Vancouver, B.C.

I recently returned from a trip to Vancouver ( It was my first time back in the province of British Columbia’s largest city in five years. Surrounded by water on three sides and nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range, Vancouver is home to spectacular natural scenery and a bustling metropolitan core, and boasts one of the mildest climates in Canada. The Greater Vancouver region is home to more than two million people in 21 municipalities, making it the third largest metropolitan area in Canada.

WHERE TO STAY: There are more than 24,000 rooms in Greater Vancouver and more than 13,000 in the downtown core.

We were fortunate to discover a new spot, the Sunset Inn & Suites ( raises the bar on your baseline expectations. Located at 1111 Burnaby, their long list of amenities gives you more for less. Hotels often promote “extra” services that will raise the cost of your stay. A real bonus was being so close to the epicenter of the Honda Celebration of Light, the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world. It takes place over three nights at the end of July and beginning of August attracting about 1.5 million people. This year’s competing countries were United Kingdom, Canada and Thailand.

The executive one-bedroom suites are one of the newest offerings at the property. They have been extensively redecorated and offer a luxurious, relaxing setting that is more similar to home than hotel. These spacious apartment-style accommodations have a luxurious king size four seasons Enlighten Series by Spring Air, which are also the very first beds to be certified as “Asthma and Allergy friendly,” in the bedroom. You also have a fully equipped kitchen, a separate dining and living room with a double size sofa bed, plush bathrobes and slippers, a 42” LCD TV and DVD player in the living room, 32” LCD TV in the bedroom and a full HDTV Plus television channel lineup on both the living room and bedroom televisions. There is also an ipod / iphone player and charger clock radio, wall mounted air conditioning units in both the bedroom and living room and a private balcony. Located on floors seven to 11, they have the hotel’s best partial views of Vancouver’s skyline and mountains, or of the waters of False Creek and English Bay. They are approximately 650 sq. ft. in size- much larger than most hotel rooms.

The hotel has free gated parking for one vehicle during your stay, a true rarity for downtown Vancouver; a locked bike room; new and greatly improved high speed wireless and hard wired internet; a continental breakfast you can take back to your room, a daily newspaper delivered to your door and free local calls. Soon after checking in we had a minor question about something in our room and called the front desk. They said someone would come up. There was a knock on the door and general manager Michael Wright came by personally to address our concerns. I was most impressed. Michael has been with the hotel for 14 years, arriving via the former CP Hotels chain, and has played a critical role in raising its level of service.

Unquestionably, the Sunset Inn & Suites gives you all the best perks, complimentary with your stay. Centrally located, it allows you to explore the city’s best attractions by foot. You are also surrounded by restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, banks and more. Nestled on the edge of the West End neighborhood of downtown Vancouver, you are just steps away from the beach as well as many Vancouver landmarks: Stanley Park, the seawall, Robson St., Granville Island, and Vancouver’s business district, as well as trendy shops, theatres, movies, groceries, and the Aquatic Centre for fitness. The hotel’s neighborhood also has a wide selection of every type of restaurant, from Japanese to West Coast to Seafood – casual or formal.

For more information call toll-free at 1-800-786-1997 (within North America). The main entrance and the first level garage are both handicapped accessible.

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE: The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park ( is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions. Just minutes from the bustle of downtown Vancouver, the attractions here offer a unique mix of adventure, history and culture making this Vancouver tourist attraction a complete BC experience.

Originally built in 1889, the bridge stretches 450 feet (137 m) across and 230 feet (70 m) above Capilano River. Much has been added to the 27 acre park. The two year old Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure features seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offering a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. Guided nature tours, the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program and the Living Forest exhibit enhance this unique rainforest encounter. You can also enjoy seasonal musical entertainment and First Nations culture. Be sure to take photos at the Totem Park and with the Capilano Tramps. Top it off with a visit to the gift shop full of quality merchandise.

At Treetops, visitors venture from one magnificent Douglas fir tree to another on a series of elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 feet (30 m) above the forest floor. Guided nature tours and the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program are some of the Vancouver activities that enhance this unique rainforest encounter. Recognized for extraordinary innovation with national and provincial tourism and engineering awards, a walk on Treetops Adventure has emerged as one of Vancouver’s quintessential activities.

