VIA Canada 150 Trip Part 11: Vancouver, BC

Remember when I said that Cape Breton Island in one of the easternmost provinces in Canada is all about the rare exposure of the mountain meeting the sea? Well, apparently, living in the western side of the continent doesn’t mean such grandeur is far too out of reach. We don’t necessarily need to travel across the continent to spot such majestic scene, because, apparently Vancouver has it too!

It’s a different type of mountain-and-sea kind of scenery, obviously, because Vancouver is the next level of a metropolitan city while Cape Breton Island and its composing small towns are the exact opposite. Nevertheless, Vancouver is one great example of a big city that truly knows who they are, what they’re good at, and what they’re capable of hence able to showcase the truly best version of themselves. I’m talking about a crowded city that is still such a delight to look at and live in, because all the best features and natural wonders that create them in the first place are still preserved and blending altogether, in harmony, with the modern developments that create the backbone of the city today.

I honestly don’t even know where to start, because I just love Vancouver. A lot. Probably as much as I do about Montrรฉal, owing to the fact that most of the people ofย Montrรฉal are Francophone which means I am just out of their league, hence one extra score for Vancouver and their Anglophone.

Nevertheless, if I should name one thing that I appreciate the most about Vancouver tourism, it’s the freakin’ Vancouver Lookout. As a student, I only paid CAD 12.50 for such amazingly breathtaking views that is even so much effin’ better than what’s offered by similar towers in Toronto, Chicago, and even New York City. Yes, I was talking about Toronto’s CN Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and the Empire State Building of New York City which do not even come close to the great package offered by Vancouver Lookout. And I would bother explaining why because I feel that this is something people need to acknowledge so they know which one is worth the time, money, and energy.

First of all, there’s no lineup at all to get to the top of this tower of Vancouver Lookout. From the moment I bought my ticket to the moment I arrived at the observatory floor, I swear it took nearly three minutes top. With the other three that I mentioned, it took me more than one frickin’ hour with the craziest one being Skydeck Chicago that took me at least 1.5 hour. Of course such time might count if the views that I get at the top of the tower is worth the wait. But heck no. Having tried these three before I went to this Vancouver Lookout, I felt sorry for the lookout because with such no effort at all I get the best kind of view possible at the observatory deck.

And that makes the second reason. Skydeck Chicago was pretty good indeed because we could spot the Lake Michigan from above. The Empire State of Building was pretty cool too even though what we see is basically just concrete jungles, and it’s pretty much just because the observatory deck is outdoor and the weather was perfect sunny when I went there. But CN Tower was the worst because, man, Toronto needs to admit that they’ve just got nothing to showcase. Besides, the windows are dirty as heck thus I can’t even take one proper clear photo of the view. But man, none of those three offers a view that combines both water bodies and uprising mountain. Plus, cool architectures and perfectly glazing sunset.

And thirdly, the ticket price of the lookout made me feel like I just stole one. While with the other three, it feels like I was being robbed. I can’t recall how much they three cost, but it’s definitely so much more than the Vancouver’s.

And since Vancouver Lookout was the very first tourist attraction that I went to, of course it was such a perfect first impression hence I was already very happy from the very beginning. Other places that I visited that left most impression for me include the Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge, the Granville Island, and the VanDusen Botanical Garden which you definitely must put to your itineraries should you plan to visit Vancouver.

The Stanley Park is just so huge and I wish I had one full day dedicated to exploring this park. It’s basically a complex of green spaces that consist many types of recreation spots, such as flower garden, green forestry, hiking trails, children’s playground, beaches, scenic lookout points, natural reserve, lakes, and many other fascinating spots. I walked most of the time here even though it’s such a frickin’ huge area, because there’s just beautiful things to see wherever you walk and I can’t be bothered with the feeling of missing the excitement of wandering around.

I’ve never been to San Fransisco to see the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, but I swear the Lions Gate Bridge of Vancouver is probably just as massively gorgeous. The former might be one kilometre longer but the Lions Gate Bridge that connects the Stanley Park to the mountainous area of North Vancouver is overlooking beautiful strait and mountains right in front of it. Hence when you’re driving towards the north, you’d get the awesome feeling of a road trip adventure in the Great White North. I remember when I was walking through the pedestrian route on the bridge, the bridge began to move up and down a little bit because of the traffic, and there was wind blowing all over my body as I tried to walk as far north as I could. The views just below my feet, next to my side, up front in the north, and even above me were all mesmerizing I just couldn’t stop getting excited.

And the Granville Island is just filled with gorgeous stores and galleries. I bought a tote bag with collages of Justin Trudeau faces on it and that’s the only store in the entire Canada that I’ve seen selling one. I was also supposed to join a whale watching tour to the Pacific Ocean starting at the Granville Island but due to the sudden change of weather it had to be cancelled. Hence, a pro tip for me: if you plan on doing a whale watching tour, arrange it to be on the first day of your trip in Vancouver hence should it get cancelled, you could give it a shot for the next day.

Last but not least, the VanDusen Botanical Garden which I consider to be the second best flower garden in Canada after the one in Montreal. I personally think it’s even way much better than the famous Victoria Butchart Garden that people love to talk and recommend about. I spent five hours exploring the whole park of VanDusen, and even so, I’m quite sure I still missed one or two minor gardens inside. But every single corner is just worth exploring. The ponds are beautiful, the collections are just so enchanting, and it was such a pleasant adventure to explore every bit of the garden.

And of course, the scenic road to Vancouver from Edmonton itself! I passed Jasper on my way here and went through Banff on my way back home, which were basically the two most famous gems of Canadian nature. It’s not a lie that I’m so very looking forward to my next road trip journey to Vancouver, and fingers crossed for the plan!

Written by

A geologist, self-taught photographer, hobbyist writer, and wanderer who loves subtle colours, sunrays, mother nature, wilderness, adventures, flowers in the afternoon, quiet corners of a city, being literally - yet not figuratively - on top of the world, solo travels, trips by train, fascinating rocks, vintage postcards, and aesthetically pleasing urban landscapes.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ok first of all – wow those are some beautiful photos you took! <3 I haven't been to Vancouver before, but I thought of continuing my study there…… looking at this post, I'll make sure I'll visit Canada soon ๐Ÿ™‚

    great work Bila, LOVE your writing!

    1. Awe thank you Sheren! ๐Ÿค Likewise, you’ve got dope pics & nice writings too! Hopefully the whole pandemic situation is over soon and we’ll be able to start travelling again soon. If you’re really considering to further your study here I wish you abundant luck!!

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