Our Venues heroes have been out and about again, this time in the beautiful city of Vancouver, which has totally bowled us over … so much so that we were googling ‘Canadian visa applications’ on our way home!
So what’s so special about this coastal seaport city on the West coast of Canada?
Venue specialist Polly Rogers said: “It’s got all the best aspects of a vibrant city, but without the intensity … so it’s not so full-on. Plus you’ve got everything you could possibly want close at hand … great hotels, fabulous places to eat, mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches all with a really genuine, warm welcome everywhere you go. I definitely got the sense that everyone is really proud of this city and keen to share their love of the place with visitors.”
Polly sampled loads of great food during her trip, with plenty of locally sourced ingredients everywhere she went. A visit to the famous Granville Island market was an assault on the senses with fresh produce galore … a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds!
Polly stayed at the Rosewood Hotel, which now ranks as one of her all time favourite places to stay. “The hotel managed to combine bags of old school charm with all mod cons so you get the best of both worlds. I really couldn’t fault it” said Polly.
The main event space was light and airy with all the facilities you’d expect. But her favourite space was the meeting room under the swimming pool … “if you looked up, you could just make out the vague shapes of swimmers overhead. It was like an ever-changing frieze!”
For larger scale events, Polly took a tour of the Vancouver Convention Centre. With its centrepiece ballroom – big enough for 3,000 people to dine in comfort – showcasing amazing harbour and mountain views through floor to ceiling windows, the centre also has exhibition halls, meeting rooms and outdoor spaces to cater for pretty much any event you want to throw at it!
With so many great hotels in the city and the convention centre too, it’s an ideal destination for large groups.
Capalino Suspension Bridge Park
As part of her visit, Polly headed out to the stunning Capalino Suspension Bridge Park, just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver and a great option for conference-weary delegates or incentive groups alike.
The park has a (slightly scary) high rise suspension bridge, plus seven more footbridges … all with great views 110 feet above the forest floor. There’s also a brand new cliff walk, with lots of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms … all relying on just 16 anchor points in the cliff for support!
One of the highlights of Polly’s trip (there were quite a few!) was her visit to see the orphaned bears at Grouse Mountain.
Not only did this trip offer a chance to see these two giant creatures in their natural environment, but she also checked out the three different restaurants each serving up a diverse selection of delicious seasonal treats … and all with amazing views from the hill top.
The absolute best way to see the city is by bike, according to Polly. “It’s so accessible and there’s plenty of open space so you don’t feel like you’re cycling in a city at all. Obviously it may get a bit nippy to be zipping about by bike in the winter, but when I was there it was great.”
We loved the place so much we’ve already pitched Vancouver to a client for an upcoming event. “We chose it for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned … plus it has some great driving routes close by for our automotive client.”
“We were hosted by Vancouver Tourism, so we really did get the full monty! But it never felt like we were part of a run of the mill tour. Everything felt fresh and personal” said Polly who is clearly smitten!
Polly flew with WestJet Airlines, which began as a low-cost alternative to the major airlines and is now the second-largest Canadian air carrier behind Air Canada.