December 1, 2012

Welcome to Vancouver!

By John M. Parr

Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of the most beautiful cities in North America, and the ABA Senior Lawyers Division will hold its Spring meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel on April 20–21, 2012. Vancouver is the largest metropolitan area in Western Canada, and it is nestled between mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean. The city has been described by various publications as one of the most spectacular cities in the world and as a “Top 100 World Destination.”

A few practical notes for starters: Vancouver has a temperate climate, but in April it can be windy and chilly at night and it could rain, so dress accordingly. Please remember that in order to pass through Canadian Customs you will need a passport, an enhanced driver’s license, or other form of acceptable border-crossing identification.

And now on to the fun stuff. Our stay is short, so the best way to get to know the city is on a “hop on/hop off” bus or trolley. You can stay on the bus to map out future adventures, which will take about 90 minutes, or you can get off at an inviting spot and get back on another bus when you are ready to move on. The tour, which has 22 stops, will pass by most of the favorite tourist attractions in Vancouver.

For a panoramic view of the city, take the elevator to the thirtieth floor of the Harbor Centre Lookout. You can see Stanley Park, the harbor, and other attractions.

Fellow committee member Walter Schiller and I recommend certain highlights you won’t want to miss. They include:

  • Stanley Park, which is a 1,000-acre green space within the city of Vancouver. You can walk along the Stanley Park seawall, a paved six-mile loop, which features a spectacular view of mountains, ocean, forest, and the city.
  • Granville Island, where you can visit the farmer’s market, Granville Island Brewery, and the Railspur Alley with its art studios and theatres, and you can enjoy entertaining street buskers with their street-singing, dancing, and merriment. You can get to Granville Island by taking a small ferry from downtown.
  • Robson Street, which is one of Vancouver’s  most famous shopping and strolling streets with “high fashion,” trendy restaurants and bars, coffee shops, and more.
  • Gastown, one of the oldest parts of the city, where you will see cobbled streets, old buildings, an excellent brew pub, many good, reasonably priced restaurants, and the world famous steam clock.

If you have time for an extended stay, Walt and his wife also enjoyed the Capilan Suspension Bridge, the tram ride to the top of Grouse Mountain, and the train ride to Whistler. I concur with Walt and would add a short trip to Victoria, B.C.

All of these attractions and many more beckon to you during your stay in Vancouver. My wife Sallie and I have vacationed in Vancouver many times over the years and have visited and enjoyed all of these sites. But we have also visited Vancouver when all we wanted to do was wander aimlessly near our hotel or find a local park and have a picnic, and we enjoyed this kind of visit just as much. Vancouver is that kind of a city. It is friendly and inviting in every direction you wander.