British Columbia Trip: Vancouver, Part I

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IMG 2778 79 80 tonemapped thumb   British Columbia Trip: Vancouver, Part I

Eric and I agreed to a laid back celebration for our wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. Homemade cards and a home cooked meal sounded perfect, we had said. I whipped up a killer meal and we were just about in heaven stuffing ourselves silly.

Eric kept asking me when we could open our cards.

“How about at the end of the night?”

“You don’t want to just open them now…? I can’t wait for you to see my card!!!”

“Really? Mine is nothing to write home about…”

After dinner, and more pestering by Eric, we finally opened the cards.

My card was taped closed and it read: “TOP SECRET! Do not open!!!”

Amused, I carefully pulled off the tape so I could open the card. Eric watched in anticipation. The inside of the card read: “We’re going to British Columbia!!!” along with printed pictures of Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler pasted all over the card. There was a road map with dates and everything all plotted out!

It was just about one of the best surprises I’ve ever had. Tears welled up in my eyes as I lurched across the couch to hug him silly.

We talked about going to B.C. earlier in the summer, but we were both too busy to take time off. I just gave up on the idea and hoped we’d make it next year. Little did I know, Eric was planning this trip for weeks, staying up late at night to plan while I slept. He researched, booked the hotels, read up on restaurants, and planned a few things to do in each city.

“Wait, there’s one condition!! You have to agree to a few things I’ve planned…”

“Ok?”

“Zip-lining, cliff walking, and suspension bridges!”

IMG 2681 thumb   British Columbia Trip: Vancouver, Part I

There’s always a catch!

So here we are, two weeks later, enjoying a wonderful time in the beautiful British Columbia. Can you believe it’s my first time in BC? Eric has only been to Vancouver once on a business trip, but didn’t get to explore much at all. We’re staying in Vancouver first, and soon off to Victoria and Whistler. I’ve passed two challenges with flying colours, although I’m quite scared for the 5 zip-lines I’ll be flying down in Whistler!! If I live to tell you about it, you’ll be hearing about it soon!

IMG 2769 70 71 tonemapped thumb   British Columbia Trip: Vancouver, Part I

Here is a short summary of what we’ve been up to in Vancouver:

1. Hotel: Carmana Plaza

- Condo-style. Comes with complete full kitchen. Great if you like making breakfast or lunch in your own room before heading out. We’re on the 29th floor in a premium suite and have a great view (see above pics). Free wi-fi. Cons: The bed isn’t very comfy, it takes a long time for things to be brought up to the room, and parking is expensive and difficult to locate. The location of the hotel is great though and we’re literally steps from all the shopping on Robson. See detailed room pics in album.

2. Capilano suspension bridge and park

A fun, touristy park that features a suspension bridge, cliff walking, treetop walking, and gorgeous scenery. I have a ton of pics from the trip – so be sure to check them out in the album!

3. Granville Island

This is a must-see! There are all kinds of artsy shops, including a large indoor public market. It was absolutely packed when we went on a Friday, off-season, so get there early as parking can be tricky to find.

4. Shopping

Our hotel is steps to a lot of great shopping on Robson and surrounding areas.

5. Exploring Gastown, Kitsilano, Yaletown districts. Be warned – navigating the city is tricky for a tourist!!

6. Food highlights include Nuba (a lovely Lebanese restaurant), Naam (a 24 hour vegetarian restaurant with huge portions and line-ups), Samosas at Buddha-Full, smoothies and juices throughout the city. Acorn restaurant is still on the list too.

Still planned?

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Photography of cityscapes

Stanley Park

Anything we’re missing?

If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been up to so far in Vancouver, here’s an album I put together below! [Apologies in advance for the uneven formatting – something wonky is going on.]

More to come soon…

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{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria September 15, 2012

I love how sweet Eric was when he wanted you to open your card RIGHT NOW! I think boys are worse at keeping secrets than us girls are!

We had a friend just move to Seattle (I’m so jealous), so we in the midst of planning a trip there and are going to head up to Vancouver as well. I’ll be bookmarking this post to assist in the planning.

Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

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Giulia @ Tutupa's Lab September 15, 2012

If you manage stop by the loving hut express for lunch! it’s between Davie and Pacific blvd and you might want to check on their website first beacuse they’re not there every day!

