Arghhh Matey, September 19th be the international Talk like a Pirate day. Celebrate ye Pirate toungue by renting a boat at Granville Island Boat rentals. Theyz gots lots of Pirate gear thar too Matey. Ya, ok, I'm having a bugger of a time keeping that one up. Check out GIBR, the westcoast pirate at and TALK LIKE A PIRATE IN VANCOUVER

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aging Whistler Gondola Tower fails cold test

Whistler, the home of the 2010 winter Olympic games has been put to the test today and failed. Whistler is located in British Columbia Canada and is known for several scenic Gondola Lifts one of which collapsed leaving dozens of skiers stranded.
One of the supporting towers on the aging Excalibur Gondola lift on Blackcomb Mountain Snapped due to the cold temperatures leaving 53 people stranded in 30 Gondola's suffering the icy cold sub zero temperatures. Rescuers did manage to save all 53 skiers who were trapped in the 30 Gondola's.
This recent development has many skeptics and supporters alike wondering if the aging resort of Whistler will stand up to the rigors of an international event such as the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Although there have been several improvements to the region, including extra highway lanes and a New Gondola connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the resort still does have some strategic problems.
Although the Highway has been improved, many are questioning the 126 KM drive between Whistler and Vancouver. The highway is still a mountain highway and as such has many dangerous corners.

Today's Collapse of the Excalibur Gondola has added fuel the the fire of those questioning the success of the Olympic Games. Collapsing Gondola aside, I feel the extra business in the region will definitely help the economy, however the traffic congestion of those traveling long distances between the various venue's will make living, commuting, and working between Whistler and the Fraser Valley difficult for most residents.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Wooden Rollercoaster at the PNE

Depending on when you visit, be sure to check out this classic Vancouver Attraction.

The first drop is the best - or the worst, depending on how you look at it.

One of a few remaining wooden roller-coasters still in working order, Vancouver's classic coaster celebrated its 50th anniversary Tuesday.

The old-fashioned scream machine reaches speeds of more than 70 kilometres per hour after dipping over its first hill, prompting shrill cries from riders as they plummet down the track and bounce around in their seats.

"It's my favourite ride," Ariana Louwe, 16, said after taking a free ride as the Pacific National Exhibition celebrated the anniversary.

"The first hill is the best, definitely, it's really fast. It's not so much scary, just exciting."

The ride - simply named The Coaster - was built in 1958, and now sees half a million riders each year.

It's made from Douglas fir wood and stands 23 metres tall at its highest point.

The 90-second ride is mostly powered by gravity. The trains are pulled by a chain on a motor up each slope, allowing momentum to carry forward to the base of the next big climb.

As the trains twist through the track, riders are held in only by a lap bar, compared with the seatbelts and snug shoulder restraints on modern-day roller-coasters.

And while Vancouver's wooden coaster doesn't go upside-down or travel at the same break-neck speeds as its modern-day steel cousins, riders say it still provides a thrill.

"It's got great hills and it's got great curves," said Paul Kool, 47. "Growing up here, I remember wanting to ride it ever since I was not tall enough to ride it."

Ulyana Yordan, a 31-year-old Ukrainian currently studying in Vancouver, rode the roller-coaster more than two dozen times Tuesday.

"I love it - we don't have such roller-coasters in Ukraine," she said. "I like how you fly around, because in other ones you are fully fixed, you don't feel it as much."

The ride was designed by Carl Phare and built by Walker LeRoy. It's now the only standing roller-coaster built and designed by Phare and LeRoy, who are legendary in the coaster world.

Phare's daughter, Nina Faley, and granddaughter, Jennifer Juelich, attended the anniversary ceremony.

Faley rode her first roller-coaster when she was just two years old, one of Phare's creations at his own amusement park, Seattle's Playland, which closed more than 40 years ago. She said she was happy to see one of his coasters still standing.

"I can't tell you how glad I am," said Faley, before taking a ride herself.

"And we're really glad that it's going to last another 50 years, hopefully," added Juelich. "Because he might not be here physically, but his spirit is making hundreds of thousands of people really happy."

A few years ago, the city talked about relocating the amusement park, leaving some worried that a move could mean the end.

American Coaster Enthusiasts, a U.S.-based group devoted to the rides, listed The Coaster as "endangered."

