O (yes), Canada!
1 Tighten your laces and speed-walk through the Museum of Anthropology (6393 NW Marine Dr.; www.moa.ubc.ca), which showcases thousands of artworks, tools and other objects created by the indigenous First Nations peoples. On your way out, pause to admire the towering First Nations totem poles. Just remember, no climbing. ( 0:30 )
2 Hail a taxi and have the driver take you along the waterfront to Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com), a former industrial wasteland that’s home to a busy market and pedestrian-only alleys full of artisan shops. Toss a loonie (that’s a Canadian one-dollar coin) to one of the island’s many buskers and get ready to shop. (1:15 )
3 Stop first at the popular Public Market (www.granvilleisland.com/public-market) and poke through its dizzying selection of tchotchkes and gourmet munchies. Then ditch the crowd for Railspur Alley and peruse the handcrafted wares at Funk Shui Atelier and Hartman Leather. Grab a souvenir for friends back home and a couple more for yourself. ( 2:00 )
4 There’s no better way to take in Vancouver’s incongruous skyline of glass towers and jagged mountains than from the water. And there’s no easier way to do it than by Aquabus (www.theaquabus.com). Hop aboard one of the colorful vessels and cross the truly gorgeous False Creek. Keep your finger on the shutter; this is prime picture territory. ( 2:30 )
5 Once in Yaletown, scurry over to Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St.; www.bluewatercafe.net) and nibble on expertly cut sashimi. The fish are farmed using sustainable practices, a point of pride in Vancouver, one of the world’s greenest cities. ( 3:45 )
6 Walk a few doors down to the Yaletown Brewing Company (1116 Hamilton St.;www.markjamesgroup.com), knock back a pint of Mainland lager and find out why beer is Canada’s most popular boozy beverage. Or, if you prefer, run around the corner for an indulgence of a different sort at Chocoatl chocolatiers. ( 4:00 )
7 Catch another taxi to Peking Lounge (83 E Pender St.; www.pekinglounge.com), a little antiques shop in Chinatown stocked with traditional wooden Chinese baskets, lacquer trays, handcarved Buddha statues and curios such as a “silk wine jacket,” which is (yep) a silk jacket for wine bottles. ( 4:30 )
8 Finally, book on over to the nearby historic district Gastown (www.gastown.org), where a steam clock—one of a handful in the world that still work—announces the quarter hour with a whistle and chime. Time to head home. ( 5:00 )
This story originally ran in United Hemispheres Magazine.