Pembury Partners Travel Diaries: Vancouver
Pembury Partners are currently assisting a client based in Vancouver in finding a family assistant, which has brought to mind what a fine city this is. We thought therefore it might be a relevant moment to take a closer look at the biggest city in British Columbia from a family perspective.
Canada as a whole has a famously small population for a country of its vast size, with just 4 people per square kilometre overall – but Vancouver is the antithesis to this, with the highest population density in the country. It is a major international city, with a burgeoning film production industry (it is sometimes known as “Hollywood North”), the largest port by tonnage in Canada, and is known for its green credentials. The Winter Olympics was held here and in nearby Whistler in 2010 and the city has played host to numerous other high-profile events and conferences.
Travel and tourism remain a vitally important part of the economy, so it’s no surprise that this is a fantastic place to visit with the family. Vancouver is located on the Pacific Ocean and bordered by mountains, but there’s a plethora of child-friendly activities to be found without leaving the city.
Stanley Park is generally considered as a must-visit destination. Walk along the seawall (or rent a bike and cycle the 6 miles), visit the beaches and kayak or stand-up paddleboard at False Creek, and explore the 1000 acres of West Coast forest. Kids will love it too – visit Vancouver Aquarium or relax on a horse-drawn tour.
Take an Aquabus over to Granville Island. These boats are a great fun way to move around False Creek and afford a different perspective on the city. Granville island is home to markets, theatres, galleries, restaurants and North America’s largest free water park.
Kitsilano Beach is just 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver, with acres of soft sand, a playground, basketball and tennis courts, and Kitsilano Pool. This heated outdoor salt-water swimming pool sits at the edge of the ocean and offers panoramic city views.
A little further along the same stretch you’ll find Vanier Park offering its multitude of attractions. For example, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre with its domed planetarium and observatory, the Maritime Museum with its own resident ship-builder, and the Museum of Vancouver telling the story of the city then and now.
Should you be travelling without young children, you might like to take a short (only 78 miles, practically next door in Canadian terms…) trip to Whistler to visit the Scandinve Spa, set in a truly beautiful landscape and covering some 25,000 square feet.
Those of a nautical persuasion will enjoy the opportunity to charter a yacht to explore Howe Sound, where fjords carved by glaciers are faced with vertiginous peaks and sheer rock faces, and populated by humpback and grey whales, orcas and dolphins.
The city is home to many world-class restaurants and bars too. Vancouver staple Nuba has four locations in Gastown, Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant and Yaletown. Perfect with or without kids, the Lebanese eatery is best attended as a group in order to share the delicious platters.
If you’re looking for a stylish place for a drink sans les enfants (Vancouver is one of the most linguistically diverse cities in Canada), Keefer Bar is regularly in the top echelons of lists of the best bars not only in Vancouver but in the whole of Canada. They have an award-winning array of cocktails inspired by ancient remedies, and their Asian small plates are sublime, with ingredients sourced close to the bar’s Chinatown location.