At a population of approximately 571,708 in the city and 1,986,965 in the greater metro area, Vancouver is surrounded by the cities Richmond, Surrey and Burnaby. Downtown Vancouver is a peninsula that juts out into the Burrard Inlet, which is mostly a preserved wooded area called Stanley Park.
The city’s natural beauty is its most featured asset to visitor’s and commoners alike. Filled with parks, beaches, nature trails, mountains, rivers, the ocean and forests, Vancouver is the perfect place for skiing, sailing and nightlife in the city. The United Nations rated Vancouver as one of the best places to live in the world, which is why I thought about staying once I visited for the first time my freshman year of college. I couldn’t get past the beautiful scenery.
My first encounter with the British Columbia’s beloved Vancouver was as an 18-year-old, carefree high school graduate, looking to get away somewhere for the long summer break. I needed to get away from my small, stuffy town of four square miles and away before jumping into the intricate role of the college student. A couple of my high school friends had family in Canada and convinced me to take a road trip with them.
So, I went, thinking why not? A road trip to a place where foreigners reign the land and every type of culture is represented. “Michael J. Fox is from Vancouver,” one of my best buddies, Kyle said to me, as if I needed more convincing. Among other things I’d been educated about before arriving in culturally blended, amazingly scenic city, were the fact that Vancouver is a major site for filming due to the favorable tax breaks. Seeing movie stars would only sweeten the deal.
After settling into the Westin Whistler in one of the penthouse suites, we had all saved up for, we unpacked, getting ready to set out exploring this beautiful province. Our first day, as we had planned, was supposed to be our activity-seeking day. We were set to stay a full week and a half. That’s all we could afford.
After skimming over the visitor’s guides we’d collected along the way to the hotel, we decided that a few of the places were meant to be seen and some of the activities meant to be done before we took our departure back into the U.S. After resting up for the day, we ventured into Queen Elizabeth, which is located right in the middle of the Lower Mainland and is 153 meters above sea level, offering one spectacular view of the city below.
We got the chance to visit its magnificent botanical gardens, play a little Frisbee with a few of the friendly natives, who were Asian and nothing like we’d expected. We’d previously believed every Canadian hated Americans, but this was clearly a myth. We settled down in the park and afterwards played a little volleyball with our new friends, who recommended The Eatery, a flattering Japanese sushi place on West Broadway. These kids even offered to take us there and join us for dinner, which was a nice change of pace, considering no American kid would’ve done that for a foreigner.
At first the idea of eating in a place by candlelight with dangling fish and rather bizarre-looking artwork, after warming up to it, the loud music didn’t really bother me too much. I was a little hesitant, though, stepping outside of my normal chicken fingers and fries pick for