Vancouver’s worldwide reputation for diversity and inclusion becomes especially visible during the enormous Pride celebrations that occur at the end of July and first weekend of August.
This year will be the 39th annual Pride Parade and celebrations. The theme for 2017 is ‘My Pride,’ which according to the official Vancouver Pride Society website “[recognizes] that for each individual, Pride week can be a very unique personal experience with both celebratory and deeply emotional component.”
This year we have Vancouver’s very first all ages Pride dance! Prance on the Pier will start at 5pm on August 2nd in The Shipyards at 25 Wallace Mews in North Vancouver. There will be food, games, drag performances, and much more! This is an all ages, family friendly, and free event for folks who want to celebrate pride and dance the night away.
The West End is the home of Davie Street, where the gay and LGBTQ2+ subculture and community thrive. On the Friday before Pride weekend Davie Street is closed off from Burrard all the way to Jervais for the Davie Street Party. This year’s Davie Street Party is on August 4th from 6 pm until midnight; there will be vendors, performers, art installations, two stages, and the infamous Silent Disco. Davie Street is also home to many fantastic restaurants and businesses which will be open during Davie Street Party.
On August 5th the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast begins at 8 am. It will be in the Jim Deva Plaza next to the famous rainbow crosswalks at Davie and Bute Street. It is a by donation community breakfast honouring one of the founders of pride in Vancouver. He is remembered as a warm and friendly individual who worked hard to keep the Pride Parade afloat in the beginning. Terry Wallace managed the old Castle Pub and he was the backbone of Pride parade during the 1980s and 90s. Wallace and fellow bar owner Garry Penny, along with board member for Pride Community Foundation Rob Atkinson, all managed to pull together the very first parade in less than 3 months.
And finally Pride week ends off with the famous Vancouver Pride Parade on August 6th. The parade starts at 12pm at Robson St. and Bute in Downtown Vancouver, proceeding west on Robson St. to Denman St., then south to Beach Ave., ending at Sunset Beach. Vancouver’s Pride Parade is known as one of the biggest in the world and reportedly has around half a million attendees every year. Last year the parade had special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau march alongside various community, independent, and corporate groups. It is 3 hours of rainbows and music, and where one can see the diversity of the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies.
While the parade is marching along there will be a large Pride Festival at Sunset beach. There will be various food and merchandise vendors, a large stage with different performers and all sorts of fun activities.
Vancouver`s Pride Parade started as a protest against the oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver. Vancouver is lucky to be able to celebrate its LGBTQ2+ community and have one of the largest Pride Parades in the world.
Amongst the glee, glitter, and gaiety there`s an important history still being made. It is important to remember that LGBTQ2+ folks are still being discriminated against for their various identities and Pride is an important part of recognizing the experiences of LGBTQ2+ folks. Pride celebrations are an important statement for declaring and celebrating the existence of LGBTQ2+ folks. Vancouver and Vancouverites are fortunate in being able to proudly fly the rainbow flag because many are unable to.
Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it while it’s still here. And any excuse for ice cream is always a good one. Good thing Vancouver has some amazing options for delicious ice cream. Here are the Lookout’s top recommended ice cream parlours in the city.
Starting off our list of ice cream shops is Earnest Ice Cream. A Vancouver favourite, Earnest Ice Cream has been serving delicious ice cream for the past four years, earning a reputation for their fun and innovative flavours. Check out their website to see the flavours they’re scooping that day, or drop by their second location just steps away from Olympic Village. You won’t be disappointed.
1829 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Hours: 10am-10pm daily
3992 Fraser Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
Rain or Shine is making waves in the Vancouver ice cream scene. With everything made in store, including their fresh daily waffle cones, you’re sure to enjoy what Rain or Shine has to offer. Make sure to visit them on Taco Tuesdays to grab a one of a kind taco sundae!
Bonus: They also make cakes! These specialty ice cream cakes are made to order with the delicious Rain or Shine flavours you know and love. Be sure to put in an order 6 days in advance: http://rainorshineicecream.com/cakes/
1926 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
3382 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
UYU, named after the Korean word for milk, is the place to go for all those soft serve ice cream lovers out there. With soft serve ice cream made with organic milk and fresh ingredients, UYU serves up a delicious treat for any occasion. Don’t forget to add some toppings – from classics like strawberry, to the more unusual, such as black sesame powder.
