PHOTO courtesy of Air Canada
The city of Vancouver is red-hot as a travel destination.
Located on the western side of the country, Vancouver, British Columbia is just one of the cities that has become so popular with tourists that the number of visitors traveling across the border has climbed steadily over the past five years.
It’s become so popular that Air Canada announced it is further boosting international flights at its Vancouver hub, beginning in June, 2017.
“Already this year we've seen year over year European visitors increase by nearly 18 per cent. These new flights will bring even more visitors while creating jobs and spin-off benefits in our hotels, tourism attractions and businesses," said the Honourable Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training in BC.
There’s good reason for all of this attention on Vancouver, too. Let’s start with the 17 mini neighborhoods that Vancouver has to explore, each with its own unique identity. Coal Harbour, which sits right on the edge of the water, is a former shipyard, but today serves as a mix of business and residential, with cafes and restaurants to try. Vancouver’s Chinatown is North America's third-largest Chinatown after New York and San Francisco, and is filled with Asian specialty stores, dim sum restaurants, and apothecaries. Commercial Drive is home to a popular farmer’s market, while Yaletown is right along the water, making it a perfect place to walk, jog, bike or check out some public art.
Vancouver is right on the shores of the Burrard Inlet, English Bay, and the Georgia Strait, so tourists can paddleboard, scuba dive, windsurf, kayak and swim. Check out one of the most popular beaches, Kitsilano Beach, known as "Kits Beach", is where you’ll feel like you’re right in Hollywood’s Venice Beach.
If you’re more of a laid-back traveler who would prefer to sit back and watch a good movie, the Vancouver International Film Festival is home to hundreds of them. Each September, Vancouver welcomes one of North America’s biggest film festivals, a 16-day event with more than 140,000 people in attendance from all around the world.
Wine connoisseurs love Vancouver too, since British Columbia produces more than 20 million liters of wine (about 2 million cases) a year. Every February, one of the oldest and largest wine events in the world, the Vancouver International Wine Festival, brings 25,000 wine lovers to the area, but if you can’t visit for the festival, make sure you tour Vancouver’s Fraser Valley Wine Region that includes five boutique wineries, or eat at any local restaurant that includes B.C. wine on the menu.
In March, it will be the start of the whale migration through Vancouver, so it’s a perfect time to visit the city and check out one of the world’s best locations for watching these amazing creatures. While you’re there watching the whales, make sure to show the birds some love too. Stanley Park has four nesting pairs of bald eagles and the entire coastline of the park has been designated an “Important Bird Area” by Bird Life International.
If sports are your thing, then you’re in the right place because Canada loves their hockey games and you can see a Vancouver Canucks game in person while you’re there.