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Attractions Vancouver

25 Budget-Friendly Summer Activities

Live music, outdoor movies and bathtub races—here are 25 of the best things in life that truly are free, and a few that come pretty darn close

Sunset Beach is home to ocean views and public art, including “217.5 Arx x 13,” a steel sculpture by French artist Bernar Venet (Photo by KK Law)

By CHLOË LAI

1. Braving the crisp waters of English Bay to reach the floating dock waterslide, which rockets you right back into the waves from whence you came.

2. Clambering all over public art pieces from the Vancouver Biennale, like the curved “217.5 Arc x 13” at Sunset Beach, cast-bronze “A-maze-ing Laughter” figures at English Bay and oversized “Public Furniture | Urban Trees” at Spanish Banks Beach.

3. Hiking the 2,830 steps of the Grouse Grind, locally known as the best way to build buns of steel, and gaining a new appreciation for the scenic (and sweat-free) gondola ride down Grouse Mountain afterwards. (more…)

David Milne Exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

“White Trees in a Green Valley” by David Milne (Photo by Leif Norman)

To Sep. 9, 2018 Have paintbrush, will travel. A phrase that neatly sums up David Milne’s half-century career, which took the prolific painter from New York to European battlefields to the Canadian wilderness. The artist is famous for his “war watercolours,” created as an official war artist in WWI, which used an innovative drybrush technique to quickly craft the vibrant works. See pioneering paintings such as “White Trees in a Green Valley” (pictured) at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s David Milne: Modern Painting.

Adventures by SkyTrain: Vancouver’s Trains Take You to Exciting Places

By LUCAS AYKROYD
July 2018

Photo by Edgar Bullon/Dreamstime.com

Exploring Metro Vancouver by SkyTrain this summer is a fast, fun, and family-friendly way to go beyond the downtown core. (more…)

Splash into Summer: Making the Most of Vancouver’s Ocean Playground

In this seaside city, there’s more than one way to hit the water

By CHLOË LAI

Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres’ kayaks provide the perfect vantage point for stunning souvenir snaps (Photo by KK Law)

Power Up Your Paddle

Truth is, the best seat in the house isn’t in the house at all: it’s out on the water. Set out on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres and glide through False Creek to soak up prime views of the city. Say hello to herons and seals as you navigate between the daydream-inspiring yachts and sailboats—as well as the occasional pirate ship—that cruise around Granville Island. For more peaceful paddling, join one of Ecomarine’s sunset tours, or head up to Deep Cove Kayak Centre to explore the tree-lined Indian Arm fjord. (more…)

5 Scenic Sites for Souvenir Snaps

Must-see public art, natural wonders and cultural icons

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Jun. 2018

Photo ©JamesVancouver/istock.com

Siwash Rock
Stanley Park Seawall

The ribbon of seawall that winds its way around Stanley Park has plenty of sublime sights, but chief among them is iconic Siwash Rock. Located between Lions Gate Bridge and Third Beach, the outcropping has stood sentinel at this spot for an estimated 32 million years—long (like really, really long) before Captain George Vancouver sailed these waters. According to Squamish First Nations legend, the stone is a man who was transformed by supernatural beings, forever immortalized as a reward for being unselfish. A noble legend, and one that may explain why Siwash remains completely unruffled by all the attention. (more…)

Canada Day 2018: How to Celebrate in Vancouver

By CHLOË LAI

Perfectly punny cup from Indigo

Jul 1, 2018 Canada Day kicks off festivities across the city, many of them glorious and free. Swing over to Granville Island for live music courtesy of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, or to Creekside Park, where hopeful percussionists attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for most nationalities in a drum circle. Then dance your way down to Canada Place for crowd-pleasing concerts and a fireworks finale. Need Canuck swag? Indigo is a treasure trove of True North–themed souvenirs, from fun pillows to campsite-ready mugs.

