We’re extremely lucky to live in a city like Vancouver. We’re a happy middle ground – and perhaps this is the reason why many people come to visit and want to live here. We have less pollution than most other cities in North America, we have phenomenal cuisine that just can’t be rivalled, we have water, trees and mountains. We’re never far from being one with nature but still keeping our city vibe. You can go one end in the city and have an entirely different experience than you would on the flip side. But this is why Vancouver is so lovely.
Speaking of being extremely lucky, I was approached by Ford Canada and offered a vehicle to take for a spin. I was offered the Ford Edge Sport, a crossover car. I normally wouldn’t think of a Ford as my first choice in cars, but I was pleasantly surprised at not only how many features were included, but the smooth ride and feel of the car itself.
The Ford Edge Sport had so many awesome features that I’m not used to having at my disposal! Here are some of the features I really enjoyed:
- Temperature controls for different seats – with the front seats that have both AC and heating options. Imagine a cool, cool bum in the hot August weather!
- So. Much. Storage.
- A capless fuel system – no more wondering which way to turn to open your fuel tank or wonder if it’s tightly secured after reinserting the cap.
- A remote start system – you can get the car up and running – in the summer time this is a blessing to blow all that hot air out of the car before even stepping in!
- Parking Assist – look, I can parallel park like any other person, and the first time I tried using Parking Assist, it kind of freaked me out a bit but I was really amazed as to how easy it was to let go and let the car do it’s thing.
- Driver Seat Memory – as Brian and I took turns driving the car, it was so easy to change to our own personal settings and heights with a simple touch of a button. I like a lot of lumbar support and tend to sit higher and more forward when I’m driving, whereas Brian is a little more on the relaxed side. So it’s great to not have to try and get the seat back to your ‘perfect’ setting by fiddling with all the buttons every time we had to switch.
- Collision Warning – although at first it made me nervous driving, it was nice to know that the car had sensors if there was a car approaching from my blind spot that was increasing in speed or if I wasn’t slowing down in time with another car in front of me.
And during the time I had driving the Edge around Vancouver, I thought of all the wonderful places I could go – but I really wanted to share my favourite places within the city. While this list is just a small sampling of the great sights that are free around the city, it’s a great primer – especially during the summer season and if you love to take photos (like myself!).
1) Granville Island
The hustle and bustle of the market is balanced out with the serene boats gliding into the marina and the strum of the street performers in the distance. On Granville Island, you can purchase a delicious array of different pâté from Oyama Sausage, sip on a large variety of teas from the Granville Island tea company or sample olive oils and flavoured vinaigrettes at L’Epicerie Rotisserie and Gourmet Shop.
There are many artist shops here where you can purchase local art pieces, artisan sake, pottery and woven goods to name a few. If you’re more art inclined, you can purchase your own art materials: beads for jewellery making or even kitchen gadgets to up your cooking or baking game. I love strolling around the entire island and taking in the eclectic mix of family, artists, chefs and tourists buying and exploring.
2) Queen Elizabeth Park
A dancing fountain, the Bloedel conservatory and Seasons in the Park await you at the very top of Queen Elizabeth Park. The Bloedel conservatory is home to not only many different plants and flowers, but also to over 200 free flying exotic birds. The very top of Queen Elizabeth Park is a great place to take in the view of downtown and Burnaby. There are other parts of QE including the rose garden, a duck pond, areas you can partake in tennis, pitch & putt, disc golf and picnic areas and dog off-leash areas as well. In the summer time, it’s a nice park to get away from the city and enjoy the day.
3) Olympic Village
Once a temporary home to the many athletes that came to visit for the Winter Olympics in 2010, Olympic Village is starting to grow and become a welcomed addition at the cusp of downtown. Take a walk in the heart of the village in the evening and you’ll be greeted with one of the best vantage points of the downtown skyline. Olympic Village has some public art installations and scenic walking paths, including this illuminated bridge.
It is also home to the best place to go for alcohol in the city – Legacy Liquor Store. They have a vast assortment of wines, beer and spirits that you normally can’t find at a government liquor store. There are also many eateries popping up here including Flying Pig.
4) Canada Place / Waterfront Station
Looking for a great spot to take in North Vancouver or watch the seabus come and go? Canada Place and Waterfront Station are some of my favourite places to people watch. In the day time, you can watch the seaplanes take off as well. There are many places around this area to take in the scenery. Canada Place houses FlyOver Canada and Waterfront Station connects Vancouver to the outskirts towns like Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond and North Vancouver.
5) Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver
Rated one of the best (if not the best) night markets in Vancouver, Shipyard Night Market succeeds in so many ways. They have a large variety of food trucks available, there are many great creators ranging from sunglasses to wineries, syrups to clothing, they also have a beer garden and live music. It’s no surprise that they were packed even though we arrived near closing time. But what really makes a world of difference? The remarkable view from Lonsdale Quay’s pier overlooking downtown Vancouver.
These are just a handful of places I love frequenting but of course there are so many. We’ve only really scratched the surface – there are hikes, forests, lakes, bridges and other places to explore! I hope you’ll have a chance to check out all the great places Vancouver has to offer.
Disclosure: I was offered a press vehicle from Ford Canada for a week, I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.