Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 Green Ways to Experience Vancouver

Having just organized a Vancouver itinerary for a very eco-conscious, overseas visitor with only days in my fair city, here are some of the whirlwind suggestions I made:

1. Rent a bike or a pair of rollerblades and self-propel your way around Vancouver's Stanley Park seawall, marveling at Vancouver's green, urban, ocean-wrapped sanctuary.

2. Get a view of the city from the water; grab a kayak from Ecomarine and paddle your way through the waters of False Creek. If you're lucky, you'll spot some of the seals, otters, eagles and fish that make this urban waterway their home.

3. See Vancouver from the highest point possible atop Grouse Mountain's new wind turbine, the Eye of the Wind. The turbine has the capacity to produce enough energy to supply the needs of 400 homes over a year.

4. Eat sustainably on fresh, sustainably-harvested seafood; choose a restaurant that participates in the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program.

5. Take a guided walking tour with Rockwood Adventures and explore Vancouver's rainforests -- one of the world's most primitive ecosystems.

6. Sleep green at one of Vancouver's hotels that has made a commitment to the environment, such as the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Known for its zero waste management program, the hotel has a Green Key rating of four out of five. 

7. Travel by a 25-foot, First Nations canoe through the waters of Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm, while guides from Takaya Tours - an Aboriginal eco-tourism company - share legends, songs and stories from their rich history and culture.

8. Take transit - Bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus - around Vancouver's neighbourhoods and attractions. The diversity of views on water, on ground and on elevated rail, is the 'inside' way of seeing the city. Best of all, present your transit pass at a number of Vancouver's top attractions and you'll receive a discount on admission.

9. Indulge in the 100 Mile Tasting Menu at Raincity Grill where all dishes are inspired by sustainable aquaculture, local farmers and the book 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating written by Vancouver-journalists Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.

10. See what makes Vancouver a top city for green building and design; tour some of its state-of-the-art LEED gold-grade buildings, including the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Vancouver Aquarium's Aquaquest building, and the Olympic Village neighbourhood.