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Jaime September 15, 2012

I was going to write about the Loving Hut too! It is way better than the one in T.O. The burgers are AMAZING!

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Jill in Chicago September 15, 2012

THAT. VIEW. Wow! What an awesome surprise!

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sarah September 15, 2012

you’re in my beautiful city! you should also check out panz veggie- its a really yummy buddist restaurant in downtown Van. There is also a pho place on davie that has a really good cheap vegan pho :)
i did ziplining in whistler with ziptrek a few months ago and it was awesome. i hope you have a great time!

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Allessia September 15, 2012

Ah! I’m a born and raised Torontonian who moved to Vancouver a year ago for a job. Let me warn you – you may never want to go back! If you’re looking for a few other things to do check out my Vancouver bucket list! I created it as a way to discover my new city and pass the time on board weekends!

And yes… Bike ride around Stanley Park is a must – and if you’re feeling brave and full of energy I dare you to climb the Grind!

http://allessia.com/category/vancouver-bucket-list

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Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy September 15, 2012

It looks beautiful – but that bridge looks scary.

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LeeAnn September 15, 2012

Oh, what a fantastic trip! We were there 10 or 11 years ago — Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler and a stunningly beautiful small town north of Whistler called Pemberton, surrounded by the mountains. It was the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy every minute, and happy anniversary!

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Caley September 15, 2012

When you are in Victoria you should check out Mole for breakfast or lunch – they have a few good vegan-friendly options and I love their pesto home fries. There’s also a vegan curio store right down the street at Market Square called Sarah’s Place (I’m sure you’ve heard of Sarah Kramer) that you might find worth checking out. Carlos’ Cantina in Sidney (on your way to Victoria from the ferry and airport) has amazing vegan enchiladas. And the Moss Street Market is my absolute favourite farmers market in town (runs Saturdays until 2pm if you’re in town for that). Some nice little areas of town to simply wander through outside of downtown are Cook Street Village/Fairfield, Oak Bay (check out Ottavio! Not exactly vegan-friendly, but an amazing little Italian Deli/Bakery/Cafe experience), and Dallas Rd.

Eric really did pick the best time to come to BC. Ben and I have always felt September is the best month to visit Victoria as most of the MAJOR tourist traffic is gone, and the weather is still summery!

If you guys happen to be up for an late afternoon/early evening or weekend hike, Ben and I would be happy to show you up Mt. Finlayson! (Really, I mean it! Email me if you’re interested.)

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Caley September 15, 2012

Also, forgot to mention, if you have a car and are interested in heading up island a little way, there are fantastic wineries within 45 min-1 hour of downtown Victoria. My favourite is Venturi Schulz – family owned and operated, beautiful winery, all natural, organic, and vegan wine, and their balsamic vinegar is to die for!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2012

Thank you, that’s so sweet of you to offer!!

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Christina September 17, 2012

So cool to see that you guys are coming to the island! I live in Victoria and I absolutely agree with all mentioned recommendations above. I look forward to some familiar pictures!

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angela September 17, 2012

I think we took 200 today alone!!! Lol

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Cara September 15, 2012

Did you take those twilight pictures?! Those are BEAUTIFUL!!

I hate suspension bridges too!! But I think Lynn Canyon is not as bad as Capilano–I was forced to go to Lynn Canyon but not Capilano :-) I recommend renting a tandem in Stanley Park–so much fun. Also, the art museum is really cool. Check out Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe.

I LOVED Victoria!! Take the tour of the capital building and go to the Royal BC Museum! Have fun!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2012

Thanks everyone, we greatly appreciate your suggestions!!!

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christyn September 15, 2012

hey angela!! hope your enjoying vancouver. another restaurant you MUST check out for the BEST raw vegan food is Organic Lives 451 granville st…..anything there is fantastic!! Whole Foods also carries their chocolate macaroons that you really have to try. best ever.

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christyn September 15, 2012

oh and definitely try Organic Lives coconut water!!

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Christa @ Edible Balance September 15, 2012

Best coconut water ever!! LOVE Organic Lives!

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Amber September 15, 2012

If you’re looking for a place to eat for lunch, there us a wonderful restaurant called Gorilla Food downtown at Pender & Richards street. It’s delicious, raw, organic, vegan! It’s open until 6 everyday… A must try!

