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  • The Anonymous Hungry Hippopotamus

Vancouver Part 1: The City

Updated: May 16

This post is dedicated to my amazing nephew and his lovely fiancée, who will be starting their lives together in the city of Vancouver, Canada. I hope this, and the following posts about Vancouver will provide them, and you, with some suggestions regarding delicious restaurants to enjoy and exciting adventures upon which to embark, in and around the charming, seaport city of Vancouver.

The country of Canada is divided into 10 provinces. Vancouver is located in the westernmost province of British Columbia, known for its stunning, Pacific coastline and mountain ranges. Surrounded by islands and forests, Vancouver is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the North Shore Mountains.

Some interesting facts about Vancouver include that it is home to many floating vessels. Not only does the city have the fourth largest cruise ship terminal in the world, it also has the second largest ferry company in the world. Vancouver is also considered the "Hollywood of the North," because the city ranks second and third (after Los Angeles and New York) in North American television and film production, respectively. Lastly, at just over 17 miles in length, Vancouver's Seawall is the longest, uninterrupted seafront walkway in the world.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

I began my tour of the city, in North Vancouver, at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. If you appreciate nature or are an adrenaline junkie, this place is definitely for you. The park is aptly named for its most famous feature, a suspension bridge that dangles 230 feet above the Capilano River. For perspective, a fact I read stated that, if you were to place the Statue of Liberty in the canyon, the bridge would reach her shoulder. And thus began my Vancouver adventure.

As soon as I entered the park, I could see the suspension bridge through the forest in the distance. From here, it didn't look so daunting.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

I even took this picture while calmly waiting in line to get on the bridge. Then I stepped out onto the bridge, and fear prevailed. If you haven't read any of my other posts on the subject, suffice it to say, I am terrified of heights. To amplify my fear, not only does this bridge hang 230 feet above the river, it also sways back and forth and bounces up and down. Absolutely nothing about it felt secure to me.

Cliff Walk

Nevertheless, with white knuckles and shaking legs, I crossed it and felt only momentary relief because my next challenge awaited me -- the cliff walk. The cliff walk is composed of a series of very narrow, 20 inch, walkways that hover 30 stories over the river. The only comforting aspect of the cliff walk was that this walkway, unlike the bridge, did not sway.

At one point during the cliff walk, I had the option to step out onto this grate and look directly down at the river below. I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that I did not exercise that option (insert heavy sarcasm), but I did take a picture for all of you, from a safe distance.

Most likely driven by the relief of nearly completing the cliff walk, I mustered a tiny bit of courage, released the death grip I had on the railing, and filmed a small portion of the walk. As you can see, the footage is awful, because my hands were shaking and I couldn't focus on what I was filming.

And then, finally, I was back on solid ground. I crossed both the bridge and the cliff walk and faced my fear. Let's be clear though, while I am glad I did it, I have no desire to ever do it again.

For those of you who have no interest in traversing the suspension bridge or conquering the cliff walk, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is still a beautiful place to visit.

It is filled with ponds ...

... hiking trails and waterfalls, as well as several places to eat, while looking out at the lush, 30-acre park.

From the Capilano Suspension Bridge, I headed to downtown Vancouver to see the following sites:

Gastown Steam Clock

Located in Gastown, you will find one of the only working steam clocks in the world. The clock was installed in 1977, and to this day, whistles every quarter hour. Using five brass whistles, it produces the Westminster chime melody, the same melody as London's Big Ben.

"Slow" Sculpture by Zhang Huan

Dubbed "Slow," this stainless steel art piece, designed by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, is a larger-than-life depiction of a baby bear strolling with its mother. The piece is roughly 17 feet long, 10 feet high, and 13 feet wide.

Stanley Park

Next, I headed to Stanley Park, established in 1887. The park takes up more than 1000 acres, making it larger than New York's famed, Central Park.

Inside the park, at Brockton Point, is a display of nine totem poles in honor of the area’s original inhabitants.

Seven of the nine are photographed above. The animal carvings on the poles have significance, as outlined on a nearby plaque. "The eagle represent the kingdom of the air, the whale, the lordship of the sea, the wolf, the genius of the land, and the frog, the transitional link between land and sea."

Canada Place Convention Centre

Just through these maple leaves at Stanley Park, I could see the Canada Place Convention Centre, located water-front on the Burrard Inlet. The building is meant to resemble a giant sailing ship, with each sail representing one of Canada's 10 provinces.

Lion's Gate Bridge

The Lion's Gate Bridge opened in 1938. You might recognize it from the 2011 movie, Final Destination 5, but more than likely, you will recognize its similarity to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

The Lion's Gate Bridge is indeed referred to as the little sister of the Golden Gate Bridge. This reference is due to its smaller size and the fact that it was opened one year after the Golden Gate. In terms of similarities, both suspension bridges were built in the 1930s, and both connect a peninsula to areas north.

Vancouver Public Library

From a reminder of San Francisco, California, we will travel to a reminder of Italy. Built to look like the Coliseum, the Vancouver Public Library transports you to 1st century Rome.

Olympic Cauldron

This majestic structure was erected at Jack Poole Plaza for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Set against the backdrop of the harbor and the mountains, when the cauldron is lit, it's a spectacular site.


While visiting, I learned that Vancouver has the largest Chinatown in Canada, beating out Toronto, and the third largest Chinatown in North America, after San Francisco and New York.

"A-Maze-Ing Laughter"

Against a backdrop of water and mountains, in Morton Park, is this collection of 14, playful, cast-bronze figures, smiling and laughing. The sculptures are designed by Beijing-based artist, Yue Minjun and the faces are actually caricatures of the artist himself. Walking through this maze is sure to bring a smile to your face. And on that happy note, I ended my Vancouver site seeing tour.

Coming up in my next two posts in this Vancouver series, are some great dining recommendations and a trip to an island. I hope you will stay tuned.

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Grace T
Grace T
Apr 27

Congrats on facing your fears via the Capilano Suspension Bridge! Also, very interesting that the Gastown Steam Clock has the same chime as Big Ben .... wonder if there are any other connections between the two. Thanks for the ground-level glimpses of Swati's travel adventures! xoxoxo

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