Why Vancouver Is the Best Mate You Didn’t Know You Needed

If you’ve visited Vancouver before, you’ve probably experienced that sense of comfort of finding a home away from home. The cosmopolitan city sitting on Canada’s west coast seems to combine everything that Aussies know and love into a city on the other side of the world, boasting a culinary scene packing at least 9 MICHELIN-starred restaurants amid an abundance of forests, trails, and waterways. 

Yes, the magic of Vancouver is in how much luscious, scenic beauty exists side-by-side with the bustle of its heaving metropolis. You can make your way along the city’s stunning trails or hit up the beach without sacrificing good coffee and food. After all, since when were holidays the time for sacrificing anything at all?

Vancouver’s Famous Stanley Park


Case in point: the famous Stanley Park. A viridescent dream for those looking to get their body moving, Stanley Park invites visitors to run, bike ride, or even opt for a guided tour.  You’ll spot winding trails, stunning coastline, incredible views and North American wildlife everywhere (real-life squirrels, beavers and racoons, anyone?).

If you fancy a swim, the park is surrounded by water and even boasts a few beaches if that’s your thing. All in all, there’s nearly 1000 acres of scenery to enjoy, so you’ll probably want to take your time. 

The Iconic Granville Island


Across the creek from Downtown and nestled under a bridge, you’ll also find the small but mighty Granville Island. Here, you can enjoy a vibrant public market, workshops hosted by artisans, an excellent selection of cuisine, and — would you believe — a two-story market especially for kids. If you wanted to pop back downtown afterwards, the Vancouver way is to glide over the Aquabus or False Creek Ferry. Reminding you of Sydney, anyone? 

And while the thought of going to Vancouver in the winter may sound daunting for Aussies not used to subzero temperatures, it’s actually one of the warmest cities in Canada, making it a great spot to spend the festive season. The holiday season in Vancouver is a treat for the senses, bringing twinkling Christmas markets downtown, outdoor night skating, and of course, skiing and snowboarding. Those who want something low-key can also pop on some snow cleats and do the famous Night Walk on Grouse Mountain. And why not grab an Irish coffee while you’re up there? 

Natural Beauty


What’s really striking about Vancouver’s natural beauty is how it really can be felt everywhere. Much like Aussies, residents of the city tend to be pretty active people with a deep love for the outdoors.

So, don’t be surprised if you come across some of the many Aussies-turned-Vancouverites who fell in love with the city so much so that they decided to stay. Vancouver is Canada’s most popular destination for Aussies, and with all of that adventure on your doorstep, it’s easy to see why.

A World-Renowned Dining Scene


Make no mistake, though. The city’s more urban side hardly exists in isolation from the scenic splendour that surrounds it. You can feel the city’s natural surroundings even while dining out.

While Vancouver’s cuisine involves a spate of global flavours and techniques, it nevertheless tends to be grounded in local ingredients from nearby farms and oceans, establishing the city as a culinary destination that — dare we say it — maybe even rivals what’s on offer back home. Trust me, as a former Melburnian, it pains me to say it. 

Like Australia’s larger cities, the city is also host to a cosmopolitan population of people hailing from all over the world, with British Columbia being Canada’s most ethnically diverse province. So it’s no wonder that arriving in Vancouver as an Aussie may feel something akin to seeing an old friend – even if it’s your first time there. Vancouver is the type of mate that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without until you finally have them in your life, at which point, you’ll never want to let them go.

It’s these similarities and more that, frankly, make Vancouver the perfect option to be Sydney’s official friendship city. Essentially, a friendship city is just a formal agreement between two cities that sets the foundation for a strong link for generations to come.

Given all the reasons Aussies love Vancouver, and keep returning there, it feels like a no-brainer that Vancouver’s official friendship city would be Sydney. So, cast your vote here to make Sydney and Vancouver official friendship cities — and get to planning your next Vancouver vacation.

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