Greenest City: Vancouver

Good day to all of my friends. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

The environment has been constantly in the news recently. The news about climate change is sobering but not all of the news is bad. There are some cities that are taking positive action to improve their environmental footprint while making their urban spaces more liveable. I’m going to highlight some of the cities that are showing leadership in this area.

The first city I want to highlight has been constantly in most lists of the world’s most liveable cities for the last five years: Vancouver. This beautiful coastal jewel is a compact urban space of more than 650,000 inhabitants on the lower mainland of British Colombia in Canada. Because of its maritime climate, it is one of the cosiest and most relaxing cities in the world!

vancouver bridge

The Vancouver Bridge and Granville Island Market

Vancouver has impressive environmental credentials. Despite the fact that it is the fourth busiest in North America – even busier than the port of New York City, the Port of Vancouver is a Certified Green Marine port. The port has excellent water quality that it couples with land management, measures to improve aquatic and terrestrial species diversity, and an enhanced Cetacean Habitat that welcomes whales, porpoises and dolphins.

In 2009, Vancouver created its plan entitled “Greenest City: a Renewable City” which aims to be completed by the end of 2020. As of this 2019, 93% of the city’s energy is generated from renewable sources. By 2030 all new buildings must be emission free and the entire city must be waste free by 2040. Vancouver even has an advanced “Climate Change Adaptation Strategy”.

The environmental focus of Vancouver is intimately tied to its respect for the First Peoples, the aboriginal peoples that have inhabited Canada from time immemorial.

totem poles, canada

Monumental carvings on Totem Poles

The Squamish, a First Nations tribe around Vancouver, have a long history of harmony with nature and respect for the earth. Their iconic totem poles are prominently sited in Vancouver’s many parks and gardens.

Vancouver has extensive parks which provide natural spaces for its citizens and visitors. In addition, the city has extensive ‘Greenways’ which are linear parks that link different neighbourhoods in the city by car-free bicycle and walking paths. Since the 1970s, the city has promoted ‘building up’ instead of ‘out’. This means that the city has many high-rise buildings and the highest population density in Canada. This compact space means that it is easy and close to walk throughout the urban spaces.

One of my favourite activities in Vancouver is to take its tree canopy walks. These raised bridges put you right in the treetops for a different perspective on the city and its nature. The Greenheart TreeWalk, in the University of British Colombia’s Botanical Garden is a paradise with the thrill of heights! The Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cliff Walk across the harbour in North Vancouver are exciting attractions.

Vancouver is a fabulous city for running, water sports, biking, yoga and pretty much any other healthy pursuit. The residents of Vancouver are unselfconscious when it comes to exercise and you’ll see them in healthy activities all times of the day!

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver

140m Long and 70m above the River – The Capilano Suspension Bridge

Don’t think that Vancouver is just a city of boring tree-hugging exercise nuts, however, because it has an exciting, fun and varied nightlife! I enjoy walking in the Granville Entertainment District which is packed with bars, funky restaurants and music venues. The historic Gastown neighbourhood has my favourite Vancouver hangout, the Diamond Bar which is a true jewel! Guilt & Company offers fantastic drinks and live music. If you think that Vancouver is sedate, note that the renewed Punk scene originated in the music venues of Gastown and Granville.

Gastown, Canada

Steam Powered clock in Gastown!

Here’s a pro-tip: A great day includes spending a relaxing afternoon at the world-leading Vancouver Aquarium before popping over to the Keefer Bar in Chinatown for some early cocktails before enjoying a fabulous and authentic Chinese food meal. Then, take the streetcar to Gastown for late evening partying. You may need to sleep in the following morning, but you’ll recover early enough for a shoreside Pilates class!

As you would expect, transportation in Vancouver is green. The airport offers international connections and there are convenient travel options from the world’s largest hubs. The airport is beautifully constructed with wood products that limit the amount of concrete in its structure. The city has very convenient and easy to use streetcars, electric trams and trains. Taxis in the city are mostly electric or are powered by natural gas. Ridesharing also concentrates on green alternatives. Public transportation is encouraged with a low price.

The city has world-class hotels and all of the major brands are amply represented. You can find accommodation to fit any budget, but Vancouver is a good value compared to most places because payment is in Canadian Dollars. My favourite hotel is the Fairmont Waterfront, but the Westin Grand is a close match for comfort and style. Homestays are not encouraged in Vancouver by city statute, but they can still be found.

Vancouver has a culture and passion for food. Local cafes and bistros offer excellent quality and variety to meet the dietary requirements of anyone. Chinatown has excellent quality authentic restaurants. Of course, seafood is excellent, extremely high-quality and a good value.

Vancouver, Canada

One of the World’s most liveable Cities! VancouvAHHH!

Produce is fresh and the restaurants take efforts to source ingredients locally.

I’m sure that if you’ll enjoy a great green adventure in Vancouver! This innovative city demonstrates that environmentally friendly changes can enhance quality of life.

 

Love,

Isabella

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: GreenTree Walk in the UBC Botanical Gardens, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium & Granville Island (botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/visit/greenheart-treewalk/, www.capbridge.com/, www.vanaqua.org/, granvilleisland.com/,https://www.hellobc.com/places-to-go/vancouver)

Where to stay::  Fairmont Waterfront or the Westin Grand are two of my favourites (www.fairmont.com/waterfront-vancouver/, https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/yvrgw-the-westin-grand-vancouver/)

Where to party: Gastown Neighbourhood has great bars and place to spend the night in. Try the Diamond Bar and Guilt & Company!

Where to eat: Granville Entertainment District & China Town – great places for all foodie palates (https://www.eater.com/maps/best-vancouver-restaurants-canada)

What to buy: BC Wines, VANCITY Gear & Native Jewellery pieces

Fall in love with Vancouver!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: GreenTree Walk in the UBC Botanical Gardens, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium & Granville Island (botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/visit/greenheart-treewalk/, www.capbridge.com/, www.vanaqua.org/, granvilleisland.com/,https://www.hellobc.com/places-to-go/vancouver)

Where to stay::  Fairmont Waterfront or the Westin Grand are two of my favourites (www.fairmont.com/waterfront-vancouver/, https://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/yvrgw-the-westin-grand-vancouver/)

Where to party: Gastown Neighbourhood has great bars and place to spend the night in. Try the Diamond Bar and Guilt & Company!

Where to eat: Granville Entertainment District & China Town – great places for all foodie palates (https://www.eater.com/maps/best-vancouver-restaurants-canada)

What to buy: BC Wines, VANCITY Gear & Native Jewellery pieces

Fall in love with Vancouver!

2 Comments to “Greenest City: Vancouver”

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! We want to create a blog that will be interesting and also useful to our readers. Thus, comments like yours are very important to us. Let us know if you have any additional questions we might answer.
      Warm regards,
      Isabella and Bart

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      Bart Bybee at 11:58 am

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