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Attractions Vancouver

Public Art: Paradise Has Many Gates

By SHERI RADFORD
Oct. 2018

Photo by Caroline Toth

Thanks to the Vancouver Biennale, locals are accustomed to eye-catching artwork springing up all over the city, everything from an upside-down church to a totem pole made of cars. The fourth iteration of this outdoor art exhibition, which runs from 2018 to 2020, kicked off in the summer with “Paradise Has Many Gates” (pictured). Saudi Arabian artist Ajlan Gharem constructed his version of an Islamic mosque from chain-link fence. By evoking thoughts about religion, freedom, imprisonment and interculturalism, this provocative piece fits perfectly into the Biennale’s theme, “re-IMAGE-n.” And its location in Vanier Park guarantees that it is accessible to all, whether for a scholarly discussion about what makes a space sacred, or a leisurely outdoor picnic, or both.

Spirited Sightseeing: Halloween-themed Tours and Activities

By CHLOË LAI
Oct. 2018

The Gastown Steam Clock is located on Water St., one of the most haunted streets in town (Photo ©James Wheeler/Dreamstime.com)

It’s officially spectre-seeking season. Revel in eerie tales of local hauntings with Ghostly Vancouver Tours, hop aboard Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tours to see spooky sites—including the city’s first morgue—or solve a cold-case murder with Vancouver Mysteries. Forbidden Vancouver’s Lost Souls of Gastown tour weaves grisly historical anecdotes into a roving theatre experience, while nightmarish characters, haunted houses and scream-worthy rides await at Fright Nights at Playland. For family-friendly frights, ride The Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train. Happy haunting!

Show-Stealing Walruses at the Vancouver Aquarium

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo courtesy Vancouver Aquarium

Move over, adorable otters. Make way, pint-sized penguins. Magnificently moustachioed walruses have arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium, and they’re a big deal in more ways than one. The first walruses to ever live at the aquarium, Lakina and Balzak are as enormous as they are charming: once fully grown, Lakina could weigh up to 1,700 kg (3,750 lbs) while her half-brother may tip the scales at 3,700 kg (8,150 lbs). They’re also talented “singers,” serenading visitors with deep roars, train-like whistles and more. And did we mention that they’re capable of sucking clams right out of their shells? Get a glimpse of these talented behemoths at the Research Outpost, which is open to the public for the first time. Talk about making a splash.

Double Take: Film & TV Landmarks in Downtown

Hollywood North’s leading architectural landmarks are ready for their close-up

By CHLOË LAI
Sep. 2018

Photo by KK Law

Hotel Europe

Built 1909

As seen in Legends of the Fall, The NeverEnding Story, Twice’s “Likey” music video

The iconic flatiron-style building that dominates Gastown’s Maple Tree Square isn’t just the oldest reinforced-concrete structure in Vancouver: it’s the oldest in all of Canada. (Naturally, it’s also rumoured to be haunted.) If it feels like a little slice of New York City, that’s because the design echoes Manhattan’s famous Flatiron Building, constructed in 1902. Elegant original features—including Italian tile floors and granite columns—make it an ideal location for historical films. Originally a hotel for business travellers, the heritage building is now home to residential units and quirky shops. The best spot to snap a selfie with this landmark is from across the street, facing the Gassy Jack statue. (more…)

Sail Away in Style

By CHLOË LAI
Aug. 2018

The V2V Empress is decked out in eye-catching art by Kwakwaka’wakw artist William Cook

Road trips are fun, but boat trips—especially the luxury catamaran kind—are even better. Set sail for Victoria aboard V2V Vacations’ sleek high-speed vessel, which is docked right downtown. Spend three scenic hours cruising the Salish Sea, with 360-degree views of the Gulf Islands and West Coast wildlife from the upper deck, fresh BC fare to snack on, and plush reclining leather seats that are perfect for a mid-cruise snooze. The V2V Empress arrives right in the heart of Victoria, and those travelling in Royal Class can head straight to their concierge-organized activities. Smooth sailing, guaranteed.

A Whale of a Time

By SHERI RADFORD
Aug. 2018

Photo ©Elsvander Gun/istockphoto.com

Looking for an orca encounter? Local whale watching companies are happy to oblige. They know where to find the local pods, and they can identify individual members based on their markings. The wild whales often make a splash for curious onlookers, breaching, spyhopping (pictured) and lobtailing as entertainingly as their captive brethren. To symbolically adopt one of these magnificent cetaceans, ask at the Vancouver Aquarium.

For whale watching tours, contact Prince of Whales, Vancouver Whale Watch, or Wild Whales Vancouver.

Fun at The Fair at the PNE

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Photo courtesy PNE

To Sep. 3, 2018 For over a century, the young—and young-at-heart—have flocked to The Fair at the PNE for dizzying rides, mouth-watering fare, outdoor concerts and more. Watch the SuperDogs perform new tricks, sink your sweet tooth into Those Little Donuts, shop the Marketplace, ride the wooden rollercoaster, and try your luck at the games. (Whac-a-Mole, anyone?)

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…)