20 June, 2012
A green getaway
Distinctly west coast

Touted as one of the best places to live in the world for a number of years, Vancouver is a west coastCanadian city surrounded by majestic mountains and ocean, and dotted with plenty of parks and beaches. Blessed with these natural settings, it’s not surprising that Vancouverites are known for being eco-conscious. The city even got branded as “Vancouver Green Capital” for the 2010 Olympic games. Get set and explore…
Being a walkable city, one of the ways locals and visitors love to experience Vancouver is by walking or cycling around the Stanley Park sea wall. This scenic pathway provides spectacular views of the city and is a great way to breathe in the natural beauty of the surroundings. A convenient public transit system, including the Canada Line which connects visitors from the Vancouver International Airport to various locations before ending in Vancouver’s Downtown Waterfront station, allows visitors to easily travel around the city by bus, skytrain, and seabus.
For a cornucopia of local food and produce, as well as art galleries and theatres, Granville Island Public Market is a must-see. Formerly an industrial area in False Creek with remnants of its past still observed today, the area is filled with artistic vibe with unique shops, studios, a brewery, bakeries, cafes and restaurants that make visitors want to come back again and again. A free light rail train, started during the Vancouver Olympics, conveniently transports visitors between Granville Island and the Olympic Village.
With the completion of the Canada Line, Cambie Village just a few steps away from the Olympic Village station has recently transformed its streetscapes - urban scaled big box stores, health food stores, restaurants, yoga and exercise spaces and plenty of West-coast inspired jewelry shops mark this up-and-coming area. Just a few blocks down Broadway is Main Street’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, where many of the vintage and antique stores in Vancouver can be found. This is also the place to go for a diverse range of eco-fashion, handmade crafts and accessories as well as restaurants and cafes.
If you’re looking for a green hotel to stay at, Vancouver has several great options. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver uses energy-efficient lighting, purchases green power and has a recycling program in place as part of its environmental strategy. At The Pacific Palisades, green guests can opt for an EarthCare package that includes a carbon offset, plus the hotel has low-flow water valves and uses environmentally-friendly cleaners. Meanwhile, eco programs at The Westin include purchase of local food, composting and central electrical switches in all rooms to conserve energy.
There are a growing number of certified green buildings in Vancouver as the city has passed mandates on building green for new and existing buildings and homes. If you spot a Green Building Audio Tour sign on some buildings, that means you can access a three-minute tour of the building narrated by the building’s architect either online or on your mobile phone.
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous or relaxing getaway, Vancouver is definitely worth checking out for its natural scenery, diverse neighbourhoods, sustainable architecture and planning, great food and laid-back people.

By: Ecozine Staff


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