Living Shangri-La

Vancouver attractions


During the 2017 season, more than 230 cruise ships called at the port city of Vancouver in southwest Canada. For the most part, Alaskan cruises were on the itinerary.

Princess Cruises cruise ships at Canada Place

Princess Cruises cruise ships at Canada Place


The media often present Vancouver as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The surrounding, extremely varied landscape, trendy districts, literally outstanding buildings and enchanting public parks are highlighted. As visitors with a tight time buffer, we also consider Vancouver to be liveable and lovable.

Vancouver's excellent transport infrastructure

The excellent transport infrastructure of the Greater Vancouver region allows visitors to the city to act flexibly. With the subway called SkyTrain, guests arriving by air can travel from the international airport to the city center in 30 minutes. At the individual stops, perfectly coordinated connections to the city buses, the SeaBus harbor ferry and the West Coast Express are offered.

The Day Pass is recommended for Vancouver visitors spending one or more days in the city. With the SkyTrain, the city buses or the SeaBus ferry can be used inexpensively.

In 2017, Day Pass tickets valid for three tariff zones cost 10 Canadian dollars (CAD), corresponding to 6,60 euros.

Sightseeing in Vancouver

About 8.000 kilometers as the crow flies separate Frankfurt am Main and Vancouver. Even if an Alaskan cruise is the tempting "price" of the tiring long-haul flight, a time buffer of one or two days in Canada's largest port city should be planned for such distances. After all, the metropolitan area in the Canadian province of British Columbia offers a multitude of urban and scenic highlights. We consider the following districts and sights to be particularly noteworthy.

Burrard Street Bridge

Burrard Street Bridge


Downtown Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver is the city's business and financial hub. The cruises and the seaplanes and helicopters start from downtown. The exclusive Robson Street shopping mile leads through downtown, the main attractions of which are the Pacific Center and Royal Center shopping malls. And in downtown we find the recommended hotels and the Vancouver Lookout on or in the vicinity of Granville Street.

Canada Place - The Cruise Ship Terminal Seaplane Terminal Granville region Vancouver lookout

Vancouver Lookout Tower

The Vancouver Lookout, which crowns the Harbor Center, should not be missed. His name says it all. After a 40-second ride in a glass elevator on the outside of the building, you reach the visitor platform at a height of 130 meters. There is a 360 ° panoramic view of the city, the spacious harbor, Stanley Park and the nearby North Shore Mountains. The Harbor Center, including its antenna system, is 177 meters high.

Vancouver Lookout entrance area

Vancouver Lookout entrance area


The lookout is open daily. Admission prices 2017: Adults CAD 17,50 (approx. EUR 11,60); Seniors CAD 14,50 (approx. EUR 9,60); Children and students pay significantly less. The tickets are valid for one day.
Address: 555 W Hastings St.

Canada Place Cruise Terminal

Vancouver's Canada Place cruise terminal borders a natural harbor. The berths are already equipped with environmentally friendly shore power connections. Canada Place served as the Canadian pavilion for the World Expo 86. The neighboring Convention Center takes up part of the facility.

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal


The cruise terminal proves to be very efficient in the practical test. This also applies to those days on which three to four cruise ships are processed at the same time.

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal


To the east, Canada Place is bordered by the Waterfront Ferry Terminal and the Sky Helicopter Base. To the west is the west building of the Convention Center, with shops and restaurants, extensive open spaces, the Digital Orca and the Seaplane Flight Center. The seaplanes offer inexpensive sightseeing flights over Vancouver and scheduled flights to Victoria Island, for example.

Convention Center Digital Orca sculpture Seaplane Terminal Olympic Cauldron

One attraction at Canada Place is FlyOver Canada. A 5D flight simulator allows viewers to cross Canada from coast to coast in around 25 minutes. The spectacle is accompanied by wind, smells or spray. The flight scenes were realized with a helicopter and the seats in the cinema follow the movements of the aircraft.

Adults pay 27 CAD (18 euros) for the extraordinary pleasure; various price reductions are offered.

Notable Buildings in Vancouver Downtown

Fairmont Hotel

There are several Fairmont Group hotels in the Vancouver area. But there is only one thing, commonly referred to as a “castle in the city”. During a period of 43 years (opened in 1939), the architecturally impressive luxury hotel was the tallest building in the city.

Fairmont Hotel address: 900 West Georgia Street.

Fairmont Hotel

Fairmont Hotel 


Naval Building

Until the opening of the Fairmont Hotel, the Marine Building was the tallest building in the city at 98 meters. The building was built in Art Deco style, and the entrance hall, which is open to the public on weekdays, was modeled on a Mayan temple.

Marine Building address: 355 Burrard Street.

Naval Building

Naval Building


SunTower

A green dome is the hallmark of the Sun Tower. The 82-meter high-rise was built in the Beaux Arts architectural style. Nine muses give the building's cornice stability. The name is borrowed from the newspaper publisher of the Vancouver Sun; the publishing house acquired the building in 1937.