But the relocation plans have since fizzled away, and the city's deputy mayor, Suzanne Anton, said it isn't going anywhere.

"This historic roller-coaster, with all its creaks and groans and stomach-stopping excitement - it has to stay here for another 50 years," said Anton.

Steve Gzesh of American Coaster Enthusiasts said Vancouver's wooden roller-coaster is one of the best in the world.

"It doesn't look like much from the street, but let me tell you, it delivers every time you ride it," he said.

"One of the things that many coaster enthusiasts really adore is air time, that sensation that you're lifted up out of your seat, and this coaster does it on every single drop. It's just phenomenal."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Harrison Hot Springs - The Jewel of the Fraser Valley

Hot springs are natural springs which mineral rich water which is naturally heated by the Earths' Core. British Columbia has several hotsprings available for the sore muscled tourist. If you are in the Vancouver area, the closest natural hotspirngs destination is Harrison Hot Springs. Located about 2 hours from downtown Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs is set by the beautiful Harrison Lake.

Activities available include Horse back riding, boat rentals, hiking and of course, soaking your stresses away and the naturally heated spring water or Harrison Hot Springs.

There are several Hotels, motels and Bed and Breakfasts' to accomodate your needs, if you are more into camping, there is also that option available to you. You could camp at any of the existing campgrounds, or pack a tent and find your own spot in paradise. Just remember to pack out your garbage.

The Harrison region is also well known for the mythical Sasquatch. Apparently there have been several sightings of this half human half beast... either that or it was a dunken native who forgot to shave. Either way, make sure to bring your camera, you may just have a one of a kind photograph to take home with you.

To get there, follow Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway) due east from Vancouver. Once you pass Chilliwack, start looking for the sign on your right. If you pass Dino Town, you have gone too far. Minter Gardens is also at the same exit. Very hard to miss.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Vancouvers' Historic Gastown District

Named after Gassy Jack, Vancouvers’ historic gastown is a favorite among tourists from all over the world. Yes, the area does have a definite seedy underbelly and one must be weary of the beggers and crackheads. However, Vancouvers’ Gastown does offer a very quaint historic atmosphere with plenty of little touristy shops and galleries to browse through.

If you are more into relaxing and people watching, Vancouvers’ Gastown also has plenty of coffee shops, tea house and restaurants to fulfill your needs. In addition, being in the downtown Vancouver core, Vancouvers’ Gastown is a hopping place for those seeking nocturnal clubbing activities. Covering all area’s of interest, the various clubs in the gastown district of Vancouver British Columbia will help you stay entertained during your visit to Vancouver British Columbia, now or during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seeing Vancouver from the Water

With so many things to see in Vancouver British Columbia and so many ways to see them, there are hardly enough hours in the day to fully appreciate what Vancouver has to offer.

One of the best ways to enjoy the sights of Vancouver is by boat. Being a coastal city, Vancouver is pretty much surrounded by water. Beit the Pacific Ocean or the Fraser River, boating in Vancouver offers by far the best use of your travelling time.

If you do not have access to a boat of your own, there are several places around town to rent them. I have found Granville Island Boat rentals to be the best place for renting boats in Vancouver. Located right outside Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island, Granville Island Boat rentals has a great selection of rental boats to suit your needs.

Once you are finished your day on the water, sit back and enjoy the wide variety of free entertainment available on Granville Island. If renting a boat is not within your price range, you could always hop on one of the many water taxi's leaving from Granville Island, or other docks in and around Vancouver. These rides are shorter, but they are a great way to get to and from various vancouver destinations such as Stanley Park, Vanier Park, Science World and Mario's Gelati (Home of the Best Italian Gelato in Vancouver)

Mario's Gelati

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Granville Island Boat Rentals

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Science World

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stanley Park - The Jewel of Vancouver

Just a little west of the transvestites on rollerblades, you will find Stanley Park. In the summertime you will find the park swarming with tourists from around the world, so much so, walking around the seawall on a sunny day can be more of an obstacle course than a Beijing market on a Saturday afternoon. That being said, the view is absolutely breathtaking.

Second only to the North Shore mountains and Whitcliff park, Stanley Park is truly the Jewel of Vancouver. On any sunny afternoon, you will find a mixture of office workers who have taken off work early to enjoy a walk around the park. If you prefer to ride a bike, check out Simons' Bike Shop on Robson Street. Simon is a great guy with lots of insight into what Vancouver has to offer.