The holiday season on the North Shore means that it is time for Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This winter celebration of light has become a very popular family tradition. With a zillion sparkling lights adorning the Bridge, Rainforest and Cliffwalk, this annual winter event ensures the holidays are merry and bright. From Saturday, November 30, 2013 until Saturday, January 4, 2014, guests will be treated to the ultimate seasonal sensory celebration, including gingerbread cookie decorating, seasonal music from the Holiday Band, glass ornament blowing with Malcolm Macfadyen and of course, the splendor of magical twinkling lights throughout the park. Proceeds from admission will be donated to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Admission prices range from $12 to $34.95 depending upon the season. There is a free shuttle service from downtown.

GROUSE MOUNTAIN: After experiencing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, we headed a little further up the road to Grouse Mountain ( This spot offers the perfect destination for a truly rewarding and memorable experience. Here there are a variety of cultural, educational and outdoor adventures to choose from. Most of Grouse Mountain’s summer and winter activities are complimentary with an admission ticket.

We began by taking the Skyride up the mountain. High above towering Douglas firs, breathtaking views of the city of Vancouver, sparkling Pacific Ocean, Gulf Islands, and snowy peaks unfold as you take this journey. North America’s largest aerial tramway system is your gateway to the majestic nature of The Peak of Vancouver, and an experience in itself. Whether you’re in search of the perfect photo, or a picturesque dinner at The Observatory, your adventure begins with the Skyride. It operates 365 days a year, departing every 15 minutes from 8:45am to 10:00pm. In summer months, the first downhill Skyride departs at 7:30am.A round trip Skyride is included with an Alpine Experience ticket or annual membership.

Once up there, we headed directly to a fabulous show where some special birds were the stars: a falcon, an owl and a hawk. Guides spoke about their respective backgrounds and even had them do some tricks for us. Right next door was the bear habitat, with two grizzlies protected from the public by electric fences. We watched as they walked about, ate grass, lay on their backs and inched closer than we expected to folks with cameras in hand.

The Eye of the Wind, meanwhile, is inspiring and revolutionary. This is the world’s first and only wind turbine that allows you to stand in a clear glass view POD at the top of the tower, three metres from its massive, rotating blades. Stand in awe of 360-degree views as you come face to face with the future of responsible energy. The scenic Peak Chairlift will transport you to the apex of Grouse Mountain in a ride time of 14 minutes. At the summit, you will be amazed by a spectacular panorama that reveals the beauty and scale of Vancouver, and the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean as it graces the coastline for as far as the eye can see.

THE AQUARIUM: At the Vancouver Aquarium ( you come to face-to-fin with over 70,000 animals, including beluga whales, steller sea lions, dolphins, seals and more! Enjoy the dolphin and whale shows, sea otter feeds, and shark dives. Free-roaming animals abound in their popular Amazon Gallery. For a unique hands-on adventure, ask about the Animal Encounters program. You can call their easy to remember phone number – 604.659.FISH

The Aquarium has developed a reputation as a cutting edge organization with the capability to respond to changing conservation and aquatic protection needs through diversity and growth. From a 9,000 square foot (830 square metres) facility in Stanley Park, with seven employees on opening day in 1956 (five more had to be hired the day after the opening to cope with the crowds), the Aquarium has grown to over 100,000 square feet (9,000 square metres) and over 400 employees. New construction, in fact, is now underway.

Purchasing tickets online is a great way to speed up your access to all that the Aquarium has to offer. This is a self-supporting, non-profit society dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research and direct action. Your entrance admission supports their conservation and research efforts. Admission prices range from $19 to $30.

Visitors with a disability or special needs can request a 50 percent discount off of the general admissions price, or a free attendant when paying full price admissions. Attendants with children under three with a disability can request a 50 percent discount off the attendants’ general admissions price. There is also a special accessibility window.

THE PNE: If you like amusement parks, Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition ( on East Hastings Street is the place to go. The 15 acre Playland Amusement Park is a popular attraction. Open from late April through the end of September it has hosted millions of thrill seekers of all ages since it opened in 1910. The Park was named “Happy Land” in 1926 and remained on the original site until 1958, when it was moved to its present spot and re-opened under the name Playland. Previously owned by a number of parent companies, Playland became a division of the PNE family in July, 1993. Playland’s marquee attraction, the beloved 1958 Wooden Roller Coaster, remains the most popular ride on the site and one of the most highly regarded wooden coasters in the world. Designed by the legendary ride construction team, Carl Phare and Walker LeRoy, the Playland Wooden Coaster rides over half a million people annually. The flume, though, ranks as my favorite ride. We all got soaked to the skin, but lined up three times to experience it again and strike just the right pose to purchase one of those promotion photos. Other popular rides include wave swinger, west coast wheel, breakdance, the scrambler, the corkscrew, rock climbing, the hellevator, bumper cars, the pirate ship and music express. The “Kids Playce” has a variety of tamer rides, including the merry-go-round, KC’s Raceway, cool cruzers, the super slide, raiders, helicopters, tea cups and honeybee express. There are the traditional carnival games, an arcade and plenty of food options. The PNE is wheelchair accessible. Disabled access is provided at one bathroom stop near the midway.