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Judith September 15, 2012

Hi!

I never left a comment on your site before, but I just had to now! I’m from the Netherlands, but lived a year in Vancouver and I discovered your website while I was there and reading it ever since.

Now I see you post, my heart hurts.. I love that city so much! I need to go back soon. A cool restaurant is also The Foundation, a vegetarian restaurant on Main Street (a really cool street to check out) and if you tell the staff that you’re vegan, they can recommend you great things and substitute things etc (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180661/restaurant/Mount-Pleasant-Main-Street/The-Foundation-Vancouver).

Enjoy your stay!

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Shauna September 15, 2012

I second the recommendation for Foundation. Such great food!

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Carly September 15, 2012

Yay! I live an hour east of Vancouver, so glad you get to enjoy our little corner of the country. I did the zipline in Whistler two or three years ago and had a blast. I was TERRIFIED, and I learned the key was to go first so that you aren’t standing on the ledge getting worked up! Seriously, make sure to go first from your group!

If you’re in the mood for Mexican, Chronic Tacos is pretty much my favorite place on earth. There’s a bunch of locations and some of them look like total dumps, but I assure you it’s amazing!

Have a great time :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2012

hah yes I think I will try to go first!!! ahhhhhhhhhhh

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Kelsey September 15, 2012

Git thy butt to East Van! Breakfast at Bandidas on Commercial Drive and 12th, a stroll through the quirky shops and cafes of the Drive, then hop over to Kingsway and… 8th?… for a burrito at Budgie’s Burritos! (I recommend the “Johnny O”). After that, walk down to the Olympic Village and stroll around the False Creek section of the seawall, which (if you walk long enough) takes you all the way through Granville Island and into Kits. If you make it that far, reward yourself with a slice of vegan pie at Aphrodite ($$$$, but worth it!).

Enjoy our beautiful city, you certainly picked the perfect weekend for it :)

Oh, and it’s Gastown, not Gaslamps :)

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Kelsey September 15, 2012

Oh and I almost forgot, while in Olympic Village, stop for a drink at the Tap and Barrel, the best patio in the city!

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Tara Drury September 15, 2012

Wahooooo!! Whistler is my hometown! So please enjoy! I am away in California for the month or I would so be on the look out for you! HAHA If you need tips on places to eat please check out- Elements- (they do delicious tofu lettuce wraps- not too expensive), Alta Bistro (they do meatless Monday’s, and they have vegan options a little more pricey), Moguls Coffee House (They are a coffee shop with vegan muffins and cookies), and we also have a local website Earthsave Whistler (http://earthsavewhistler.com/resources/) that has some tips on places to go. Surprisingly enough, there are not a ton of vegan options, other than the house salad at a lot of places. Calling ahead works good too. When driving up, if you have the chance stop in Squamish and go to Zephyr Cafe (they have raw food, vegan food, juices, and smoothies) Have FUN!!!

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Andrea G September 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary! Ah, my hometown, how I miss it! You must see the Vancouver Aquarium while you are in Stanley Park. If you have time, drive out to Karmavore Vegan Shop in New Westminster. Shopping along W. 10th and W. 4th are always good. Check out the cute shops and restaurants in Yaletown. There is just so much to do! If you have a chance, another one that is, you may want to venture into Richmond and visit Steveston. It is a Fishing Village with great shops and great food.

I went to uni in Victoria. It has changed a lot since I was there but the Harbour is always a safe bet, with the Parliament Buildings and the waterfront.

Whistler, every thing goes there! Ask anyone at the hotel where you are staying and they will give you many an idea of places to visit!

Have fun!!!

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l September 15, 2012

I’m a long time Victoria resident, and it is a great city to visit – very tourist friendly!

Here are a few places to visit try that are close to downtown and within minutes of each other:

Amazing Raw food, the only one in Victoria: http://www.cafebliss.ca/ (creamy green smoothie and raw chocolates are to die for. They also recently published a beautiful cookbook worth picking up)

For a pick-me-up: http://habitcoffee.com/ (the most amazing almond milk latte of your life)

And an absolute classic not to be missed during your stay! The famous vegatarian restaurant Rebar. http://www.rebarmodernfood.com/ Fresh juices, a fabulous dish called the monks curry, and a quinoa salad to which my roomate has a veritable addiction.

