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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Vancouver British Columbia

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Things To Do in Vancouver


Sea to Sky Highway View
British Columbia (BC) provides many outdoor activities and natural wonders as well as one of the most multicultural experiences anywhere on the planet. Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan city where 43% of the people originate from Asia.    

Sea to Sky Highway

BC is a maritime province on the Pacific Ring of Fire (earthquake zone).  Further up the coast is the so-called Inside Passage with magnificent fiords carved by the glaciers of the Ice Age. 

Sea to Sky Highway
Sea to Sky Highway before the 2010 Winter Olympics

There is a short road up the mainland coast called Sea to Sky Highway (aka Route 99).  The highway and the railroad hug the mountains as they travel north to Whistler Ski Resort.  BTW, it is dangerous to drive and ogle the scenery.  Stop at the pull-offs or viewpoints. 



Stanley Park Totem Poles
Stanley Park Totem Poles

Stanley Park

Half of the population of BC live in the Vancouver metropolitan area. What a setting for a city hemmed in by mountains on the east, the ocean (well a strait) on the west and the U.S. border (also known as Seattle) to the south. Stanley Park is probably the number one tourist sight with unimpeded views of ocean (well strait), islands, mountains and city.  Totem poles are included along with beaches and a biking/running/hiking track all along the huge peninsula named after Lord Stanley, who also gave us the Stanley Cup (ice hockey).  Given such natural splendour, it is no wonder that the international organization Greenpeace was started right here in Vancouver. 

Things To Do

Horseshoe Bay, BC
Mountains and Islands
Some of the things we plan to do in the next two weeks are visit the nearby mountain areas for views and hiking – such as the Sea to Sky Highway, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Garibaldi Provincial Park, and Whistler.  
In Vancouver itself we plan to go to Grouse Mountain, Mt Seymour, Quarry Rock (Deep Cove), Stanley Park, UBC Museum of Anthropology, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, food trucks, restaurants, Granville Island, and the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. 

Cultural Diversity

Speaking of classical Chinese and Japanese gardens, nearly half (45%) of the Vancouverites are visible minorities and 40% are immigrants.  This is way higher than the U.S. average where 13% are immigrants.   Over 57% of the Vancouverites come from diverse ethnic groups other than the founding peoples (native Indians, English and French). 

Festival: Traditional East Indian Dance
Traditional East Indian Dance
Moreover, a whopping 43% of the city is Asian-Canadian – yes, that's right. Note that everyone is a hyphenated Canadian since multiculturalism is part of the fabric of society and we celebrate those differences.  Canada is one of the few countries in the world that allow dual citizenship.
The largest Asian ethnic groups are Chinese (19%) and East Indian (to differentiate from native Indian, are over 10%).  But I did not know that third place went to  Filipinos (5%).  After the British and French, the largest European ethnic groups are German (9%) and, another surprise, Scandinavian (5.5%, ok that's really several countries but it's still interesting). 

For tourists this means you can eat out in a different ethnic restaurant every day of the week.  If you are from another continent don't expect that you will be seen as a tourist.  You will fit right in.  Namaste. 

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