Attractions include the many beached which surround the park as well as the historic Siwash rock which, according to legend is "Skalsh the unselfish," who was transformed by "Q'uas the transformer" into rock so he could live forever.

Walking around the park will give you an unimpeded view of the North Shore mountains as well as a front row seat for the parade of the cruise ships. If a close up view of nature is more your thing, a walk through the bowels of the park will bring you up close and personal with the many forms of wildlife indigenous to British Columbia.

After your walk around the seawall, you might wish to take in a dinner at one of the many restaurants inside Vancouvers' Stanley Park. If you are looking for more of a casual treat, check out the many stores on Dave and Denman Streets. Just beware of the Transvestites on rollerblades. If high fashion is your thing, Robson Street is not far away.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Beaches of Vancouver

Being a port city, Vancouver is encompassed by beaches.

1 English Bay
2 Jericho
3 Kitsilano
4 Locarno
5 Second Beach
6 Spanish Bank (East, Extention, West)
7 Sunset
8 Third Beach
9 Trout Lake

Not listed is Wreck Beach, Vancouvers' clothing optional beach which is located in the UBC lands just beyond Spanish Banks. There is a steep walk to the beach, but if you are part of the naked scene, the trip is definately worth while.

Aside from Vancouver, if you travel due south on Oak Street which leads to highway 99 you will find the town of White Rock. Here you will find Crescent Beach and the Famous White Rock Beach and peer. Here you can walk the prominade to enjoy the view, or pop in to one of the many restaurants for Fish and Chips, coffee or Italian Gelato.

Just across the Lions gate Bridge from Downtown Vancouver you will Find West Vancouver. The more affluent area of Metro Vancouver, west Vancouver boasts Ambleside beach, Whitecliff park, light house park and several other beautifully secluded mini beaches.

Buntzon Lake

If you enjoy inland lakes, Trout Lake in Vancouver, and Deer Lake in Burnaby offer great places for family fun. You can also travel 30 minutes NE or take a boat up the Indian arm to Find Port Moody and Belcarra where you will find beaches as well as Buntzen lake.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Pretty much everyone knows about the world famous Capilano suspension bridge as well as the accompanying tree tops adventure. There is, however, an admission free version not too far away.
The Lynn Canyon suspension bridge can be found in North Vancouver, part way up Lynn Valley Road. The narrow cable strung bridge towers an impressive 20 stories above the sometimes thundering Lynn Creek.


By Car
From Highway 1 (Trans-Canada) take the Lynn Valley Road exit.

Turn right onto Lynn Valley Road.
From Lynn Valley Road turn right onto Peters Road.
The Lynn Canyon Park entrance is at the end of Peters Road.

By Public Transit
From Vancouver, take the Sea Bus to Lonsdale Quay.
From the Lonsdale Quay bus loop take the #228 or the #229 bus. The #228 stops along Lynn Valley Road. The #229 stops at the corner of Peters Road and Duval Road, a 2 minute walk from the park entrance.
Alternatively, if you are coming over the Second Narrows Bridge from Vancouver, take the #229 bus from the Phibbs Exchange bus loop in North Vancouver.

Once there, you can enjoy a plethora of scenic adventures and trails. If you are looking for an education experience and don't have much time, take in the ecology centre. If you are looking for a relaxing afternoon and picnic by the river, take a short hike through the rain forest down to the 30 foot pool. Just make sure to pack your garbage out with you.

If you are more into the torturous adventure hike, the park serves as an access point to many of the North shore mountain trails, including the Baden Powell Trail.

Here is some information on the Park.

Baden-Powell Trail
Named after the founder of Scouts Canada, Lord Baden- Powell, this trail winds from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. The section of the Baden- Powell trail in Lynn Canyon Park can be hiked in about one hour and 15 minutes. It runs alongside Lynn Creek, through the floodplain forest.

Trail to 30 Foot Pool
One of the most popular destinations in Lynn Canyon Park, 30 Foot Pool is an easy 15 minute walk from the parking lot. Once across the suspension bridge, walk north along fairly level terrain until you reach the base of a daunting staircase. Fear not! The emerald waters of 30 Foot Pool are to your left.

