There’s nothing like waking up to floor-to-ceiling windows, grey overcast light spilling into your room, with buckets of rain falling in a steady drizzle just on the other side. For a Washington girl, that sounds like paradise. Turns out, it’s even better in Canada.
I was looking forward to visiting Canada for well over a year, and two nights at the OPUS Hotel was the perfect introduction. The hotel is right in the middle of Yaletown, a nice and easy neighborhood in what feels like a clean and stylish part of town. Of course, my first meal upon arrival was sushi, because I know as well as any west coaster that you won’t find better seafood than in the Pacific Northwest. I’m still not quite sure how I was able to narrow it down to one restaurant—there were so many options within just a block or two from the OPUS Hotel.
But it was the room—specifically, the view from it—that sold me. I had a lot on my itinerary that first day I woke up to sheets of rain, and I was not going to let the weather take away a full day in a new city. My first stop? Granville Island.
The Aquabus, a recommended activity from my friends at Tourism Vancouver, pulled right up to the marina dock down the street from my hotel, and it’s an easy exchange of seven or eight dollars for the quick and dry trip. The drivers were lively and easy to chat with, living right up to their reputation for Canadian kindness. I spotted a harbor seal peeking out of the water to check the weather. Still raining.
As a lover of all things grey and gloomy, I knew I would love Granville Island even more in the rain than in fairer weather. There were still a few tourists around, but I found all of them when I wandered inside the public market. I ate only an hour before, but literally everything from every vendor sounded good as I made my way through Granville Public Market. The selection there is a wide and interesting clash between Eastern and Western culture. But I knew right away what I wanted, and before long, I was paying a toonie for a maple donut at Lee’s.
The more I walked around, the more I fell in love with the island—I’m always at home when I’m surrounded by boats and marinas. A pirate ship tour went by as I stood above the water, their calls of “arr” and “matey” carrying loudly across False Creek. Sounds from the bustling marina blended with the sounds of buskers with guitars standing under trees or white tents, hiding their equipment from the rain.
Although I could have spent much more than a few hours wandering Granville and seeing all there is to see, I rode the Aquabus back to Yaletown and began the trek up to Chinatown to check out popular German eatery (the irony was not lost) Bestie. Nothing sounds quite as good as a warm, soft pretzel on a cold and rainy day.
After drip-drying while devouring my pretzel with a fabulous mustard flight, I decided to spend the rest of the day indoors with a trip to Vancouver’s iconic city library, which really looks more like a castle or fortress. As in any city, there’s quite a population of lurkers that hang out in and around public libraries, but if you ask me, there’s no better place to flip through the new issue of National Geographic Traveler or re-familiarize yourself with your favorite Shakespeare soliloquy.
Getting to combine all of my favorite things on my first day in Vancouver made for a wonderful introduction to this big and colorful city that’s been just across the border my whole life. Between the stroll through Granville Market, the food, and the library, I can’t think of a better way to spend a drizzly day in B.C.
Thank you to Tourism Vancouver for hosting me.