This place is a lot fun and I would highly recommend you spend the day there.

WATERPARK: Cultus Lake Waterpark ( is a one hour and 20 minute drive from Vancouver. We made the trip five years ago and decided to do so again this time, but go a bit later and by arriving at 2:30 p.m. we took advantage of a reduced rate.

BEACHES: For families like mine who love the beach, Vancouver has plenty to offer in that area. Whether you’re looking for a stretch of sand to spread out and relax with a good book, an outdoor court to spike a volleyball, or a catwalk to strut your stuff, Vancouver’s got it. Our favorite spot was Third Beach in Stanley Park, where the tide often does not come up until mid afternoon. The water is fairly warm here. Just a bit up the road is Second Beach, which also has a large public swimming pool. Kitsilano Beach Park, located practically downtown, features one of the largest swimming pools I have ever seen.

THEATRE UNDER THE STARS: If you are planning a summer visit to Vancouver, then you must include Theatre Under the Stars ( at the Malkin Bowl. The program’s best of Broadway musicals have been delighting audiences in Stanley Park since 1940. Every July and August they present two wonderful productions on alternating nights. The summer of 2013 featured Legally Blonde and How to Suceed in Business Without Really Trying on the stage. My family and I saw the former, purchasing our tickets online. Reserved tickets are $29 to $42 for adults and $24 to $29 for children and youth. We really enjoyed this our second experience of watching theatre “under the stars.” The atmosphere on the warm summer night was superb. A better backdrop you will not find. The show was of high quality, including the acting, singing, sets and costumes. Unquestionably this is a well oiled machine. If you are in Vancouver for a few weeks during the summer and have young children or teens, consider the theatre camp for those aged eight to 18.

Here is a tip. Bring insect repellant so the flies don’t get to you. Stay tuned to their website to see what productions are planned for 2014. The Malkin Bowl is located right at the entrance of Stanley Park. It is easily accessible for wheelchairs.

If you are a baseball fan, then the months of June, July and August represent an opportunity for you to see some good old fashioned minor league ball. The Vancouver Canadians ( play out of the prettiest little ballpark in North America – 57 year old Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. There are 5,187 seats here, every one of them dandy. The Canadians are the short season rookie “A” ball affiliate of the major league Toronto Blue Jays, having switched over two years ago from the Oakland Athletics.

The Canadians play at the historic Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, one of the most iconic sports venues in Canada. Nestled in front of Queen Elizabeth Park, ‘The Nat’ marks its 62nd year as the home to professional baseball. With one of the few remaining manual scoreboards in Minor League Baseball, a narrow foul territory, and portraits of baseball great like Joe DiMaggio lining the walls, fans at Vancouver Canadians games are treated to a unique mix of nostalgia and exciting sports action.

There are a number of wheelchair reserved parking spaces at the ballpark and these are located in the parking lot off of Ontario Street along the east end of Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium recognizes the needs of guests with disabilities, and provides a wheelchair access viewing platform for fans with accessibility needs and their guests located down the third base line of the ballpark. Wheelchair access is provided through the third base gate located at the Southeast corner of Nat Bailey Stadium. On the night I attended, the Developmental Disabilities Association ( had a special promotion for which more than 200 of its workers and sponsors were in attendance. Official Jason Smith told me the Canadians are great supporters of his cause. The Developmental Disabilities Association is a community living agency that provides over 50 community-based programs and services to children, adults and families with developmental disabilities in Vancouver and Richmond. They create extended networks of support, invest in individual needs, and strive for an inclusive and safe community. Over 1,600 individuals and families in the Vancouver and Richmond area are serviced by the Developmental Disabilities Association every year.

THE ARTS CLUB: For live theatre, check out the magnificent Arts Club Theatre Company ( at1585 Johnston Street next to the public market. Shows are Tuesday through Sundays at what is called Western Canada’s largest not for profit organization of its kind, having been in operation for 49 years. I spoke with Bill Millerd, the managing director. He recounted with pride how professional theatre is offered at three venues: the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage; Granville Island Stage; Revue Stage and travels the province.

