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Cherry blossoms burst into bloom, the rain eases and days are sunnier and warmer. Crocuses pop up and birdsong fills the air. Yes, it’s springtime in Vancouver. Here are five great ways clients can enjoy spring in the city.
1. Smell the FlowersApril is peak bloom time for the 3,500 fragrant rose plants at the formal Rose Garden in world-famous Stanley Park. The first two weeks of May are best for enjoying the park’s brilliant display of 4,500 rhododendron and azalea bushes. At VanDusen Botanical Garden, daily guided tours in April focus on cherry trees, camellias, early rhododendrons and flowering bulbs. One of the top Japanese gardens outside of Japan — the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC Botanical Garden — delights with its reflecting Koi pond, waterfalls, stone lanterns, authentic tea garden and cherry trees with pink popcorn-like blossoms. www.vancouver.ca/vandusen
2. Stroll Around StevestonSpringtime gets locals thinking of visiting Steveston, a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. The picturesque village is home to Canada’s largest fishing fleet (more than 600 boats). Seafood restaurants line the waterfront boardwalk and locals and visitors buy fresh shrimp and fish right off the dock. It also has a salmon cannery museum with interactive exhibits. Tell clients to walk along the ocean dyke trail — past tidal flats, cow farms and sunning turtles — then linger over fish-and-chips at a wharf-side eatery. The Britannia Heritage Shipyard, an authentic recreation of an historic fishing settlement, is also fun to stroll around. www.britannia-hss.ca
3. Kayak False CreekStarting May 1, Ecomarine Ocean Kayak will offer guided kayaking in the protected city inlet of False Creek. The 2½-hour tours set off from the dock on Granville Island, itself a great attraction with a public market and art galleries. Paddle past sailboats, colorful floating homes and houseboats, playful harbor seals and seabirds. Gliding underneath the Burrard Street Bridge, the guide shares tales of Vancouver’s heritage. The paddling trip along the city’s shoreline ends at Stanley Park (try to spot some bald eagles there) and then it’s a peaceful paddle back for lunch. www.ecomarine.com
4. Take a HikeVancouver is one of the world’s best cities for hiking, and trails get nice and dry in the spring. Lynn Canyon Park has a free suspension bridge swinging 165 feet above a rushing river canyon. Across the bridge, two family-friendly trails — Twin Falls and Thirty Foot Pool trails — lead to waterfalls and beautiful pools in the forest. For ocean views and some of Vancouver’s largest old-growth Douglas fir trees, head to Lighthouse Park. Trails are relatively easy, with only a few up-and-down sections.
5. Ride the Aquabus and SeaBusSee Vancouver from the water, and soak in the scenery from a different angle. The Aquabus is a fleet of stubby little boats, holding no more than 12 passengers each. They zigzag across False Creek to Granville Island, Science World, the Maritime Museum and trendy Yaletown. The SeaBus is a larger passenger-only ferry that crosses the Burrard Inlet from downtown to North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay with its indoor market and food shops. It’s hard to tire of the views, and being on the water on a beautiful day turns these ferry boat rides into fun mini-cruises. www.theaquabus.com
Springtime gets locals thinking of visiting Steveston, a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. // © 2013 Britannia Heritage Shipyard
Starting May 1, Ecomarine Ocean Kayak offers guided kayaking in the protected city inlet of False Creek. // © 2013 Tourism Vancouver
Vancouver is one of the world’s best cities for hiking, and trails get nice and dry with more spring days. // © 2013 Tourism Vancouver
See Vancouver from the water, and soak in the scenery from a different angle. // © 2013 Tourism Vancouver