What to See in Vancouver, BC

Fly Over Canada

Fly Over Canada, the Imax type show, was highly recommended to us by a local Vancouver resident we met at a restaurant the night before in Victoria. He’d seen the show 5 times.

Part film and part amusement park ride, it’s a worthwhile experience especially if you’ve never experienced this type of film. After you are seated and buckled in the room goes black and the seats slide forward such that you are partially suspended over the screen. The seats rock from side to side and front to back giving you the feeling that you are truly flying over the landscape. Starting on the east coast the film flies you over Nova Scotia, the lakes and rivers of Ontario, Toranto, Niagra Falls, the plains of Saskatchewan, the Rockies, the vineyards of the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver and finally into the borealis. At appropriate times water mists into the air. It would be stunning except the film is frequently blurry if you don’t focus on the center of the screen. Still, it is reasonably well done, whether it is worth $33 Canadian for a 10 minute film is questionable.

The theater is conveniently located at the harbor where the cruise ships dock, just past Gastown. Without reservations we showed up just after 3:30 and made the 3:45 show. They say it lasts 25 minutes but this included the entire process. It’s really a 9 minute show with a preshow, safety film and elaborate seating process.


With 30 percent of Vancouver’s population of Chinese descent we went to Chinatown hoping to find the food and lively scene of other great Chinatowns. Unfortunately that Chinatown moved to the suburbs in the 80s when residents and shop owners were priced out of the real-estate market. Only remnants of the former Chinatown still exist, i.e., the red light poles.

Floata Seafood Restaurant

We also found Floata Seafood Restaurant, a cavernous banquet space that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast service includes dim sum ordered off a check list with a handy picture card to help you make your choices. Portions are large and we ended up with enough food for at least two meals. Everything was tasty, well prepared and just what we were looking for. We tried the baked eggplant stuffed with shrimp, shrimp and pork shumai, beef ribs in a pepper sauce, barbeque pork steamed buns and dumpling soup.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden and Park

Around the corner from the restaurant we continued the Chinatown experience at the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The Garden opens at 10 but if you arrive early, the Sun Yat-Sen Park located next door to the garden opens at 9:30 and looks on to the garden.



The historic garden was created in the style and using the building techniques and materials of the Suzhou traditional gardens, í.e., the furnishings and garden spaces are all hand crafted. The small garden is beautifully done and well worth a visit.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain, a ski resort in the winter, turns mountain top theme park in the summer with amazing views over Vancouver. Where better to head on a beautiful blue bird day? Unfortunately the warm conditions created a marine haze diminishing the views, especially facing into the western sun.

The $56 Canadian ($45USD) ticket includes a 8 minute tram ride to the top, a chair lift ride to the peak, as well as other mountain top attractions – a grizzly bear viewing area, a raptor show, a lumberman show and eco nature walks. Although there are also other trails accessible from the top they were all closed in late May. Added attractions for an additional charge include zip lines, helicopter rides, para gliding, etc.

The mountain peak chair lift gently transports you to the top with panoramic views of the surrounding mountain peaks as well as overlooking the metropolitan area and sea below. However, the mountain views from the top are often blocked by trees.

The bears were active at the time of our late morning visit. They are used to people and put on a show for the tourists. While we were coming down from the peak on the chair lift we could see one bear playing in the snow and posing for the camera toting tourists.

Heading back down the mountains at 1:30 on a Thursday, the line for the downward gondola took about 30 minutes with several groups of school children in the queue.

Stanley Park

A better alternative on a bright sunny day might be a bike ride around Stanley Park, a beautiful forested park along the water with numerous trails for biking and walking.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Pacific Northwest page.

May 23, 2019