Vancouver – more than the location for the Winter Olympics

Now that the Olympics have begun, there has been a lot of talk about Vancouver, BC. Mostly the news has been about the inopportune weather for the winter games, or the mishap of getting the torch lit during the opening ceremony. Yet before the Olympics took over, Vancouver has always been a place worth visiting. GoNOMAD contributor Tim Leffel Ferries in Victoria - photos by Tim Leffelwrote Vancouver, BC: Slow Food and Fast Sightseeing and although he notes in 2008 the city was already planning the Olympics arrival, his article focuses more on the abundance of things to see and do away from the games.

Leffel writes “I’ve been in cities where you could tour everything of interest before lunchtime. In

this city and on Vancouver Island, however, the choices tug at you like a pack of attention-starved toddlers. Ignoring them and just reading a book for an afternoon just doesn’t seem right.”

Since he traveled there with his daughter, he tried to pick family friendly attractions such as bike rides, tea time and whale watches.

“On our last day, we headed out to find some Orcas on a trip with the Prince of Whales Tour Company. We rode by an island with lots of sea lions, but then after a few hours of fruitlessly scanning the horizon, the captain located some whales.

Two ended up swimming under the boat and coming up on the other side while we were sitting still.

The company also offers trips that take in Butchart Gardens, a 55-acre site of flowers and ornamental shrubs that has been tended since 1904.

Depending on how you set it up, you can tour the gardens and then get back on the boat to ride across the channel to Vancouver.

Working Steam train at the BC Forest Discovery Center

After our day of whale watching, we hopped back on another seaplane to Vancouver. We were heading home the next day and it was a bittersweet ending to a too-short circuit of the Vancouver city and island.”

Although it is likely right now would be a silly time to visit unless you were going specifically for the Olympics, articles such as Leffer’s remind us that it will still be a quaint and beautiful place once the Olympics are over.