433 Abbott Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
This next ice cream shop is definitely turning heads. This recent addition to the Vancouver ice cream scene is bringing with it a new twist to how ice cream is done. Using freezing cold liquid nitrogen, Lik creates delicious creamy ice cream in seconds. Check out their signature creations, or stick to one of their delicious rotating flavours.
320 Robson Street, Vancouver
Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 11:30pm
If you’re looking for amazing gelato in Vancouver, look no further than Bella Gelateria. This award winning Gelato stop is one of the most popular places in the city for a cold treat. With so many delicious classic flavours to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. You’ll no doubt find yourself coming back for more. Bella Gelateria has 2 convenient locations in Downtown Vancouver for you to satisfy that sweet tooth.
1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
Sunday – Thursday: 11am–10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am–11pm
1089 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver
Hours: 9am–11pm Daily
Vegan or lactose intolerant? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Yaletown’s newest ice-cream parlour is 100% dairy free, yet still delicious. They carry all the classic flavours, as well as many fruity variations sure to sate your appetite.
1022 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Sunday-Thursday: 12pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 11pm
The sun is out and the sunglasses are on, which means that patio season has finally begun in Downtown Vancouver! What is patio season, you might ask? When the weather is cooperative with the sunshine, restaurants open up their outdoor seating. From there, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city while having a meal with your friends and family. This is a great time for locals, as well as visitors, to enjoy the company of great food mixed with a brilliant outdoor atmosphere. From Gastown to False Creek, we have a list of the best patio-friendly restaurants that will have you feeling ready for the summer time!
The Chill Winston
The Chill Winston is sited at the end of Gastown, one of Downtown Vancouver’s oldest areas. Sticking to old-school traditions, they use local, wild, free-run, and organic ingredients in all their dishes. They boast a great selection of platters that are perfect for groups to share in the warm, sunny weather. The patio is located by Maple Tree Square, and it gives you the perfect view of the eventful city streets.
3 Alexander Street
604 288 9575
Cactus Club (Coal Harbour)
Situated to the left of the Olympic cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza is the Canadian casual-dining restaurant, Cactus Club Café. Since its first restaurant opening in North Vancouver, the restaurant chain has expanded all throughout Canada. Known for their wide selection of western-style dishes and laidback setting with friendly service, Cactus Club Café is definitely a top selection for a night out! Their Coal Harbour location provides a great view of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Olympic cauldron, and several other outdoor art installations in the area. If you look further into the distance, you will also see the North Shore Mountains and the Burrard Inlet.
1085 Canada Place
604 620 7410
Who can think of a better place to have a meal by the water than at Cardero’s? Their patio is located by the marina of Coal Harbour, so fresh seafood is guaranteed! Since oyster season is starting to pick up, why not head on down to share a few with some friends and family? There are always specials on seafood along with the many wines that they offer. The patio views include beautiful mountains and seaside activity – you might even spot some Canadian wildlife (Click here to view our blog post about spotting some wildlife in Vancouver!). Cardero’s also offers live music every night, so it’s never a dull moment!
1583 Coal Harbour Quay
604 669 7666
Black & Blue Steakhouse
Located on Alberni Street, Black & Blue Steakhouse is one of the nine brands under Glowbal Restaurant Group. With a unique menu for both their patio and dining areas, Black & Blue Steakhouse carries everything from steaks to seafood. Their rooftop patio is perfect for small groups of people looking to relax after a long day at work. They have a large collection of different wines from around the Lower Mainland, as well as from around the world. This way, you can pair your favourite wine with your meal. Not only that, but they also have Canada’s first Josper Grill, a combination of an oven and grill that allows for the best way to bring out the flavours and textures in all types of food.
1032 Alberni Street
604 637 0777
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chophouse
If you walk along Robson Street downtown, you will eventually find Joe Fortes Seafood & Chophouse, a restaurant named after the prominent Vancouverite, Joe Fortes. Their patio, similar to Black & Blue Steakhouse, is located on the roof. This way, you can escape the busy city streets and enjoy a birds-eye view from above. The patio has everything, from a horseshoe bar to a cozy fireplace, which makes it the picture-perfect setting for catching up with friends or intimate dinners.
777 Thurlow Street
604 669 1940
The West End
Cactus Club (English Bay)
If you’re on the hunt for great views of the beach and sunset, then the Cactus Club Café located on English Bay is perfect for you! As the only restaurant located on English Bay, you are guaranteed the best views of the area. Although reservations are not required, we suggest making one to get the best seat in the restaurant.
