Vancouver, BC

City Population: 603,502 | City Area: 114.97 km2 (44.39 sq mi) | Population Density: 5,249/km2 (13,590/sq mi) | Elevation: 0-152 m (0-501 ft)
Dates Visited: 12.19.12 – 12.27.12 | Total Inter-City Miles Traveled: 9,625 miles | Total Hours Traveled: 188.5 hours (7.85 days)

Inter-City Transportation: Boltbus #1 | Origin: Portland, OR

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North America’s gateway to the pacific rim, Vancouver is a major port city and destination spot. As a result, the Canadian city is also one of the most ethnically diverse, with a notably large Chinese population. Vancouver also ranks high amongst the world’s most livable cities and with its efficient and far reaching public transportation system, pedestrian-friendly streets and density, and abundance of parkland–Vancouver is home to Stanley Park, one of the largest parks in North America–it’s no surprise why.

Located on Burrar Peninsula, Vancouver sits on the eastern edge of the Strait of George, shielded from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. The city is well known for its natural beauty, from lush forest and proximity to the ocean to the North Shore Mountains, which, viewable on clear days, dominate the backdrop of Vancouver.

Since Vancouver is known for their mild winters, I came up here to spend Christmas break. I’m currently staying with friends of the family and it’s been really nice to take a bit of a breather from traveling–the consistent cold and rain characteristic of Pacific Northwest winters have also done well to keep me indoors.

Since declaring my love for Toronto, I’ve had high hopes for Vancouver, the second major Canadian city on my visit. Unfortunately, the winter weather keeps me from making a fair comparison–though Vancouver is famous for their beautiful summer weather, winter is damp, cold and grey. I do like what I’ve seen of Vancouver, however, and particularly the delicious food I’ve been exposed to–Chinese food and a sampling of particularly rich butter lobster poutine topping the list.

So I’ve promised to return in the summertime, but for now, I feel like I’ve got a general lay of the land. Thus far, I’ve spent Christmas morning on snowy Grouse Mountain, hours exploring Stanley Park, getting into the family spirit and lingering underneath holiday lights and festive decorations. I’ve eaten a much heartier and healthier diet in this past week than I have for months. It’s been an slow, easy and relaxing break. Happy Holidays!

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