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50Isea&iISPRING-SUMMER 2011entertainment and tapas menu. Bacchus Restaurant & PianoLoungeat the Wedgewood Hotel is another award-winningvenue and is considered one of Vancouver's best lounges, com-bining old-school elegance and sophisticated décor with liveentertainment. Cascades Loungeat the Pan Pacific Hotel hasgreat cocktails and views overlooking Stanley Park, the LionsGate Bridge and the mountains. Afterglowis also a simmeringlystylish lounge. Brix Restaurant & Wine Baroccupies a 1912 her-itage building and has one of the city's largest by-the-glassmenus, while footsteps away is the George Ultralounge, one ofCanada's top cocktail lounges.DANCE.nightlife in Vancouver offers something for everytaste. Granville Street is the main downtown entertainmentdistrict and, as such, is a popular spot to socialise. For live rock,head to the Commodore Ballroom, and for house, techno andreggae try Republic. For live blues, the place to go is The YaleHotel, set in an 1880's building. SEE, SHOPSEE.a pod of orca whales. On a good day, up to 100 of thesemagical mammals can be seen in the waters around Vancouver.Humpback and grey whales may also be spotted. For moremarine wonders, the Vancouver Aquarium(the largest inCanada) is a feast of fun, discovery and fascination, and isdevoted to the conservation and research of marine life. For apeaceful and scenic stroll, visit the Dr Sun Yat-Sen ClassicalChinese Garden.SHOP.designer boutiques, independent stores and shop-until-you-drop malls abound. For quirky unique, eclectic shopsand coffee houses, head to Commercial Drive- also knownas Little Italy or The Drive. It even has an old church convertedinto a theatre, and a cinema, so you can combine culture withyour retail therapy. Downtown is a fantastic place to wanderand soak up the city vibe, and the nearby Sinclair Centre,Royal Centreand Pacific Centreoffer all you need in the wayClockwise from above:the Fairmont Hotel; views from GranvilleIsland Market; theCapilano SuspensionBridge; Stanley Park;totem poles at BrocktonPoint; Coast restaurant;the Vancouver Aquarium AT A GLANCE.Best travel timeJune to September have the highesttemperatures (up to 23°C/74°F), but spring and autumn can be beautifully scenic, and winter is ideal for skiingCurrencythe Canadian dollarLanguageEnglishVibelaid-back, cosmopolitan and innovative, Vancouver is famed for its scenic splendour, welcoming atmosphere,outdoor activities and cultural attractions

SPRING-SUMMER 2011I sea&iI51of shops. For galleries, antique shops, native art stores andsouvenirs, Gastownis ideal, and is rich with history and cultureto boot. And don't miss Granville Island Market- it is a feastof shops, stalls and galleries and you can spend happy hoursfilling your bags with fresh produce, fish and confectionaryas well as pottery, glassware, books, beads and accessories.For clothes and home wares, the converted industrial brickwarehouses of Yaletownare now a hip, fashionable place tohead, but for all-round shopping - and people-watching- the world-famous Robson Streetis the place to flex yourcredit card.DO, DISCOVERDO.walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, whichbreaches the Capilano River canyon in a fern-carpeted forest.A harbour cruise is a great way to see the city, or visit theacclaimed Vancouver Art Galleryfor scenes of a differentvariety. If you hanker after relaxation, the five-star hotels (thelikes of the Four Seasons, the Fairmont and the Shangri-La) allhave great spas. DISCOVER.explore the wonderful Stanley Parkon foot,rollerblades or bike. The park is one of the most popular in theworld and as well as having lush forests, acres of soft grass andgardens, and the sea coursing alongside, it also has playgrounds,a swimming pool, beaches, a miniature train, tea rooms anddining venues. While you're there, check out the views atProspect Point, the 1920s totem poles at Brockton Point, andthe Lost Lagoon. The views from the top of Grouse Mountainarealso a must. While you're there, restore your energies at oneof the cafés, bistros or barbecue restaurants. Nearby VancouverIslandis also a must to visit - hop on a float plane for the35-minute journey. Spend your days exploring the rainforests,pristine coastlines, mountains, farmlands and vineyards whileenjoying the mildest climate in Canada. nPhotography: courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resortscityguide