Sunday, August 4, 2013

Exploring Vancouver, British Columbia

Our family reunion at Shuswap Lake last July ended on a sweet note, with a cherry picking outing at a u-pick farm in Kelowna. We then split and went our separate ways. I followed a sister and her family to Vancouver while the rest of the family stopped at Banff National Park on their way back to Calgary.

My last visit to Vancouver was thirteen years ago; incidentally, the occasion was also a family get together. I had wonderful memories of  Granville Market and Gastown, so they were the places I hit as soon as I got the chance. As someone who loves a good firework show, I regret missing the Celebration of Light fireworks festival (one of the world's most prestigious fireworks competition and this year's festival ended yesterday), but we were just too tired to brave the crowd at English Bay.
Looking at the Vancouver skyline from Lonsdale Quay
I couldn't resist :-)
Signs at Granville Island

Granville Island, a bustling boating community
Vancouver is the quintessential cosmopolitan city, albeit a little more congested these days, but very pedestrian friendly. Not so friendly with the currency exchange rate. I was taken aback when I  purchased something, and learned that  the U.S. dollar was worth only 90 cents Canadian! (What have you done, Obama?) I was shocked and embarrassed. Today, I'm glad to report that the greenback has returned to a more normal rate; at last check, it's worth $1.04 Canadian.

I'm sure many will agree with me when I say Vancouver offers some of the best Chinese food outside of Hong Kong. From dim sum, seafood, baked goods to all sorts of Chinese delicacies, you can find just about anything here, and they are all superb! On the weekends during the summer months, you can hang out at the Chinatown Night Market, a vibrant outdoor market dotted with food vendors, shops and entertainment, similar to the ones you find in Asia. It's like a farmer's market, only it's at night, and instead of fresh produce, myriad vendors await to serve up some fabulous food. The varieties run the gamut from Malaysian to German. You will definitely enjoy the sights and the food in Vancouver.

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