Trail to Twin Falls
Another popular and scenic hike is the Twin Falls loop. This 40 minute hike starts at the suspension bridge and finishes in the parking lot. Once across the suspension bridge, take the boardwalk leading to the right. At the fork in the trail, turn right and follow the signs to Twin Falls. Enjoy the view from Twin Falls bridge and then ascend the stairs that lead up, up, up... At the top of the stairs, you will come to a clearing. Turn right and follow the trail beside the fence, to finish the loop in the parking lot.

Trails leading to Other Parks
From Lynn Canyon Park, it is possible to go on longer day hikes to the surrounding parks and reserves. North of Lynn Canyon Park is Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, to the south is Inter River Park, and to the east is the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.

Lynn Headwaters is a large protected area with rugged trails leading into the Coast Mountains. The trails in Lynn Headwaters cater to every fitness level. There are easy walks along the river that have minimal elevation gain, a rugged hike up to Lynn Peak, and a long hike to Norvan Falls. Be prepared for cold, wet, weather and don't forget to pick up a trail map at the park entrance.

The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve is a 56.8 hectare reserve for water use and protection. Trails through the area take you to Rice Lake or along the Seymour River. Visitors can access the Seymour Dam and Hatchery by taking the 9 km paved recreational pathway to the Seymour River, then another 2 km gravel trail through old growth forest. This is a popular trip for cyclists and roller-bladers.

Inter River Park borders the lower reaches of Lynn Creek. The trail in Inter River Park travels through mature streamside forests that are rich in bird activity. It is a pleasant 2 hour walk from the suspension bridge to Bridgeman Park near the mouth of Lynn Creek. From Bridgeman Park it is a short ride on the #229 bus back to Lynn Canyon Park or a short ride to the Phibbs Exchange bus loop, where you can catch a bus back to Vancouver.

For further information, visit the park website at

Vancouver is known for its' sunsets

With a myriad of unobstructed viewing points and a spectacular mountainous backdrop, Vancouver is a great place for sunset watching.

If you can manage to catch a sunset during Vancouvers' Rainy season, here are some of the premiere places.

Grouse Mountain Skyride
If you plan your trip right, you may be privy to a spectacular sunset as you go above the rainy cloud line.

Sunset Beach
This aptly named beach at the intersection of Davie St. and Denman St. in the West End attracts an eclectic crowd every night at sundown, but is plenty big enough to accommodate everyone. Grab a blanket, get some take-out from one of the nearby restaurants, and take it all in. Be weary of the full moon rising from the transvestites wearing rollerblades.

Lighthouse Park
This little known park in West Vancouver has countless little rock outcroppings that jut out into Howe Sound and offer stunning views of the sunset. It's not too big, but you might want to bring a flashlight to get back to your car after watching Mother Nature's show. It is easily accessible off Marine Drive via Beacon Lane in West Vancouver, just east of Eagle Harbour.

Lookout! At Harbour Centre Tower
This attraction boasts an impressive 360� panoramic of Vancouver and the surrounding area from 42 floors up. At sunset, it also boasts one of the most stunning sights you are ever likely to see.

Cypress Mountain
The lookout located about halfway to the parking lot of Cypress Mountain Ski hill in West Vancouver provides a birds-eye view of the city below. But at sundown, all eyes are focused west at the wonderful and humbling setting of the sun. Take the Trans Canada West and get off at the exit for Cypress Ski Area. Head up the mountain and you'll see the lookout on your right.

The Lions Gate Bridge
A great view, but be careful not to get into an accident as you marvel in the view. Pictured above

Horseshoe Bay Ferry
This is also a great excuse to hop on the boat to Vancouver Island. The Horseshoe Bay Ferries take you on a beautiful trip through the Gulf Islands. You can also depart from Tsawassen, however, I prefer Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver.

The North Shore Mountains

Aside from being a Coastal city along side the Ocean, Vancouver British Columbia has a spectacular view of the North Shore Mountains. Consisting of six distinct mountains, including Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Bowl and the Lions - You will surely be amazed. Below is a winter picture of Grouse Mountain, when in Vancouver, you can take a short trip to North Vancouver where you can board the Grouse Mountain Sky-ride. A Cable Gondola ride taking you high above the city. You can have dinner in the restaurant, check out a movie in the theatre, ski, snow board or simply take in the beautiful view that is Vancouver British Columbia, the Home of the 2010 Olympic winter games.