For live music, check www.livemusicvancouver.com
The best hostel in the city (during the summer) is the Jericho Beach Hostel. They organize all sorts of bar-crawls, vollyball and the usual BS. Plus it's a giant dorm right on the beach.
However, if you're coming here anywhere outside of summer, stay here www.samesun.com/vancouver_hostel.html or check out the Cambie Hostel/Bar. Both Hostels have good bars with cheap $6-10 pitchers of beer, full of ex-pats, and opportunities to go into the interior/Banff ect. The Cambie is a rowdy dive of a bar, so expect picnic tables, and lot's of beer being tossed everywhere by 19-23yr olds.
There are a few smaller hotels around Robson St. for about $90CAD a night. There's a million luxury hotels such as the Opus Hotel, and Hotel Vancouver (google for info).
For restaurants, you can either score $0.99 sushi on Davie St or check this www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=12744 (Best of Vancouver).
Contrary to popular belief, it's not 100% legal here. However use common sense and you'll be fine. There are a few cafes around town, and an actual store operating called 'Vancouver Connection'. Read this magazine: www.cannabisculture.com/ and ask around the forum.
Get on the skytrain and get off on Broadway St. Make your way down commercial drive towards the water and you'll come across a billion artist-run centres/cafes/bars galore.
If you really want to do something awesome, look for vacation cabins along Shushwap Lake, Christina Lake, or the millions of other cabins. Rent a boat and party till the sun comes up on the beach in Osoyoos or whatever. Not cheap :(
Finally, if you want to check out local punk/metal bands, meet awesome people and drink the cheapest booze on the planet go here www.thecobalt.net
See above for all addresses.
This downtown area by the lake is a great place to visit in the summer. As well as a great place to walk by the side of Lake Ontario, you can catch the ferry across to the Toronto Islands, watch an open air performance for free, browse a craft fair and eat food from various ethic menus.
The obligatory boat trip up to the falls. Yes, you will get wet (hideous yellow plastic coverall is supplied) and is not recommended for those suffering motion sickness.
You do get a close up of this impressive natural feature however.
Don't approach the Falls via the freeway as it is boring and souless. Go via the beautiful small town of Niagara-on-the-lake and then drive along the Niagara River via the Niagara Parkway to get a great view of the falls.
The official name is The Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden & Prehistoric Park, which gives you an idea of the scope.
Ranks high on the international 'zoo-o-meter' for it's quality and size. Loads of things to see and the kids will love the prehistoric park with dinos and what have you.
The LRT (train) stops at Zoo Station.
1300 Zoo Road (off Memorial Drive)
16 dollars (adults), 8 bucks (kids)
Calgary has developed a unique habit when creating new neighbourhoods as the city expands. In the south of the city they dug a huge hole, made a hill with the dirt, made a lake in the hole and then built a neighbourhood around the lake.
The result? Fascinating lessons in modern urban planning. Check out Lake Bonavista, Lake Bonaventure, Lake Midnapore and many others if urban planning is your kinky thang.
The above mentioned neighbourhoods are south of the city centre.
When Banff National Park was created in 1883, the hot springs were the main attraction. Tired railway workers soothed their limbs in the hot mineral water and a spa was soon built to cater to tourists.
It's a national historic site where you can visit the caves.
Hard to describe this 107-year-old castle-like hotel. It rises majestically above the forest and has hosted kings and stars throughout its history.
815 rooms for a maximum of 2,000 guests when full, the hotel features 12 restaurants and a nightclub and everything is pretty much as it was back in the day.
The jewel in the crown of the Canadian railways hotel chain for a century, the Banff Springs Hotel is a rare experience where old-school luxury takes on new dimensions.
Lake Louise ski resort is perhaps the best known ski area around Banff as it has hosted many World Cups.
And hour and a half from Banff and you're in powder heaven with ultra modern facilities and pistes for every level of ability.
I would bet the farm that more postcards have been sold with pictures of Lake Louise than any other destination in Canada. A stunning hotel overlooking the perfect lake.
Rent a canoe or go for a long walk along the path around the lake. Braver souls can hike to the Tea House for a cuppa in nature's proudest surroundings.
And hour and a half from Banff by car. The railroad chugs past if you choose the rail solution between Calgary and Vancouver.
It all started in 1912 when rodeo competition was arranged to celebrate the old west and the cowboy culture. For ten days every July this busy oil town dons denim and stetsons and has a party. There is rodeo and chuckwagon racing galore, as well as Native American culture and a fun fair.
You can eat free for the duration as many shopping centres put on pancake breakfasts. Yeehaw. Yahoo. And all that.
It's good, clean fun (unless animal cruelty is an issue for you) and at the very least it's fascinating to see such a large city get so into an event that they change their wardrobe en masse.
At Stampede Park on McLeod Trail. Easily reached from downtown by train. Starts on the first Friday in July every year.
This museum offers some excellent material on the early history of the area, particularly on the First Nations. It has also a small, though interestingly stocked, bookshop.
We missed it the first time we were in Calgary and the second time only found it on the last morning we were there. Don't make our mistake!
Try the bobsled track at Canada Olympic Park if you fancy an adrenalin rush at over 90 kph. Pricey at 45 dollars but worth every hair-raising, pants-wetting second.
Most accessible by car as it is located on the outskirts, along the highway to the Rockies.
88 Canada Olympic Park Road
Tel 247 5452
In line with the city's affection for the old west, Heritage Park is a historical village that gives you a taste of life a century ago on the great plains. Quaint rides, fun events, great for the family.
The Naam is quite simply veggie heaven. Choose anything from the menu and you will not be disappointed, my own personal favourite is Naam Dragon Bowl. The Naam is open 24 hours and to make a day of it you can take the aquabus from Granville Island, eat and then take in the sunset from Kitsilano beach (a 5-min walk) and then stroll back downtown along the beaches (a 30-min walk).
The Naam, near the corner of West Fourth and Macdonald in the heart of Kitsilano
Everything a great pub should be - including an outstanding view across the harbour. With a range of finely brewed beers - from the Cascadia Cream Ale to the Ipanema Summer White and the delicious Coal Porter - you'll find a brew that will match your taste. And watch out especially for the seasonal ales - they may sound a bit weird - Great Pumpkin Ale anyone - but boy are they good.
375 Water Street, Gastown;
The area just south-west of Ottawa is not to be missed. The area is part of the Rideau Canal System and what is called land of the lakes. Hundreds of small lakes with winding roads flowing betweem small villages and towns that are old and quaint. There is shopping galore in one of these small towns called a Westport. There is great fishing, boating, camping or an array of other accommodation from century-old inns and bed and breakfasts... You will be pleasantly surprised to find this wonderland...
Great veggie cafe: relaxed atmosphere and child friendly, good value and tasty menu choices. The best of British Columbia's wholefood/veggie cooking is here. Particularly loved the yam dip...
2301 Main Street
There are many horror stories about Main and Hastings but head south on Main, out of Downtown, and it dramatically changes. It's a very busy shopping area and from about 8th onwards there are a number of small bars, coffee shops and eateries that you can relax in. Heading further south (from 18th onwards) there are quaint antique and bric-a-brac shops to browse in. For a great value pizza check out Cipriano's near the self serve car wash (at King Edward), you will be taking a doggy bag home!
Main Street (8th Street and anywhere south)
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