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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canada's third largest city and the largest in the province of British Columbia is surrounded by water on three sides and nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range which rises dramatically to 1500 metres. It has a busy metropolitan centre, spectacular scenery and one of the country's mildest climates. Locals love to brag that they can snow ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon and be home in time for a night on the town.

Vancouver was founded around a sawmill and a saloon and its thick virgin cedar, fir and hemlock forests have created much wealth. Far from being a frontier town, Vancouver is a young and vibrant city with beautiful parks, forest reserves, ethnic communities and enough arts, theatre, sports and nosheries to keep everyone happy. It will shine in 2010 when it hosts the Winter Olympics.

Gastown is where Vancouver was founded in 1867. It was called Gassy's after a saloon proprietor, Gassy Jack Deighton. It was rebuilt after an 1886 fire and the whole village was renamed Gastown. As it grew into a city, it became Vancouver and Gastown became Old Vancouver. It fell into disrepair but moves to tear down the entire historic site were overrun by community pressure. It became a designated historic area and today's Gastown, with its cobbled streets, is a beautiful place for strolling, shopping and dining.

Grouse Mountain, just 12 kilometres from the centre of town, should be on everyone's list to see. Sky Ride Gondola takes the 1128 metre ride above the city within eight minutes. In summer it's great for hiking and walking, and in winter it is paradise for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating. Some runs are lit at night which is spectacular even if you are just a spectator. Grouse Nest Restaurant serves great food and has the best views of any restaurant in Vancouver.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge spans 140 metres across and 70 metres above North Vancouver's Capilano River. The original was built in 1888 by Scottish engineer George Mackay to gain access to some of his 2400 hectare property. It sways and creaks, but it is very, very strong. Nearly one million visitors cross it each year in the company of costumed staff. On the western side, the Nature Park is a tranquil retreat with trails meandering through old-growth forest.


Canada's west coast.


Creative Tours has two-night mini-stays in Vancouver starting at $195 per person, twin share. Accommodation at the Sandman Hotel Downtown, Vancouver City Passport, trolley attractions tour and return coach airport transfers are included.

Grouse Mountain entry is around $38 for adults and $14 for children. Sky Ride and other activities are included.

Starting in November, Air New Zealand will have three services a week to Vancouver all year round.

From fare

Valid for sale until September 23, 2007 and for travel between November 4 and 23, 2007. Prices correct at September 13,2007.

For more information

Creative Holidays

Tourism British Columbia

Canadian Tourism Commission, Australia
Ph: (02) 9571 1866

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

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