City slicker: Vancouver

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The world will be watching this Canadian city when the Winter Olympics open here on Friday. Cori Howard reveals the sights to see away from the ski slopes


Why visit?


Vancouver, on Canada's Pacific coast, is primed to take the spotlight once more when the 2010 Winter Olympics open on Friday. Their effect has been to transform this city, not least with last summer's opening of the Canada Line SkyTrain, making it even easier for visitors to get around.

But while a mild climate and close proximity of sea and mountains make Vancouver a favourite with active outdoor types, it has also got great arts spaces with excellent galleries and museums to enjoy.

Plus the social scene is reaping the benefits of an increasing number of lively bars, cafés, restaurants and clubs opening up. Test out its growing foodie reputation, too, largely due to its 100-Mile Diet, which promotes locally grown, caught and produced foods.

Don't miss

The swaying planks of the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This footbridge hangs 230ft above the raging Capilano River and spans 450ft (capbridge.com/explore).

Stanley Park. A five-mile pedestrian seawall encircles this green space. There are also miles of sands and forest trails to take in on foot, in-line skates, or by bike – rental shops abound (vancouver.ca/parks).

The Grouse Grind, a mountain trail just under two miles long and known to locals as "nature's stairmaster". You don't have to walk back down – there's a gondola to the car park (grousemountain.com).

Granville Island. Grass-fed bison, home-made jams, and local crafts are all on sale in this indoor labyrinth. Grab some sushi to eat on the waterfront plaza, where you can watch the boats and listen to the buskers (granvilleisland.com).

Jericho Beach. This quiet stretch of sand is home to the Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre, a little shack where you can rent kayaks, windsurfers and all the gear you need – lessons are available, too (ecomarine.com).

The 2010 Winter Olympics Cultural Olympiad, which runs until 21 March, features theatre, music and art shows around the city (vancouver2010.com).

What's new

Main Street

Vancouver's South Main area, known as SoMa, is home to some of the city's best restaurants, cafés, galleries, home decor and fashion boutiques – this is where the city's leading avant-garde artists and designers create and sell their wares. And best of all, many immigrant families – the Italian butchers and Arabic grocers – have remained in the neighbourhood, making it an eclectic, funky and vibrant destination. Don't miss Narcissist Design Co (narcissist.com), a women's fashion boutique featuring "The Pamela", a dress that girls here claim can solve all of life's problems. When you're done shopping, drink some chai at East Is East (eastiseast.ca), an Afghan-inspired eaterie decorated with carpets and pillows. At night, it lays on live music and dancing, from flamenco to classical Indian.

Shangri-La Hotel

The city's latest luxury hotel occupies the first 15 floors of a 61-storey landmark building, the tallest in the city, in the heart of downtown. Both elegant and futuristic (you can push a button for everything), the hotel has been decorated in contemporary Asian style. There's a piano bar on street level and its restaurant, The Market, is the latest place to dine out. Don't miss the black truffle pizza and the ginger margarita created by internationally acclaimed, three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Details: 1128 West Georgia Street; shangri-la.com/vancouver.

Lululemon

The Vancouver-based yoga-wear company has just launched its Lulu Lab, a glass-walled studio on busy Cambie Street. This fashion line of comfortable, stretchy exercise clothes has become the uniform of every Vancouver woman (and many men) and there are stores all over the city. But at the new Lulu Lab you can watch designers create sample pieces. Or you can play designer yourself and create your own form-fitting gear. Pick a colour and a style and watch them sew up your own pair of Groove Pants while you wait.

Details: 511 West Broadway; lululemon.com.

Society

Inspired by LA's dining lounges, Vancouver's latest – and much touted – addition to the restaurant scene is Society in Yaletown, the city's refashioned, and very hip, warehouse district. Upscale and cosy, dining tables are covered with white linen tablecloths, topped with brown paper and lit by pink chandeliers. The unconventional menu offers comfort food with a gourmet twist. Don't miss their lobster shepherd's pie and the junk food platter featuring candy floss and ice-cream sandwiches.

Details: 1257 Hamilton Street; society-grg.ca.

Fortune Sound Club

Vancouver's hottest new nightclub is in the heart of Chinatown – look for the queue snaking around the block at Main and Pender Streets. Don't miss the eye-catching installation in the entrance by Shepard Fairey, who also created the Barack Obama "Hope" poster. They take their music seriously here – the Funktion-One sound system is the only one of its kind in Canada. Jay-Z, and the city's best DJs and dancers, are regulars.

Details: 147 East Pender Street; fortunesoundclub.com.

Insider's Secret

"I'm in love with this new shop in Gastown called Architect. It's super-funky and boasts its own very unique brand of wearable electronics. You can plug your iPod, BlackBerry or mobile phone into its hoodies, jackets or peacoats, and control your music from touch buttons on the arms of the garments. How cool is that?"

Details: architectshop.ca

Further Information

canada.travel; vancouver2010.com

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment