Vancouverites staying in town over the holidays have a wealth of fun, varied and unconventional winter activities right in their own backyard, according to a local tourism expert.
Amber Sessions, travel media relations specialist at Tourism Vancouver, says the city’s proximity to both urban and nature settings means a wide range of activities to choose from.
“That’s what makes us really different,” she said. “That’s our unique selling point.”
Fans of the outdoors, for example, can zipline off Grouse Mountain at 80 km/h, soaring across the peaks of Grouse and Dam mountains. Those who prefer more traditional activities can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, ice skate or hop on a sleigh ride at Grouse.
Sessions also recommends a trip to Mount Seymour, which is offering an “evening guided fondue tour” that begins with a two-and-a-half-hour snowshoe trek through forested trails and ends with fondue in a hand-carved snow lounge.
Within the city, people can check out the new Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden.
“It’s like a mini Capilano Suspension Bridge, but with a real focus on ecology,” said Sessions.
“They do guided tours, and you walk across this bridge and get to be right up in the treetop canopy.”
Also on site are the Belkin Art Gallery, museum of anthropology and UBC farm.
For a day trip, Sessions recommends catching a water taxi from Granville Island to Bowen Island, which she calls a burgeoning tourist destination. This year, it will host various Christmas events in the Artisan and Village squares, including the lighting of the cove.
“Bowen Island has so much to offer,” she said. “For a local, that would be somewhere so close and so fun to go to.”
For foodies, Edible British Columbia offers chef-guided walking tours through Granville Island, Chinatown and Commercial Drive.
“You go with a chef and get to do all these yummy tastings and samplings,” said Sessions.
“You get to experience these places that you think you know, but you don’t know, really.”