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Walking Kitsilano, Granville Island and Yaletown

Walking Kitsilano, Granville Island and Yaletown
Vancouver Public LibraryBegin at the Caper's Building, 2285 W. Fourth Ave. (at Vine), in Kitsilano and finish at Homer and Georgia Street at the Vancouver Public Library, Downtown Vancouver

It should take you about 2 to 4 hours, not including shopping, eating, and sightseeing stops.

Make sure you go in the day when the business are open.

The Capers Building at 2285 W. Fourth Ave. was built according to an innovative energy-efficient design and now serves as the home of the environmentally focused David Suzuki Foundation; an excellent bookstore called Duthie's; and Capers, an organic supermarket. The small outdoor patio is a great place to grab a coffee and people-watch. Farther east on Fourth Avenue there are several good retro-clothing shops, a travel bookstore, a number of furniture and interiors boutiques, several bakeries, and numerous other spots in which to grab a bite.

KitsilanoTo continue the tour from here, walk north (downhill) 5 blocks on Yew Street and cross north over Cornwall Avenue, which leads you to Kitsilano

Vancouver is blessed with Parks and Beaches. Kits Beach is the home of the spandex and testosterone set. The action on the volleyball courts is fast and furious. For the less than physically perfect, the logs lined up on the beach make it a fine place to lay out a blanket and laze the day away. On a clear day, the views of the mountains are tremendous.

Walk down the beach and around the corner on the paved pathway passed the totem pole and Turn north (toward the mountains) and walk down the steps to the Vancouver Maritime Museum

Canada's principal maritime museum on the Pacific, located in the heart of Canada's greatest ports at the gateway to the Pacific Rim. For 45 years, we have been Pacific Canada's premier link to maritime history, art, culture, industry and technology.
Proceed down the crushed-stone pathway to Vanier Park and Heritage Harbour to see many older wooden boats that find shelter here,

False CreekThose interested in a shortcut can pick up a ferry (False Creek Ferries; tel. 604/684-7781) at this point and float down to Granville Island. On weekdays and in the off season, the ferries run less frequently. Hours and fares are posted on the sign at the end of the dock.

Walkers should proceed east (toward the city) along the shoreline. To your right stands artist Chung Hung's massive twisted iron sculpture, Gate to the Northwest Passage. Just beyond that, the conical building is the Vancouver Museum, 1100 Chestnut St. (tel. 604/736-4431) and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre  (tel. 604/738-STAR). The low building next to that is the Vancouver Archives, 1150 Chestnut (tel. 604/736-8561), home to some truly fascinating panoramic photographs of Vancouver back in the early days.

Carry on along the pathway around the point, passing the Coast Guard station on your right, and you're walking underneath the Burrard Bridge.

Cross beneath the bridge and continue along the pedestrian path. You'll have to go up the steps to walk above the fenced-off docks (or go around the back for wheelchair access) before coming down on the other side at the Government Fish Dock

Want to buy fresh from the boat? This is the place to do it. Find fresh salmon in season (summer and early fall), prawns, scallops, and other shellfish much of the rest of the year. Sales take place every day in high season and on weekend mornings the rest of the year. Hours and availability, of course, depend on the catch.

Granville IslandFrom here, amble on down the seaside walkway past the gaggle of Canada geese (in the spring there are usually also downy Canada goslings) to Granville Island.

Okay, so it's not really an island. But it is a fascinating collection of shops and restaurants, Granville Island Arts Club Theatre , Granville Island Hotel, artists' workshops, housing, and still-functioning heavy industry -- one of the few successful examples of 1970s urban renewal.

To continue the tour, bear left down Duranleau Street. Shops in this section specialize in marine tours of all kinds, which makes it a good place to look for a fishing charter or kayak tours. The Net Loft building on the far side of the street is a great spot for pottery, glasswork, paper products, and ladies' hats, both classic and funky. It's also home to Blackberry Books, 1663 Duranleau (tel. 604/685-6188). Just past the Net Loft is Triangle Square, an open space where street buskers often perform. Cut through the square, cross the street, and:

Take a Break--You name it, so long as it's edible, the Granville Island Public Market probably has it, from chocolate to fresh salmon to fresh bread to marinated mushrooms to strawberries picked this morning out in the Fraser Valley. then head outside for an alfresco feast at one of the tables on the dock overlooking False Creek . The views are great, the fresh air invigorating, and, if you've brought small children along, it's the perfect place to play that endlessly fascinating (to kids) game of Catch the Seagull.

Aqua BusWhen your hunger pangs have eased, continue east on the water's edge -- note the Aqua Bus ferry dock, to which we'll be returning later -- and follow the path around the Arts Club pub, underneath the Granville Street Bridge, and then to your right, away from the water, and go through what is, perhaps, the perfect little outdoor courtyard. At the far end of Johnston Street is the Dockside Brewing Bar, 1253 Johnston St. (tel. 604/685-7070), a pub blessed with good beer and a geographically advantaged patio (it's on the edge of False Creek).

Alternatively, just to the right, you can climb the low circular hill known as The Mound

Gaze out over False Creek. The blinking geodesic dome at the far end of the creek is Science World . In the same direction but closer is a small marina and restaurant complex, situated on Leg-in-Boot Square.

Descend from The Mound and retrace your steps (or wind your way back through some of the side streets) to the Aquabus Ferry Dock

From here, Aqua Bus harbor ferries (tel. 604/689-5858) arrive and depart to a variety of places including Leg-in-Boot Square and Science World down the Creek. Our destination is on the far side of False Creek, the Yaletown Landing (at the foot of Davie St.)

The small forest of high-rises ringing the north shore of False Creek are the creation of one company -- Concorde Pacific, owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing. Formerly a railway switching yard, the area was transformed for the Expo '86 World's Fair.

From here, turn to the left and walk along the waterfront to David Lam Park, turn right on the pedestrian path, and follow it to The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse is so named because that's exactly what this brick and timber frame building was, back when this land was the CPR's switching yard. The structure has since been converted into a community center. It's worth ducking inside, whether to experience this wonderful space, make use of the public restrooms, or have a look at the locomotive that pulled the first passenger train ever to chug into Vancouver, way back in 1887.

Leave the Roundhouse by the front entrance on Pacific Boulevard, then cross the street and walk up Davie Street 1 block to Mainland Street. You're now in Yaletown

Vancouver's former warehouse district a funky upscale district of furniture shops, restaurants, multimedia companies, and "New York-style" lofts. Note the metal canopies over the loading docks on many buildings -- they used to keep shipping goods dry, now they do the same for tourists and latte-sipping Web programmers. Turn right and walk up Mainland to Helmcken Street and:

Take a Break--Helmcken Street between Mainland and Hamilton streets has something for every taste. For coffee and pastry lovers, there's a Bread Garden at Hamilton and Helmcken. Heartier appetites can grab pub grub at Milestones on the opposite corner. For those who prefer their barley and yeast in liquid form, there's the Yaletown Brewing Company at 1111 Mainland St.

From here, continue on Mainland or Hamilton 1 block up to Nelson Street, then turn left and go up 2 blocks to Homer Street. Turn right and walk up 3 blocks to the Vancouver Public Library

With all the sights and attractions there are to see in Vancouver going to the library may not sound like the most exciting thing to do but the central public library downtown is a must-see building

Itís a circle in a square design that looks a bit like something you would see in ancient Rome. In fact a lot of people compare it to a Roman Coliseum.

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