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Vancouver: 5 days

Vancouver: 5 days

By
Trip Plan Tags: 
family,
vancouver
Destinations: 
British Columbia,
Canada,
North America,
Vancouver

Plus: Historic Gastown, Robson St, Kitsilano (neighborhood)

ITEMS

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See + Do

Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada

West End
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Tel: 604 257 8400
Website: vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley

Described as a "1,000-acre therapeutic couch" of majestic evergreens, formal gardens, hiking trails, and kids' activities, Stanley Park is the third largest public park in North America. Set at the northwest corner of Downtown, it occupies a bulb-shaped peninsula that juts out into English Bay and Burrard Inlet. The park's summit, Prospect Point, is at its northern edge and has sweeping views of the inlet, North Vancouver, and the Lions Gate Bridge. Looking straight down from the point, you'll see the parade of walkers, bikers, and in-line skaters plying the park's prize attraction, the 5.5-mile seawall path that runs along the perimeter.

The entire park can be walked in two and a half hours at a brisk pace, but if you're pressed for time or have little ones in tow, you can also drive through the park and hit some of its high points—like the eight soaring totem poles carved by the Squamish people near Brockton Point. Bring your camera and in the evenings, maybe your earplugs: Nearby is the Nine O' Clock gun, an old English sea cannon placed in the park more than 100 years ago and fired nightly. The most developed area of the park includes the Vancouver Aquarium; the nearby Miniature Train, a delight for kids of all ages; and the Children's Farmyard, a petting zoo with barns full of sheep, goats, and pot-bellied pigs (and one grouchy llama).

In December 2006, hurricane-force storms uprooted and damaged some 10,000 trees in the park. All the roads and hiking trails have been cleared of debris and are again open to the public, along with the seawall. But Stanley Park is so beloved by locals that any change to the natural landscape is an issue of study and contention. Even an offer of a free concert by hometown hero Bryan Adams was turned down, as was a request from Jaguar to use the seawall as a backdrop for the unveiling of its snazzy coupes. That said, numerous annual events are held in Stanley Park; call the Parks and Recreation Board office for information and maps.—Kasey Wilson

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See + Do

Granville Island, British Columbia, Canada

Beneath the Granville Street Bridge
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Tel: 604 666 5784
Website: www.granvilleisland.bc.ca

Mini-ferries called "aquabuses" take you from one of several downtown stops (including Yaletown at Davie Street and the southern end of Hornby Street) to this happening enclave underneath the Granville Bridge—home to artisans, art galleries, and one of the best daily farmers markets anywhere, the Public Market. The "island" is actually a small peninsula attached to the south shore of False Creek and just a five-minute ferry ride from the Hornby Street stop. You can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon here, munching your way through the market and browsing the fun little shops and galleries in the surrounding maze of streets. Check out the Wood Co-op, with its impressive selection of beautifully crafted wood furniture, art, and housewares (1592 Johnston St.; 604-408-2553). If you have children, hit the Kids Market for two levels of shops selling toys, books, kites, and marionettes (1496 Cartwright St.; 604-689-8447). For a full-size meal, stop in for cedar-planked salmon or sushi at the Sandbar restaurant. In the summer, a visit to the Water Park and adventure playground is a must for parents with young children.

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See + Do

Capilano Suspension Bridge, British Columbia, Canada

3735 Capilano Road
North Vancouver, British Columbia V7R 4J1, Canada
Tel: 604 985 7474
Website: www.capbridge.com

This 450-foot-long pedestrian suspension bridge, which gently (terrifyingly?) sways 230 feet above the tree-lined Capilano River Canyon, is the world's longest. The Treetops Adventure attraction, opened in 2004, added an additional 650 feet of bridge linking eight Douglas fir trees up to 100 feet above the forest floor. The bridge gained some notoriety in 1999, when a 17-month-old infant fell from her mother's arms and survived a 154-foot plunge into the trees below. But it's safe, really—though even mild acrophobics should stay far, far away.

Although shorter than the Capilano bridge, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is every bit as breathtaking—and it's free. Swinging 20 stories above Lynn Creek in North Vancouver, the bridge offers views of the steep cliffs and tree-lined edges of the canyon (open daily at 7 am; closing times vary by season; 3663 Park Rd.; 604-990-3755).—Kasey Wilson

Capilano bridge open daily except Christmas; hours vary by season.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.