Riding the Knight Bus

We got a late start on an absolutely beautiful Easter Monday. I’d suggested walking through Gastown and my friend found a jump on, jump off bus tour that started there, so we decided to do that.

After parking, we strolled down Water Street to the ‘Big Bus‘ tour headquarters. As it turned out, there would be a bus leaving momentarily, so our timing was perfect. The 35$ tickets are valid for two days. We would only use them this afternoon, so we were offered a free gelato as compensation, which was appreciated (and very delicious!).

The tour was excellent in that we got a chance to pretty much see all of Vancouver–Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, English Bay, Granville Island, Robson and Davie Streets, and on, and on… We just did a full loop back to Gastown without getting off because of time issues. For someone with only a few days in Vancouver, this tour is a great way to see the city! My only complaints are about the jerky stops and the fact that the audio was often inaudible.

Gastown is historic Vancouver and it has really kept its old world charm, with cobblestone streets and buildings still showing their Victorian façades. The city of Vancouver grew up around this area, becoming Granville before taking on the name by which it is known today.

Vancouver’s Chinatown is the second largest in North America, after San Francisco’s. It is the least grimy Chinatown I have visited (compared to that of San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Toronto, and Montreal). It resides essentially a block away from Gastown, but is separated from it by the infamous Downtown Eastside. Our tour guide had very specific instructions for how to walk safely from Chinatown to Gastown. As an aside, I drove down Main all the way past East Hastings and I could not believe the difference in how the area looks when you approach it from Chinatown with a view of the water and mountains in the distance! One of the most interesting things we saw  in Chinatown was the Sam Kee building, which is the narrowest building in the world!

English Bay is on the northwestern tip of the city and boasts several palm-tree lined beaches. It is a beautiful area and host to the annual Vancouver Polar Bear swim!

Robson and Davie Streets are vibrant urban neighbourhoods filled with unique shops. The latter is also Vancouver’s ‘gay village.’ We’d already done Robson, so we ended our day on Davie Street where we tried another all you can eat sushi restaurant. It was quite good and I am now firmly convinced that spicy tuna cones are the yummiest thing ever concocted (vinegared rice, seaweed, raw tuna, and chili; who would think that would be so insanely delicious?!). My friend is now as addicted to sushi as I am and we’re having it for a third time on her last evening here!

I took lots of pictures, some of them of distinct buildings and others which simply captured the stunning diversity of Vancouver’s architecture. I never thought I would find a city more architecturally beautiful than Chicago, but I have. I hope you enjoy this wonderful photo gallery and warn you that Library Square will take your breath away.

I have fallen in love with this beautiful, vibrant, compact city that seems a part of nature, like it grew from the same soil as the redwoods and snowcapped mountains, rather than having these things regrow around it.

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  • City tour bus are often considered tacky but I find it’s the best way to visit a city. Especially if you can get a tour guide. I really enjoyed it in London. Anyway, great pictures. The library looks like Rome’s coliseum. I’m jealous of the cherry trees.

  • I have no idea why they are seen as tacky when they are the most efficient way to get a complete view of the city! I wish I’d taken this bus tour months ago; I don’t have time now to see all the things I know I would have liked to see. 🙁

    Isn’t the library amazing?!

    The cherry trees are nice but I LOVE the palm trees! 🙂

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