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The Seawall is a scenic pathway that surrounds the Stanley Park and was built in 1917 under the supervision of James Cunningham to protect the city's waterfront from erosion. It is a perfect getaway from the din of the city. The seawall is open to pedestrians, cyclists and joggers. However, due to various conflicts and mishaps in the past, the stretch of the seawall is divided into parts reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. The starting point of the seawall is at Coal Harbor from where the cyclist route begins. The bikes can be rented from the Seawall Adventure Centre.
English Bay is one of Vancouver's most diverse neighborhoods. It's where the energetic action of Denman and Davie streets converges. The area is a popular venue for outdoor activities like in-line skating, cycling, walking the seawall, running, and jogging. There are bookstores, gift shops, fashion and cosmetic retailers and other specialty shops; and an eclectic fusion of culinary arts and eateries with clientele to match. Some of the city's best dine-with-a-view restaurants can be found here.
Corraled by the English Bay on one side and the Vancouver Harbour on the other, this stunning stretch of land was declared the city's first public park in 1886. Unlike most city parks, Stanley Park was not laid-out by a landscape architect, but instead, grew organically over the years. The rainforest forms the core of Stanley Park, with trees towering to a height of 76 meters (249 feet) and close to 100 years old, while the seawall hems the park's waterfront. Scattered throughout are monuments, landmarks and public art, as well as gardens with vivid floral displays and totem poles; a tapestry of varied habitats teeming with native wildlife that is held together by a network of trails. The park is also home to attractions like a miniature railway, the Malkin Bowl and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Once a warehouse area, this is now the city's newest shopping, high-tech and film industry district. Turn-of-the-century buildings that now house high-end furniture, home design and designer clothing retailers characterize the neighborhood, and it has become the favorite spot for film industry offices and shooting. Stick around and you might see a Hollywood star along the streets. Some of the city's best pubs and restaurants can also be found here. Great sips can be had at the Yaletown Brewing Co.
Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park is a myriad of awe-inspiring sights rolled into one. This verdant retreat is the crown jewel of Vancouver's urban landscape, perched at the city's highest point, in full view of the North Shore Mountains and the city itself. The park is a diverse tapestry of luxuriant spaces, each a cornucopia of delights. At the Quarry Garden, the former wasteland has been transformed into a lush garden complete with a babbling brook and cascading waterfall, while the Rose Garden abounds in variously hued floral displays. Nearby, the Arboretum shelters a collection of native and exotic trees, interspersed with sculptures and public art by the likes of Henry Moore. The Dancing Fountain is another popular feature, as is the Painters' Corner where local artists can be seen working on picturesque landscapes, their original artwork on display. For the more actively inclined, the park also features sports facilities like tennis courts, mini-golf and lawn bowling.
Opened in 1912, the Lynn Canyon Park covers an area of about 250 hectares (617 acres). A respite from the grey jungle of the city, this park is home to century year old trees and in terms of activities, the park is covered with multiple hiking trails. The Baden-Powell Trail being the most challenging for its passage across the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. And for the more daring, cliff jumping is also organized during the summer months. So for a walk back to nature, load the car and head off to Lynn Canyon Park.
Erected by the Inuits for navigational purposes, Inukshuks symbolize an important element of Canadian history. The one on English Bay has become not only a popular tourist attraction but is also synonymous with the welcoming spirit of the city. Adding to its popularity was its selection as the official symbol to the Olympic Winter Games held in 2010. A must photo-op for every tourist coming into the city.
This trigonometric dome sits on the highest point of the city, in Queen Elizabeth Park. Enter a miniature world of waterfalls and bamboo bridges. You can talk to parrots or watch 50 species of birds fly around 500 plant species, in climates ranging from lush tropics to deserts. Colorful fish swim in an indoor pond. The huge conservatory is also home to seasonal garden displays.
VanDusen Botanical Garden has 22 hectares (54 acres) of plants and trees collected from around the world harmoniously set amidst lawns, lakes and rock work. Some areas demonstrate plant relationships, such as the Rhododendron Walk, or geographical beginnings, like in the Sino-Himalayan Garden. A Christmas light display goes up every December.
Occupying a sizable space in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium offers unseen glimpses into the beauty of the marine kingdom with enchanting displays and a strong emphasis on conservation. Officially known as the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, this aquarium is divided into distinct spaces that feature aquatic wildlife from the Arctic to the Amazon. Nearly 58,000 creatures inhabit in this sprawling marine centre, from playful yet majestic Steller sea lions and genteel dolphins who dive through the air, to killer whales and African penguins. There is a touch pool for visitors to discover the magic agility that cownose and southern stingrays are blessed with. The aquarium also acts as the crusader of sorts for sea creatures, evident from its Ocean Wise program. Not only does it employ professional naturalists to interpret animal behavior, but also contains a living exhibit that illustrates the issues faced by marine life in the Georgia Strait.
Nestled on Westham Island and established in 1963, the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is home to snow geese, waterfowl, warblers, shorebirds, owls, ducks and much more. There are numerous observation platforms throughout the sanctuary so you can be sure to catch a glimpse of the region's wildlife in natural wetlands and marshes. Various programs conducted here, makes this park is a popular place for school groups. This is an ideal destination for birdwatchers throughout the year.
Get a 360-degree view of Vancouver and its outlying areas from one of British Columbia's tallest buildings at the Harbour Centre. Its observation deck gives an unobstructed view of the city, Burrard Inlet, the North Shore mountains, Burnaby Mountain, West Vancouver and Bowen Island. Getting there is a fun experience in itself; glass elevators whisk you up 168 meters (553 feet) in just 40 seconds. There are multilingual guides available for those who are interested.