On the Eco Trail in Vancouver
I owe my love of holistic and green living to the beautiful city of Vancouver. Almost five years of calling Canada home gave me the opportunity to discover the beauty of green, clean and eco living.
Vancouver is a city that truly wants to tread lightly on our planet; year after year this sustainable city continues to rank within the top 5 cities of the world for sustainability and lifestyle. Yet they strive to do better, and the city of Vancouver have set the monumental, yet inspiring goal of becoming the greenest city by 2020.
Vancouver is generally the first stop for Aussies heading off to explore the pristine beauty and rugged wilderness of Canada. Everyone knows that Expedia travellers are experience seekers, they travel with open minds, willing to embrace the local culture and create memories that will forever stay deeply etched on their heart. There’s no better way to absorb the city’s culture than to follow the green, eco trail of this serene city.
Here are just a few of my favourite spots to put green living on your map:
The beauty of Vancouver is that Mother Nature is right on your hotel doorstep. Ancient forests, pristine beaches and breathtaking mountaintop vistas are all within easy reach from downtown. The first thing you must do is rent a bike and spend the day exploring the paths of Stanley Park. Cycle the 8.8km seawall and marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds you. If biking is not your thing, there’s endless walking tracks for you to adventure off on. If you want to get off the tourist map, catch the downtown bus out to Cypress Falls Hiking Trail. Within minutes you’ll enter the forest ballroom, where Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees sway. A little further up the track you’ll be greeted by an impressive set of waterfalls. Continue hiking and you’ll see an even larger waterfall plunging into a deep canyon. Or for something the whole family will enjoy, pack a picnic lunch and head to Lighthouse Park for a casual hike. The quaint forest path winds from the parking lot to the rocky coastline, offering impressive views of a century-old lighthouse. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is another great family activity – hanging 70m above the river, it’s part of a series of bridges high in the tree tops.
From Stanley Park to the manicured flower beds of VanDusen Garden, Vancouver is home to stunning public spaces. For me, it’s the small and intimate green spaces that give summer time in Vancouver its allure.
Downtown, right near the Courthouse, are the secret gardens of Robson Square. Only the locals know about this inner city oasis, where you can hide from the crowds. Portside Park is a quiet waterfront park which is still empty on warm summer days. The small beach has some of the best views of the Vancouver skyline and North Shore Mountains.
If you’ve got time, one of the most popular tours for Expedia’s Aussie travellers is the Royal Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour. The day trip starts with a ferry ride over to Vancouver Island, with free time at the historic gardens and in the British Columbia capital of Victoria.
There’s plenty of sustainable and eco food choices in Vancouver. Restaurants like Raincity Grill serve dishes sourced solely from local producers – a tribute to the local farmers, fisherman and producers of British Columbia. If you feel like hiding away and watching the world walk by, slip into Trees Café for a great cup of organic, fair-trade coffee. This European café has a real bohemian feel.
For those of you who prefer to cook, head out to the local farmers market or small urban farms. The farms and community gardens thrive throughout the city, transforming concrete jungles into green organic spaces. They grow artisan quality fruits and vegetables, allowing clean and nourishing food to be accessible to all. The beauty about urban farming is that it utilises sustainable practices and works in synergy with the city, the people and nature. Stop by urban farm Sole Food and pick up some fresh fruit to take home.
Buildings use up a huge amount of energy and hotels are no different. With Vancouver trying to become the greenest city by 2020, it comes as no surprise that four Vancouver hotels were recently awarded the Five Green Keys by the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. This is an outstanding effort since only 52 hotels worldwide hold the rating. Officially the four greenest hotels in Vancouver are the The Fairmont Waterfront, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Hyatt Regency Vancouver and Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.
If you’re after more information on Vancouver, see Expedia’s Vancouver Travel Guide.