Clients traveling to Vancouver can page through any guidebook to
see the beauty of Vancouver. Travelers to the city can’t miss the
natural beauty of the mountains and ocean that form a backdrop for
the city, and top draws like the Museum of Archeology and Stanley
Park are definitely worth a visit.
But if they follow the well-trodden path of those who slavishly
seek out the best bets in Vancouver and millions more will
doubtless do the same as the city gears up for the 2010 Winter
Olympic Games they’ll miss some of the area’s lesser known
attractions that many locals would just as soon keep secret from
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden: This
tiny retreat will leave visitors with a Zen feeling of calm.
Instead of the usual beds of flowers and shrubs, this garden
features a series of pavilions, corridors and courtyards looking
out on ponds and rock gardens, all designed to give guests an
impression of what a Ming scholar’s residence looked like. It’s a
unique window on the history of Vancouver’s thriving Asian
Fourth Avenue shopping district: This isn’t
exactly a secret, but short-stay visitors to Vancouver are more
likely to be directed to downtown Robson Street if they have a few
hours to shop. There they’ll find the usual strip of chain outlets,
but on West Fourth Avenue, clients will find a far more eclectic
selection of stores that they will never run across in a mall.
Visitors should check out the Three Dog Bakery, which sells baked
treats for their four-footed friends; Bed, which carries a virtual
rainbow of hand-dyed sheets; and Paboom, which has an inventive
selection of reasonably priced gifts and knickknacks. The area is
also home to lots of great restaurants, ranging from the casual to
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park: In North
Vancouver, just across the water from the downtown core, this
pristine wilderness park is tucked away down a hard-to-find road in
a quiet residential area. It’s just a few miles but worlds away
from the heavily advertised Capilano Suspension Bridge, which
offers little more than a disconcertingly rocky walk across a gorge
for a steep admission fee. At Lynn Headwaters, clients will find
few tourists and no tollbooth, but they will discover forested
backcountry trails leading to rushing waterfalls. It’s a
spectacular slice of wilderness that shouldn’t be missed.
Deep Cove: Also on the north shore but several
miles east is this tidy little bay that’s both a bedroom community
to Vancouver and an escape for city residents. Visitors can’t miss
its pretty beach and marina, where they can rent a kayak for an
afternoon paddle. But if guests follow the signs that read Baden
Powell trail, they’ll embark on an easy to moderate 45-minute hike
through deep forest with a big payoff when the trail ends at the
top of a cliff offering a stunning view of water, mountains and the
city. It’s a vista visitors won’t get anywhere else, so tell
clients to take a lunch and take a hike.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall St.
Fourth Avenue shopping district, a five-minute
drive from downtown Vancouver, runs from Burrard to Balsam
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is in North
Vancouver, follow Highway 1 to the Lynn Valley Road exit, which
leads right to the park entrance.
Deep Cove is a 30-minute drive from downtown
Vancouver, following the Dollarton Highway exit from Highway 1.
WHERE TO STAY
Clients up for attractions off the beaten path, might enjoy these
The Wedgewood Hotel
845 Hornby St.
The Opus Hotel
322 Davie St.