The Gastown neighborhood was quite interesting, with their own flatiron building and other cool architecture. The bar across from the clock was being used to film something or other. Vancouver is the filming location for a ton of movies and TV series.
We made our way east from Gastown to Chinatown. We stumbled upon a flea market/swap meet whose vendors were largely from the citiy's homeless population. We also saw two young people doing heroine on the sidewalk, in broad daylight on a Sunday morning. Vancouver is lovely and diverse, but clearly not without problems.
In Chinatown we went to the Vancouver Chinese Garden.
We explored the neighborhood and ate a lot of dim sum.
After Chinatown, we took a taxi to the Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus. They have a large collection of First Nations art, both inside and on the grounds.
On our last full day in Vancouver we booked a whale watching tour. The tour left from Granville Island, so we took the morning before the tour to explore the Granville Island Public Market. It was just a short walk and short ferry ride from our hotel. There were lots of fun shops and food. We picked up fixings for a picnic on the boat.
It was a rough and long boat trip (about 6 hours). Casey got a bit of motion sickness at first, but some ginger candy helped. The orcas were far south that day so we didn't end up spotting them until just off the San Juan islands. There were lots of whales to see, and we got to watch them for an hour or so. It was breathtaking and a bucket list experience for sure! The only way it could've been better is if I could have gotten in the water to swim with them and pet them. It was for sure, my favorite activity of the trip.
That evening we enjoyed the sunset on our balcony and reflected on our time in beautiful Vancouver.
I'd recommend Vancouver to anyone who wants a vacation that offers a little of everything: amazing views and natural beauty, interesting sites and dining. I would absolutely go back. And of course, the Canadians we met were just as nice as you'd expect.
I'd also recommend Magical Mystery Tours! I don't think Casey enjoyed the element of surprise a much as I did, but it was wonderful to have someone else do the planning. And with their choice of Vancouver, they proved that they know how to choose a holiday that exceeds expectations.