1790 Beach Avenue
604 681 2582
Score on Davie
Where else would you find your meal stacked on top of a Caesar/Bloody Mary? Located in the heart of Davie Street, Score puts an interesting twist on traditional drinks and dishes. Their welcoming staff is always great with making conversation to make you feel right at home. If you’re also looking to make a few friends while you’re in town, Score is also a very popular place for locals as their bar always has the latest sports game showing! Start your night off by the patio and then make your way into the bar at night to experience the night life of Score!
1262 Davie Street
604 632 1646
If you’re looking for a cozy secluded patio setting, then Minami located in Yaletown is the perfect place to check out. A sister restaurant of Miku Waterfront, Minami offers traditional Aburi sushi that go well with flights of Japanese Sake. Unlike Miku Waterfront, Minami also touches on a fusion of Japanese cuisine with Western classics such as steaks, seafood dishes, and poultry.
1118 Mainland Street
604 685 8080
Romer’s Burger Bar
Romer’s Burger Bar is one of the best places for burgers in town. Currently, they have three locations all throughout the Greater Vancouver area – Kitsilano, River District, and Yaletown. Their menu is full of different kinds of dishes, but it’s their burgers that have stolen the hearts of visitors. From the “Wicked Deadly Cheeseburger” to the “Man’s Man Burger,” there is sure to be a burger to suit your tastes. Don’t forget to also pair your burger with fresh cut fries, which are available in six styles.
1039 Mainland Street
604 559 7210
Tap & Barrel
With three locations in Downtown Vancouver, Tap & Barrel continue to be one of the leading restaurants that boast the best views as well as craft beer selection. Their False Creek location provides a different perspective of the Downtown core. From their two-floor patio, you will be able to spot BC Place, Telus World of Science, Cambie bridge, and the docks for dragon boats. Tap & Barrel has an impeccable selection of shareables. Living up to our city’s goals to be greener, this restaurant chain utilizes local ingredients as well as implementing a custom tapping system for their wine in order to reduce their carbon footprint, and providing guests with the freshest food options.
1 Athletes Way
604 685 2223
Patio season is a great opportunity for friends and family to spend some time together while sharing some good food. We hope you enjoyed this list that we’ve compiled! If you’re interested in more restaurants to check out around Downtown Vancouver, check out our posts on the best desserts in town or restaurants five minutes away from the Vancouver Lookout!
We Vancouverites consider ourselves some of the luckiest people in the world. We get to enjoy a bustling cosmopolitan city and live remarkably close to nature. The sea, mountains, and temperate rainforest are right at our doorstep, making Vancouver an extremely livable city that attracts millions of tourists every year. For many visitors from abroad, no trip is complete without seeing some exotic Canadian wildlife. While many will flock to the many national, provincial and regional parks near the Greater Vancouver area, encounters do occur within the city. Although sightings of large animals such as coyotes, black bears and even the occasional cougar do happen in suburban neighbourhoods, it is possible to view wildlife safely and in their natural, yet urban, habitat. Here are some suggestions to help you check off those exotic Canadian animals from your bucket list.
Although an urban park, Stanley Park is truly a wild haven at the heart of the city. With over one thousand acres of dense forest, wetlands and lakes, it is home to many native and introduced species of mammals, such as beavers and river otters (look for them around Beaver Lake and the Lost Lagoon). However, it is the over 200 species of birds that make wildlife viewing exciting, especially in the spring. While duck, gulls, and Canadian geese are ubiquitous, look for nesting pairs of bald eagles and great blue herons high up in the trees. Even though there are only about five bald eagle nests and ninety great blue heron nests, they are fairly easily seen nesting or flying around the park, lakes and seashore.
Many other city parks are home to wild populations of birds and mammals; Hinge Park in Olympic Village has been home to a beaver or two this past winter. While it might take a bit of luck to see a beaver, the dam they built in the pond is hard to miss. In Vanier Park, Kitsilano, it was a family of river otters that were seen this past winter frolicking in the pond. Further afield, Burnaby Lake Park is another great bird-watching location, with great blue herons, eagles, raptors and numerous species of waterbirds wading in the lake. Parks further from the City of Vancouver may also be home to larger wildlife such as coyotes, deer, black bears and even cougars!
If you wish to view some large Canadian wildlife safely and within minutes of downtown, you can head up to Grouse Mountain and visit the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. There you will find Grinder and Coola, the two resident grizzly bears who were both rescued fifteen years ago and have just come out of hibernation. Towards the base of the mountain, you will also find Alpha, a timber wolf who was once in the movie industry. You can learn all about these animals and more by catching a Ranger Talk, or attending a Birds in Motion demonstration, where you will get to witness the impressive hunting skills of Grouse’s birds of prey.
