What to Do in Vancouver: September

I love seeing the sights around Vancouver.  I had a lot of fun putting together my previous post about Tourism in Vancouver, so I thought I’d do another.  As the seasons change, so too do the activities around this beautiful city.

So where to begin!  How about Gastown: there’s walking tours, and if you can catch a break in the weather, it seems like the perfect time to be doing them!

You can go on ‘official tours’ like this one with a gothic feel, and this one, or, if you’d prefer something self guided (AKA free!), have a look at this- it’s architecture centric, but has a blurb about each stop, and takes you through the whole of Gastown in about two hours.

Here’s another guide (free) which will take you on a more standard walk around Gastown (to all the touristy places).

Once you’ve seen gastown, why not take a trip over to the North Shore?  The seabus is a lovely little ride across Burrard Inlet, and you’ll be let out at Lonsdale Quay (pronounced LONs-dale KEY) which has a bustling (though somewhat overpriced) market.

I can never resist the call of the fudge there though, one of the few temptations I allow myself to succumb to while there).

Now, moving on from Lonsdale Quay, you have many options.

You can go up Lonsdale itself and see what shops it has to offer.  You can catch a bus over to Deep Cove (about a 45 minute ride with one transfer) and see another side of Vancouver.

Or you can catch the 236 Grouse MNT bus up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge!

Another option from Lonsdale Quay is to catch that same 236 bus and stay on it until you reach the base of good ol’ Grouse Mountain, where I lived until I was 9 years old.  It’s beautiful there, and you can catch the famous gondola up the mountain for a view you will never forget!

(I bet Mulder never forgot it…)

There are many beautiful sights to see in North Vancouver.  If you have use of a car, a drive up to the top of Mount Seymour can yield spectacular views of downtown Vancouver, the Georgia Straight, and the whole of the Fraser Valley.

For some specific events to check out closer to downtown Vancouver, let’s see what we’ve got.

If you’re into the music of Tom Petty, than you’ll want to put September 18th on your calendar!

There’s poetry slams, improve, and open mic nights every week (on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday respectively) over at Cafe Deux Soleils. These get pretty busy!

And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is opening their season at the end of September, with this fabulous concert, featuring an epic piece of music I guarantee you will recognize.

“Rising-star pianist Inon Barnatan, recently appointed as the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Association, performs the colossal Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in his VSO debut. The season-opening concert also featuresRichard Strauss’s famous Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra), an epic tone poem presented as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.”

Thus Spake Zarathustra is code for “the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey” by the way!

The OMNIMAX theatre at Science World is always an option.  The world’s largest domed screen?  5 stories of amazing, entertaining, and educational films?  A Projectionist who dancing when she thinks no one is watching her thread up?  This month, check out “Rocky Mountain Express” (about building Canada’s Railroad), “Journey to the South Pacific” (about life and love in the islands of Papua), and “Rescue” (a film about rescuing people and rebuilding after the major earth quake in Haiti).

I haven’t seen Journey to the South Pacific yet, but I have the other two.  It depends on what you like; Rescue kind of gave me a propaganda-y vibe, but had some pretty neat things in it none-the-less.  Rocky Mountain Express was a little methodical, but had beautiful footage and was very informative.

Oh and I almost forgot, there’s this up-and-coming musician playing here on September 13th.  Elton something?  John Elton?  🙂

So there you have some things to do in September around Vancouver.  I hope you enjoy!

Days Off, Tourism in Vancouver, and Botanical Gardens

This round of major revisions is done, and it went really well.  I got caught up on one of the chapters for a few days and went through several drafts of it until I got one that worked.  But it’s done and it’s off to a spectacular agent.  Here’s hoping they dig the draft!

So I’m taking a few days off.  My brain is mega tired from the past 3 weeks of work; 3 weeks of injecting jeopardy, pain, peril, and raising the emotional stakes for every character in my novel.  It’s been a good exercise, but a long time to be mentally sprinting.

Time to do something else and have a break!  Like do a critique on my friend’s screenplay!  And write a blog entry!  (NO!  Bad Heidi!  Go watch some cartoons or eat some ice cream or something non-writing related!  okay okay okay.)

Speaking of my yearly Tourism Passport Challenge…

Every year, anyone that works in the tourism industry in Vancouver has a chance to participate in a wonderful program, aimed at getting everyone in the industry familiarized with everything there is to do in Vancouver.  The idea is that then we can tell people where to go after they visit us at our tourist destination.

So the month of May is when we spend time going from destination to destination, getting to know museums, galleries, and attractions of every kind imaginable.

Here’s my passport, a little worse for wear:

And a typical page (the stamps need to be collected as proof of visit):

15 stamps gets you a Privilege Pass, which is basically a key to the city as far as tourism goes.  I picked mine up on the first day I could.  It gets me into anything in the passport, plus a guest.  Man it’s awesome!

The attractions I visited to earn this privilege are below.  It’s all clickable, in case you’re interested in going to any of them!

The Vancouver Lookout (a must-visit for someone arriving in Vancouver for the first time; an incredible view of the city, and a great way to get your bearings!)

The Vancouver Art Gallery (and I’ll be going back soon to see their Douglas Copland exhibit!)

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens (absolutely beautiful- I go to the free portion of the gardens all the time, just to sit and relax and look at the lilies and turtles and koi.  Their tour (paid admission to a private part of the gardens) is well worth it, and is quite informative.)

Science World (a landmark of the Vancouver skyline.  Be sure to check out a film at the OMNIMAX theatre inside that awesome dome!  wink wink)

The Bill Reid Gallery (probably Canada’s best known First Nations artist- my favourite piece is his “Galaxy” necklace)

FlyOver Canada (a ride- I haven’t been on it yet but I went to scope it out so I knew what it was all about)

Canada Place (walked the Walk and looked at all the place names- my goodness we have some weird town names in this country!)

False Creek Ferries (boating around false creek, delivering people from downtown to Granville Island, from several docks)

Museum Of Vancouver (oh man that place is awesome!  I love learning about Vancouver, and MOV sure was a treat)

H.R.MacMillan Space Centre (AKA The Planetarium!  With some of our astronauts achieving rock-star status it’s no wonder that space exploration is seeing a resurgence in the public awareness.  To the future!)

Vancouver Maritime Museum (I love me some nautical history, and this was an interesting visit.)

VanDusen Botanical Gardens (absolutely gorgeous- photos below)

I also visited the Vancouver Convention Centre, and Tourism Vancouver.  (And just in case you’re counting and noticed this only accounts for 14 stamps: I got two stamps from Science World, an extra one for visiting the magnificent OMNIMAX Theatre.)

So that’s what’s up with me lately.  Feels good to have a break.  Hope all is well with you, dear readers.  In finishing, here are some photos of my day at VanDusen Botanical Gardens.  Cheers!










Full album here, if you want to see a TON more flowers!
Or, if you just want to see some more of that nifty BLOND Canada Goose! I’ve never seen one like that before.