By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Located at the southwestern corner of British Columbia, Vancouver, the third largest city in Canada, is often referred to as “Manhattan with Mountains” because of its eclectic mix of cultures and cuisine similar to its Big Apple North American sibling. But beyond that, its majestic beauty with its ridges and ocean topography sets it apart to make it one of the most stunning waterfront cities in the world.
As a result, a wealth of parks and gardens are scattered throughout. Stanley Park, is home to several famous landmarks and connects to the popular Seawall Trail which is great for walking and biking to take in the picturesque scenery. The grounds of Queen Elizabeth Park, a former rock quarry, flaunt flowers and plants galore. Situated on the highest point of the city, the panoramic vistas and bridges are breathtaking, especially from its specialty restaurant where you can have a drink or a bite to eat. Historic Gas Town with its cobblestone streets and Victorian buildings where miners would stop on their way to the Yukon is a fun place to shop and eat too.
No matter what area of the city you choose to see, Chinese and Indian restaurants are popular and delicious, but seafood is the obvious highlight. And the success of Vancouver’s 2012 Winter Olympic Games was impressive, but the greatest lasting impression of all was just how friendly and welcoming the locals are. So enjoy!
SAIL: Vancouver. Before sailing away, bring the city’s Canadian flavors and flair home. The red maple leaf is the country’s symbol for a reason- maple syrup, maple fudge and even maple mustard all hail from the region. In fact, Canada grows over 90% of the world’s mustard seed supply and Kozlick’s is the one to buy. With its historic ties to Britain, cheddar cheese is prominent here too and the Red Leaf Cheddar is excellent. For nice gifts in a bottle, go for a Canadian Rye Whiskey or sweet dessert Ice Wine.
SIP: Canadian Rye Whiskey. The distilling of whiskey is big business here as its main ingredients of rye, wheat, barley and corn are cold weather regional commodities. The flavors range from smooth and silky or smoky and dry. To be a Canadian spirit, these fermented ingredients must age for at least 3 years and then are ready for you to enjoy straight up or on the rocks! .
SAVOR: Shellfish for Lunch or Dinner & Butter Tarts for Dessert. Surrounded on all sides by water, Vancouver is a haven for fresh seafood and especially shellfish. From glistening oysters on the half-shell to mussels, crab or langoustine, any choice is a winner especially when finishing your meal off with butter tarts. These are the Canadian quintessential dessert made with butter, sugar, syrup and raisins with or without nuts. Yummy!