, is the city of Vancouver. It’s chock-full of skyscapers (honestly, it’s real estate is to die for) but it doesn’t feel as crowded and as messy as similar major urban hubs in the U.S. These same beautiful buildings are lined up waterfront where you can walk alongside them and the water. We recommend sticking around until sunset when all of the lights turn on and the glass panels reflect the pinks and oranges of the sky – you need to be there to know what we’re talking about.
Another great place to spend a day in Vancouver is Stanley Park, where you can rent a bike and go around the perimeter of the park (about 6 miles). Most of the biking path is right next to the ocean, where you can see tons of cruise ships coming in for the weekend and the underside of the Lions Gate Bridge, which make for great photo ops! And if biking isn’t your thing, you can always go for a leisurely walk or sit along the water and dip your toes in.
You can also spend half a day at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is stretched 70 meters over the Capilano River. The attraction also has smaller bridges between trees which you can walk around and release the monkey inside you that’s been bottled up since childhood (we know).
For food galore, head down Robson Street or take a trip to Granville Island and its public market (we recommend the salmon chowder – because we’re that extra – and the macarons). They have meats, cheeses, pastries (maple-flavored!), pastas, salads, fruits, seafood, you name it, they got it. You’ll not be disappointed.
If you have some extra time in Vancity, check out the Vancouver Public Library which is modeled after a Roman coliseum. Be sure to just walk around the city as well because lots of TV shows and movies film there and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to run into a set!
Another great town to visit is Victoria, a quiet and adorable town packed full of things to do! The town offers horse-drawn carriage rides for sightseeing and great fish ‘n chips shops if that’s up your alley. For ambitious people, there’s orca whale watching in either a Zodiac or in a larger boat, though you can’t get within 200 feet of the pods for safety reasons. You can also visit the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, which spectacularly lights up at night, and take a tour.
Don’t miss the Butchart Gardens either (unless you have major allergies – you can always just take some Claritin), which are about a 30 minute drive from Victoria. There you can find hundreds of thousands of flowers split into subgroups like the Sunken Garden, Japanese Garden and Italian Garden (which has some bomb rose-flavored ice cream) among many more. In summer, there are small concerts for the visitors and fireworks every Saturday set to show tunes and classic music.
If you must go to British Columbia for just one thing (or if you just have a day or two), go for Whistler. About a 2 hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler is home to a idyllic ski resort complete with great food and great views. The slopes are great in winter but they’re also open in summer for totally tubular BMX riding. Take a ride up the famous and Guinness World Record-holding PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola (both in winter and summer), which spans between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and gives you a great aerial and panoramic view of the surrounding wilderness. There’s usually still a little snow on the mountains, even as late as August.
Whistler is also where the 2010 Winter Olympics took place, so you can check out the village and take pics with The Rings™. In the winter, you can test out the ski runs yourself.
Even on the drive there from Vancouver, you drive right next to the ocean and various lakes which reflect the sky even better than the buildings. You can stop to see waterfalls (usually a short hike from the road) and gaze at the glacier-sculpted mountains lush with trees.
And if the gorgeous nature and great culture of this region haven’t won you over, go for the sake of Canada as a whole! You can eat maple-flavored things to your heart’s desire, listen in wonder to the nuances of the Canadian accent (the way they pronounce “spaghetti” is adorable!) and wish people in America were as polite as Canadians. You just have to go see it for yourself!
Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected].