Welcome to Vancouver
With ocean on three sides, low crime, a famously tolerant population and the Canadian wilderness on its doorstep, it's no surprise that Vancouver is a regular fixture on 'world's most livable cities' lists. It's always been an active place, home to one of the world's busiest ports, but it was hosting Expo '86 (and the infrastructural changes that came with it), that really put Vancouver on the map. With the recent success of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the city is rightly enjoying its time in the global spotlight.
Home to an incredibly diverse population, including Canada's largest Chinese community, Vancouver's ethnic spread has birthed a thriving foodie scene - go on, try a 'terimayo' hotdog or a green tea gelato. Boasting over a dozen breweries, there's a craft beer to whet the palette of the most cultured ale aficionado, and a thriving local live music fueling after-dark revelry.
The 'Hollywood of the north', Vancouver operates North America's largest production facility outside LA - other-worldly urban oasis Stanley Park has racked up nearly as many film credits as famous locals Ryan Reynolds and Joshua Jackson combined. Drizzly days spell glorious long lunches and exploring some of Canada's most respected galleries, while clear skies see cityfolk roll out their towels on Kitsilano Beach and spill across the Burrard Inlet to north shore hiking trails. Come winter, Cypress and Grouse Mountains open for skiing, while Whistler beckons day-trippers a mere 100 kilometres beyond.
Add a breathtaking backdrop of glass-walled buildings rimmed by snow-capped mountains, and Vancouver sure makes a pretty picture. For many, it's enough to consider cancelling their return ticket home.
Canada's largest winter resort and popular summer playground