“Vancouver is a great theatre town,” Millerd says.

Each year, over a quarter of a million people experience the best in professional theatre Popular productions range from musicals and contemporary comedies to new works and classics. The Arts Club also expands its audiences outside Vancouver though a three-show mini-season presented at venues around BC . The 2012-2013 Arts Club season scheduled six productions at the historic 650-seat Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage at Granville and W. 12th, five productions on scenic Granville Island at the vibrant, newly renovated 450-seat Granville Island Stage, and three productions in the intimate, 198-seat Revue Stage adjacent to Granville Island’s Public Market.

The Arts Club of Vancouver was founded in 1958 as a private club for artists, musicians, and actors, and officially became the Arts Club Theatre in 1964 when the company opened its first stage, a converted gospel hall at Seymour Street and Davie. The company’s 27 years at Seymour Street are an important part of Vancouver and Canadian theatre history. Millered notes that the tiny 250-seat stage helped launch the careers of Canadian talents such as Michael J. Fox, Bruce Greenwood, Ruth Nichol, Janet Wright, Winston Rekert, Lally Cadeau, and Brent Carver, while introducing Vancouver to works by Canadian playwrights such as Michel Tremblay, David Freedman, and Carol Bolt. Productions by newcomers Sherman Snukal (Talking Dirty), Nicola Cavendish (It’s Snowing on Saltspring), Morris Panych (7 Stories), and John Lazarus (The Late Blumer) also premiered there. The original Arts Club Seymour Street Stage was closed for demolition in 1991.

The company added the current Granville Island Stage in 1979, and the smaller Revue Stage next door in 1983. Since it opened, the Granville Island Stage has featured a popular mix of musicals, classics, dramas, contemporary comedies and premieres. Innovative versions of classics such as Comedy of Errors; colourful Canadian hits such as Billy Bishop Goes to War; dramas like Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune and comedies including Lend Me a Tenor, have brought the Granville Island Stage numerous awards and an excellent community following. The Revue Stage was home to some of Vancouver’s all-time favourite musicals, revues, and comedies, including Ain’t Misbehavin’, before it was leased to the Vancouver Theatre Sports League in 1997. After an extensive renovation, the Revue Stage re-opened as an Arts Club venue in 2010 with the world premiere of Anosh Irani’s My Granny the Goldfish, and will be home to three more productions this season.

The Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage opened to the public with Dean Regan’s record-setting production of Swing in October 1998, and it is now considered the company’s flagship venue. An intimate version of a Broadway or London classic theatre, this elegant venue has permitted the company to move into the exciting arena of producing larger musicals, 20th-century classics, and acclaimed productions from around the world.

No history of the Arts Club would be complete without a mention of Millerd. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and the National Theatre School, he first joined the Arts Club in 1969 as a stage manager and has remained in the role of artistic managing director since 1972. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994 for his contribution to Canadian theatre.

While we were in town, the Arts Club was presenting the Tony Award winning Avenue Q. Originally conceived as a television series, Avenue Q’s “autobiographical and biographical” coming of age parable was developed as a stage production at the 2002 National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. It opened Off Broadway in March 2003, co produced by The New Group and the Vineyard Theatre. After extending its run four times, the show transferred to Broadway in July 2003 where it won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, won the 2003 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Musical, and received a nomination for the 2003 Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Off Broadway Musical award. This success spawned Las Vegas and West End productions, two national tours, and a variety of international productions. With more than 2,500 performances, Avenue Q ranks 23rd on the list of longest running shows in Broadway history. The show ended its Broadway run on September 13, 2009, and then reopened Off Broadway at New World Stages in October 2009.

A few years ago my family went to Epcot Centre at Walt Disney World in Florida and experienced Soarin’, a flight simulator attraction that lifts guests on multi-passenger hang gliders for a scenic aerial tour of California. It was so realistic I had to pinch myself that I was not really on a real flight.

Now this same experience has come to Vancouver. FlyOver Canada ( is a breathtaking, all-ages ride like no other. Here you take off into a huge domed screen with the latest in projection and ride technology, creating a true flying experience. The flight takes you from east to west across Canada, over some of the most spectacular scenery the country has to offer. High tech special effects and a beautiful original soundtrack all combine to make FlyOver Canada an unforgettable experience. This just opened on June 29. Operating hours are 10 am to 9 pm.

