Vancouver will receive a lot of attention as the 2010 Olympics approach, but why wait to visit during the most crowded, tourist deluged period since they hosted Expo 86?

Skiing and winter sports will receive the lion's share of attention during the 2010 Olympics - it is the Winter Olympics, after all - but summer is Vancouver's best season.

After a fall and winter of grey skies and rainy days, Vancouver emerges to a summer of endless blue skies, gorgeous ocean views and warm but fairly dry climate. This is when you want to come to Vancouver!

There are 5 star hotels available on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver, but there are two great hostels, one just off the famous gay area of Davie Street - its maybe six blocks of the shopping area of Robson Street as well - or another across from Jericho beach, looking across at downtown Vancouver. Very well run, situated in spectacular spots, and cheap!

Vancouver is famous for international cuisine. Sushi, Thai food, Greek, Italian, French, Indian, Chinese - but not just run of the mill varieties - some world class representatives of every type of cuisine. Hy's Steak House is a venerable, 50 year old steak house. Cioppinno's has the kind of Italian cooking where everyone at the table raved about having the best______ they'd ever had. C Restaurant on the water has the best seafood. Bishop's has been rated the best restaurant for years, but Rob Feenie at Lumiere has won the Iron Chef competition. There are probably 300 outstanding restaurants in Vancouver!

What to do? Stanley Park is second only to Central Park in new York for size of an urban park - and it is simply spectacular, surrounded by the ocean. Over in North Vancouver, cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge, swinging side to side, 300 feet over the Capilano River. There are 3 ski hills poised overlooking Vancouver, so great sightseeing - take the gondola up to the top of Grouse Mountain. Storeum in Gastown is a new tourist attraction - find out about BC's history. See Vancouver Canucks hockey, BC Lions football, Whitecaps Soccer and catch a "nooner" at Nat bailey Stadium and watch Vancouver Canadians baseball.

Granville Street is the entertainment district, with bars lined on both sides of the street, including the Yale, Vancouver's old time blues bar. There is a gay district with most gay bars on Davie Street. There is a Pride Parade in August, and four nights of the Symphony of Fire fireworks competition - just you and 400,000 of your closest friends watching fireworks timed to music!

Though you'd never need to leave Vancouver, there are great side trips to Victoria (more English than England), Tofino, Vancouver Island and smaller Gulf Islands, Whistler, and the always scorching hot Okanagan Lake. Believe me, you WILL find lots to do!

Andrew Larder
Whistler Accommodation and Lodging