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Vancouver’s Scenic Treasures

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Deep Cove

Almost like a real-life snapshot of Peter Pan’s fabled Neverland, the finger-shaped inlet known as Indian Arm offers kayakers paddling from Deep Cove unparalleled views of the Coast Range Mountains. Accessible by the public ramp and boat dock, a voyage into this glacial fjord offers a retreat to secluded beaches and islands, in addition to scenes of sloping forested mountains, waterfalls and avian wildlife. Frequently described as majestic and hailed as one of the most jaw-dropping vistas in British Columbia, Deep Cove provides one of those rare, surreal travel experiences where you can’t help but be humbled by the beauty surrounding you.
 

Photo by John Sinal/Tourism Vancouver

Whytecliff Park

A scuba diver’s Northern Shore paradise, Whytecliff Park boasts calm and protected waters that make it easy for both amateurs and aficionados to explore the sea. About a 45-minute drive west of Vancouver along the coastline of Howe Sound, Whytecliff Park is widely recognized for its underwater diving and the dozen of marine animal species that inhabit its beach. (It’s also the first Marine Protected Area in Canada.) If you don’t feel like getting friendly with nudibranches, sea cucumbers or harbor seals, Whytecliff also offers hiking trails.
 

Courtesy of VancouverTrails.com

Cypress Mountain

Skiing in Vancouver doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fit in a days-worth of travel before you finally set foot on some fresh powder. Located just 30 minutes from the downtown area, Cypress Mountain (the official Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games) offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and snow tubing on the highest peaks of three of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains—Black Mountain, Hollyburn Mountain and Mount Strachen.
 

Photo by J. J. Koeman

Spanish Banks at low tide

Along the shores of English Bay, Spanish Banks is not only the ideal location for a quiet sandy stroll, its tidal conditions make it the best spot to collect shells, see clams sprout and take in all of Vancouver’s sprawling skyline. At low tide, it can feel as though you’re encroaching on the freighters that sit far out on the Burrard Inlet.


Photo by John Sinal/Tourism Vancouver

Capilano Canyon

Walking 450 feet across a river while suspended 230 feet in the air may sound more like a treacherous leg on The Amazing Race than one of Vancouver’s must-sees, but the view from the Capilano Suspension bridge is truly awe-inspiring. (Acrophobia sufferers need not proceed.) If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Cliffwalk, which allows you to intimately explore areas of this West Coast rainforest previously unreachable to the public. Walk on a series of cantilevered and suspended walkways protruding from the granite cliff face above Capilano River, but beware because in some sections of the path only a shield of very strong glass separate you from the canyon below.


Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/Capilano Suspension Bridge

Beaver Lake

Located within the heart of Stanley Park, Beaver Lake feels like a near-mythical oasis with its lily-pad-covered water and towering evergreens. Completely secluded from any vehicular traffic, the lake provides a reflective respite from the hum of downtown.


Photo by Ann Rivall

When a city is lauded as one of the most livable, cynics raise an eyebrow, especially when the city in question is within Canada—heartily joked about by those South of the border as a mere extension of the United States. For Vancouver dwellers though, they require no convincing. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the piercing blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, densely lush forests and a temperate climate, naysayers are left sputtering for a rebuttal against these natural wonders of the city. —Ann Rivall

IF YOU GO:
Beaver Lake
The main entrance to Stanley Park is at the west end of Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver. Beaver Lake is accessible via the Stanley Park Seawall, which surrounds the perimeter of the Vancouver waterfront, 604-257-8400 (Vancouver Park Board)

Capilano Canyon
3735 Capilano Road, 604-985-7474
Admission: Prices vary by season.
Hours vary by season.

Spanish Banks
Spanish Banks East is situated west of Tolmie Street on Northwest Marine Drive, 604-873-7000
(The entire stretch of the beach runs between Locarno Beach to the tip of Point Grey)

Cypress Mountain
6000 Cypress Bowl Road, 604-419-7669
Early December-mid-April: Daily 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Open Dec. 15-March 25 until 10 p.m.
Holiday hours may vary.

Whytecliff Park
Entrance at Marine Drive. The park is located within the Horseshoe Bay/Glen Eagle Neighborhood in West Vancouver.

Deep Cove
Rent a kayak and take a guided tour of Indian Arm with Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre
2156 Banbury Road, 604-929-2268
Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Hours may vary by season.

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