Things to Do in British Columbia - page 4
For more than three decades, BC Place Stadium has been the premier venue for British Columbia’s athletics. Originally built for the 1986 World’s Fair, it played a major role in the Vancouver’s hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics. In preparation for the event it was updated with a retractable roof that became the largest of its kind in the world. The large fabric rooftop is supported by cables, transforming the stadium for whichever weather conditions or event is present. Guests can remain covered during inclement weather, or be open to the sky (which is particularly beautiful on clear night.)
BC Place is home to the city’s two major sports teams, as well as the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The stadium is also host to the city’s largest community events. With over 1,000 digital screens and nearly 55,000 stadium seats, it’s one of the top sports arenas in Canada.
Located at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, FlyOver Canada is a 4D flight simulation, and one of Vancouver's hottest new tourist attractions. Essentially, FlyOver Canada offers visitors to the city a chance to experience a four dimensional journey via helicopter to all of Canada's most famous sights during a thrilling 30 minute virtual adventure. The FlyOver includes a pre-show presented by Movement Factory called Uplift!, followed by a quick briefing in the boarding zone, and then the Ultimate Flying Ride, which is the highlight of the show and takes a total of 8 minutes to experience.
FlyOver Canada takes visitors on a beautifully choreographed areal tour of Niagara Falls, the Arctic, the Prairies and many more amazing uniquely Canadian destinations. It is visually stunning and leaves visitors in awe of the beauty found within the borders of Canada. If you've never visited a 4D ride or show, it's an exciting experience.
Stanley Park's biggest draw, the aquarium is home to 9,000 water-loving creatures - including sharks, dolphins, Amazonian caimans, and a somewhat shy octopus. There's also a small, walk-through rainforest area full of birds, butterflies, and turtles. Check out the iridescent jellyfish tank and the two sea otters that eat the way everyone should: lying on their backs using their chests as plates.
Beluga whales whistle and blow water at onlookers in the icy-blue Arctic Canada exhibit, while in the Amazon rainforest, an hourly rainstorm falls in an atrium filled with three-toed sloths, stunning blue and green poison tree frogs, and even piranhas. For a local perspective, check out the Pacific Canada exhibit, where you can see Pacific salmon, giant Pacific Octopus, Stellar see lions, and a Pacific white-sided dolphin.
No fine-weather visit to Vancouver is complete without a walk around Stanley Park’s seawall, and starting or finishing a seawall stroll from the Lost Lagoon Nature House just makes sense. Known for its photo-worthy views, large fountain, and sometimes even a few swans, Lost Lagoon is Stanley Park’s largest body of water and one of Vancouver’s most recognizable landmarks. At the edge of the lagoon, tucked away in a former boathouse, is the Lost Lagoon Nature House. Operated by the Stanley Park Ecological Society, it is packed with interesting things to do and see.
From beavers to bats, interpretive displays of every species found in Stanley Park help make the learning at the Lost Lagoon Nature House fun and interactive. Whether you want to know about a particular bird species that lives in Stanley Park or you’d like to learn more about the park’s multiple restoration projects, the friendly staff members are almost always on hand to answer any questions you may have.
In the 1800s, fur traders were at the forefront of the ever advancing British Empire and Fort Langley was one of the trading posts built by the powerful Hudson’s Bay Company, which back then functioned as a de facto government in the Pacific Northwest. Originally, the fort was established due to the British interest in sea otter pelts and to once and for all assert control over the Columbia District in the face of American competition, but soon the site’s purpose shifted to a more supportive one. What is today known as the Fort Langley National Historic Site moved on to influence history in profound ways, helped establish the international border with the United States and due to its strategic location, became the birthplace of British Columbia. Visitors can step back in time at the restored and reconstructed Fort Langley to interact with costumed fur traders or dress up themselves, get introduced to blacksmithing in a working forge.
While the biggest reason for a visitor to head out to Horseshoe Bay might be the ferry terminal, the picturesque community of just 1,000 year-round residents is worth a trip all on its own. In addition to being the West Coast ferry terminus for BC Ferries going to Vancouver Island, Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast, the little village located at the entrance to Howe Sound is also the starting point of the Sea to Sky highway, one of British Columbia’s most notable attractions. The coastal highway winds along the coast through Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, offering world-class views of the region’s unique evergreen islands and tall mountains.
Although Horseshoe Bay is mainly a bedroom community for nature-loving Vancouverites, it does offer a variety of unique shops, bistros, and a pub. The marina is home to boats big and small, and with the ocean at your feet and the North Shore mountains at your back, the outdoor opportunities are boundless.
Full of ancient forest and surrounded by Pacific Coastal mountains 56 miles (90 km) north of Vancouver, Callaghan Valley is real BC backcountry. In summer, the valley is home to backpackers and hikers looking for a wilderness experience, while in winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is popular, with over 45 miles (70 km) of cross-country trails and six miles (10 km) of snowshoe trails to explore.
Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics’ Nordic events, the wall of mountains that surrounds the valley creates a unique climate that sees some of the deepest snowfall in the whole of Canada. The ski season is often 150 days long, running right into mid-April.
In spring and summer, Callaghan Valley is all wildflower meadows and wetlands, where you can go lakeside camping, canoeing, boating, fishing and hiking. The 6,590-acre (2,667-hectare) park is also prime wildlife-spotting territory. Look out for bobcats and squirrels, black-tailed deer and moose, black and grizzly bea
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Located in the Callaghan Valley, the 141-foot Alexander Falls make for a beautiful day trip destination from Whistler Village. Just be sure to bring a picnic, as it’s a favorite lunch spot for locals and visitors alike. Picnic tables are surrounded by thick forest, and the crashing waterfall adds atmosphere to this wilderness setting that makes it easy to forget it’s only 30 minutes back to the hustle of a major tourist resort.
Alexander Falls is only minutes from Whistler Olympic Park and its cross-country ski trails, built for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which are open throughout the winter. In the summer, the trails double as walking paths and bike trails. Hiking trails that lead further into Callaghan Valley Provincial Park offer access to more pristine nature, while campsites at Callaghan and Madeley Lake provide a beautiful– and absolutely free–place to spend the night.
Draining the beautifully clear waters of Harrison Lake, Harrison River is a short, but extremely important tributary to the Fraser River system in southern British Columbia, Canada. The river empties into the Fraser approximately a 90-minute drive from the city of Vancouver at the village of Harrison Mills. And although the river officially begins at Harrison Lake, the system is actually the continuation of the Lillooet River system which originates to the north.
Harrison River has suited many needs throughout history. In the 1860s, during the Fraser Gold Rush, the river served as a thoroughfare to the gold-rich area of Lillooet. Today, tourists flock to the area for a number of reasons and from a recreational standpoint, there is plenty to do along the river. For one, Harrison River is a hot spot for wild Salmon fishing.
Situated some 10 miles outside of Downtown Vancouver and nestled at the base of Mount Seymour, Deep Cove is an interesting village and resort. The resort area is located to the east of North Vancouver on a deep water bay within the upper arm of Burrard Inlet.
Traditionally, this land belonged to the Coast Salish First Nations people. They are said to have lived in this region for thousands of years, and many still call this cove home. However, the region has developed tremendously over the years and has become a hot spot for Vancouver residents hoping for a quick escape from the bustle of city life. Despite the growth and development of Deep Cove, the rugged natural setting has allowed the village and area to maintain its outdoorsy, natural feel. Outdoor activities are thus abundant, with sea kayaking, mountain biking and hiking all available out at the resort areas.
Popular with packs of enthusiastic school kids, this high-tech science center illuminates the eye-opening world of space. There's plenty of fun to be had battling aliens, designing a spacecraft, or strapping yourself in for a simulator ride to Mars, and there are also movie presentations on all manner of spacey themes.
The H.R. MacMillan Space Center in Vancouver is big on interactive displays. You can travel to Mars on the Virtual Voyages Simulator, or punch a button to watch a video of the Apollo 17 manned-satellite engine that stands in front of you. Or maybe design a spacecraft or maneuver a lunar robot in the Cosmic Courtyard. The planetarium hosts shows that veer from the traditional journey-through-the-stars experiences to interpretations of the skies from an indigenous First Nation point of view. Budding young astronomers can venture to the StarTheatre, which show child-friendly movies on an overhead dome.
Stretching out over an entire city block (and centered of course, around the city library,) Library Square is one of the most visually interesting areas in Vancouver. The iconic circular structure slightly resembles the Coliseum of Rome, with inventive design that seamlessly integrates the interior and exterior. The rooftop garden designed by a local landscape architect furthers this aesthetic.
Library Square consists of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, a high-rise office building, and various shops and restaurants on the ground level. Perhaps its most unique design element is the free-standing colonnaded elliptical wall, reached by bridges from its pavilion. The area contains several public reading and study sections flooded with natural light, alongside nine floors and over one million books and other reference materials. The entire square is a bustling public landmark and community gathering spot beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Just outside British Columbia’s largest city lies a tall-sided glacial fjord, carved into the landscape during the last Ice Age. Because road access is limited, Indian Arm provides some of the most dramatic mountain scenery and wildlife in the region. The calm, salty waters are surrounded by steeply rising granite cliffs and heavily wooded hillsides. There are also dozens of waterfalls and creeks, which can freeze in entirety during the winter season. The largest accessible waterfall is Granite Falls, on the eastern side.
A rough hiking trail extends around the perimeter of Indian Arm, with the possibility of viewing local wildlife such as bald eagles, seals, black bears, and salmon. Many choose to take in the natural beauty from the water, with a variety of boat trips offered through the fjord. You may even pass by one of the area’s many islands or secluded beaches.
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