This $16-million, 30-minute virtual flight ride experience is located at the Canada Place pier in the former IMAX theatre. The project has been nearly three years in the making and is financed by the Aquilini Investment Group, the owners of the NHL Vancouver Canucks. Participants, who are strapped to their seats, watch a scenic movie that fills their direct and peripheral vision. They are sprayed with mist when the movie shows a waterfall, smell trees when the movie shows a forest and feel the breeze when the movie shows a gusty landscape.

It begins with a pre-show called Uplift, produced by the Montreal-based Moment Factory. Guests of up to 60 in a group are brought into a room where they experience an audio-visual immersive show that builds context and audience anticipation prior to experiencing the main virtual flight ride.
Moment Factory’s Uplift was a feat on its own with production and development beginning a year and a half ago. Film shoots involved a small cast and a storyline that illustrates different Canadian lives at the “four corners” of the country. The pre-show is presented to guests in a custom-built room with state-of-the-art surround sound and multi-wall video projections. This adds on to Moment Factory’s growing list of more than 300 projects to date. Most recently, the company has been notably responsible for multimedia experiences in the Canada Pavilion at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, Celine Dion’s new Las Vegas show at Caesar’s Palace, Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl Halftime Show performance, and the creation of a visual environment for Bon Jovi’s world tour.

Moment Factory is no stranger to working in Vancouver either. It was responsible for several audio-visual displays during the 2010 Winter Olympics (including an interactive display at the Quebec Pavilion), the game-time visual-audio installations at Rogers Arena for the NHL Vancouver Canucks, and the permanent lighting and audio-visual projection installation on Canada Place’s five giant sails.

CAR RENTAL: In preparing for my Vancouver trip, I made the rounds with the different rental car companies. Whether I called them directly, went online or tried the or routes, the prices were always much too high. Then I came across Lo-Cost Rental Car (, an outfit based just near the Vancouver International Airport and the best prices and customer service I can report upon.

Lo-Cost strives to be above their competition in every way possible. This includes no charge pick-up/ drop-off and seven days a week working hours, guaranteed lowest rental rates and first class multi-lingual customer service. They have been around for more than 30 years.

You can reserve online, but what I liked was the ability to speak to people on the ground and not some random operator. The hours of operation are 9 am to 6 pm weekdays; 9 am to 5 pm Saturdays and 10 am to 4 pm Sundays. After hours vehicle pick-up/drop-off options are available.

They are conveniently located at 5551 No. 3 road in downtown Richmond, directly across the street from Lansdowne Mall, steps away from Lansdowne Sky train Station on the Canada Line, five minutes from YVR Vancouver International Airport and 17 minutes away from downtown Vancouver by Sky train.

From the airport you need only give them a call and they will come pick you, your family and your luggage up from the airport free of charge

For more details call 604-303-9970 or 1-888-556-2678.


JOE FORTES: There are some superb restaurants in Vancouver. Here are two in particular I strongly recommend.

First let me tell you about Joe Fortes Seafood & and Chop House ( on downtown Thurlow Street. We were a party of five on the night we chose to dine there and this was an extraordinary dining experience from the moment we were seated on the gorgeous roof garden. This is indeed one of the city’s finest restaurants.

One of Joe Fortes many unique qualities is the immediate sense of character and personality that guests recognize the moment they step inside. The large, bright room feels instantly powerful yet inviting, and it’s no coincidence that these qualities were also embodied by the legendary figure that the restaurant takes its name from: Seraphim “Joe Forte. In 1885, this burly seaman landed upon Vancouver’s shores and settled into a cabin in English Bay. There, Joe quickly became one of Vancouver’s most popular citizens, serving Vancouverites in a variety of ways first as a bartender and later as Vancouver’s first official lifeguard. Today, he is remembered by a monument near the site of his home, and his popularity lives on inside the welcoming walls of Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House.

With a commitment to freshness, the Joe Forte’s kitchen receives daily local deliveries, ensuring that you’re guaranteed to find the freshest ingredients on your plate every day.

The restaurant is owned by noted restaurateur David Aisenstat. Born and bred into the restaurant industry, he first learned his chops from his father Hy Aisenstat, founder of the famous Hy’s Steakhouse chain. His ability to recognize and retain talented people, and his passion for art and design, combine for what have been consecutively successful ventures in the industry. He has since continued on to become a legendary restaurateur in his own right, as the owner of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, Hy’s Steakhouse Cocktail Bar, Gotham Steakhouse, The Shore Club, Ki, and now Joe Fortes.