Sun Tower address: 128 Pender Street W.

SunTower

SunTower


Canadian Pacific Railway station

Without the transport services of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Vancouver's development into a leading economic center would hardly have been successful. The Waterfront Station was built in the neo-classical style. The train station is located between the Cruise Terminal and the Gastown district. 

Canadian Pacific Railway station

Canadian Pacific Railway station


The last passenger train ran from Vancouver to Montreal on October 27, 1979. Today the former train station is the transport hub of several SkyTrain lines, the SeaBus, the West Coast Express and many urban and regional bus routes.

Station address: 601 West Cordova Street.

Canadian Pacific Railway- Former concourse

Canadian Pacific Railway- Former concourse


Vancouver's most popular new builds

The newer and much noticed buildings include the Living Shangri-La and the Trump Tower. The Living Shangri-La measures 201 meters; the height of the Trump Tower is given as 188 meters. The buildings on West Georgia Street are the two tallest buildings in the city. There is a hotel in each of the two high-rise buildings.

The Living Shangri-La Portal Trump Tower

Vancouver's Christian Churches

In foreign cities it is worth taking a look at and inside the places of worship. Vancouver's residents belong to a wide variety of religions. The major Christian churches are the Christ Church Cathedral and the Holy Rosary Cathedral. The former is the Episcopal Church of the Anglican Church. The Gothic-style church is within sight of the Fairmont Hotel. It was consecrated in 1895. It was included in the list of buildings worthy of protection in Canada.

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral


The neo-Gothic Holy Rosary Cathedral is the episcopal church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. The stone building was consecrated five years after the Anglican cathedral. The church was elevated to the status of a cathedral in 1916. In terms of its external dimensions, it can hardly be compared with European bishops' churches. It measures 49 meters by 32 meters in length and width. The taller of the two church towers is 66 meters high.

Holy Rosary Cathedral

Holy Rosary Cathedral


Gastown

Just one kilometer is between the cruise terminal and the trendy Gastown district. The district was the nucleus of Vancouver. - In the second half of the 19th century, a bustling businessman, nicknamed "Gassy Jack", opened a bar in what is now the center of Gastown. More houses were added. The small community was named Gastown for the sake of simplicity, the "City of Gassy Jack". By the way: Gassy Jack means something like "talkative Jakob".

Vancouver Gastown - Seen from the lookout

Vancouver Gastown - Seen from the lookout


Gastown received city rights in 1886, and at the same time Gastown was renamed the City of Vancouver. This was to honor the achievements of the British naval officer George Vancouver, who explored the region at the end of the 18th century. Unfortunately, the settlement burned to the ground that same year. The city was then rebuilt in a uniform looking architectural style.

Gastown houses on Water Street

Gastown houses on Water Street


We recommend a stroll through Water Street, whose buildings now house bars, restaurants, galleries and shops of all kinds.

Gastown-Water Street

Gastown-Water Street


The visitor should see two attractions of Gastown: The Steam Clock, a steam clock, and the statue of the city founder "Gassy Jack". The clock is at the intersection of Water and Cambie and the Gassy Jack memorial in Maple Tree Square.

The Gastown Steam Clock Statue of Gassy Jack

granville island

Vancouver is mostly enclosed by water. One of the surrounding bodies of water is False Creek. The Granville Island peninsula protrudes into the “wrong river”. In the early 1900s, Granville Island was an industrial park with factories, warehouses, and sawmills.

Unmistakably Granville Island

Unmistakably Granville Island


In our time the trade is a thing of the past. The main attractions are the Granville Island Public Market, as well as theaters, crafts, and artist studios. Above all, the stalls in the market hall offer an abundance of groceries, and visitors can cater for themselves in fast-food restaurants and coffee bars. 

Granville Island Public Market Granville Island Public Market - interior Passenger ferry on False Creek Hornby Street Ferry Terminal in Yaletown

Small ferry boats take visitors from the center across False Creek. The starting point is the Hornby Street ferry terminal. The boats help bypass the footpath on the busy Granville Bridge. Adults pay CAD 2 for the short trip. 

More places of interest

Telus World of Science

The Telus World of Science Museum is located near the SkyTrain Station Main Street science World. The institution, sponsored by a Canadian telecommunications company, offers visitors permanent and changing interactive exhibitions. The spherical outer dome was one of the main attractions of the World Exposition Expo 86.

Dome of the Telus World of Science Museum

Dome of the Telus World of Science Museum


BC Place Stadium

The stadium, which can seat up to 54.500 people, is the joint venue for BC Lions Football Club and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (soccer). In addition, the huge stadium is used for high school sports events, trade fairs and other events. The inflatable, self-supporting air-cushion roof can be retracted and extended within 20 minutes. The opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics took place in the stadium. The building was completed in 1983. The construction costs at that time amounted to CAD 126 million (EUR 83,5 million). The renovation costs (2009 to 2011) were CAD 563 million (EUR 373 million). How times are changing.

