Vancouver is a fine city, let’s embrace it for its own considerable strengths. Here follows an account of things and qualities that many of us find really good about our city. It emphasizes features that have guts and soul and spirit, and those that are arguably of lasting value.
Suggestions for additions/alterations warmly welcomed, and given due consideration. The quotes in italics are from commenters.
This kind of endeavour, like the city itself, is invariably imperfect.
What’s REALLY Good About Vancouver?
1. The Rain
Large quantities of good, honest water that falls on our heads more days than not; bearing juicy air and verdant lushness.
We live in a rainforest. Celebrate it; accept it.
“Nothing better than being in a cedar forest on the north shore during a rain storm.”
Did we mention the rain?
2. The Mild Weather
By Canadian standards. Seems contrary to (1) but, not so.
“Not actually needing to use a engine block heater is pretty nice. Not needing to breath through your nose in -30 degrees is also very good.”
“This was yesterday in Alberta. For many people that matters.”:
3. The Air
Clean! See (1).
“Scent of pine, fir, cedar with hint of salt air”
4. The Vistas; The Mountains
Clear day, from many vantage points around the city, mountains with or without snow, city below; stunning. Sometimes good with cloud, too.
View from Grouse Mountain (whether you choose to ride or grind).
Sunsets over the Burrard inlet, from various vantage points.
You don’t have to leave the city to leave the city.
“The splendour and diversity of the natural environment, and the way it interpenetrates the city.”
“It’s a dramatic panorama that I haven’t become tired of looking at.”
5. The Seawall; The Ocean
Kitsilano to Coal Harbour, especially the bit near the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
“I love walking around the seawall talking with a friend on misty nights in mid-winter when all the tourists are gone.”
6. Stanley Park; The Endowment Lands; The Trees
Wonderful trees, quiet paths, remarkably low traffic.
“I like that this big, public, tourist park has hidden seasons and palettes that feel like a spectacular secret, and that in such a busy city you can find quiet and solitude in there.”
“The intensity of the vegetation, the size and lushness of the trees.”
7. Easy Access to Outdoor Activities and Wilderness
Sit, Walk, Hike, Run, Bike, Blade, Climb, Paddle, Sail, Ski, Board (Snow & Skate)
“The ability to step from the urban environment into true wilderness.”
English Bay; Kits Beach; Jericho; Spanish Banks; Wreck Beach
For hanging out when the sun shines, more than for swimming.
9. Kits Pool
137m of saltwater, in the rain
10. “Walkability/Rideability”; The Traffic
It’s actually easy and pleasant to get around.
The Canada Line: a great start
‘Traffic’ may seem a controversial item, but you can indeed travel in or on a vehicle, across town and back, during business hours, most days, with ease.
The Seabus to Lonsdale Quay
11. City Parks; Street Trees
200 parks; 130,000 street trees
Marine Building; Hotel Europe; Dominion Building; Sylvia Hotel
Museum of Anthropology
The ‘tree-on-top’ building near English Bay
The Marine Building
Art in public places
Vancouver Art Gallery
Art walks; Culture crawl; Commercial galleries; “Hidden galleries”
The Western Front
Emily Carr school annual shows
‘229.5 ARC X5’ by the French artist Bernar Venet, at Vanier Park
14. The Museum of Anthropology
15. Delicious Food; Good Restaurants
[Too many to mention. Imagine your own three favourite restaurant names here]
“The variety and deliciousness of much of the Asian food, the excellence of some of the high-end restaurants.”
“Fulfilling an almost depraved affinity to HK-style diners”
16. Different Neighbourhoods; Cafe Culture; Easy Urban Living
Parts of Davie, Commercial, Main, Gastown, Kits, East Van, other.
“I love the chaos of Davie Street at night, and the weird festival grinning-atmosphere that it gets when it’s NOT fireworks or Canucks or soccer.”
17. “Relative Tolerance”
“For the most part, we get along.”
18. Music; Music venues
The Railway Club
The Orpheum; The Commodore; The Vogue
The Vancouver East Cultural Centre
The Chan Centre; Vancouver Recital Society; VSO
The Vancouver Folk Festival
19. Movie houses
Cinematheque; The Rio; The York (will reopen); The Ridge (will die?); The Dunbar; Many comfortable new vanilla theatres
The Film Festival
“It’s not a red carpet affair and all the directors, actors, writers and producers who come here seem to be genuinely interested in talking to the audience.”
21. Comedy; Improv; Poetry slams
Dozens of venues
22. The Vancouver Aquarium
Belugas; Dolphins; Jellyfish
“That one seal that seems to recognize us every time we visit”
23. Granville Island
Especially on Canada Day, with ‘The Carnival Band‘
The Aquabus around False Creek
24. Cherry blossoms; Rhododendrons; Gardens; Gardening
The Crows; Bald Eagles; Coyotes; Bear
“I love watching our crows commute at sunset from all over the region, a ribbon that floats east for the night and confounds researchers because they don’t know why Vancouver crows should be so sociable.”
26. Some really good stuff has been made here…
William Gibson (writer), Jeff Wall (photographer), Douglas Coupland (writer), Arthur Erickson (architect), Jack Shadbolt (painter), Emily Carr (painter), Fred Herzog (photographer), Eric Metcalfe (painter), Jerry Pethick (artist), Joe Average (artist), Attila Richard Lukacs (painter), Veda Hille (musician), The New Pornographers (band), Dan Mangan (musician), David Newberry (musician), Etienne Zack (painter), The Carnival Band (marching band), others
Photo by Fred Herzog, 1958.
27. Character; Grit
“The tawdriness of the PNE, Hastings Racecourse, and the Pacific Coliseum.”
“The rough-and-tumble nature of the old port city/resource town.”
“An interesting subculture; a renewed hope that the eccentricity of Vancouver continues.”
“I miss the older couple that used to have a Museum of the World on Main St. Anyone remember them? They didn’t have kids, the said, but spent the money on traveling; and when they were older hung pictures of all their adventures and invited the world to come visit them. You’d go in and get tea and a cookie and just walk around looking at their collection.”
“The quirkiness of a significant number of the residents.”
“Anybody remember the lady who used to walk her dressed up goose in a baby-carriage around Granville?”
Time Top, by Jerry Pethick
29. The Potential
“The still-evolving nature of the city. Its lack of establishment.”
Thanks thus far to the following commenters, whose suggestions were incorporated, disguised, and/or ignored: Nemesis, terminalcitygirl, Renters Revenge, pretzels, jesse, BLM, rp1, Absinthe, RE Lurker, chubster, Aldus Huxtable, Paul Streppel, Froogle Scott, epte.