Scott Garrett is the general manager. For seven years he ran the Walt Disney Resorts in Florida’s food and beverage programs as the restaurant guest services manager, receiving AAA’s coveted Four Diamond Award for service excellence during his tenure.

The main dining room is anchored by a soaring horseshoe oyster bar. This Grand Room boasts large, cozy booths, perfect for hosting a high-powered lunch or dinner meetings, as well as intimate dinner dates. From the mezzanine, diners enjoy a bird’s eye view of the action and live musical entertainment below.

The mahogany-walled wine room offers guests a unique and discreet setting in which to enjoy an intimate lunch, or a private corporate celebration. The more casual side of Joe’s is experienced in the bistro and bar area where locals and out-of-towners alike mingle, soak up the live music and keep their eyes open for visiting celebrities.

For a breath of fresh air, guests can step up to Vancouver’s most desirable roof garden and into an urban oasis featuring a living green wall, cozy outdoor fireplace and bustling horseshoe bar.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House has been specializing in classic, American cuisine since 1985. It is a tribute to Executive Chef Wayne Sych and his dedicated kitchen staff that Joe’s has maintained its unparalleled popularity with both locals and tourists alike for more than 20 years – an astonishing feat in the restaurant business. But even a cursory glance at the menus reveals why Joe’s stays at the top of our customers’ minds and, quite literally, at the tip of their tongues.

The Joe Fortes kitchen prepares each dish with a focus on natural flavours and features the finest ingredients collected from Pacific Northwest farmers, fishermen and food artisans. Serving more than 50 kinds of fresh fish, including their legendary three-tiered Seafood Tower on Ice, premium oysters and succulent chops, their signature dishes have become a favourite of locals, celebrities and tourists alike.

This was more than just a dinner for our group – it was an experience. We decided to share the magnificent Seafood Tower on – Atlantic lobster, chilled crab, local oysters, clams, mussels, scallop ceviche, smoked local albacore tuna and poached jumbo prawns and a couple of orders of
King crab tempura.

While we enjoyed every morsel of these appetizers, it was time to select our main courses. That was no easy task and you can check out the menu online to understand what I am talking about. Would it be seafood or beef? Four members of the group decided to have the best of both worlds – splitting the filet mignon and the most delicious cuts like butter piece of fish we’ve ever experienced – miso marinated sable fish with sides of rice and scallop potatoes. I opted for the prime rib, with Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes.

Did we have room for dessert? Our server Alisha suggested we try some sweet indulgences. We agreed and along came the dessert trio – Tahitian vanilla crème brulee, tiramisu, molten center chocolate cake, brandied cherries, biscotti and vanilla gelato.

Accompany all of these culinary delights are classic cocktails or selections from their award-winning wine list. Needless to say, reservations are recommended here.

THE SANDBAR: I also recommend you check out the four extraordinary restaurants that makeup the Sequoia Company of restaurants at We opted in favor of the Sandbar on Granville Island at 1535 Johnston Street.

There is live music here seven nights a week and quite a marvelous ambiance. The 300 seat restaurant was packed the night we chose to dine there. Guests can enjoy the bustle of the market, the non-stop energy of False Creek and the shores of Vancouver’s West End. Walk up the wood post staircase, the only item that was salvaged from the historic Mulvaney’s Restaurant site, and elevate your view of the city waterfront. The busy animated open kitchen gives the guest that “Granville Island Market feeling” plus an up-close look at the chefs as they prepare their seafood creations.

The Sandbar serves up the freshest seafood in a warm, sophisticated atmosphere. Suspended above the bar in the Teredo Lounge is Kivi, a 24 foot salmon troller hand built by Allan Farrell, one of the West Coast’s finest craftsman of wooden boats. Fresh oyster bar, tapas, Hoshi’s Sushi Bar, dinner and dancing, this is reported to be Vancouver’s most popular spot to see and be seen.

Along with your menu comes a clipboard called the Seafood Fresh Sheet, with holes punched next to the items that are fresh that day.We started off with some splendid sushi as an appetizer and also shared shrimp dumplings and cold poached prawns. For the main courses, selections varied from the amazing Mahi Mahi, the Ahi Tuna, a two pound Atlantic lobster and pan seared scallops. Open seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. onwards, we will definitely return to this spot on our next trip and hopefully try other members of the group.

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