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Boarding Pass: Destination Vancouver

Best of the West

May 1, 2014

by Alberta Venture Staff

The Good Life Feet First Level Up Boarding Pass

Vancouverites like to tell themselves they live in the greatest city in the world. That’s a debatable proposition when a glorified chicken coop costs more than a million dollars, but for visitors to the city it’s harder to argue. There’s the scenery, the food, the culture and the cosmopolitanism – and all of it available just an hour or so from Albertan airports. The next time you make the trip, save time for these five experiences.

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Drink at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge

This room is the personification of the new Vancouver: high-end, high-concept and high-energy. In the evenings you’ll get live music, fancy cocktails and a prime vantage point for some of the best people-watching you’ll ever do. One caveat: don’t let the name fool you. It might be a lounge, but you shouldn’t show up dressed as though you’re there to relax. It’s a scene, and you’ll be part of it, for better or worse.

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Try a donut at the Granville Island market

With all due respect to Tim Hortons, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a donut from Lee’s Donuts. They’re made fresh every day from the very best ingredients, and come in a wide range of familiar and innovative flavours – including the legendary chocolate mint donut. If you’re lucky, you might even catch them coming hot out of the oven. You can burn off the calories – well, a few of them – by exploring the rest of the market, which has plenty to offer in its own right.

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Eat at Fable

There is no shortage of great restaurants in Vancouver, nor of big-name chefs running them. There’s Vikram Vij’s amazing Indian food at Rangoli and Hidekazu Tojo’s masterful sushi at Tojo’s restaurant. But if you’re looking for serious foodie cred, check out Top Chef Canada runner-up Trevor Bird’s Fable on 4th Avenue. Try the chickpea fritters and canned tuna, and remember to take home a jar of their patented – and secretive – black pepper jam.

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Do the Chief

If there’s a rite of passage among Vancouver residents, it’s braving the Grouse Grind, a punishing 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. You should skip it. Instead, tackle the Chief, a much gentler and less heavily trafficked hike that still affords you beautiful views of downtown Vancouver. Afterwards, you can slake your thirst at the Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company’s nearby brewpub or drive a few minutes north to the WaterShed Bar & Grill, which has a stunning patio – and some of the best opportunities for bald eagle watching in the city.

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SEE The Rennie Collection at Wing Sang

The private gallery of local real estate legend Bob Rennie is one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada. Be sure to book ahead online, because the gallery doesn’t do walkups – and do it early, too, if you can. While you’re in the area you can also stop in at the shrine to Jimi Hendrix, who spent time as a kid in Vancouver, which is just around the corner.

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