by Kimberli Hull
After 45 days of roaming around England, Scotland, and Ireland, we were ready to settle in one spot for a month. Seeking cool temperatures to avoid the summer heat and some good dining options, where better than Canada?
We found a great Airbnb in the heart of Vancouver with stunning views and settled in for a month of relaxation. We arrived the last of June, and with a little over a month to explore the bustling, diverse city that frequently makes livability top five lists, we planned on taking it slow, simply experiencing Canada's west coast jewel at our leisure.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival was running the weekend we arrived, with the main stages in Robson Square, which our balcony overlooked. While the sounds faintly wafted into our apartment along with the breeze, we decided to pay the festival a visit for a closer look and headed downstairs.
Produced by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival actually occurs over two weeks each year at venues in and around Vancouver, with free public performances and paid shows at clubs throughout the area. While it was unseasonably warm during the event, the cool sounds and cold beverages kept the crowds chilled out and entertained throughout the event.
Happy 150th birthday Canada!
Canada celebrated its 150th birthday on the 1st of July with country-wide festivals, fireworks, events, and exhibitions.
The second largest celebration in Canada was held in Vancouver at Canada Place, with music, food, parades, and fireworks. Vancouver's official celebration, named "Canada 150+," recognized the much longer history of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations peoples of the area. Proud Canadians turned out in red and white attire and Canadian flags were in abundance throughout Vancouver during the celebration.
As the most densely populated city in Canada and the fourth most in North America, towering skyscrapers loom above in much of the downtown area - yet tree-lined streets below soften the city and beckon strolls. We spent hours walking in the beautiful city under bright blue skies, enjoying the summer days.
Along the way, we'd pop into an antique shop, grab a coffee, or stop to admire the flowers, gardens, and fountains so abundant throughout Vancouver.
All that walking can work up an appetite and Vancouver's diversity provides the backdrop for a dynamic food scene. From high-end restaurants to sidewalk cafes to a vast amount of food cart options, we found creative, tasty dining in each neighborhood we explored.
Downtown Vancouver is filled with restaurants, bars, theatres and a wide-range of shopping options. From Gucci to independent boutiques to department stores - you'll find it in Vancouver. CF Pacific Centre is several blocks long and offers indoor shopping and a good food court that even has some healthy options like Living Foods, which offers fresh, creative salads.
Robson Street is a vibrant, three-blocks of boutiques, restaurants, and bars. A great spot to spend a few hours and grab a bite and/or a beverage, we liked the Robson Street Cactus Club - especially the patio for great happy hour fish tacos, cocktails and people watching.
If you want to eat, drink, get your hair styled or do a little shopping, head to Yaletown.
In a former warehouse and railyard district, Yaletown is located between Homer Street and Robson Street, along the north side of False Creek. A fun area, Yaletown is a great spot for lunches, with an abundance of restaurants with patios.
After a leisurely lunch, a walk along the waterfront is a perfect way to work off those extra calories. A multi-use path runs right along the water, with splendid marina views, and access to David Lam Park and George Wainborn Park along the way.
Home to the massive Public Market, restaurants, shops, galleries, artist studios, theatres, waterfront activities and boat tours, Granville Island is a must visit when in Vancouver.
We arrived in time for a late lunch - the only issue was choosing which restaurant. Public Market has a large selection of vendors and an outdoor dining area for enjoying the food along with some sun, and there is also a huge variety of restaurants ranging from casual to upscale within the community. We decided on the beautiful patio of Vancouver Fish Company and enjoyed a fabulous lunch overlooking the harbor.
Following lunch, we wandered through the Granville Island galleries and stores and shopped at the Farmer's Market, which is held on Thursdays in the summer, with plants, fruits, vegetables and local artisan crafts, before heading into the Public Market.
A foodie's dream destination, Granville's Public Market is internationally recognized as one of the top markets in the world. Aisles and aisles of fresh produce, baked goods, gourmet items, meats and fish of every type are available. Our favorite find - double smoked salmon. Absolutely heavenly. To get to Granville Island on foot, head down the end of Hornby or to David Lam Park in Yaletown and take the Vancouver Aquabus across False Creek.
Vancouver's oldest neighborhood, Gastown, dates back to 1867 when "Gassy" Jack Deighton began pouring drinks in a tavern there. Today, the district is one of the most popular destinations in the city.
Unique boutiques, souvenir shops, jewelry designers, galleries, artisans, bars and tasty restaurants line the streets, some of which are still cobblestone, in Gastown. The centerpiece of the community is the musical steam clock, which draws tourists every quarter hour as it comes to life steaming and whistling.
Hungry? Head across the street to the Water Street Cafe on the corner and grab a table on the patio. Start with the warm Mediterranean olives, then move on to the Linguine Alle Vongole. Splendid dining - and you'll have a front row seat to watch the clock and the Gastown happenings.
Know before you go to Vancouver in July
Temperature: The average temperature in Vancouver in July is 17°C / 64°F, with an average high of 21°C / 70°F and an average low of 13°C / 55°F.
Rainfall. July is typically Vancouver's least rainy month, with a historic average of 40mm of rainfall over 9 days of the month. Plenty of sunshine.
Bring the sunscreen - Vancouver averages 13 hours of sunshine per day in July. Watersports. Water temperatures average 14°C / 57°F in July.
Air-conditioning (or lack there of). As with many locations where the highs are generally pleasant, unseasonably warm temperatures may occur, as they did during the first two weeks of our stay. Many apartments do not have air conditioning. When booking an Airbnb, check if fans are available in case you need them.
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