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VOL. 40 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 1, 2016

Vancouver features tastes to satisify all senses

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Every place has a food. Canada has poutine. Sure, the country probably has a few other things, too. But Canada has poutine.

And never mind that the gooey mess of fries, gravy and cheese curds actually has origins in Quebec, on the far eastern end of Canada.

A few hours into our family’s first visit to Canada in Vancouver – yes, on the far western edge of the country – the first meal had to include poutine.

Being Memphians, we couldn’t resist sampling the barbecue poutine as a small plate at The Flying Pig Gastown, a cozy gastropub in the trendy neighborhood nestled between the City Centre and Chinatown.

Yes, we wanted to gloat over the fact our barbecue is better. Maybe we were hungry, maybe it was just the cheese curds and gravy, but let’s just say it disappeared quickly.

The meal provided fuel for a busy 48 hours in Vancouver, a city that deserves much more time to get to know, but it seemed just fine with our quick flirtation.

Vancouver has many ways to touch the senses, starting with the scenery; snow-capped mountains just across Vancouver Harbor to the north tower over the city and water seems to appear at every turn, particularly near the various downtown neighborhoods.

The city’s food scene has an abundance of locally caught seafood to go with those organic and sustainable cheeses, meats and vegetables Vancouverites seem to seek in droves.

Asian influences abound, whether it’s a Japanese raw bar, a Chinese restaurant in the Richmond neighborhood or one of the many Korean restaurants along the West End’s Robson Street.

Strollers at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver Canada, where visitors walk, bike, roll and fish along the 22-kilometer seawall route.

-- Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.Com

And the beer scene, well, this is the Pacific Northwest. Hop heads will find plenty of options across the city, whether it’s in a Gastown gastropub or at the Granville Island Brewery, Canada’s first microbrewery.

Granville Island sits just across False Creek from Yaletown, which is reachable by a quick aquabus passenger ferry. Spend a few hours or a full day exploring Granville Island and its various markets and shops.

The Public Market has an array of fresh seafood, produce, baked goods and fruits. Outside the Public Market is an array of shops, restaurants and the Kids Market, a rare opportunity where children actually enjoy shopping.

Or, just grab a cup of coffee brewed at one of the market’s stalls and sit outside near the water to take in some of the city’s most gorgeous views overlooking an armada of sailboats headed out to English Bay.

Do leave time to explore Stanley Park on the western tip of the city, a massive oasis of green that contains a vast rainforest, beaches and beautiful water and mountain views.

We stopped at one of the bicycle rental shops that sit just a few blocks from the entrance to the park and enjoyed a couple hours pedaling around the seawall. Vancouver is a cyclist’s dream; there are nearly 200 miles of bike routes in the city.

Vancouver is a four-season destination. Wintertime snow sticks mostly to the nearby mountains, while spring and summer is a time for festivals, starting with April’s Cherry Blossom Festival and including celebrations of beer, jazz and Shakespeare.

Summertime temperatures are usually warm enough to make sunbathing on one of Stanley Park’s beaches a welcoming option, even for us Southerners.

For more stories about experiencing Vancouver, visit tripsbylance.com.

Contact Lance Wiedower at tripsbylance.com.

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