Being a Tourist

For weeks, maybe months I have lusted after a Tourism Vancouver pass. People come into Spokes with their pass to claim a free bike ride. I’ve wanted one of these passes for myself, not for the free bike ride but the extensive list of free entries to other tourist loved places.

Although you can do a lot of things in Vancouver and the surrounding area for free, there’s also a fair few things that come with a hefty price tag. Luckily my friend Victoria had one of these tourism passes, or something similar anyways. I was happy to accompany her on two excursions in this massive booklet of free/discounted stuff.

Originally we planned to visit Lulu Island Winery in Richmond, however we soon realised we couldn’t actually get there on public transport. We agreed on a horse-drawn tour around Stanley Park instead and a cultural wander through the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

The Stanley Park horse-drawn tour is a popular attraction amongst the many tourists that visit Vancouver. I’ve never really thought about doing it, however for $10 I was happy to take part. It was surprisingly relaxing and informative. Our guide enjoyed relaying her knowledge about Stanley Park and the horses. The key points I learnt were:

  • There’s just one residential house in the park. The resident has one job, to fire the Nine O Clock gun.
  • Stanley Park is bigger than Central Park in New York.
  • One of the horses doesn’t like gardeners and the other one doesn’t like weddings.
  • The Guinness family invested in the construction of the Lions Gate Bridge.

She said so much more but it was over two weeks ago, my memory isn’t that great. It lasted about an hour and a half and normally costs $42. I’m not sure it’s worth that much but then I would recommend it to someone who wants to see Stanley Park from a horse and carriage. Although biking around the seawall will always be my favourite way to see Stanley Park.

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Next stop was the Chinese gardens, located in Chinatown. What a coincidence. We got free entry with Victoria’s pass, thanks again Victoria. I’m glad we did because half the garden was under construction. They have removed the water from the pond and it just looked a little grey and not pleasant. On a more positive note, it was very calming considering you’re in the heart of Downtown. I can imagine how peaceful it would be with water. I’d escape there with my Kindle for a relaxing afternoon. I was surprised they were still charging people to get in, however I have just learnt it is $2 less at the moment for the inconvenience. It is usually $14 and I’m going to return as a paying guest when the maintenance work has finished. The admission also includes a complimentary guided tour, I will be taking full advantage of that on my next visit.

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Try to imagine water in the empty space

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Complimentary guided tour on the right

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After living in Vancouver for almost a year now, I forget about being a tourist. I’m normally trying to escape the tourists on my days off, not join them. However I think it’s always good to do something different once in a while. It certainly makes me look at Vancouver in a new light and it has made me realise there’s still so much I want to do. I need to get my act together.

Stay tuned for details about the not-very-Italian-Italian Day I visited on Sunday. Also I want to ask you guys to subscribe (on the left hand side) if you visit my page regularly or if you like what you see. I’m definitely a Brit, but yet to see the bears and beavers.

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