A prominent landmark in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront is the Canada Place with its five huge sails, the symbol of British Columbia’s maritime history. Each of the five sails is 90 feet high and is made of fiberglass coated with Teflon. Drawing comparison to the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Canada Place Sails of Light are illuminated each evening from dusk to dawn with seasonal vibrant colours making it a more beautiful sight. Marking the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communications, or simply “Expo ‘86”, Canada Place was officially opened as the Canada Pavilion by HRH Prince Charles, Diana, Princess of Wales, and by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on 2 May 1986.
Canada Place is home to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver Trade Centre, and the virtual flight ride FlyOver Canada.
A flying theatre attraction, FlyOver Canada is similar to Disney’s ‘Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot Centre in Bay Lake, Florida, USA. At FlyOver Canada, with its special effects of wind, mist, scents combined with ride’s motion, you’ll experience an unforgettable virtual and ultimate flying journey for about 8 minutes across Canada from east to west, hanging suspended and feet dangling before a spherical screen .
The pier at Canada Place is a cruise ship passenger terminal for the region. It’s here where cruises to Alaska originate. Canada Place has also a promenade for waterfront walkers connecting it to the popular Stanley Park nearby.
From here we walk to the world’s largest (1,000 acres) park of urban green spaces, Stanley Park, where you can stroll, sunbathe or swim from one of its beaches or visit the park’s aquarium, the largest in Canada that houses a collection of marine life of dolphins, belugas, sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters. Enjoy the scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along the famous seawall of Stanley Park. In 2014, Stanley Park, named after Lord Stanley, a British politician, was designated as “top park in the entire world” by Trip Advisor’s first ever Traveller’s Choice Award.
Must-sees at Stanley Park include the nine (9) towering Totem Poles located at the First Nations area at the beautiful meadow setting at Brockton Point. Depicting traditional themes of thunderbirds, bears and wolves, the totem poles, also considered as the British Columbia’s Indians’ Coat of Arms, are traditionally carved from the wood of the western red cedar trees. Not idol, nor worshipped, each carving with a meaning tells of a real or mythical event. The eagle represents the kingdom of the air; the whale, the lordship of the sea; the wolf, the genius of the land; and the frog, the transitional link between land and sea.
We take our own time to explore the park’s thousand acres to see its sights and learn something of its history; otherwise, you can you can step aboard the old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages, departing every 20-30 minutes, and meander through the park.