A world-class city attached to the ocean, Vancouver has so many points of interest scattered throughout the city. After a day of sight-seeing at Prospect Point, Robson Street, and Chinatown, it’s time to relax at the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden , the first classical Chinese garden in all of Canada and once named as the world’s top city garden by National Geographic. It must be remembered that Sun Yat-Sen, a Chinese statesman and physician, was the provisional first president of the Republic of China. He’s noted for his chief legacy, i.e., his political philosophy, the “Three Principles of the People” – Minza or nationalism, Minquan or rights of the people (democracy) and Minsheng or people’s livelihood (communitarianism).
Right in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the garden that was constructed using 14th century methods – no glue, no screws or no power tools were used – features a jade green pond, “koi” fish, a collection of 150-year old miniature trees and “tai hu” rock imported from China. The garden is a good place to see anytime of the year.
A must-see is the Vancouver’s most popular attraction, Grouse Mountain. It is the only truly four-season destination in the city where you can enjoy a full-day mountain experience of downhill skiing and other snow sports during winter, and outdoor summer activities like mountain biking, paragliding, ecowalks, zip lining, scenic chairlift ride, even helicopter tours. In the summer other features include lumberjack show and the “Bird in Motion” birds of prey demonstration. Grouse Mountain get’s its name from sooty blue grouse, a game bird in the area.
We begin our Grouse Mountain experience by taking the iconic Red Skyride aerial tramway from the valley station to the mountain summit, rising 1,250 meters (4,100 feet) above Vancouver, so fast in just eight (8) minutes. The ride gives us the opportunity to admire the jaw-dropping cityscape and the views of the neighbouring mountain peaks, the Pacific Ocean, inlets and bays, and the Gulf Islands. Another means of access to the top is by taking the 2.9 km. Grouse Mountain grind hiking trail as what my daughter Marie-Anne and granddaughter Cassy did.
Watching under the hot summer sun the 30-minute lumberjack show of log rolling, 60-foot tree climb, two-man peg and raker saws, axe throwing, and springboard chop is great fun.
The “Bird in Motion” demonstration features two horned and barn owls, a falcon, a red-tailed hawk (North America’s most common raptor), a turkey vulture , and bald eagle. We’re awed by the flying skills of Peregrine Falcon, the world’s fastest living animal.
Not to be missed is the “Eye of the Wind”, the only turbine on earth with a clear glass viewing pod that has room for 36 people at a time. The sky-scrapping tower measuring 65 meters tall with its massive rotating wind-turbine’s carbon-fibre blades offers panoramic views of Vancouver. You need $15 to go to the Eye of the Wind!
Currently closed due to Covid-19 pandemic is the Grouse Mountain’s “Theater In The Sky”, the high-definition electronic cinema showing a number of wildlife-related movies particularly the Grouse’s resident grizzly bears.
Grouse Mountain where the world’s first double chairlift was built in 1949 offers alpine skiing (day and night) and snowboarding during winter months. Hit the slopes of varied 33 green and black trails/runs for all levels of downhill skiers serviced by four chairlifts.
While at the summit satisfy your taste buds with feast on variable delicious dishes at Grouse’s The Observatory, or at Grouse Grind Coffee Bar.
For more beautiful British Columbia adventures take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. See you next at the capital, Victoria! However, before we do that, we have to cross the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, another Vancouver’s original must-see.