A Love Letter to Vancouver

vancouver summer tourist pictures[trip style = staycation + sightseeing + urban] {more pics below}

{Editor's Note: Vancouver's recently been given a bad rap in the media. Though I travel from Vancouver a lot for Trip Styler, it is my home and I relish returning to my city. For this reason, I want people to know the truth. I'm extraordinarily proud to be from Vancouver and am not ashamed to be a Canucks fan. During last week's post Stanley Cup final kerfuffle, it is so unfortunate the actions of a small few were used to represent the whole. 99.9% of Vancouverites are horrified by the rioters' actions Wednesday night and took to the internet and street to quickly remedy the outburst.

Through social media a giant clean-up party was organized the following morning. Thousands got up at the crack of dawn to clean up the smut from the city, bringing their own garbage bags and brooms. Vancouverites have also put together websites, blog posts and Facebook groups {with 100,000+ fans} in an effort to identify and pass on to Police, those captured on photo and video during the incident.

Finally, Vancouverites literally saw the writing on the wall, and wrote love letters to the city on the plywood boards affixed in place of the smashed windows at The Bay {Canada's oldest department store} in the centre of Vancouver's downtown. There are so many black Sharpie-penned notes, it was hard to find a place to write. {If you would like to write your love note to Vancouver on the wall, but can't get there, do so here.} And in an act that would make the 3M company proud, thousands of Post-it notes were stuck to a Vancouver Police car thanking the force for their dedication, efforts and mutual love for the city. This is my Vancouver, the real Vancouver.

In celebration of the city, here is a post I did last summer about Vancouver, updated with a ton of info and pics for summer 2011!}

Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city. It provides the sense of getting away without a road or plane trip. If you want to make the experience seem all-the-more authentic, strap on a fanny pack {kidding}, grab a map, showcase your camera, sport some runners, don a hat and re-invigorate your love for Vancouver.

[Note to Vancouver tourists: most Vancouverites don't escape far from the city in the summer. Unless they weekend in the mountains, lakes or islands nearby, the city is too beautiful and too fun to leave when the weather heats up.]


  • Start your day off right at Granville Island. Drink freshly squeezed juice, sip a cappuccino, grab a croissant or doughnut and become part of the weekend-visit-to-Granville-Island ritual.
  • Vancouverites are known for embracing outdoor lifestyle. That’s why we live in a place with the ocean and mountains minutes from the city. The Stanley Park seawall is a big part of this. Take advantage of the park’s 400 hectares and cycle or walk oceanside past marinas, lakes, totem poles, forest, boats and beaches. Muster-up a little extra energy and go past Stanley Park into Coal Harbour toward the new Vancouver Convention Centre to check out the green roof and gaze at the larger-than-life art pieces {see pics below}.
  • If you’re an arty type, or just want to dip your toes into the city’s blooming art scene, check out The Vancouver Art Gallery, gallery row on South Granville Street or real estate mogul Bob Rennie’s personal art collection (free, open for tours Thursday and Saturday, book ahead) in historic Chinatown. Apparently, Rennie’s collected enough art to host continual, unique 3-month shows for the next 20 years. The gallery design alone is art.
  • If all you want to do is relax, spend a day at the Vancouver’s newest and most fabulous hotel spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Pre or post spa session, relax by the outdoor pool and take in views of Vancouver's harbour and the Olympic Cauldron.
  • After a long day of traipsing all over the city, chill out and catch a flick at the Scotiabank Theatre downtown.


  • Breakfast
    • The irrefutable local faves for brunch are Yaletown’s oceanfront Provence or Crosstown’s Cafe Medina.
    • For something a little more casual, visit Belgian wafflerie Patisserie Lebeau near Granville Island or Thomas Haas in Kits. Famous for his chocolates, he also makes the best pastries I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. Channel your inner Parisian and sip a cappuccino and savor a flaky croissant, then walk it off along Broadway towards UBC to discover clothing, flower shops, bookstores and restaurants. Don't miss the wood and mirrored ceiling creation.
  • Lunch
    • Most of the summer, the city welcomes warm, sunny weather, making locals passionate about dining al fresco. Combine art gazing and eating at The Vancouver Art Gallery’s cafe with a statuesque and flower-filled outdoor patio, or refuel at The Granville Island hotel's Dockside Restaurant on their newly renovated, oceanfront patio.
  • Dinner
    • Located in historic {and in Vancouver that means 120 years old} Gastown, Boneta offers an open, funky space and excellent fare. And, do NOT miss one of Canada's most well-known chefs and proud recipient of Canada's Best New Restaurant, David Hawksworth, at his new self-named eatery right in the heart of downtown.
  • Dessert
    • This is a bold statement, but potentially rivaling Italy’s gelato, locals flock to Mondo Gelato {renamed “Gelarmony”} for their dose of heaven – I mean gelato. You just must.

Pictures vancouver convention centre walk way New Vancouver Convention Centre Walkway

vancouver convention centre art The Lego-like orca at the new Vancouver Convention Centre

rain drop at vancouver convention centre The slightly ironic rain drop at the new Vancouver Convention Centre

Dockside Restaurant patio

boneta restaurant vancouver Boneta Restaurant in Vancouver

Hawksworth Restaurant

Related Vancouver's Hidden Gems Vancouver's Must-Eat Markets, Cafes & Restaurants {published in The Daily Meal}

[Photos by @tripstyler]