Good to know.
App and away
Renting a car is no longer mandatory for travellers to Vancouver and its environs. Instead, just register with Car2go and download the car sharing app onto your smartphone. Whenever you need a ride, the app shows you the location of the closest vehicle. When you’re done, just park it, get out, lock up electronically – and wait for the bill to arrive in the mail. Vancouver’s Car2go fleet encompasses over 300 vehicles. car2go.co.
Up and away
Though it rarely snows in the city itself, Vancouver remains one of the world’s top winter sports destinations. It’s no accident that Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy three slopes within a stone’s throw of downtown: Grouse Mountain (24 ski runs), Cypress Mountain (34 runs plus cross-country options) and Mount Seymour (20 runs). And winter sports paradise Whistler is just two hours away.
Shimmering green apartment towers have been a fixture of the Vancouver skyline since 1990. Natives dub the architectonically somewhat monotonous glass buildings “see-throughs”, while author Douglas Coupland coined the phrase “glass totems”. A large percentage of the apartments belong to rich Hong Kong residents and sit empty for most of the year.
Vancouver is blessed with pristine sandy beaches. Most of them, however, are littered with old tree trunks – nature’s rough-hewn answer to the ubiquitous plastic lounge chair. The huge quantities of driftwood are an ever-present reminder that forestry remains British Columbia’s most important economic sector (annual sales: 12 billion Canadian dollars). For picnics and sunbathing, the beaches at English Bay are a good bet. You’ll need a thick hide if you’re planning on taking a dip, though – the water temperature rarely exceeds 17 degrees Celsius (62°F).