Vancouver: The Perfect "Summer" City

by DOUGLAS MARSHALL · May 19, 2008

VancouverLiving for optimism and trying to keep my LD relationship afloat (shout out to the Cathay Pacific direct flight for only $414.75 from JFK to Vancouver), I headed to Vancouver this past weekend to rediscover the city. What I found even surprised me: I LOVE IT! In the Spring/Summer, that is! I had four days of sunny warm weather up there, while those stylish New Yorkers, I’m told, had cold rainy weather here. I was even able to get a little bit of a base tan to show off next weekend in Los Hamptons for the big Guest of a Guest on location debut!!! All of this is leading me to dub Vancouver as the perfect Summer City!

Come with me on my travel-blog of Vancouver –

I have to admit; when my boyfriend transferred from New York to Vancouver British Columbia for work, I was less than thrilled (for obvious reasons). I am a New Yorker and I couldn’t think of any place further away from New York that was still on the North American Continent. Long distance relationships are hard, but I’d heard good things about Vancouver, so maybe this could be cool. When I went to Vancouver for the first time (in February) to visit and explore, I was even less than thrilled. I found it to be cold, rainy and gray and wasn't sure I wanted to return.

When I came back in May, I had a COMPLETELY different experience. The city was warm, vibrant, inviting and filled with natural beauty. This robust and modern city is located at water’s edge with snowcapped mountains surrounding. On a sunny day, views (which can be seen from anywhere in the city) are breath taking.

My first adventure was heading down to Coal Harbour to rent a 17 foot speedboat for the afternoon. It was the perfect warm weather day for this and anyone with a license can rent a boat (it’s about $45 an hour). Heading out of Coal Harbour, I got a view of some rather fancy yachts. My captain/skipper/boyfriend and I cruised up Howe Sound and passed two large cruise ships, which were docked at the famed Pan Pacific Hotel. Lots of ships leave from here to go to Alaska (perhaps future adventure). We sped under the Second Narrow Bridge as I took the wheel and we headed toward Granite Falls – the natural waterfalls that run down the mountains.

Somewhere between the bridge and the falls I actually relaxed. Fresh air, natural beauty and the excitement of the water just let me be. Once you make your way up the “Indian Arm” you discover the falls: rapid water crashing down on rocks – I wanted to jump right in, but would probably have drowned. It’s an energy site; the smashing of the water made me feel invigorated. All of this beauty is just a couple miles away from the city.

Heading back down Indian Arm we stopped in Deep Cover, docked the little boat and walked into town which was charming, idyllic and friendly. We got salmon burgers at the Cove Cafe and enjoyed the afternoon before heading back. I have to say, I was impressed and loved this boating adventure.

The next day was equally fun and beautiful. Heading over to the foot of Denman Street, we picked up bikes from a little bike rental shop called Spokes. A popular thing to do is rent bikes and ride through Stanley Park. Like I said, I did this in February and was freezing and depressed. This time it was about 75 degrees and sunny and it changed the way I viewed the Park. Trees have bloomed since February and the gardens are lush and filled with many bright flowers – but most of all my favorites: Tulips, which were exotic and plentiful. I’m told the Tulips of Vancouver bloom for like 2 months. So why do the Tulips in New York City only last for 10 days???

Getting back to the point, Stanley Park is amazing – the whole park is surrounded by water and protected by a sea wall. Inside the park there are rock formations, gardens, Indian relics like the famous Totem Poles, the Aquarium, Cricket field and several public beaches – all with a view of distant snow capped mountains, Lions Gate Bridge and the surrounding city limits. I was really charmed by my experience because there were so many visual delights. We rode around the park, stopped at the beaches, admired the gardens and eventually locked up our bikes to hop on the False Creek Ferry that took us under the Burrard Street Bridge over to Granville Island. Granville Island is a neat collection of shops that have a lot of crafts, artwork, and artifacts for a collector of every kind. Us brave bikers had lunch on the deck at the popular Bridges Restaurant and just chilled. I highly recommend the Crab and Halibut Burger.

I squeezed a lot of other things into this trip – like a shopping trip to Holt Renfrew and Leone’s for designer duds, the aperitif at the Hotel Vancouver, a Fairmont Hotel and the dinner at the famous Spaghetti Factory (my boyfriend told me never to tell anyone we actually ate there – but it’s fun and charming).

So yes, I admit it, I’m a Vancouver Convert! I think it’s the perfect Summer City because there is so much to see and do outdoors during the day (when it is NOT cold, gray and rainy). It works for water lovers, mountain lovers, art lovers – and apparently pot lovers too! Everyone I told that I was going to Vancouver said, “Isn’t pot like legal there?”. I never found out, but let’s just say I smelled a lot of fresh herb while roaming the streets. Vancouver has something for everyone!!!

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