If you ever find yourself wondering what would have happened if the early British colonists in North America had never declared independence to become the USA, you can cast your eyes northward and look at Canada.  “What?  Canada’s awesome!” you might say.  Yeah, I agree.  There are some slight differences in political systems, education, health care and attitudes.  But by and large, Canada doesn’t feel a tremendous amount of difference from its neighbors to the south.

I have visited Vancouver, in British Columbia, many times by car, plane or boat as it’s very close to my home.  I find its cultural differences interesting and refreshing.  It’s one of the best planned cities I’ve visited, with broad tracts of land preserved for large scale parks right in the middle of the city.

Stanley Park is a massive promontory at the mouth of Vancouver’s harbor that has been entirely preserved from urban development.  It has bike paths, museums and an aquarium.  But otherwise feels like a wild forest.


The city has wonderful botanical gardens (Queen Elizabeth and Van Dusen most notably) that allow you to see flora from around the world.

It also happens to have a very attractive downtown area with tree-lined streets and lots of international cuisine.

One of my favorite districts was the market area called Granville Island, where merchants come to a large indoor public market to display their food and crafts.  The pastries, fruits and cheeses you get here make for a wonderful picnic as you stroll the waterside.

Going a bit further afield, you can see a magnificent museum of the handiwork of first nations people.  (These are the cultures of the Pacific who were in Canada prior to the arrival of the British.). The Museum of Anthropology is in the campus of the University of British Columbia.

Take me home!

Follow @Leapingaround on Twitter:

Follow  Christopher on Pocket