Now, I have never dug into the history of Vancouver before but now I can say with authority that this is a city built in a very similar manner as Seattle and San Francisco with a bounty of natural resources and a wild, wild west attitude. After seeing great reviews on TripAdvisor, I signed my husband and I up for two free walking tours-one each day-to explore the neighborhoods of Gastown and Chinatown.
Now, you may say that you get what you pay for so why go on a free tour??? I thought the same but so glad we went because Ali and Leni, our guides, were both enthusiastic and knew their stuff. They entertained us with stories and a well thought out walking tour designed to make the history of Vancouver come to life. This is their job (or at least one of them-they are not getting rich working for tips) but they ask that, if you liked the tour, you give them something for their delightful storytelling and expertise. Check them out if you are in Vancouver: http://www.tourguys.ca.
After our Chinatown tour, we headed straight to the best rated (Yelp!) restaurant in the transitioning Chinatown area. Now, the Chinese residents are moving out as they can afford to so this Chinatown is not a vibrant area but with it’s seafood and produce markets, it did remind me of our time living in Shanghai. I miss it so much! Lots of raw fish, baskets of dried seafood and veggies. So pungent smelling!
We went to the New Town Bakery and indulged in egg tarts, potstickers and yummy dishes galore. We met a lovely lady from Perth, Australia on our walking tour who was in town on a grant from her city job to tour the world and study best practices in urban planning and invited her along to lunch. So nice to help other world travelers!
The Gastown tour ended thankfully right next to my favorite place to eat in Vancouver-the Water St. Café. Seriously, every time I go there I eat the salmon risotto and this trip was no exception. So creamy, so delicious!
The next time you visit Vancouver, take a walking tour, burn through some calories and then head to off to enjoy a delicious meal!
Vancouver is a walking city but also has great public transportation to get your around when your feet just won’t take you any further.