Posts Tagged With: Gastown

Leaving Vancouver

Before leaving Vancouver, I’d like to share just a couple more places that we found worthwhile.

We walked through Gastown, which has been restored and today is a popular neighborhood frequented by tourists. You may recall from an earlier post about Vancouver that Gastown was the original town that preceded and was replaced by Vancouver. I read about the Gastown Steam Clock and mistakenly thought it was original to Victorian Gastown. It was actually built and installed in 1977 by Raymond L. Saunders as part of the revival of the neighborhood. In reality, the clock isn’t totally steam-powered; it also employs gravity and electricity to operate the weights. The sign on-site explains that “the live steam winds the weights and blows the whistles.” It is nevertheless, a favorite among tourists and one of those “can’t miss” attractions.

Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver

Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver

In nearby Chinatown, we visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a tranquil oasis in the middle of this large, bustling, cosmopolitan city. The garden consists of a free park and the garden that charges admission. We visited the free park.

Chinatown, Vancouver

Chinatown, Vancouver

The entrance to the garden that charges $12 admission is located next to the sign shown in the picture below.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Continue past the first entrance to find the entrance to the free park behind the statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in the plaza.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen

The entrance to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park is behind this statue

The park provided us with a lovely serene respite with lots of bamboo plants and ponds with koi and turtles.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

The signs of the Chinese zodiac were embedded in the surface of the plaza and we each found our sign based on our birth year. I was born in the year of the snake. Those born in the year of the snake are (supposedly): intelligent and wise, good communicators, deep thinkers, easily stressed by a noisy environment, needing lots of time and vacation for relaxation. Hmmm, good to know.

Chinese Zodiac at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Chinese Zodiac at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Food is such an important and memorable aspect of any trip for me that I have to share our dining experiences and a few food recommendations. First of all, let me say that our breakfasts at the Barclay House were lovely and they were so kind to accommodate my gluten free diet.

Breakfast at Barclay House

Breakfast at Barclay House

While exploring the waterfront near the convention center, we discovered hapa izakaya. (They use lower case letters so I did, too.) The sushi and the torched hamachi and scallops were in a word, outstanding. Our server explained that patrons generally share plates so we followed suit, getting to taste and enjoy more dishes.

Dinner at hapa izakaya

hapa izakaya

Over breakfast at our B&B, one of the other guests told us about a nearby Greek restaurant, Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna. We thought we’d check it out and, as luck would have it, we happened to spot the restaurant by chance when we were beginning to feel a bit peckish.

Stepho's Souvlaki and Greek Taverna

Stepho’s Souvlaki and Greek Taverna

Restaurants in a city are usually quite expensive, but the prices at Stepho’s were reasonable and the portions were generous. We started with a favorite of mine, saganaki, a Greek appetizer of fried cheese.

Saganaki at Stepho's

Saganaki at Stepho’s

Sheryl and I each ordered the two skewer option of souvlaki so that we could trade and try both the lamb and the prawns.  Jim got the house specialty which was the roast lamb that came with an extra side of vegetables in tomato sauce. We all agreed our food and the house wine were good. When I return to Vancouver, I will definitely return to Stepho’s.

Prawn Souvlaki

Prawn Souvlaki with Greek salad, rice pilaf, and roast potato

Lamb Souvlaki

Lamb Souvlaki with Greek salad, rice pilaf, and roast potato

Roast Lamb

Roast Lamb, Greek salad, rice pilaf, roast potato, vege briami

Japadog is a Vancouver original and an institution in the city. Started by immigrants from Japan, this couple began with an idea for a hotdog stand with a distinctively Japanese flair, hence they named it Japadog. I read about it online and we were determined to find it and give it a try. Although we were looking for a food cart along the street, it turned out they’ve expanded several times and while there are still food carts in various places, there is now an actual storefront at 530 Robson Street.

Japadog

Jim and Sheryl at Japadog

You can see on the sign below several of the best sellers were sold out so we had fewer choices. At first, I resisted the original best seller, Terimayo, because it contained seaweed but in the end, I wanted an authentic experience so I ordered it. (Well, I requested no bun since I’m gluten free which caused raised eyebrows and may have also affected the “authenticity.”) While I heartily dislike seaweed alone, the taste of the seaweed strips on top of the hotdog combined with the teriyaki mayo was actually very yummy.

