Goodbye 2010s – My 2011 Vancouver Trip and Why Repeat Visits Are Nice

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This post is part of my 10-week retrospective looking back at a specific trip from each year of the 2010s. Read more about the series here. Below are links to every post in this series.

My 2010 Toronto Trip and Why I Love a Quest
My 2011 Vancouver Trip and Why Repeat Visits Are Nice
My 2012 Denver Trip Was Weird And I’m Gonna Try To Explain It But Fail
My 2013 Thunder Bay Trip and How a Statue Made Me Cry
My 2014 NYC Birthday Trip and Why I Like Traveling with Friends
My 2015 Madrid Trip and Going Somewhere You Never Expected
My 2016 Tokyo Trip and Why Challenging Travel is Worth It
My 2017 Connemara Trip and Why A Quick Break Is Good
Bye 2010s – My 2018 Belfast Trip and My Love of Day Trips
Bye 2010s – My 2019 San Francisco Trip, and Why It’s Okay to be a Tourist

I like visiting Vancouver, British Columbia (I haven’t been to Vancouver, Washington yet). I’ve been to Vancouver enough times that I’ve seen most of the major tourist attractions, so I don’t feel pressured to try and cram in a bunch of stuff when I’m there. Still, I haven’t been so often that I feel like, “I’ve done Vancouver.” It’s a nice balance.

In 2011 I went to Vancouver for a travel blogging conference, which was my first time attending this conference. Vancouver is only a 90-minute flight from where I live. The city is by the ocean. There are mountains. There’s great food. There are many things to see and do there. And aside from rain the weather is relatively mild year-round (making it pretty tempting to go there when winters get unbearable here in Edmonton).

View of the Vancouver, British Columbia skyline from the Seabus to North Vancouver. It was pretty grey during my trip, but not rainy, which is always a bonus in Vancouver.

Side note: when I was living in Ireland and people found out I was Canadian I received one of two comments.

  1. My niece’s friend’s second cousin’s classmate just moved to Toronto (or some variation of that) or
  2. I really want to go to Vancouver.

I can’t blame people for wanting to visit Vancouver because the city is gorgeous. Part of my trip was inside a conference centre attending talks about blogging, SEO, writing, marketing, etc. I’m sure that’s not so exciting to many people. I found it interesting and I got to meet some bloggers (though I’m an introvert and not really great at networking).

The conference had worked with the Vancouver tourism board and had some complimentary attraction passes and tours for attendees. I got to go up to the Vancouver Lookout, which is a nice lookout point in the city at Harbour Centre. I took a food tour at the Public Market at Granville Island. That tour broke what was supposed to be a year without chocolate (a resolution I’d made at New Years; chocolate is too delicious don’t give it up unless you’re allergic or diabetic or something like that).

I also took a hop on/off trolley tour, which was the weirdest tour I’ve ever been on. I like hop on/off tours all right. If you’re short on time it’s a good way to see the sites, get your bearings, and learn about the city you’re visiting. But the live tour guide I had on this particular tour just kept talking about the coffee shops in the area, and how there was a Starbucks on every corner. Yeah, I get it Starbucks is everywhere, but I don’t need you to point out that there’s another Starbucks down the block from us. I can understand hearing a lot about Starbucks on a tour in Seattle (you know where the company started), but not in Vancouver. Since there was a live guide I’m sure other guides on the same tour would have been different, and not just talked about coffee shops.

One thing that was unique about this trip was that it took place while the local National Hockey League (NHL) team The Vancouver Canucks were in the playoffs for The 2011 Stanley Cup. I wasn’t there when they lost and the riots took place (something that’s just awful, but I’m not gonna get on my high horse and point fingers; I know Edmonton has had riots after The Oiler’s lost the playoffs in 2006…some people get stupid over sports). However, I was there when The Canuck’s won their last game in that series against The Boston Bruins.  I’m not a huge sports person (I cheer for my local sports teams, but I’m not super invested in games). However, I have to say the energy in the air was electric as there were tons of people watching the game on giant outdoor screens downtown. I also happened to be wearing the Canuck team colours of blue and green, something I didn’t plan. Anyway, there were a lot of people (likely very drunk) giving me high fives. I probably wouldn’t had the same reception from people if I was wearing the Boston Bruins team colours of black and yellow. If you’re visiting a city when the local sports team is in a finals or playoff game then wear the team’s colours, and you’ll be greeted with a lot of enthusiasm.

A crowd of Vancouver Canuck Fans in front of the CBC Building in Downtown Vancouver.

I’ve written before that I like to have a quest, but it isn’t always super big. I do like to have something to look forward to when I travel. I’m a planner, so I always try to find something I want to see or do at a destination. In Vancouver this was visiting the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. The gardens are quite beautiful, and like the name says they’re designed in a classical Chinese style (for gardens that is). I was there in June so there were lots of plants and flowers in bloom. This was something I hadn’t been able to do on my previous visits to Vancouver, so I’m glad I got to go there on this trip.

Beautiful plants at a pond at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens.

Best of all I got to see my friend (the same one I went to Toronto with in 2010) as she had moved to Vancouver earlier in the year. We went out for lunch and had a great time, like we always do when we get together. Having a friend live in a place you’re visiting is always nice because they know how to get around and know where to go. It makes for a less stressful trip.

My friend is still in Vancouver, and that’s a good enough excuse for me to fly out and visit every so often. I was there in 2015 and this past June, and I’ll definitely be back again at some point. Vancouver is too close and too awesome for me not to visit again.

Things To Know
If you don’t have an awesome friend to stay with while you’re in Vancouver, then you can book your hotel stay here.

Is there a place you keep coming back to on your travels?

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