Saturday, 25 June 2016

Try the Westcoast Sightseeing tour for a fine introduction to Vancouver

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     On Monday June 20 we decided to do an impromptu “hop on hop off” bus tour of downtown Vancouver with our daughter, Kristie. Although Kristie has lived in Vancouver for several years she thought she might learn some new things about city on this tour. It was super convenient to get started –we simply looked up the stops that bus makes and then looking at the on line map of their GPS equipped buses we could see when the next one would be coming along. The usual spacing is about 20 minutes apart so you won’t have to wait long but in our case we simply left her apartment in time to walk a short distance to the Aquatic Centre where we caught the next bus almost immediately.  
The open roof means that you can easily see in all directions - in this case passing by the Vancouver Library
 The bus features an open area at the back which we appreciated since it gave good views in all directions which is ideal for taking pictures. The bus makes 24 stops in downtown Vancouver at major hotels and tourist attractions and this allows you to stop and explore an area and then catch the next bus. There are also several stops in Stanley Park for those interested in seeing this huge natural area on foot. The route travels past the tall office towers of Vancouver as well as going past buildings with a distinctive architecture like the “Coliseum like” Vancouver Library. We learned that Vancouver is Hollywood north and is the 3rd largest film and TV production location in North America. It also has the 3rd largest China town in North America and that Gastown is where Vancouver’s first buildings were constructed. The commentary is lively and informative and the entire tour takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Also who knew there were 60,000 bees on top of the Vancouver Convention Centre or that the steam clock in Gastown is the one of just a handful in the world?
The Hop on staff were friendly and helpful

      We thought the staff were helpful and we were asked on a couple of occasions if we had questions about the tour or Vancouver in general.  If you want play tourist in your own town or are visiting Vancouver and want to learn about the city then this is a cost effective way to do it. For more information see:
The open air "windows" allowed you to easily take pictures

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