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Best Local Scene in Vancouver

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Towering at 1,250 meters (4,100 feet), Grouse Mountain's ethereal peaks bear testament to the unspoiled beauty of British Columbia. Named after the native dusky grouse that inhabits the alpine reaches of the province, this soaring attraction forms part of the North Shore mountains of North Vancouver. The mountain's all-year-round access means that life's luxuries don't escape even this great natural landmark. Grouse Mountain is home to a stunning mountaintop cinema, a chalet and lodge built along its base, and a nifty chairlift that allows for sweeping panoramic views of the soul-stirring scenery of the region. There is also a wildlife refuge and a ski area that occupy the mountain's alpine corners.

Brimming with a delightful vibrancy, Granville Island is a veritable haven of shopping, entertainment and culture located only a few minutes away from Downtown Vancouver. At the crack of dawn, water taxis can be seen ferrying across False Creek, bearing local wares and fruit crates ready to be sold at the Public Market. The Island's colour, warmth and jubilant personality are fed by each of the 300 businesses and vendors that inhabit its charming stretch. Whether it is the assortment of handicrafts, Aboriginal Art and locally curated souvenirs sold at its homegrown shops and galleries or the pull of culture on display at its performing arts venues, Granville Island saves something for everyone. Notable among its many landmarks is the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Vancouver Theatresports League and the Granville Island Brewing Company.

This part of downtown got its name from saloon owner Gassy Jack Deighton, who was a rather chatty fellow. In case anyone doubts the true root of the area's title, there is a large statue of this historical figure on Water Street. Cobblestone streets and original architecture, shops, restaurants and bars fill the area. Highlights include The Landing, Hill's Native Art, Deluxe Junk Co., Salmagundi West and the Irish Heather Bistro.

Known as the third largest in North America, Vancouver's Chinatown is a colorful area filled with exotic wonders. The profusion of markets and stores sells everything from star fruit, gai lan, ginseng, herbal medicine and tea sets to hand carved chopsticks, rice paper pads and Buddha figurines. It's a very inexpensive place to shop for gifts and groceries. Pender Street, between Carral and Main, has shops selling curios, clothing, herbs and house wares. You can grab a drink at The Keefer Bar, dine at Bao Bei and then spend a few hours at the wonderful Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden.

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