Menu at Japadog

Menu at Japadog

Terimayo Japadog, no bun

My Terimayo Japadog, no bun

Japadog

Japadog combo with fries and drink

I’m sure there are many more interesting places to go, things to see, and food to eat in Vancouver, but I think we covered a good bit of ground in less than two days. It’s a great city.

Based on events of June 2015

Categories: Canada, Food, Travel, Vancouver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Less than 2 Days in Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, B.C, is the largest city in western Canada with a population over 600,000 and 2.4 million in the metro area. Incorporated in 1886, it replaced and absorbed Gastown which was established years earlier when “Gassy Jack” opened the first saloon in 1867. I first visited in 2010 on a girlfriends trip to Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver, but we didn’t really explore Vancouver except for a long walk through Stanley Park. This time I was determined to see as much as possible in less than 2 days. We wanted to stay downtown within walking distance of the cruise-ship terminal and the city attractions. You don’t really know whether you found the perfect place until you get there, but this Victorian mansion on a shady residential street in the middle of the city hit the mark.  Our B&B, the Barclay House, in the West End neighborhood was close enough to the sights to walk almost everywhere. That said, we noticed that no matter which direction we walked, it seemed to be uphill both ways.

You can orient yourself by the map below. Our B&B was in the West End just south of Stanley Park and west of Coal Harbour. We easily walked (uphill) to Coal Harbour, Downtown, Stanley Park, Gastown, and Chinatown and back (uphill).

Vancouver Neighborhoods

Vancouver Neighborhoods

Sheryl arrived first and explored the area so when Jim and I got there she led us directly over to Coal Harbour Walkway. Coal Harbour was originally an industrial area that has been transformed into an upscale neighborhood with many high-rise condos, a marina, plenty of green space, shops, restaurants, and a lovely walkway along the waterfront stretching from Stanley Park to Gastown.

Coal Harbor Walkway along the Marina

Coal Harbor Walkway

I was surprised to see a little house on stilts in the middle of the walkway. The local artist, Liz Magor, created and gifted the sculpture, LightShed, to the city in 2004. It’s similar to the sheds that lined the harbor years ago where fisherman repaired their boats.

Lightship by Liz Magor

LightShed by Liz Magor erected in 2004 along Coal Harbour Walkway

We watched seaplanes take off and land loaded with tourists seeing the sights from the air.

Coal Harbor

View of seaplane from Coal Harbor Walkway

Keeping our feet firmly on the ground, we ambled as far as the Vancouver Convention Center and Canada Place, reading signs about the history of the area along the way. Outside the Convention Center, the Olympic Cauldron on Jack Poole Plaza is a permanent reminder of the 2010 Olympics held in Vancouver. It’s still lit on special occasions today.

Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza

Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza

From there it was back to the Empire Landmark Hotel located within a couple blocks of our B&B for a nightcap while we enjoyed the 360 degrees panorama of Vancouver from Cloud Nine, the revolving restaurant on the 42nd floor. Cloud Nine welcomed us graciously when we explained we just wanted to enjoy a drink and the view.

Downtown Vancouver

High rise buildings in downtown Vancouver

Cloud Nine revolving restaurant atop Landmark Empire Hotel

Cloud Nine revolving restaurant atop Landmark Empire Hotel

Nightcap at Cloud Nine

Nightcap at Cloud Nine

View from Cloud Nine

View from Cloud Nine

Sunset from Cloud Nine

Sunset from Cloud Nine

City View from Cloud Nine

City View from Cloud Nine

This was probably my husband’s number 1 favorite sight in all of Vancouver. (Next time I’ll share my favorite sight.) The full rotation took about 1.25 hours while we enjoyed the view in every direction. What a relaxing way to end a day of travel and sightseeing and orient ourselves to the City of Glass with the mountains in the background.

Based on events of June 2015.

Categories: Canada, cruise, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

%d bloggers like this: