Guest post by Andy Hayes, Managing Editor of Sharing Travel Experiences
I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver. Actually, correction: I’ve always wanted to live there. At least from the brochure, it looks amazing: decent weather, great culture, and a very liveable lifestyle. I finally just made my first visit to the city, and it is without question, fantastic. I’m definitely in love with Vancouver, and here are a few reasons why.
When I first got a glimpse of Stanley Park, the massive forest preserve in downtown Vancouver, I thought it was Vancouver Island – surely such an incredible mass of greenery couldn’t be in the middle of a major city. But it’s true; I went for a run in Stanley Park and didn’t see another person (or animal for that matter) for a good half an hour. It’s totally incredible, and one of the reasons why Vancouver tops the lists of best places to live.
Stanley Park isn’t your only option though; via a quick ferry for busy ride, you can hit idyllic islands or go skiing – and still make it back home for dinner. It’s always a difficult balance between being a major cosmopolitan city and a liveable, active village, but Vancouver plays this balance perfectly.
Canada is well known for just a few select dishes – mostly those involving maple syrup, would say the cynic – but Vancouver is a foodie’s delight. It is home to a lot of expats (who wouldn’t want to come?) so you can get tasty French crepes served up with the indecipherable accent, homemade pastries and tarts, dim sum experiences all but identical to the ones in Hong Kong, and of course some hot, hearty comfort food for those wet and rainy days.
Like the rest of its Pacific Northwest Neighbours, Vancouver is also not to be outdone on the café culture front, and so you have plenty of choice for good coffee. Though, I’ll be quick to agree that you can’t go wrong with the Canadian classic: a mug of fresh Tim Horton’s coffee and a doughnut!
Maybe it’s because they’re on a caffeine jag, or maybe it’s just because of all that fresh air, but people in Vancouver are awfully friendly. Not in that annoying way, but everywhere you go you will find people are helpful and smiling. Restaurants have great service, shop assistants are helpful without being overbearing, and you’ll be delighted with the service on ferries and local tour operators. It all adds up to a pretty spectacular package, reinforcing the reason why Vancouver is so highly rated on those lists. Come to visit, stay to live and work, but if you haven’t been to Vancouver, you are missing out.