Imagine waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the rocks or watching from a boat Black Bears foraging for their dinner. These are just two of the many memorable experiences Vancouver and Vancouver Island have to offer.
The city of Vancouver has a multitude of experiences suitable for every type of traveler. If you are looking to engage in more adventurous activities then the Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park are for you. Or perhaps you prefer historical and cultural encounters in which case you will enjoy a drive through Stanley Park where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. Every totem pole and each piece of First Nations art in the Park has a story to tell. The inherent beauty of the gardens is sure to impress the green thumbed among you. And for the nature enthusiasts, Stanley Park and its surrounding waterways are home to over 500 species of wildlife including the infamous bald eagle, bats, beavers, coyotes, great blue herons, harbour seals, raccoons and squirrels. A visit to the Vancouver Aquarium in the park is another must-do.
Aside from its splendor and varied attractions what impresses me the most about this wonderful city is the genuinely friendly and hospitable disposition of its people. It does not matter what part of the city you are in or what it is you are doing. From the local on the train providing you directions through to the hotel sneaking welcome treats into your room and providing your pooch with a Heavenly Dog Bed, there is always someone going that little bit further to ensure your visit to Vancouver is memorable for all the right reasons.
This affability continues beyond the city of Vancouver. Arriving in Tofino, Vancouver Island you will be greeted at the airport by your friendly driver and taken to your accommodation for the next couple of nights. You may be staying at the renowned Wickaninnish Inn (the Wick) in which case you won’t be disappointed.
Located on the beach, the Wick is the perfect place to call home in summer or winter (storm watching season). Watching the waves crashing against the rocks from the warmth of The Pointe Restaurant, taking a walk along Chesterman Beach where you will see the various structures passersby have constructed from driftwood, and enjoying the views from the comfort of your hot tub are all experiences which will transform your stay into a cherished memory. The property has received a multitude of awards, including being named the Best Resort in Canada and Top Canadian Resort by Condé Nast Traveller. In fact, Managing Director of the Wick, Charles McDiarmid’s personal commitment and creative vision lead to the property achieving Relais & Châteaux status in just 18 months after opening. Such recognition again highlights the hospitable nature of the local people.
Like the rest of British Columbia, Vancouver Island also boasts a variety of wilderness experiences with perhaps one of the most notable wonders of Tofino being Bear Watching. Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centre offer Black Bear tours by boat. Floating around the inlets you will see Black Bears roaming the rocky shores in search of the favourite delicacy, the Rock Crab. You will spend a lot of time ‘pinching’ yourself – this is one experience you will struggle to forget in a hurry. The knowledgeable crew enhance the bear encounters further with their stimulating commentary.
So with a variety of nature-based activities, a genuinely hospitable population and a nation rich in history and culture, it really is easy to see why Vancouver can be awarded the title of one of the friendliest cities in the world. However, such designation reaches much further than the city’s periphery. It is embedded in the culture, history and future of the people of British Columbia and extends to those who are fortunate enough to experience it and have their lives enriched by it.