From the sea and snow-capped mountains to its vibrant restaurant and pub action, Vancouver shines as a world-class city.
HOLLYWOOD NORTH: Vancouver’s film industry thrives due to the favorable exchange rate and lucrative tax incentives. Bringing productions back are its studios, updated equipment and experienced crews. Current projects include “Elegy” starring Penélope Cruz and Sir Ben Kingsley; “Tin Man” with Kathleen Robertson and Richard Dreyfuss; “Trouble Man” starring Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes, and “Christmas Cottage” with Jared Padalecki and Peter O’Toole.
BON APPETIT: Local chefs coax the best out of home-grown ingredients. Lumiére offers European sophistication, modern French spirit and Canadian resourcefulness. The owners partnered with Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group to open an outpost of DB Bistro Moderne this August. At Cioppino’s, celebs and corporate power players enjoy rustic Italian fare. Blue Water Cafe, C Restaurant and West are sea-centric spots keeping up with eco-conscious aspirations of local patrons.
The restaurants, and about 40 others, subscribe to the Vancouver Aquarium’s sustainable fish industry initiative. Cru, with a color-coded list pairing wines with each plate, has the smartest wine selections in town. Have it your way at So.Cial at Le Magasin, a trio of eateries in a 1911 spot featuring indoor dining, outdoor patio, take-out deli, charcuterie and butcher shop.
Some of the season’s best dishes are at Fuel Restaurant, which serves up local products like Fraser Valley free-run lamb, Sloping Hills’ organic pork and line-caught Scott Island lingcod. Goldfish Pacific Kitchen has a splashy room and Asian-influenced menu in trendy Yaletown. An acclaimed restaurant with no kitchen is Salt Tasting Room, offering cured meats and cheeses only.
Local hotels also have top dining rooms. Elixir at the Opus Hotel is one of the city’s best bistros, while Uva Wine Bar at Moda is a wine and spirits sanctuary.
After a long winter and soppy spring, summer celebrations in Vancouver head outdoors, with trendy locals favoring laid-back bistros to watch the sun dip in the Pacific. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House‘s year-round roof deck is best enjoyed under the sun, and don’t miss the circular oyster bar. Sequoia Grill at the Teahouse in Vancouver’s Stanley Park boasts a patio with a 180-degree ocean backdrop. B.C. spot prawns were named Vancouver Magazine’s 2008 “Ingredient of the Year.” But get ’em while you can — the summer season is just six to eight weeks.
GETTING AROUND: With a city surrounded on three sides by water, commuters often turn to seafaring. False Creek Ferries connect downtown with Granville Island and the south shore. Aquabus Ferries shuttle five million passengers between downtown and the north shore. SkyTrain light rail service connects all of Greater Vancouver. Bike through 14 greenways on 87 miles of bike paths, the most spectacular being a 6.2-mile loop along the seawall around Stanley Park.
COMING SOON: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the Asian-based luxury group, will open its first North American hotel in Vancouver in January, with a complex of hotel rooms, restaurant, live-work units, condos and penthouses.