1. Granville Island
Initial attempts to make the area we now know as Granville Island usable for industrial buildings began in the late 18th century. Groups of entrepreneurs decided to invest in a project which would drive piles (beams driven vertically into the bed of a river as a structural foundation) into False Creek. Before they could proceed any further, a court injunction ordered the site to be closed. The project was restored approximately thirty years later, when 750,000 cubic feet of sea-mud from the floor of False Creek was poured between piles, creating 35 acres island, connected to the mainland by a combined road and rail bridge. The total cost for these works was $342,000. Companies based on the island were mostly serving the mining, construction, and shipping industries.
The island went through some major changes in the 1970s, mostly concerning its tenants. A $25 million government allocation program transformed large parts of the island into public spaces, including a public market, The Arts Club Theatre, restaurants, and workshops.
The mix of these two elements — industrial and public buildings — made the island very popular with both Vancouverites and tourists.
2. Gardens and Gardening
Gardening is often used to decorate motorways surrounding public parks and spaces. In Vancouver, however, gardening has been always a very important element of community life, and one of the crucial ingredients of a good neighbourhood. No matter what time of the year it is, if you can’t reach somebody by phone, he or she is probably in his or her garden.
If the weather is too poor for gardening, Vancouverites still have access to a variety of public gardens. There are quite a few Asian gardens, including Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden, and some very nice botanical gardens, like the Butchart Gardens, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and UBC Botanical Garden. Vancouver provides its citizens with an Italianate rain-garden at Hastings Park as well.
3. The Sun Run
The Sun Run started 27 years ago as a fund-raising event for Canadian athletes. About 4,700 people participated the first time it took place, in 1985. In the following years, the ten kilometre long run became increasingly popular and attracted up to 19,008 people to the streets of Vancouver. Who would have thought that one day, the Sun Run could count up to 50,000 participants? It has earned its place in Vancouver’s spring sports calendar.
Vancouver is famous for the outstanding quality and authenticity of its sushi. Countless restaurants offer this Japanese speciality all over the city. The first restaurant to offer sushi was Koko’s, which employed famous sushi master Koji back in 1960s, and which is still serving outstanding sushi today. Traditional Japanese seafood dishes have become even more popular than Chinese cuisine over the past 20 years.
Whether walking down the street, driving to work, working late, or watching sports, coffee is the everyday drink of most Vancouverites. Vancouver’s first café, called Italia, was opened in 1969 and was followed by many others. The main wave of cafés came in the 1980s with Starbucks, the iconic coffee chain, leading the way followed by JJ Bean, Waves, Tim Hortons, and others. Some people, however, still prefer the Italian café on Commercial Drive.