BC Place Stadium

BC Place Stadium


Stanley Park

There is no shortage of public parks and gardens in Vancouver. The flagship of the city is Stanley Park, which extends over 400 hectares. It is Vancouver's and Canada's largest urban park. The versatile and extraordinarily beautiful leisure area is located on a headland protruding into Vancouver Harbor.

Interstate 99 runs through the park. The distinctive Lions Gate suspension bridge connects the city center with the West and North Vancouver districts.

Lions Gate suspension bridge

Lions Gate suspension bridge


The park has many attractions. Highlights include Brockton Point Lighthouse, Lumberman's Arch, the Naval Museum at HMCS Discovery, the Nine O'Clock Gun, and the Canadian First Nations totem stakes.

Brockton Point Lighthouse Lumbermen's Arch Nine O'Clock Gun Totem poles in Stanley Park

A landmark in front of the peninsula is the approximately 18-meter-high Siwash Rock. The boulder is of volcanic origin. According to Indian legend, he embodies a selfless man turned into a rock. It is within sight of the Prospect Point Lookout. - The sculpture “Girl in a Wetsuit” placed on a rock resembles the Copenhagen mermaid. Its creator emphasizes that he has never seen the "Little Mermaid" before. Consequently, the young lady in a wetsuit cannot be a plagiarism. There are coincidences!

Girl in a wetsuit

Girl in a wetsuit


Another draw at Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium, run by a non-profit organization. The facility is also a marine biological research station.

Seemingly endless hiking trails run through and circle the peninsula. Visitors are also offered contemplative tours in horse-drawn carriage.

Carriage ride in Stanley Park

Carriage ride in Stanley Park


English Bay Beach

Vancouver, surrounded by the ocean, also has sandy beaches. Their total length should be 18 kilometers. However, the beaches are more for sun worshipers; after all, the water of the Pacific remains cold, even in summer.

Skyscrapers on English Bay

Skyscrapers on English Bay


One of the most beautiful city beaches is English Bay Beach. The stretch of beach is between Morton Avenue and Bidwell Street in the West End. In the north, the beach section borders on Stanley Park. A few well-tended cafes and restaurants line the beach road.

english bay

english bay


Tiny Morton Park is on Morton Ave. It is worth mentioning for its sculpture park A-maze-ing Laughter. The art installation by a Chinese artist shows 14 oversized bronze sculptures of laughing men.

Morton Park - Sculpture Group A-maze-ing Laughter

Morton Park - Sculpture Group A-maze-ing Laughter


Harbor Cruise - An Inexpensive Pleasure

The 12-minute SeaBus ride across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver is a pleasure. The spacious passenger ferries commute at short intervals between the Waterfront ferry terminal, located below the Canadian Pacific Railway station, and the Lonsdale Quay ferry terminal. From there, the impressive skyline of Vancouver can be seen particularly well.

SeaBus Ferry - Outside Vancouver Downtown

SeaBus Ferry - Outside Vancouver Downtown


From the bus station behind the quay, you can take the 242 bus, first through North Vancouver and then over the Lions Gate Bridge. If you get off at Devonian Harbor Park, you can visit Stanley Park without further ado.

Vancouver North - Lonsdale - Quayside Plaza

Vancouver North - Lonsdale - Quayside Plaza


The bus tour leads partly through upscale residential areas in North Vancouver. The only thing irritating while driving is the frequent warning of the black bears roaming around in the residential areas. The trip is also linked to crossing the 1.517 meter long Lions Gate suspension bridge. It owes its name to the mountain group "The Lions" to the north. 60.000 to 70.000 cars use the bridge every day, and the cruise ships pass under the imposing bridge.

Lions Gate suspension bridge

Lions Gate suspension bridge


Attractions outside of Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

In the language of the First Nations, Canada's indigenous people, Capilano is derived from "wonderful river". Nine kilometers separate Vancouver downtown and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The free-swinging bridge leads at a height of 70 meters over a length of 136 meters over the Capilano River. There are other sporting attractions in the park area.

Visiting the privately run park is not a cheap pleasure. Adults pay CAD 42,95 (EUR 28,50). However, there are also numerous discounts here.

Grouse mountain

Named after the rock grouse, Grouse Mountain is less than eight miles from downtown Vancouver. The 13 meter high mountain is Vancouver's ski and snowboard area in winter thanks to modern and efficient lift and snow-making systems.

At other times of the year, the mountain is also a popular destination. From the valley station of the two cable cars, the Grouse Grind, a 2,9 kilometer long path, leads up the mountain over a height difference of 853 meters. The mountaineers have an automatic time recording system at their disposal, which measures the individual time required for the ascent.

Update April 2021 

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