Walking Tour of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Just across the Strait of Georgia from Victoria is the vibrant city of Vancouver. Vancouver is a thoroughly modern, clean, and prosperous urban center as well as an important Pacific Ocean port. Its setting, between the Pacific Ocean and British Columbia’s majestic Coastal Range, is magnificent. Most of the major attractions of the city are located along the waterfront. Canada Place, which was the Canadian pavilion for the World’s Fair, held here in 1986, has come to symbolize this emerging superstar. Also along the waterfront is Stanley Park, one of the world’s best urban parks. There are also world-class museums, and several distinct neighborhoods, particularly Chinatown, which should be experienced. Vancouver is also an embarkation point for numerous cruise ships which explore the nearby Alaskan Inside Passage.
My walk begins at The Lookout at Harbor Center Tower, on West Hastings Street, which provides fantastic views of the city and its environs. It’s a great way to get oriented to the city, prior to setting out for an exploration, on foot.
Leave the tower and walk toward the harbor on Seymour Street, and then turn right on Cordova Street, into Maple Tree Square, the centerpiece of Gastown, one of Vancouver’s most historic enclaves. Walk east, across the square, browsing through the shops and checking out the street vendors.
At the end of the square, turn right onto Carrall Street. This leads to the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Here you will find a recreation of the typical Chinese garden found in places like Suzhou, China. You are, of course, in the city’s Chinatown, the second largest in North America.
Now, walk northwest on Pender Street, and then turn left on Richards Street, to visit the Holy Rosary Cathedral, famous for its English-style bell ringing. From here, walk northwest on Dunsmuir Street, beyond Seymour Street, and then descend into the underground Granville Mall. Walk in a westerly direction and then emerge from the Mall at Nelson Street, and walk northwest to find the St Andrews-Wesley Church, a Neo-Gothic edifice.
Continue northwest on Nelson Street, past Nelson Park, and then turn right on Bute Street. At this point, you have several options.
1. To extend the walk, turn left on W. Georgia Street, which leads to Stanley Park, the city’s most popular and most respected island of green. Check out the totem poles and the Rose Garden, or engage in a physical or mental activity. Then, return to the Bute Street intersection by retracing your path and complete the walking tour by following instructions in Option #2 below (this option adds an additional two miles or more to your walk).Continue northwest on Bute Street to W. Georgia Street and turn right to Burrard Street. Turn left on Burrard and visit Christ Church Cathedral, one of the city’s stone churches. Then, continue northeast on Burrard Street, and then turn right on W. Hastings Street, to return to The Lookout, where your walk began.