Vancouver on the Ground

Photo from Forbidden Vancouver website

Photo from Forbidden Vancouver website

With tourist season in full swing, trollies tour buses, and hop-on-hop-off double-deckers are a common sight, however one of the best ways to take in the city is on the ground. Whether your focus rests with architecture and history, local cuisine, murder mystery or photographing scenic views like a professional, there is a range of offerings that will appeal to all of the senses.

Photo from Vancouver Heritage Foundation website

Photo from Vancouver Heritage Foundation website

Vancouver Heritage Foundation
402 – 510 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: (604) 264-9642

Established in 1992, this registered charity supports the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in the city through the development of tools to support preservation, creation of programs to learn about Vancouver heritage buildings, fundraising in the public and private sector, and promoting relationships that support heritage conservation. The endeavours of the Foundation include evening lectures, grants that provide financial help for the repair and maintenance of heritage exteriors, along with a range of walking tours that speak to diversity, history and lush gardens.

Pricing ranges from free tours of West Hastings, in conjunction with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, to a $35 tour of Chinatown that includes a sampling of local dim sum. All tickets can be booked online, and are first-come, first-serve. It is advised to book well in advance during the summer months. For those who are interested in taking a self-guided walking tour, VHF has produced a series of printed guides that can be found at the Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre, Vancouver Public Library, or directly from the VHF website here.

Photo from Vancouver Foodie Tour website

Photo from Vancouver Foodie Tour website

Vancouver Foodie Tours
170 – 422 Richards Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: 1-604-295-8844 and toll-free: 1-877-804-9220

Often billed as one of the top food destinations in the world, Vancouver is brimming with fresh produce, ocean treats and a mix of cuisines that reflect the rich cultural diversity of the city. There is no shortage of culinary destinations in Vancouver, and while an ambitious foodie could approach this on their own, those who are new to Vancouver may wish to defer to the experts in order to get an inaugural lay of the land.

Ask any local and they will tell you that one of the prime destinations for food is Granville Island. Housed in the centre of the city, the Island offers stunning waterfront views as a backdrop to the Granville Island Market Tour, which runs daily at 10:30am. The tour includes 20 tastings, 10 stories and 2 full hours of the finest Canadian edibles that the Market has to offer. This $49 tour is limited to 15 people, so it’s wise to book tickets in advance.

Photo from Vancouver Mysteries website

Photo from Vancouver Mysteries website

Vancouver Mysteries
Meet in the park between 863 West Hastings and 884 West Cordova
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: (604) 328-2207

While some visitors are happy to go home with a t-shirt and a camera full of photos, some may want to tackle a bigger thrill while on the road, like leading an investigation to solve a murder mystery.

These 2-hour self-guided downtown walking tours highlight some of the best areas and hidden corners of the city while providing a mystery to solve with creative clues, a roadbook and numerous tools to reach a successful end. A game leader welcomes the group to explain the details and then meets participants at the finish line to calculate scores and rate the contenders. These events are great for families, however an adult must accompany children under the age of 13.

Photo from Vancouver Photowalks website

Photo from Vancouver Photowalks website

Vancouver Photowalks
221 Union Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: (604) 318-1277

Founded by professional photographer Suzanne Rushton in 2011, these educational photo tours have proven to be so popular that they have recently expanded to Victoria, British Columbia. With small group sizes, these 2-hour custom classes are short and intensive, and are based on location, skill level, day and time.

Participants will need a DSLR camera (the group provides rentals if you don’t have your own), lens cleaner and a tripod when taking the night tours. Space can be booked online and large groups are welcome. Being that Vancouver is generally a misty town, light rain is not a deterrent, and there is a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t learn anything or have fun. Click here for a current list of course offerings.

Photo from Forbidden Vancouver website

Photo from Forbidden Vancouver website

Forbidden Vancouver
Meet at Cathedral Square at Dunsmuir and Richards
(across from Holy Rosary Cathedral)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: (604) 839-3126

This innovative take on the walking tour combines history, theatre and architecture with tour leaders that boast a background in acting, performance, history and improv comedy. Travel back in time to the earliest and darkest days of the city with The Lost Souls of Gastown, experience the history of mob bosses and illegal drinking dens with Prohibition City, and book for special events that include an exclusive tour of the notorious Penthouse, guided photo walks and murder mysteries.

Along with the regular walking tours, the group also offers private tours and school field trips. Regular tours can be booked online, while private or special tours can be booked directly with Will Woods, the company founder.

Break out those walking shoes and see you out there.

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2 Responses to Vancouver on the Ground

  1. Cecil Unrau

    Great site!

    • Ehren Seeland

      Thanks for your feedback, Cecil. Much appreciated!

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