/ The Vancouver Guide
Vancouver — By thevancouverguide on December 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Two Great Cities: Vancouver and Victoria B.C.

DSC09209Insight Media Services has produced a series of Great City Guides on DVD to help you plan your trip, or even to buy as a souvenier of the trip you made to any one of these ‘great cities’.    I just viewed “Vancouver & Victoria: Canada’s Western Wonders!” and found it both informative and enjoyable with a great deal of useful information for the traveler.

The DVD also includes Whistler which is host city with Vancouver  for the coming 2010 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games.  It is a comprehensive tour of these destinations with excellent photograph, fast-paced narrative and interesting insights.  I especially enjoyed the anecdotes of historical information that were included and, being a historical writer with a keen interest in local history, even learned some things that I didn’t know before!

The Vancouver guide begins in historic Gastown, the birthplace of Vancouver, then a trip to Chinatown where some of the earliest immigrants settled. There’s a good overview of the downtown core including the popular shopping area of Robson St., Library Square, and the Vancouver Art Gallery that was othe original Provincial Courthouse.  The Pan Pacific Hotel and cruise ship terminal as well as Canada Place Convention Centre are also introduced. However, the new convention centre, the Olympic Village, and the new Canada Line connecting downtown with the airport and Richmond are missing because the DVD was made before these venues were officially opened.

There are excellent aerial views of the city and Burrard Inlet, a visit across False Creek to the Granville City Market and Kitsilano including Vanier Park and the museums there.  Your virtual journey also takes you to the University of BC where the Museum of Anthropology, designed by Arthur Erikson, displays fabulous artifacts of First Nations importance as well as historical collections.  Notable is Bill Reid’s masterful sculpture “Raven and First Man” which you can see on the back of the Canadian $20 bill.

The DVD takes you on an interesting tour of Stanley Park with skyline views across the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver, stopping at Capilano Suspension Bridge for a tree top adventure and up to the Peak of Grouse Mountain where you can go zip-lining, participate in winter , or the Vancouver International Airport (YVR),  that can be easily reached on the Canada Line.  The new Richmond Oval where the speed skating takes place during the Olympics is an important venue there, as well as the Buddhist Temple, not to be missed!  And historic Steveston is part of the fishing heritage of the Coast where you can find lots of excellent sea-food restaurants and boutiques.

Next  we go up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler for a look at the site of many of the 2010 Winter Olympics events.  This is an exceptionally scenic drive and the DVD gives you an excellent impression of the magnificent scenery as well as exciting views of winter sports up on Blackcomb Mountain.

Across the Georgia Straight by float plane, you arrive in B.C.’s Provincial capital, Victoria with a tour around the inner Harbour.  The trip includes a little geography lesson which I found useful including some fabulous aerial views.  Victoria is known as ‘the most British city in Canada” and the tour starts with tea time at the elegant Fairmont Empress Hotel, builit in 1908 by CP Railways. Adjacent is the B.C Parliament Building, both designed and built by Francis Rattenbury. 

You’ll visit Victoria’s Chinatown, which is older than Vancouver’s; Thunderbird Park where you’ll see the First Nations totems outside the wonderful Royal BC Museum which has fascinating exhibits and galleries.  Enjoy a tour of Beacon Hill Park, too and a visit to Emily Carr House, home of BC’s noted artist.   The DVD covers the major historical sites of Victoria giving you a taste of what there is to see there, and ends at the beautiful Butchart Gardens, a former limestone quarry dating to 1904 and internationally famous as the first Botanical Garden.

Although the trip to Victoria was made by float plane, the usual way of going is on the BC Ferries from Tsawwassen terminal to Swartz Bay, a trip of an hour and a half.  But on the way you can enjoy the scenery of the Gulf Islands and you might even spot some pods of killer whales!

The Great City Guides DVD also has an list of mini trips, accomodation ideas, food/shopping, tips for travelers including what to avoid and how to get around.  Your journey around these great cities takes from 40 – 50 minutes to views. For anyone coming here I think it would be a useful buy and certainly a wonderful memento of your trip. 

Great City Guides offers DVDs for other notable cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston and Washington DC as well as others.   Check their interactive website for further information, to  view previews and purchase the DVD  for $19.99. They are also available on Amazon download and you can pay for them on your Amazon account for as little as $10.99.  For information: info@greatcityguides.com or contact David Smith at 1-866-551-CITY.

Enjoy your visit!DSC04813

NOTE: A copy of this DVD was provided for review.

PHOTOS by Ruth Kozak

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