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July 25, 2010

Comments

Kelly

Vancouver Trip
Not sure whether you like museums but the Museum of Anthropology is quite interesting (you can open up drawers and drawers of artifacts) and there are lots of clothing, spinning, weaving examples there. As well, it has a really good example of Arthur Ercikson's architecture and great totem poles and other Pacific Northwest art (including a collection that was stolen and recovered in 2008).
Since you are coming in the winter, be prepared for the rain, but I think that Van Dusen Garden is a good choice since you may appreciate the green there (compared to white elsewhere). Make the trip on a day that you need some quiet. Alternately, Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden is also beautiful.
Granville Market is neat but pretty expensive. However, there is a local sake maker there if you are interested. Interesting weaving and textile shops/artisans too. And you could consider the False Creek Ferry for a bit of sightseeing via boat - totally different way of seeing the city.
Just for walking (in my opinion)-Gastown, Davie/Denman (have a Beard Papa cream puff - really!), Chinatown, a walk around downtown to see Canada Place and such is good too.
Don't get too freaked out about going down Hastings Street (even East) during the day. It's mostly fine. I've even walked there at night with one other person.
If you like aquariums, do go to Stanley Park's. In fact, Stanley Park itself is pretty lovely, but better in summer. Many people enjoy the walk around Stanley along the seawall, even in winter.
I think Commercial Drive is overhyped. Too hipster for me, I guess. It sort of reminds me of Kensington Market, but I think it is more commercial (hence the name?).
I love Lynn Canyon and Lighthouse Park for some hiking in the rainforest.
Spend some time at least one beach. Each has a different feel - from secluded and naked (even in winter sometimes), to busy and athletic, to just easy-going.
Places to stay - sorry, not much use here, but I've heard the Sylvia Hotel is good that way (and great location) but there are some fairly reasonable b&b places too.
Restaurants - let me know where you are staying, and what kind of food you like and I'll come up with some. There are lots of sushi joints here but some stand out more than others.
Other stuff:
Use the train to come in from the airport. It is really quick and cheap.
Be prepared for standoffishness and sometimes outright rudeness. Not everyone is like this, but holding doors open, walking on the right side of the walk, saying 'thank you', is not necessarily always practiced. When one gets off a bus, nearly everyone shouts 'thank you' to the bus driver, however.
If you need help, ask someone, they are almost always willing to help when asked, but they may not approach a tourist in need on their own.

Kelly

By the way, I don't want to imply that people are horrible here. Just wanted you to be aware of a kind of a difference from other places in Canada. I do love it here.

anne marie in philly

buchart gardens is nice, but perhaps not so in wintertime.

I second the gastown walking trip.

tea time at the empress hotel in victoria.

the ferry from nainamo to vancouver, or vancouver to seattle.

L.M. Cunningham

I'll echo most of Kelly's recos, especially taking the train from the airport -- it's a dream. Ditto with the Stanley Park Seawall, in any weather. If you go hiking to Lynn Canyon or Lighthouse Park, you'll want good treads on your shoes -- those rocks are very slippery when wet (ask me how I know!).

You'll definitely want to visit Maiwa and the Silk Weaving Studio down on Granville Island (and Granville Island Brewing!). Birkeland Brothers on Main has spinnable stuff, and the nearby Three Bags Full is a great yarn store.

Given the time of year, you might be able to get some deals for hotels (unless there's a hockey game on!). We're particularly happy with Sunset Inn (www.sunsetinn.com), as it comes with a kitchen (and dishes!): exceptionally reasonable if you book early through their website and are a CAA member.

Very convenient location, as busses run frequently up and down Davie right to the train, but quiet -- you get either a West End/North Shore mountain view, or one over False Creek and Kits, with great sunsets. Also has a small gym and price includes continental breakfast! Lots of great restos and markets with "takeaway and heat at home" food within a ten-minute walk.

(The bar @ the Sylvia is great, but the hotel is pricy.)

Gastown's OK, although it's the Van terminus for SeaBus, which you take for a transit fare -- buy transit day passes at any Skytrain station or 7-11/Macs.

Victoria is fabulous: if you get there, you must go to Spinnaker's, B.C.'s first brewpub. Wonderful beer, locally-sourced food, and a terrific view across the harbour to the legislature.

t

glad to hear that you still have a job, even though it's an hour away now...

Chris Donnelly

I just got back from Vancouver Island! Beautiful there...

If you go to Victoria, you should go to John's Place. Best eggs benny I've ever had. And apparently the best in town! http://www.johnsplace.ca

Butchart Gardens are amazing. But probably nicer in the spring/summer. Robert Butchart was born in Owen Sound FYI.

Dave

Yummm, love that green laceweight.

I'm relieved to hear you still have a job, as, I imagine, are you. Any chance of moving closer to minimize the commute?

Laughingrat

Beautiful stuff. What's your Cormo crossed with, do you know? I spun a Cormo x Romney during the Tour and it was lovely, but coarser than I thought it would be once I really got to spinning it. Easy to comb, though.

Madelaine

I've been to Victoria quite a bit and thought I'd throw in my two cents:

I personally think high tea at the Empress is something you can give a pass if need be. It's about fifty dollars and not all that spectacular. You're paying for the Empress part of "High Tea at the Empress". That's me though, :) and I'm sure it's still a cool experience, but I think that Victoria has much cooler stuff to offer.

I think someone mentioned John's for breakfast; I've never been there, but it is known as an excellent place for breaky,

MY favourite, however, is definitely The Blue Fox. There's always a line-up, but go sort of between breakfast and lunch and you won't have to wait too long. They have the most spectacular eggs benedicts and roasted potatoes and plan to either share the dish or take half of it with you because it's a generous serving. I go to the Blue Fox every time I'm in the city and I have yet to be disappointed; last time I had the sunshine french toast or something like that with candied pecans, whipped cream and a sort of orange sauce and it was absolutely decadent (and tasted just as good out of a styrofoam container while I waited to board my flight back home!) I'm generally not into things that yell "sweeeeet!" but it really was incredible.

Another breakfast place is the Sunshine Cafe and I believe they serve exclusively eggs benedicts (obvously an assortment) and it's very nice - though not as good as The Blue Fox, I don't think.

Fan Tan Alley is a must see in Victoria. I believe it's off of Pandora (St. Ave. I don't know). It's got some excellent/fun shops and is the narrowest commercial street in the world.

There's a market square as well, in Victoria, and the last time I went to the square, I found this excellent used bookstore - Victoria is full of them.

Pagliacci's is another good place to eat. Serves dinner. They often have live music (if not always) and you generally have some great conversations while you wait to be seated. :)

A good tea shop is...I can't remember the name of it! But there is of course Murchie's which is an excellent tea shop.

Off of what I think is called Douglas St (I could be wrong!) there is a hat shop that is very fun to see - beautiful hats!

That's all I've got for now - when I go to Victoria I usually plan my meals and then wander about the city and I know it quite well now, from the ground up, I just can't for the life of me remember street names! You'll find excellent bookstores and coffeeshops and clothing stores and museums and whatnot everywhere in Victoria, just wander and take in whatever.

Oh, and two cafes that I DEFINITELY reccommend - if you like coffee: Cafe Artigiano is based in Vancouver and there is one on Granville in Vancouver, and I believe there is now one in Victoria, and it is the most incredible coffee - must be sipped to be believed.

Hope that helps a little! :)

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