Thursday, March 10, 2011

(photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap

Late summer in Vancouver, British Columbia is glorious. The weather is warm, the sun shines and the water is a s blue as the sky.

I spent a few days in August 2010 exploring Vancouver on my own. The first thing you notice - besides how beautiful - is how walkable the city is. You can stroll from one side to another in minutes.

After two work-related nights at the ShangriLa (Vancouver’s tallest building) I transferred to the Wedgewood Hotel. It was easy to wheel my suitcase between the two hotels, no need to call a taxi. Where the ShangriLa is the epitome of high-rise gloss, the Wedgewood is as elegant and timeless as a string of pearls.

My suite came with a sitting room and a beautiful wrought-iron balcony overlooking the Vancouver Art Gallery and the boulevard below. It reminded me of vintage boutique hotels in Paris. One highlight was having dinner at Bacchus, the restaurant on the main floor. At night, the restaurant sparkles with fine china and crystal. The food is delicious and wonderfully prepared. Breakfast in the same room is as open and airy as a Paris bistro. Wide windows open so that tables along the wall are seated in the morning sun.

I strolled along the seawall, took the Aquabus to Granville Island Public Market and shopped downtown. Later I took a Vancouver Urban Adventures walking tour of Gastown and Chinatown.

Vancouver, British Columbia is a truly multicultural city. At least 50 percent of its residents are Asian but walking down the street you hear any number of other languages and accents.

It’s also a city committed to a greener way of life.

Judy Ahola, marketing director at the Fairmont Waterfront, introduced me to Graeme Evans. As part of the Fairmont chain’s commitment to green initiatives, Evans developed a successful beekeeping enterprise on the pool terrace of the hotel. I wrote about him in my Growing Green column at DownToEarthNW.

When it was time to go, I caught the light rail to the airport. The short ride, and a conversation with the Wedgewood Hotel’s Joanna Tsaparas-Piché, were the inspiration for this Home Planet essay, The Universal Language for The Spokesman-Review.
I loved my weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia but it wasn’t enough. I think I’ll book another trip soon.

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