- A non-tourist secret is Russel’s books on Fort Street for a quirky, unique and trifty experience.

Enjoy my beautiful home!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2012

thanks so much, I have many of those on the list!

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Sarah September 15, 2012

Hi! I have lived in Vancouver for over a year now and have found some great places to eat! If you still have time, Gorilla Food (http://gorillafood.com/) on Richards is a super yummy raw restaurant, I also love Organic Lives and all of the wonderful pho. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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Dayna September 15, 2012

Hi! I’ve been following your blog for awhile but, have yet to comment – until now.
I’m a Torontonian and just moved to Vancouver 2 weeks ago and I LOVE it! I went to the Acorn restaurant last Sunday and got there 15 minutes after opening and it was JAM PACKED. Had to wait at least an hour for a table. The food was good – some much better than others. They definitely found a niche market in vegetarian fine dining. If you have to wait for a table there is a sustainable clothing store a few doors down. The owner is very enthusiastic and a pleasure to talk to too. My dad, a senior, did the Ziplining and loved it so don’t worry at all. I went to Lynn last weekend and it was fantastic. The suspension bridge was small but the park is beautiful. There are also pool holes to swim in but, the water is freezing. Enjoy!

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Gloria September 15, 2012

As a few people have suggested, definitely check out Las Bandidas on commercial drive if you’re in the mood for some vegetarian/vegan mexican food :) And if you’re looking to get a good workout in, try the grouse grind. The view up top is wonderful!
Hope you’re enjoying your stay here :)

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Christa @ Edible Balance September 15, 2012

Nicely done Eric! My hubby and I hope to get to Vancouver very soon… it’s been way too long and there is so much I want to do! I’ve never been to Whistler, that is a must. Looking forward to more posts of your trip!

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moonsword September 15, 2012

Love Granville Island! So many supertalented artists, especially goldsmiths. Would love to do a studio/gallery tour there this fall. Thanks for sharing your trip!

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Helen September 15, 2012

I live in Vancouver (in a suburb actually) and we just went to Whistler a couple of weeks ago for a 3 day getaway. One of my favourite places!! make sure you take the gondola or chair up the mountain (either one) and take the Peak 2 Peak gondola over to the other mountain. There are wonderful hiking trails on both mountains. My husband even convinced me to take the peak chair up Whistler mountain- I was white-knuckling it, but the views were breathtaking. I couldn’t face the zip-lining but I know people rave about it.
Make sure you go to Dubh Lin Gate Pub. It’s near the base of Blackcomb in the bottom of the Pan Pacific Hotel. We always have a great time there. They have live music and fun atmosphere. Another place we discovered is Elements Tapas restaurant. Look it up, I can’t recall exactly where it is, but it’s in the village. Super interesting food!! So nice to try small portions of a bunch of different foods. We loved it. Let’s see, what else? Do you like cycling? Rent bikes and try out the mountain bike trails. So fun and all different levels, some easy, some more challenging. Our bikes aren’t even real mountain bikes and it was fine. Have a great time. I can’t wait to go back!!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks September 15, 2012

Looks like a great time! Fun pics and I laughed at your wonky formatting comment….I spend more time trying to figure out formatting on things that I ever thought possible! lol

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Ellie @ healthy belly ellie September 15, 2012

I live in Vancouver and I absolutely love it here! Isn’t it gorgeous?!? If you do go to the Loving Hut food truck… maybe I’ll run into you – hehe I walk by it every single day!! If you are into hiking, you should check out Grouse Mountain. The hike is called “Grouse Grind” – it’s a fun work out!! It’s pretty close to the suspension bridge :)

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Naomi Casiro (Health Here Help There) September 15, 2012

Angela Im from Vancouver! Im so glad you get to enjoy the beautiful sights of the city!! There are some awesome restaurants there with great vegan option including one called the Naam Hope you enjoy your trip!

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Suz @ avocadoandbasil September 15, 2012

I spent a year in Vancouver, LOVED it there. You have to check out Urban Fare in Yale Town, the coolest grocery store, you’ll love it.

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Michelle@Peachy Palate September 15, 2012

Vancouver is my favourite place in the world, loved it there! Make sure to do some tandem biking around the city :) And the zip lining is great fun in Whistler! Don’t forget a visit to the Aquariam in Stanley Park. And maybe a football game at BC place? :) So jealous of you being there! Of course a trip to lululemon on Robson!

