British Columbia, Canada
The horse-drawn sleigh glides past bears. We can’t see them, hidden, snow covered, hibernating. It’s an odd feeling, that. Knowing they’re underneath, sleeping in dormancy for three or four months until spring thaw. We’re on Grouse Mountain, the lofty peak overlooking Vancouver. We’re in deep snow in brilliant blue-skied sun. It’s a breathtaking trip up the mountain in the Skyride gondola and a spectacular swoop by helicopter down to the sparkling city below.
Vancouver’s splendid setting with busy harbors and mountain backdrop is but a speck of British Columbia’s glory. Like Oregon and Washington, BC ranges from lush green to arid gold—from Vancouver Island’s Pacific shores and verdant Inland Passage islands, across stunning mountains to Okanagan wine country.
British Columbia will be home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Fair Warning: Don’t forget your passport! Credit Cards & Money: All major credit cards are accepted in British Columbia; ATM’s and Currency Exchange Services are widely available.
Vancouver, OMG! For help: www.foodvancouver.com
Blue Water Café + Raw Bar www.bluewatercafe.net 1095 Hamilton St, Yaletown. 604.688.8078, fabulous oysters & seafood; FigMint www.figmintrestaurant.com 500 W 12th Ave, 604.248.4766, sophisticated chic European cuisine; West www.westrestaurant.com 2881 Granville St, 604.736.6664, inspired cuisine, gracious, classy; Nu www.whatisnu.com 1661 Granville St, 604.646.4668, excellent farm to table cuisine, eclectic, zany, on the waterfront; C Restaurant www.crestaurant.com 2 - 1600 Howe St, 604.681.1164, exceptional fresh, sustainable seafood, dramatic waterfront dining with summer patio; RainCity Grill www.raincitygrill.com 1193 Denman St, West End, 604.685.7337, fresh, excellent romantic dining overlooking English Bay; Diva at the Met www.metropolitan.com 645 Howe St, 604.602.7788, inside the Metropolitan Hotel, fine dining, killer desserts; Sanafir Restaurant www.sanafir.ca 1026 Granville St, 604.678.1049, eclectic, Asian.Mediterranean-Middle Eastern “Silk Road” inspired tapas in trios, dramatic, fantastic Egyptian décor, swoon…; Lumiere http://lumiere.ca 2551 Broadway West, 604.739.8185, premiere French cuisine, prixe fix meals, including vegetarian; Vij’s www.vijs.ca 1480 11th Ave West, 604.736.6664, outstanding Indian fusion; Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge in the Wedgewood Hotel www.wedgewoodhotel.com 800.663.0666, cozy, lovely, luxurious for drinks and innovative food.
Wedgewood Hotel & Spa www.wedgewoodhotel.com 845 Hornby St, 800.663.0666, from $170 CA, an elegant downtown boutique hotel, a cozy gem near shopping and museums. Unwind with afternoon treats and tea or a glass of wine in front of the fireplace at Bacchus Restaurant. Or stop by for after-hour drinks. Snob extravagance? Not here. It’s all about comfort with first class service that’s attentive, yet subtle and sometimes amusing.
Opus Hotel www.opushotel.com 322 Davie Street, Yaletown, 604.642.6787 / 866.642.6787, from $299CA, chic boutique, friendly fashionable staff, Elixir Bistro & Opus Bar on site.
Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver www.metropolitan.com 645 Howe St, 604.694.0324, from $175CA, stylish luxury, Diva at the Met restaurant on site.
Pan Pacific www.panpacific.com 300-999 Canada Place, 604.662.8111, from $237CA, like being on an ocean liner, dramatic extravagance, waterfront views.
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver www.fairmont.com 900 West Georgia St, from $169CA, gorgeous classic, old world extravagance.
Sylvia Hotel www.sylviahotel.com 1154 Gilford St, 604.681.9321, from $80CA, no fuss comfort, older hotel overlooking English Bay, Sylvia's Restaurant & Lounge on site.
See the city: Trolley Tours www.vancouvertrolley.com Take water taxis to Granville Island, hike or bike Stanley Park and English Bay waterfront.
Winter Olympics 2010 www.vancouver2010.com
Warning: to be updated.
Getting there is part of the fun: ferry
or fly from Seattle, or other Washington State ports.
[ARCHIVES: Once Upon a Time In Victoria]
The Fairmont Empress Hotel www.fairmont.com 721
Getting there is part of the adventure: Ferry www.wsdot.wa.gov; Victoria Clipper www.victoriaclipper.com; air or floatplane www.kenmoreair.com
Royal British Columbia Museum www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca; Butchart Gardens www.butchartgardens.com; Beacon Hill Park & Children’s Farm www.beaconhillpark.ca
[ARCHIVES: Winterless Whistler (A
Culinary Tour) and Spud Valley]
A ski resort with great food? Stay for days,
just to eat!
Araxi Restaurant & Bar www.araxi.com or www.toptable.ca 4222 Village Square, 604.932.4540, inspired NW cuisine & wine, fresh, organic; Bearfoot Bistro & Champagne Bar www.bearfootbistro.com 604.932.3433, 4121 Village Green, creative NW fresh cuisine, champagne by the glass! & oyster bar, extensive wine list; Beet Root Café 4340 Lorimer Road #129, 604.932.1163, organic home cookin’ soups, salads, sandwiches; Elements Urban Tapas Lounge www.wildwoodrestaurants.ca 4359 Main St #102B, 604.932.5569, inventive small plates, excellent breakfasts; Fifty Two 80 Bistro & Bar at Four Seasons Resort www.fourseasons.com 4591 Blackcomb Way, 604.966.5280, creative NW cuisine & fine wines, best hot cocoa; Gone Bakery & Soup Co. 4205 Village Square (behind Armchair Bookstore), 604.938.1957, excellent soups & sans; Mix by Ric’s, 4154 Village Green, 604.932.6499, crazy good tapas, martinis; Rimrock Café www.rimrockwhistler.com 2117 Whistler Road (directly off Hwy 99, 3kms or 2.17 miles south of the main Whistler Village entrance), 604.932.5565, outstanding meat & seafood; Trattoria di Umberto www.umberto.com 4417 Sundial Place, 604.932.5858.
A wide variety of hotels, condos and chalets are available from the whimsical faux lodge Adara to the splendid Four Seasons or Fairmont ChateauWhistler.
Adara Whistler Hotel www.adarahotel.com 4122 Village Green, 866.502.3272; sophisticated, stylish, playful boutique hotel with “floating” fireplaces, delightful faux rustic details, lush linens and down comforters.
Four Seasons Resort Whistler www.fourseasons.com 4591 Blackcomb Way, 888.935.2460, handsome, gracious luxurious comfort. Fifty Two 80 Bistro & Bar on site.
Getting there: From Vancouver drive The Sea to Sky Highway (route 99) from Vancouver to Whistler may experience delays during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Spectacular scenery. Perimeter Whistler Express Bus www.perimeterbus.com (multiple trips daily from Airport & Hotels) 877.317.778