Vancouver has lined up a series of events for visitors and cruise passengers. The Squamish Sea to Sky aerial-gondola tram is slated to open in spring 2014. Situated a 40-minute drive from Vancouver – halfway to Whistler – the $22-million facility will take guests on an eight-minute journey 2,800 feet above Howe Sound.
The fully-enclosed gondola cabins will hold up to eight passengers at a time, travelling along a 5.83-acre strip of land situated between Stawamus Chief Provincial Park and Shannon Falls.
The visitor experience will continue at the top of the mountain with viewing platforms, a suspension bridge and hiking trails, as well as a brand-new lodge complete with a restaurant, cultural exhibits and event space. The new gondola is expected to attract approximately 300,000 visitors per year.
According to Tourism Vancouver, this is a cycling city, and thanks to its mild climate pedaling is a year-round activity. With an expanding network of more than 500 kilometers of dedicated bike routes and an array of bike-friendly events (such as the RBC GranFondo Whistler, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix and more). A number of Vancouver hotels are offering specialty packages andunique experiences.
The Luxury & Supercar Weekend returns to Vancouver for its fourth year Sept. 7 and 8 at double its previous size. Taking place at VanDusen Botanical Garden, the event offers attendees a chance to get up close and personal with luxury supercars, vintage collectibles, electric/hybrids and concept cars. This year’s event will also expand to include the best of air and sea, with luxury boats and helicopters joining the display. Tickets start at $50 (plus tax).
The Vancouver Fringe Festival returns this year from Sept. 5 to 15 with a new name and fresh look. Drawing more than 30,000 attendees, the festival features more than 90 artists from around the world presenting 600-plus shows at a variety of indoor and outdoor stages throughout the city (most venues are on Granville Island, though some are located in downtown Vancouver). One caveat: few, if any, of these works will make it to the big stages in town, so it’s best to get out and see them while you can. Following the main festival, catch "Pick of the Fringe," a round-up of the festival’s most popular acts
Feast of Fields is a harvest festival and fundraiser that highlights the connection between farm folk, city folk and chefs. With a wine glass and linen napkin in hand, visitors roam the farm sampling various offerings provided by chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers and food artisans from around the province. Tickets are $95 plus tax (must be 19 years or older to attend). This year’s event will be held at Krause Berry Farms and Estate Winery in Langley.
From Sept, 26 to Oct, 11, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) takes place. It claims to be one of the largest film festivals in North America, screening more than 380 films from 75 countries. The international lineup includes picks from the world’s top film festivals alongside as-yet-undiscovered gems. Attracting a large and enthusiastic audience of film lovers, the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse.
Vancouver also features many great buildings, including the Marine Building located on Burrard and Hastings streets. It's said to be the city's greatest art deco building, and its design references Aztec pyramids. The building is dressed in ornate decorations depicting the ocean, from ships and star fish to Neptune himself. The lobby is a work of art in itself, with 12 different B.C. hardwoods used in the paneling and the most intricate floor design you’ll ever see. When the Marine Building was built in 1930, it dominated the skyline, and showcased panoramic views in all directions from the top floor.
Another insider tip for visitors? Beware the lure of the Gastown Steam Clock; it was erected in 1977 with the objective of providing something for tourists to visit in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood. A short walk from the clock is Vancouver’s Chinatown neighborhood. It pre-dates the city's incorporation in 1886, and is packed with history at every turn.