Oddly enough, for my last post on Vancouver I'm going to take you back to the first two days of our trip. For the last three nights of our trip we stayed in the heart of downtown, but for our first two nights we stayed in the northern bit of downtown near the harbor. While staying in the heart of downtown offers tons of food options, staying a little north near the harbor off you easy access to Stanley Park and the Seawall. Stanley Park is pretty much this gigantic island park full of hiking trails, little lakes, and a variety of sights to see.
The view of Stanley Park from our hotel room.
On our first full day in Vancouver, we put on our raincoats and set out to explore Stanley Park. First on our list was a trip to the Aquarium. I have this theory that there are zoo people and there are aquarium people, and you're either one or the other. Antoine and I are definitely aquarium person. I personally prefer going to aquariums over zoos. I find them more interesting and they tend to make me feel less guilty (caged animals and whatnot). Anyway, the Vancouver Aquarium certainly did not disappoint! It had a great selection and setup, including an excellent array of local/Pacific Northwest fish. And some great jellyfish, which are my favorite!
After our visit to the aquarium, we walked along the Seawall and through a bit of the park, stopping at Brockton Point to see the totem poles.
On Thanksgiving day, when we were driving up to Lynn Canyon, we decided to stop in Stanley Park (again) on the way and check out Beaver Lake. It's a little lake surrounded by trees and filled with lily pads with a great stone trail wrapping around it. It was beautiful and quiet, great for a morning walk. And the wildlife seemed to be very friendly...maybe a little too curious for my liking (a squirrel attempted to follow us...I don't like squirrels. They are evil!).
Now, I've saved the best for last! Get in close and listen to my absolute favorite thing we did in Vancouver...Edible Canada's Granville Market tour. I know what you're thinking, I thought the same thing myself, but it was awesome! My sister, who is a kick-ass travel agent, said that we had to do this. She had gone a couple years before and loved it. I was skeptical, but I thought, "Sure, why not". Holy bananas, it was pretty freaking rad. The tour started at 9am, so I made Antoine get up super early because I wanted to make sure we weren't late, and I wasn't 100% sure how to get there. Lucky for us, because we ended up getting a bit lost, but then we found it (the market is, no joke, under a bridge...plus, buses confuse me!) and we waited in the rain for the Edible Canada storefront to open up.
Since it was November and the Friday after Thanksgiving (apparently a good number of locals drive south to Washington state to go shopping), the place was pretty dead. And we shortly found out that we were the only two people on the tour. For two hours, our tour-guide Chef Bob (an outstanding guide), took us around the market, talking about food, introducing us to vendors, and, best of all, guiding us through a sampling tour of this killer farmer's market. I don't have any pictures of the tour because I was too busy stuffing my face with food and laughing and having a good time. We tasted so many delicious things (smoked salmon maple nuggets, locally roasted coffee, locally produced cheese, warm-out-of-the-oven focaccia, beautiful artisan chocolates, etc.) from so many outstanding vendors that I'd do it again without a second thought.
Antoine and I aren't typically "tour people", we'd prefer to be on our own and go at our own pace. But we both agreed that this one was phenomenal and we would recommend it to anyone. ANYONE! Actually, I think we'd skip the whole "suggesting" and just tell them had to do it! Also, this is something that is probably one of the best activities to do during the off season. We were able to get out of the rain, and since it was just the two of us, the tour was super intimate and so much fun. Plus, the market wasn't as packed. Though, one word of warning, if you take the tour, make sure to give yourself at least 3 to 4 hours of time, 2 hours for the tour and 1-2 hours to explore, buy some goodies, and maybe have lunch...that's what we did!