Maybe you’ve heard the term. Maybe you haven’t. They’re lululemon clad, stubborn Blackberry users who love our organic produce and have learned to tolerate constant rain. They’ve memorized the two sole skytrain station routes (the city’s metro equivalent) and don’t feel an umbrella’s necessary until a hurricane hits. They love their smoked salmon, can’t get enough of the authentic multicultural city cuisine and can fondly remember the 2010 Winter Olympic Games like it was just last week (especially winning men’s hockey gold). Simple, green, innovative, proud … and Canadian as can be.
We’re not going to sugarcoat this – clouds are often looming above this city, thereby threatening rain. Despite this, Vancouverites everywhere are dressed in a splendid variety – some sport the shorts and dresses, silently begging the sun to make an appearance. Others admit defeat and don the toques (yes, beanies for you Americans) and the year-round boots. The skytrain allows for the rider to watch the scenery outside the train ride go from suburban orderliness to the sprawl of tall office buildings and apartment towers. Even better — the urban downtown sophistication is surrounded by the view of snow-capped mountaintops, a frequent destination for the common avid skiers and snowboarders, illustrating the signature combination of city and country that Vancouver offers to the world.
Vancouverites have a lot to be proud of – the magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery that surrounds the downtown area, the fresh spring water and organic produce, environmentally conscious lifestyles and of course the handsome Vancouver Canucks (though maybe much more in previous years).
Perhaps one of Vancouver’s most redeeming qualities is the sense of unity fostered within the city. There are many events during the year that attracts over hundreds of thousands of residents from a multitude of communities. The HSBC Celebration of Lights (re-sponsored by Honda this year) attracts about 400,000 spectators along the sandy coast at English Bay. The four evenings of fireworks dispersed among the end of July/beginning of August have become a special event most people will plan around, usually with an afternoon at the beach and perhaps a picnic dinner with family and friends, providing a source of good memories for all and a tradition to many.
During last year’s playoff season, the City of Vancouver rented monster sized screens, closed off major intersections downtown and hosted a public viewing party of the Canucks in the last series in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Though the team ended up facing a devastating defeat in the very last game of their playoff run, the city cheered them on until the very end. That same city would like to clarify that it was a group of a very few malicious people who started and maintained the infamous postgame riots, and that the rest of the city (true fans) showed up the next day, making flags and cleaning up the debris in support of their hockey heroes. In addition to the TD jazz festivals, the Playland amusement park summertime fun and the hiking/biking adventures the tourism boasts, it seems Vancouver’s recipe for success is the sheer sense of pride and unity the city exhibits via diverse and large scale events, whether planned or not.
So if you haven’t yet visited this magnificent city, ask yourself – why not? The mix of culture, lifestyle, green and concrete will be enough to satisfy all of your vacation must-sees and dos. And if you visit during playoff season, you may find yourself enjoying the Canucks game on a giant screen sitting on Georgia St. among a crowd of enthusiastic Vancouverite fans proudly cheering on their boys – we have no doubt you’ll feel right at home.