When it comes to walk-ability, Vancouver’s won the honor of Canada’s most walkable city, not once, but twice. Our neighborhoods are compact, yet distinct, nestled amongst gorgeous waterways and towering mountains.
While traveling via heel-toe-express throughout our city is pretty easy, another fantastic way to explore Vancouver is by water.
National Geographic ranked Vancouver as one of the World’s Top 10 Beach Cities. And why not? It’s a deserved accolade considering that you can launch your sailboat, canoe or kayak from our beaches to visit some of our most scenic areas. I’ve assembled a shortlist of the best ways to see the city beyond the sands of our beatific beaches and creaky docks.
Sailing – a friend of mine swears that the views of West Vancouver, downtown and Stanley Park are best taken in from the deck of the Jericho Sailing Centre, frosty brew in hand. For the more intrepid, the vistas from the waters in front of Jericho are even better. Canadian Yachting Association certified instructors from Mac Sailing offer evening, weekend and weekday lessons from Jericho. You can learn the basics of jibbing, heeling and trimming in about two weekends.
Canoeing – One of my favourite first dates last summer was with my beloved paddling partner, canoeing up Indian Arm from Deep Cove. The sheltered nature of Deep Cove attracts paddle-sport enthusiasts of all stripes. Pack a picnic, pick up a famous ‘rolly polly’ donut from Honey’s and launch your canoe from Deep Cove or Panorama Park.
If you want to take an extended canoeing adventure, pack some overnight gear and paddle to Twin Islands in Indian Arm Provincial Park. Scout Magazine outdoor columnist, Ariel Taylor, provides an excellent description of camping spots north of Deep Cove that are easy to access in a canoe.
Kayaking – British Columbia’s coastline is bejeweled with kayaking jems such as the Broken Island group, Gwaii Haanas and Porpoise Bay. But, according to British Columbia Magazine, one of the province’s top seven spots is located in the heart of Vancouver: False Creek.
My suggestion? Visit Eco-Marine in English Bay, grab a kayak and paddle east up False Creek. Glide past gleaming glass towers of Yaletown, check out the flashing orb of Science World and get lapped by outriggers or speedy dragon boats during your early morning adventure. Reward yourself at the end with a meal or drink at one of the many eateries polka-dotting the crossroads of Davie and Denman Streets.
Once you’ve tried all three ways of seeing Vancouver – compare the city’s walk-ability to its paddle-ability. I’m willing to bet you miss the rolling feeling of the ocean beneath your booty, salty cool of the Pacific on your skin and the gusts of wind in your hair.
Where do you like to paddle around Vancouver? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.