Vancouver’s famous seawall stretches from the Burrard Inlet to Stanley Park and all the way to Point Grey, making it Vancouver’s favourite urban features. While out for a walk or bike, the seawall can also be an opportunity to see some marine wildlife – and we don’t just mean the everyday seagulls! You may find other birds such as cormorants and great blue herons perched by the water, as well as harbour seals swimming or poking their head out of the water. You can often find them near marinas, such as in Coal Harbour or at Granville Island, where fishermen sometimes feed them. On rare occasions, whales may visit Vancouver’s harbour and may even be seen from the seawall, such as Bigg’s killer whales looking for some seals, or last summer’s grey whale that was seen over a few weeks within meters of the seawall. This past couple of weeks, a humpback whale has been seen in the harbour, so if you don’t have the chance to get out on a boat, you may still get lucky.
Strait of Georgia
The best place to see whales, however, is aboard a whale-watching boat heading out of the harbour into the Strait of Georgia. Although trips do go out year round, mostly from Victoria, we are now approaching the prime whale-watching season. Boats will mostly be on the lookout for killer whales, the iconic black and white British Columbian species. Killer whales are often found in groups called pods that can contain three or four to over thirty. Humpback whales are also frequently found during the spring to early fall as they head north to feed in our waters. Other species frequently seen around Vancouver include harbour and Dall’s porpoises, seals and Steller sea lions later in the season. Whale watching is also a great chance to appreciate the coastal beauty of British Columbia, with terrestrial species such as deer and even eagles!
Spring is coming, which means that the days are stretching longer and the weather is slowly getting warmer. This season provides the perfect time to spend weekends outdoor, exploring the beautiful natural landscapes of Vancouver through hiking.
Here are a few hikes and trails that we recommend as the most suitable for this time of year!
Elevation Gain: 450m
Hollyburn Mountain is located in West Vancouver on Cypress Mountain with views of Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet and even the Lions (the twin peaks along the North Shore Mountains). Not only does this hike offer a great combination of breathtaking views, it is also a convenient commute from the city. The average time for completing this 7 kilometer hike both ways is 3.5 hours. However, if you want to enjoy its beautiful views leisurely, set aside at least 4 hours of your day.
Hollyburn Mountain begins from the cross-country skiing area at the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort. If you are driving from Vancouver it should take you 45 minutes get to the parking lot. Hiking Holyburn Mountain is completely free – including parking!
Elevation Gain: 100m
Dog Friendly: Yes
Another year-round hike in the North Shore is the Quarry Rock Hike in Deep Cove. The total distance for the round trip is 3.8km, which makes this the perfect activity for families that want to spend a day outdoors. Similar to the hike on Hollyburn Mountain, Quarry Rock has marked sections that are easy to climb.
It takes about an hour to reach the top of Quarry Rock and from there you are greeted with a stunning view of the Indian Arm, Belcarra, North Burnaby and North Vancouver.
How to get there? You can either drive or take a public transportation. Estimated driving time from Vancouver is less than 30 minutes. Head eastbound towards Highway 1, then cross Iron Workers Memorial Bridge. Turn Right onto Mount Seymour Parkway, after 5 km turn to Deep Cove Road.
If you are taking public transportation from downtown Vancouver the easiest way is to take the sea bus at Waterfront Station across to North Vancouver. At Lonsdale Quay transfer to bus 239 Capilano University and at Phibbs Exchange change to bus 212 Deep Cove.
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Dog Friendly: Yes
Lighthouse Park is a small piece of heaven hidden in West Vancouver. This hike takes you through a Douglas-fir and Western Red Cedar forest, ending right next to the ocean. There is no set route for this hike; feel free to choose from a variety of trails that cut through the forest and end by the shore. The trek through Lighthouse Park takes less than 2 hours to complete (about 6 kilometers round trip). This beautiful park is a perfect example of British Columbia’s jaw-dropping West Coast Temperate Rainforest. Also, the lighthouse that you see at the end of the trail was built in 1912 and has been since then a great place to take pictures!
Lighthouse Park is quite easy to get to by car or public transit. If you drive from downtown Vancouver, it will take roughly 40 minutes. You can also take bus number 250 Horseshoe Bay departing from West Georgia Street.