Rustic wood cabins interconnected by wooden walkways stand amid a network of fountains, mountain streams, and small waterfalls. Dense forest and blooms of emerald ferns spread out in all directions. The train whistle and drum beats echo through the trees. At Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, natural scenery opens up to authentic representations of British Columbia's First Nations and Métis cultures through its attractions, performances, and artisan marketplace. As guests arrive, knowledgeable First Nations guides in native dress usher guests into the park, where they can start by taking in the sights or boarding the miniature covered Spirit Catcher train for storytelling journeys past forest tableaus.
Young dancers and actors in traditional dress stage cultural performances every Friday through Sunday throughout the summer, and coffee by Spirit Bear Coffee Company keeps visitors warm year-round. In the indoor marketplace, First Nations and Métis artisans proffer pieces of handmade visual art, jewellery, apparel, and other crafts. The nonprofit Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia operates the park as part of its aim to create a sustainable and educational showcase of Aboriginal culture for visitors and local residents.
Foreign, classic, and Canadian films light up the big screen at Pacific Cinémathèque, a 194-seat theatre recognized by the Vancouver Sun as the best art-house and foreign-film venue in 2009. Established as a film society almost four decades ago, the movie palace has since flourished into a polestar for under-the-radar films, showcasing lesser-known works and cinematic icons alike during single and double billings six nights a week. In an effort to enhance Vancouver's cinematic culture without transplanting the Hollywood sign to the top of One Wall Centre, the theatre is also home to several educational opportunities including a film reference library and the West Coast Film Archive, which preserves the legacy of independent filmmaking on Canada's west coast.
Starting out in 1980 with only four rafts, Hyak River Rafting has since acquired an armada of top-of-the-line vessels equipped to handle the orneriest river safely. During trips on British Columbia's most exciting rivers—the Chilliwack, Thompson, Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser Rivers—licensed guides lead river trips lasting from several hours to several days, during which participants learn to manoeuvre around the grasping tentacles of feral octopuses. On most trips, crew and guests get soaked as the water rages about them before more tempered waters allow them to take in the sights of rock-banked rivers populated by lush forests and curious wildlife.
Since 1931, more than three million visitors have walked down the docks of Sewell's Marina, stepped into a boat, and floated through the islands and inlets of Howe Sound. The marina's vessels have proffered spectacular glimpses into nature, such as the plunging waters of Shannon Falls and the wild blacksmiths that gallop across Anvil Island Cliffs.
Sewell's Marina's current trips tread the line between education and adventure. Their crews pilot vessels on fishing charters and aquatic thrills such as a Sea Quest scavenger hunts. Sea Safari tours send boats speeding alongside cliffs and into the habitats of seals, bald eagles, and marine birds. Even with boat rentals, Sewell's crew still guides customers, giving dockside instruction on how to operate speedboats and politely ask harbour seals for directions.
On September 9, 1979, more than 100,000 Whitecaps fans lined Robson Street to salute their hometown club. That day, the Whitecaps returned home after becoming Vancouver's first professional sports team to win a major North American championship: they had just defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies to claim the North American Soccer League title.
Since that first one, the franchise has won six additional titles–including four in a row from 1988–1991 while playing as the 86ers in the Canadian Soccer League. In fact, the club competed under that 86ers moniker until 2000. That year, spurred by public support and an unexplainable 'Caps logo beamed into the night sky, it re-emerged under its original Whitecaps identity. Today, the 21st-century incarnation of the club continues to battle for its first championship as part of Major League Soccer, where it began play in 2011.
The waters of False Creek reach into the city of Vancouver like an arm. For years, the passage of water was used for industrial purposes, but all that changed in 1980 when the city of Vancouver decided to develop Granville Island. One of those developments was False Creek Community Centre.
Today, the centre fills False Creek with an array of recreational boaters, including kayakers, canoeists, dragon boaters, and whale surfers. Back on land, the facility boasts a pottery studio, a fitness centre, tennis courts, a water park with a large kid's area, and a talented staff of instructors who teach programs and classes for kids and adults alike.