After being showcased during the Winter Olympics in 2010, as well as regularly finding itself near the top of lists of the ‘best places to live’ lists that appear every year, Vancouver needs little help in promoting itself as a fantastic holiday destination.
However, with the news that Virgin Atlantic will begin flying between Heathrow and Vancouver from May 2012, Brits looking for a unique city break have an extra reason to opt for the coastal Canadian destination. Although it was beaten in the 2011 EIU Global liveability report by both Melbourne and Vienna, Vancouver remains a world-class city to visit and offers visitors an unusual variety of attractions.
The city is one of very few in the world with top-notch beaches so close to the heart of town, and the natural scenery surrounding Vancouver also provides a stunning backdrop to activities in and around the centre. Architecture buffs will find much of interest, and the city’s compact but highly liveable housing developments are held as a model worldwide for urban planning. As well as the housing, the Vancouver Art Gallery and Christ Church Cathedral are also well worth a visit.
Aside from the natural beauty surrounding the city and the usual tourist attractions of museums, galleries and the like, Vancouver holds a few less well-trodden attractions, such as the bustling coffee shops of Commercial Dr or the hip shops, bars and restaurants of south Main, or ‘SoMa’. The city’s Chinatown area also provides some great culinary experiences and the revamped historical area of Gastown is where Jack Deighton established a makeshift tavern in 1867, around which the city would grow and take shape.