Douglas Coupland Makes Waves at the Vancouver Aquarium

BY CHLOË LAI 

Douglas Coupland’s “Vortex” is on display at the Vancouver Aquarium until spring 2019 (Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

To spring 2019 Decades ago, when Vancouver-based artist Douglas Coupland first started working with plastic, the material seemed “eternal, shiny and happy.” That changed when Coupland discovered plastic bottles from Tokyo washed up on the remote beaches of Haida Gwaii. His newest exhibit, Vortex, uses plastic marine debris collected along BC’s coast to reimagine the Pacific Trash Vortex—also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—in a series of playful, thought-provoking installations. The centrepiece, a small Japanese fishing boat set adrift in the 2011 tsunami, is now home to four figures, including a tweed-jacketed Andy Warhol. In a tank nearby, tiny fish dart through a multi-coloured LEGO “reef.” Across the room, blue blubber jellyfish and yellow-capped plastic bottles bob and drift in perfect harmony. Long shelves showcase assorted flotsam and jetsam, such as a plastic Snapple bottle cap emblazoned with the company’s slogan: “Made From the Best Stuff on Earth.” Intrigued? Dive into this thought-provoking exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium.

 

Science World: Ripley’s Believe It or Not

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Interact with a vast collection of fascinating artifacts, discoveries and displays from around the world at Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

To Apr. 22, 2018 Step right up! At Science World, kids of all ages can explore the unbelievable at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibit. Inside this “odditorium” of artifacts, discover the science behind the truly amazing and absurd, such as micro-sculptures that can pass through the eye of a needle, and a life-size model of a prehistoric snake. Or stand on your tiptoes to see how you measure up against the world’s tallest man. Experiments, specimens, challenges and multimedia installations help budding explorers glimpse the weird and wonderful world of Robert Ripley. Strange, but true.

Best Places to Spot Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Mar. 2018

Cherry blossoms mark the beginning of springtime in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival)

When it comes to springtime celebrations, no one paints the town pink quite like the cherry blossom. The city is home to more than 40,000 cherry trees, which line streets and populate parks with dazzling rosy-hued displays. Sakura spotters make a beeline for Stanley Park, VanDusen and Nitobe Memorial Garden for some of the city’s best bloom-filled views. For more flower-themed fun, head to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (Apr. 3 to 29) for haiku contests, picnics, concerts, arts and culture events, and much more. A perfect bash to celebrate the beautiful buds.

Vancouver Art Gallery: Takashi Murakami

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Photo of Takashi Murakami by Maria Ponce Berre/MCA Chicago

To May 6, 2018 Even if you’re not familiar with Takashi Murakami, you probably know his art. When his bright, whimsical works aren’t being exhibited in the MoMA or Palace of Versailles, they’re splashed across Louis Vuitton purses and Kanye West album covers. Now, one of Japan’s most imaginative and important artists brings his anime-inspired pieces to the Vancouver Art Gallery for Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. The first-ever Canadian retrospective of the esteemed artist’s work features 55 playful paintings and sculptures that pair pop art with traditional Japanese culture. It’s the perfect intro.

Cute Creatures at the Vancouver Aquarium

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Feb. 2018

Hardy, one of the Vancouver Aquarium’s rescued sea otter pups, strikes an adorable pose. (Photos courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

You don’t have to deep-sea dive to discover the wonders of the ocean—simply ride the tides to the Vancouver Aquarium. Inside, find 50,000 incredible animals ranging from sloths to sea otters. Roll up your sleeve and pet a stingray, pop over to Penguin Point, tour the tropics, and discover all the life flourishing right here on BC’s coast. And don’t just bring home memories—the gift shop carries an array of souvenirs such as jewellery, Inuit art, plush toys, local cookbooks and upcycled glass sea stars that are worth the suitcase space. Bonus: gift-shop purchases fund aquarium programs that keep oceans wonderful. Now that’s deep.

Art: Masters of the Northwest Coast

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Get a glimpse of something truly spectacular at the Masters of the Northwest Coast exhibit.

To Sep. 30, 2017 There’s no denying that the Pacific Northwest is easy on the eyes. There are stunning coastlines, majestic mountains and, of course, eye-catching First Nations art. To see works by some of the best Indigenous artists in the West, head to Douglas Reynolds Gallery for Masters of the Northwest Coast. The exhibit features masks, sculptures, jewellery, carvings and more by famed artists like Bill Reid, Beau Dick and Robert Davidson. Pure eye candy.