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Vancouver 101

We’re halfway through our trip to Vancouver B.C., and I have to say I’m more relaxed than I’ve been since we were in Italy last fall. Travel and I are the best of friends, and I find myself going back to familiar and favorite places over and over again.

Vancouver feels like home, but in a much-cooler-and-damper-than-Bakersfield way. We come here in winter for the weather, the dampness, the chill in the air, the occasional snow flurries at sea level. We come to walk outdoors, side by side with people who take this temperate four season climate for granted.

Where we live, in the southern San Joaquin Valley, outdoors is pretty much defined as “the space between an air-conditioned building and your air-conditioned car.”  And there is nowhere to walk to. There are no village-type neighborhoods, with local merchants, small diners and bistros, mom and pop businesses, or communal gathering spaces. No sidewalk cafes, hundred year old trees, or dog parks. No homes with history, no shipyards, no coastline, no buildings from the 1900s. Vancouver has all these things, and more.

And so we come to Vancouver to walk, to breathe in the fresh air, and to live like locals — albeit privileged, non-working locals — for a week or two, whenever we can.


Here’s a list of 101 things we love in and around Vancouver, that keep us coming back at any time of year:

  1. Fresh air
  2. Expansive views of the mountains and the sea
  3. Stanley Park
  4. English Bay
  5. Coal Harbor
  6. Walking in the rain
  7. Hiking, regardless of the weather
  8. Community gardens
  9. Carrying an umbrella
  10. Wearing a jacket, a hat, a scarf, and gloves
  11. Commercial Drive
  12. The Tiki Bar at The Waldorf
  13. Salumi and imported Italian pasta from Santa Barbara Market
  14. North Vancouver
  15. The West End Senior Center thrift store, in the mall beneath our hotel
  16. The Sunshine Coast
  17. Sleeping under a quilt, with the windows and patio doors open
  18. Buying fish right off the boat
  19. Fog rising off the Lost Lagoon
  20. Greengrocers that display fruits and veg on the sidewalk
  21. Coffee shops — real coffee shops
  22. Diners
  23. Ethnic markets
  24. Walking along the Sea Wall
  25. The Rhodendren Garden in Stanley Park
  26. The West End
  27. Denman Street, where we stay
  28. Davie Street
  29. Kitsalano
  30. The Parthenon Market for feta cheese, pesto hummus, and olives on our way to the hotel from the airport
  31. Street musicians
  32. Comedy Sports
  33. The Stanley Theatre
  34. The Daily Catch, a fish market with 100% sustainable seafood
  35. Victoria Day
  36. Indian restaurants with buffet lunches
  37. Watching sea planes land
  38. Queen Elizabeth Park
  39. Value Village on Hastings
  40. Lions Gate Bridge
  41. The Vancouver Aquarium
  42. Thai food
  43. Sushi bars
  44. Ethiopian restaurants
  45. Korean BBQ
  46. Houses with basements
  47. Noodle houses
  48. School kids in uniforms
  49. Toddlers ice skating at the Community Center
  50. Fort Langly
  51. Live crabs
  52. Abbottsford Tulip Festival
  53. Smoked salmon and feta cheese on crackers for breakfast
  54. The Fringe Festival
  55. People watching at the Granville Island Public Market
  56. Staying in my pj’s until noon
  57. The Richmond Public Market
  58. Window shopping on Robson Street
  59. Stevenson
  60. Working out at the Denman gym
  61. Craigslist for estate sales
  62. Vanier Park Space Center Museum & Planetarium
  63. Taking pictures with my cell phone
  64. Main Street
  65. Farmers Markets
  66. Quiet time for writing, journaling, reading, and reflecting
  67. Reading magazines at the Joe Fortes library
  68. Taking the ferry to Vancouver Island
  69. Buskers on Granville Island
  70. UBC – fabulous hiking, museums, and scenery
  71. Church rummage sales
  72. Indie music and dive bars
  73. Zulu Records in Kits
  74. Mediterranean Specialty Foods Market on the Drive
  75. Chinatown
  76. Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden
  77. Food trucks
  78. Independent book stores
  79. Night Markets (Chinatown, Richmond, Shipyard in North Van, summer only)
  80. The rain forest
  81. Museum of Vancouver in Vanier Park — neon signs, the 60’s & 70’s, much more
  82. Lunch at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, prepared by cooking school students
  83. PICA bakery
  84. Fraser Valley Wine Trail
  85. Grouse Mountain
  86. Chinese New Year
  87. The talking parrot in the Maple Ridge antique mall
  88. Whistler
  89. Bollywood movies
  90. Capilano Suspension Bridge
  91. Artisanal cheese
  92. Canadian Royal Museum in Victoria
  93. International Film Festival
  94. Culinary walking tours
  95. Kite flying
  96. Cocktails overlooking False Creek
  97. Bard On The Beach
  98. First Nations artists and carvers
  99. Pocket parks
  100. Vintage clothing
  101. Front yard cottage gardens


How about you … where do you like to go, that feels like home?


{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Emily Wight March 7, 2016, 5:01 pm

    This is a pretty great list, Victoria! It was so nice to meet you the other night, and I hope you had a safe trip home. I’m glad you got to enjoy the rain you came for!

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