Vancouver’s Top 7….
Over the last two semesters at UBC I have been lucky enough to explore Vancouver – and what a place it is to explore! But instead of pursuing the usual cliches of the ‘breath taking views’ and ‘friendly Canadian atmosphere’ I thought I’d attempt to put together a quick bucket list of things to see and do in and around the city for anyone who’s heading over here, and hopefully include some things we’ve stumbled upon which are slightly off the beaten track and not in the Lonely Planet guide!
- Trek Le Chief
This has to go down as the most rememberable hike i have ever done. I’ll be honest, I don’t do much hiking, but I think I’d be safe in saying this would be near the top of even the most seasoned rambler. The hike takes you up 3 separate peaks located in Squamish which is about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler (about an hour from UBC). The beginning of the trek is not for the faint hearted taking you up a seemingly never ending natural staircase, but its a great trail if you manage to look up on your way. Each of the 3 peaks offer a slightly different view but they’re all absolutely stunning. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking! This is definitely not an excursion to be missed.
2. Sushi Yama
I was never a sushi fan before coming out to Vancouver, and was very sceptical when everyone I spoke to told me i’d be converted by the time I returned home. I lasted 1 semester before the bug really bit, but since returning for the spring term the inevitable did occur and I’ve become hooked just in time for me to return to the north of England where I’m unsure I’ll be able to get my fix of raw fish!! The choice for good sushi in Vancouver is almost overwhelming but this little unimposing restaurant located on main street about 35 minutes from UBC is yet to be beaten. Outstanding value and delicious authentic Japanese sushi – what more could you ask for!
3. The eatery
If you’re new to the sushi scene then the eatery is a great introduction, and is likely to be a restaurant experience you’ve never had before. Imagine eating sushi prepared by Heston Blumenthal in a fairly lively club and you arrive somewhere near the eatery. Its certainly not the authentic experience of Sushi Yama, with items such as KFC rolls and the class raw fish substituted for bacon, and chicken. And all of this thrown in with a rather rogue DJ firing away in the corner. It’s difficult to describe so you’re just going to have to go and find out for yourselves!
4. Grouse night skiing
Just an hour from UBC is Grouse mountain, providing some outstanding night skiing. Granted this season there has barely been enough snow to produce a skiable run, but under normal conditions it would be a a great skiing location for an evening. But the real showstopper at grouse is not the skiing itself (especially when Whistler is just an hour further along the road), but the panoramic views of Vancouver city. With a clear night, the city looks absolutely spectacular and you may find yourself rather distracted from the slopes!
For the skiing purist, Whistler is simply a must. Having said that, its a must for pretty much anyone whether you ski or not! its doable as a day trip from UBC but be prepared for a brutal 5:30 start! Once there you have two mountains to choose from – Whistler and Blackcomb. Both have a huge range of excellent slopes and its difficult to pick between them. Everyone you ask for the best runs in whistler will give you a different answer but for me if i had to pick:
Symphony bowl (Whistler mountain)
Harmony bowl (Whistler mountain)
Spanky’s Ladder (Blackcomb mountain)
Arthurs Choice (Blackcomb)
If skiing isn’t really your thing, then Tofino provides the perfect alternative city escape. Located on Vancouver island it takes about 5 hours in total to get to from UBC but it is oh so worth the wait. It has literally miles of outstanding beaches, and some world renowned waves if you’re up for an admitted fairly chilly surf. But a trip to Tofino wouldn’t be complete without stopping for a taco at ‘Tacofino.’ You probably wont need to eat anything else while you’re there.
7. Lynn Canyon
This is really one for the summer as the water is cold at the best of times, but will be truly glacially cold in the winter. Lynn Canyon is about an hour from UBC by bus, located just north of north Vancouver. The canyon contains a number of stunning waterfalls and plunge pools, but be warned its certainly not for the faint hearted! Jumps into the pools range from 6 – 30ft, not to mention a huge natural rock slide, which i admittedly didn’t have the stomach to attempt….and boy haven’t i been made to remember it by everyone who did manage to do it.
The list could go on and on, but I feel these are the standouts of my time here and are really not to be missed!