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NorthVanVegan September 15, 2012

You’ve already been to some of my favourites! I agree with previous posters, definitely check out Loving Hut food truck, Panz, and Karmavore! I’d love to hear what you say about Acorn, I haven’t been there yet. Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Amy September 15, 2012

Hi Angela,

I live in Victoria and i have 2 recommendations for you for awesome awesome restaurants….one for vancouver and one for victoria. The one in Van is called The Foundation and it has great veggie/vegan food, the service isnt great but who cares if the food is!! Their platters are so so good. Its best to go there for dinner as opposed to lunch as the menus are different. The one in Vic is called Cafe Bliss. Its all raw vegan and it is so so so delicious!!
Hope you are enjoying beautiful BC…its such an incredible province.

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Andrea @ Vegvacious September 15, 2012

That view is incredible!! What a sweet anniversary surprise!!!

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Shelly September 15, 2012

Vancouver is such a beautiful city to both live and visit. I agree with the person who said once your here you will never want to leave. I moved here 2 years ago now from Edmonton, Alberta for Culinary school and decided to make this beautiful city my home. False Creek ferries is another affordable attraction for visitors, you can hop on and go to Granville Island and avoid driving around in circles looking for parking, or take the loop around to each false creek. Deep Cove is another beautiful place to visit, they rent Kayaks there as well. Even taking the Sea Bus from Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay Market is another nice thing to explore. Have fun with whatever you do, it’s beautiful wherever you go.

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Sarah Anne September 15, 2012

He new restaurant scene in gastown is amazing! Hit up Cartems Donuterie on Hastings and carral St. They have vegan AND gluten free donuts! (And they are amazing. If they have a vegan “bee sting” …get it!) They also use local and organic products and list where their ingredients come from at the shop!

Sunday, there is a food cart festival on Hastings at The Waldorf hotel from 12-6 I think. Super fun scene.

Also? Nuba is my FAVOURITE!

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Sarah Anne September 15, 2012

Oh! Foundation is great. Also, Wallflower Diner has a full vegan menu, across from Foundation.

Walking from Kits beach to Granville island is a favourite.

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Amy @ changing the now September 15, 2012

I love Vancouver! It’s such an awesome place, i have been over twice from the UK and loved both visits… my favourite things i did there were a bike ride around Stanley Park and enjoying birthday cocktails in the Cloud 9 REVOLVING restaurant at the top of the Empire Hotel on Robson St!!

Eric is such a sweetie arranging this… my anniversary is in October so may keep this post open on my laptop for my husband to find… may give him an idea! x

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Rika September 15, 2012

Yay – you’re in my city! I can second the suggestions of Panz Veggie and Gorilla Food for sure. If you’re out and about see if you can find the Loving Hut food truck in Yaletown – it’s amazing! http://lovinghutvancouver.ca/Vancouver_LH/HOME.html

Have a blast! Vancouver is the best :)

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Megan September 15, 2012

In Vancouver, Gastown and the UBC campus are both worth a look. Gastown is full of cool shops and restaurants and UBC…well the views out to the water are amazing!!

Also, Lighthouse Park is in West Van, and it amazing!

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ali janine @ This Ninja Eats Broccoli September 15, 2012

Commericial Drive in Vancouver is a pretty cool area to check it. I think it was mentioned above, but the Grouse Grind is a fun hike with pretty cool views at the top and a gondola for the way down. If you make it out to Victoria and have a car consider checking out Butchart Gardens. I don’t know what it’s like at this time of year so maybe check their website first. Have fun!

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Tatomme September 15, 2012

Ohh wow!! What a lovely vacation you have had and have ahead of you!! Be sure to check out Cafe Bliss (a raw vegan restaurant,) Rebar (great veg restaurant with a cookbook!) and Lady Marmalade (for brunch/lunch) when you are in Victoria. Pagliacci’s is also amazing for lunch/brunch. The Tapa Bar is also really nice for appetizers (ie. tapas…) and cocktails! They are all incredible in their own ways. For a real feel of the ocean, head down to Ogden Point and walk/run along Dallas Road. It’s absolutely beautiful feeling the salty air and hearing the waves crash against the point. Have a wonderful time on the coast.

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