I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in one of Canada's most scenic cities, Vancouver!  The city is the most densely populated Canadian municipality, however the relaxed pace and close proximity to nature has a somewhat calming effect for those used to larger, busier cities. Views of the mountains can pretty much be seen from anywhere in the downtown and the water is always just a few blocks away!

With amazing hotels, shopping and dining, here are a few suggestions on how to spend a weekend in this wonderful Pacific North West city.

If you are arriving by plane, Vancouver International Airport , is a beautiful as it is functional. It is located 12 km from downtown which is easily reachable by both cab ($30.00 CDN) and by Public Transport (Skytrain).

Loden Hotel: Located in the sought after Cole Harbour, the hotel offers top-notch friendly and personal service. The rooms are elegantly designed with a wonderful balance of comfortable soft finishings all with a modern twist. The Molton Brown toiletries, large soaker tubs and cozy beds might make it hard for you to actually leave your room. Large floor to ceiling windows showcasing stunning views just might entice you to reserve one of the complementary bikes and begin exploring the city and nearby Stanley Park.

For those of you who love a market, be sure not to miss Grandville Island. Located under the south end of the Grandville Street Bridge on False Creek. The market  is not only home to The Emily Carr School of Art and Design, but also to an amazing public market. Wander though endless stalls of fresh fruit, veggies, baked goods and nameless other food specialities. Be sure to arrive hungry and nosh at one (or several) of the vendors selling take-away food items. Also located on the island are various artisan shops and studios. Note that one of the most interesting ways to get to the market is via the small pedestrian ferry dubbed The Aquabus

Gastown, located in the Northeast end of downtown, is the cities oldest neighbourhood. Beautiful brick streets, historic architecture and intriguing back alleys all house some of the cities more interesting concentration of shops.

Nouvelle Nouvelle  is a charming little shop that at first glance might seem a bit minimal. You quickly discover it houses a collection of men's and women's clothing, accessories and apothecary items. You will be surprised at how well curated the items are and guaranteed you will not leave empty handed.

Dominion Barber Shop: Find yourself a true gentleman on the road and in need of a beard trim or perhaps a quick haircut? Look no further the Dominion Barber Shop with it's cool yesteryear decor. boasting some of the smartest cuts in the city, this place will have you looking dapper in no time.

Old Faithful Shop: Longing for that old general store experience which offered basic, useful and well made items?Well here it is! Shelves filled with tempting household items such as beautiful plaid woollen blankets, sea foam green enamel coffee pots and an endless selections of bath products and candles. It all might just have you taking advantage of their free shipping!

Parliament: For those of you who adore modern decor, this is a must stop. Although the shop does have many larger pieces for sale, there are plenty of smaller items you can easily tuck into you bag or have shipped home. Candles, cushions and books are aplenty along with some very friendly service.


Medina Cafe: Be warned, this popular Gastown eatery has Notorious wait times, but they are indeed worth it!

Salt Tasting Room: Don't be thrown by this little gem's location (Blood Alley Square). A wine tasting bar that allows you to sample local wines, cheeses and charcuterie. Allow the knowledgable staff to guide your selections to ensure that you try some truly outstanding selections.

One the Move:
Yolks Food Truck: If you're on the move and simply cannot slow down for a full breakfast, be sure to swing by this food truck. The quality and service are top-notch! In no time, I was on the go with one of the most delicious breakfast sandwiches!

Cartems Dounterie: Walking around, taking in the sights of beautiful Vancouver can be a lot of hard work. Make sure to fit in a few minutes to grab yourself an outstanding treat. The doughnuts at Cartems are fresh, sourced local and are down right fantastic! With flavours like salted caramel and Canadian whisky bacon, I dare you to not agree!




Daniel MacKinnon