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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Travel - Lisa Vivirito

Make Vancouver part of your Alaskan vacation
Rating: 3.14 / 5 (167 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Jun 30 - 03:00

The Alaska cruising season is here and that means many Floridians will find themselves in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Whether you are planning a round-trip Alaska cruise or are just beginning or ending your cruise in Vancouver, consider spending an extra night or two to explore this wonderful Canadian city.

Many city tours are available, but whether you take one or just venture on your own, here are some highlights of the city you won't want to miss.

Probably the best first stop is the Vancouver Lookout. Towering above the city, it is British Columbia's tallest building at 581 feet tall. The 360-degree view can be reached by a 45-second glass elevator ride. Once on top, there are information displays around the deck perimeter to describe the view in front of you. There also is a revolving restaurant called the Top of Vancouver, and the Cappuccino Lounge where you can enjoy a hot or cold beverage and a snack while taking in the breath-taking view.

Located just blocks from the cruise ship terminal, the Vancouver Lookout is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. from May 1 through Oct. 14. The $10 adult admission price allows you unlimited access for a day so you can experience the views at different times of the day.

Next to the cruise ship terminal, you'll find the IMAX Theatre at Canada Place. Check the schedule to see a film or a film in 3-D on a screen the size of half a football field.

Just minutes from downtown is the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver's oldest tourist attraction. The bridge, which stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River, was built by George Grant Mackay in 1889. Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, purchased 6,000 acres of dense forest on either side of the Capilano River. With the assistance of two local natives and a team of horses, he built the original bridge from hemp rope and cedar planks.

Natives called it the "laughing bridge" because of the sound it made when wind blew through the canyon. After Mackay's death in 1903, the hemp rope bridgewas replaced by a wire cable bridge.

In addition to being able to walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, you can enjoy the newest attraction called Treetops Adventure, where visitors walk from one douglas fir tree to another by way of a series of suspension bridges, offering a "squirrel's eye view" of a thriving coastal forest.

Also on the grounds of the Capilano Suspension Bridge is Totem Park, where visitors can view colorful totem poles from the 1930s. Do note though that the Capilano Suspension Bridge is not wheelchair accessible.

As a large city, Vancouver has a lot of great dining opportunities. We ate a great dinner and had a lot of fun in Chinatown.

There is great shopping in Vancouver. A must is a visit to the Granville Island Market with its fresh produce, fish, baked goods and more. It's the perfect place for lunch. You can spend an entire day browsing Granville Island's wide range of shops, stalls, galleries and theatres.

Another great place for shopping is Gastown. This area is full of antique shops, art galleries, and native art stores, as well as shops where you can pick up gifts and souvenirs such as wool sweaters, jewelry, fleece jackets, T-shirts, and even a moose in a can!

Gastown is also a good place to visit at night for its nightclubs, pubs and live music.

Lisa Vivirito is owner of Diamond Travel in Vero Beach. Call her at 772-567-8481 or 800-795-1986. Email dmndtvl@bellsouth.net.

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