The Olympic Cauldron, one of the modern art pieces along the Seawall — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Vancouver's pedestrian-friendly Seawall will take you on an adventure that's packed with architecture, spectacular views and fascinating urban art. Though this is a walking tour, the Seawall can also be enjoyed by bike or Rollerblades and by all physical abilities. An added perk is that there are plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants along the way to keep hunger at bay and your thirst quenched.
Start your walking tour at Canada Place, where you can admire the architecture and design. The gigantic white sails cannot be missed, and you will know when you have reached Canada Place. The ocean and mountain backdrop make for a stunning picture.
Every day at noon in Vancouver, you will hear a loud horn sound and that noise is coming from ten Heritage Horns. There are five facing north and five facing east on the roof of the Pan Pacific hotel, which is a part of Canada Place. The horns produce the first four notes of "O Canada" at 115 decibels.
Canada Place and the Pan Pacific Vancouver — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Head west along the Seawall and follow it until you reach the big blue raindrop at Bon Voyage Plaza, aptly named “The Drop." This sculpture was commissioned by BC Pavco as a part of the 2009 Vancouver Convention Centre art project. It’s hard to miss The Drop: it’s bright blue and stands 65 feet. Made of steel, Styrofoam and polyurethane, it’s a solid structure! It was made by a German group of artists, Inges Indee, who wanted to create something to show the power of nature and make audiences reflect on their relationship with the water that surrounds the city of Vancouver.
Along the way, check out the Olympic Cauldron that was created for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Now the city lights it for special occasions.
Continue heading west along the Seawall. Go past the Vancouver Convention Centre – it’s the one with the slanted grass roof - until you spot a large sculpture of an orca adjacent to the center. “Digital Orca” was created by world-renown artist Douglas Copeland, and this sculpture is also a part of the art project.
It looks like a gigantic black and white, pixelated orca. The ocean in the background is fitting, and you can almost imagine an orca breaching right in front of your own eyes. Though it looks like something fun to climb, visitors are asked to enjoy the piece without testing their climbing abilities.
Douglas Copeland's Digital Orca — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Keep walking west, and enjoy the beautiful waterfront scenery as you make your way into Stanley Park. Within the park are Totem Poles, gardens, beaches, trails and lookout points to explore. Stanley Park is synonymous with Vancouver, and the city wouldn't be complete without it. Created in 1888, this was Vancouver's first greenspace. It was named for Lord Frederick Stanley, Governor General of Canada at the time.
As you get into the park, there is an information booth that will help point you in the right direction, depending on what you would like to check out. Stanley Park is 10% larger than New York's Central Park, and it includes a whopping 1,001-acres of rainforest.
There are a growing number of walking tours organized by local tour operators, and they're a great way to gain insight from locals. Foodies visiting Vancouver should check out Vancouver Food Tour to get a taste of Vancouver's culinary scene from people in the know.
To help get your bearings while you’re in Vancouver, make a mental note that the mountains you see from many spots in the city are north. Use them as a reference guide.