The natural beauty.
The natural beauty of this western Canadian metropolis is unmatched – except perhaps by the richness of its own cultural heritage.
Viewed from inside a kayak, Vancouver resembles a vast open-air fitness studio. Waves lap softly against the boat, gulls wheel through the sky, and there’s activity everywhere. Sailboats ply the waters, athletic-looking upright paddlers glide underneath the Granville Bridge, while joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists flit past each other on the Sea Wall shoreline promenade. “Most people in Vancouver are pretty darned fit,” says Tessa Mul. The sandy blonde, 28-year-old Dutch kayaking instructor herself belongs to that select group of people who exist without a trace of excess body fat. Six years ago, Mul came to Canada’s west coast for an internship and chose to stay on in this dynamic, multicultural city. “People here prefer spending their time outdoors,” she says, with culture tending to take a back seat. “That’s what takes its place – right over there,” says Mul, pointing a dripping paddle at Stanley Park, a sprawling urban forest filled with stately trees, mosses and ferns. The peninsula has been a natural reserve since the 19th century, off-limits to all development.