Studying in Burnaby has a lot going for it: a first-class school district, the best public transit system in Metro Vancouver, and proximity to one of the world’s most iconic cities: Vancouver. While school and homework, not to mention sports and arts programs, take up the vast majority of the week, there is no reason not to explore the city and surrounding areas that attract millions of visitors every year. Why not join them?
1) Stanley Park
Stanley Park is famous the world over. And for good reason – Stanley Park is 400 hectares in size, and sits right next to the urban marvel that is downtown Vancouver. Even if you visited Stanley Park every weekend for a year, you still couldn’t see it all! Third Beach, Brockton Oval, the Hollow Tree, Siwash Rock, Prospect Point, Lost Lagoon, the Teahouse Restaurant, Malkin Bowl (try to catch a performance of Theatre Under the Stars if you are here over summer)…the list goes on. Stanley Park is one of local Vancouverites’ favourite places. Why not go where the locals go, and enjoy wild nature in the heart of the city?
2) The Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium, located within Stanley Park, is a day trip in itself, and one of the most famous public aquariums in the world. Check out dolphins and beluga whales, as well as sea otters and sharks! After a day at the Aquarium you can walk down to the seawall afterwards for some exercise.
3) Robson Street
Even though the shopping is pricier than other areas, you don’t want to miss Robson Street – the street where you want to see-and-be-seen. This is where the people-watching is at its best – even though shoppers have their hands full of designer shopping bags. You can still find bargains amongst the boutiques, and on a sunny day, shopping on Robson is a uniquely Vancouver experience.
4) Kits Beach
Kits Beach is like one big party. On a sunny evening, it seems like all of Metro Vancouver WANTS to be at Kits Beach (if they could only find parking…). Do yourself a favour and take transit to Kits Beach, as it is another one of those see-and-be-seen places. Tennis, walking, swimming, beach volleyball, and picnicking are the main attractions. There are tons of fun eateries in the neighbourhood along Cornwall Avenue. If you hit Kits Beach at high tide, the ocean water will be warm and you can enjoy one of the best urban swimming spots the city has to offer!
5) The Bloedel Conservatory
Located in Vancouver, within beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park is the spectacular Bloedel Conservatory, which underwent extensive refurbishment in 2014. Best secret? In the middle of winter when you and MOST Vancouverites have had ENOUGH of the rain, escaping to the Conservatory is the cheapest getaway ever! (Admission for students 18 and under is less than $5.00.) In a moment, you are transported to the tropics, as parrots, macaws, and exotic finches frolic around you – filling you with the sights and sounds of the most exotic locales. And check out the colourful koi ponds. Do yourself a favour and book a trip – and be home in time for dinner.
6) A Canucks Game
It’s not really a day trip, but a Canucks game is definitely something to save up for and experience. You will finally get a chance to whine (or cheer) about how the Canucks are doing, and have backup to prove you were THERE. Hockey is Canada’s game and the Canucks are BC’s team. Go once and you can cross it off your list. Go twice and you know you are a hockey fan. I guess that means you are moving here permanently?
7) Granville Island Public Market
Did somebody say FUDGE? Take transit to Granville Island (you will be hard pressed to find parking) and while away a day sampling local produce, chocolates, baked goods, and smoked meats and salmon. Plenty of restaurants, both in the market, food court and surrounding streets, abound. There are usually street performers playing on the huge ocean-front patio. Another MUST is a ferry ride on the Aquabus. You can see downtown Vancouver from the ocean (False Creek Inlet) and the view is NOT to be missed. Wave to the rowers and dragon boaters that pass you, and you may even see a seal or two!
8) Bowen Island
This one will take you beyond Vancouver proper…but as far as day trips go, it’s a must. Take the bus out to Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) and purchase a foot passenger ticket for the Bowen Island ferry. Bowen Island is a coastal paradise just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, and has become a very desirable “suburb” for escaping Vancouverites looking for a slower pace of life. While there, book a kayaking tour, walk around quaint Snug Cove, explore Crippen Park, and enjoy the sights and sounds of island life. There is even a bus service around the island. This trip is best between May and September and is perfect for a hot, sunny day. When Metro Vancouver temperatures heat up, it doesn’t get “too hot” on Bowen. As Goldilocks would say, “this is juuuust right”.
Stay tuned for Day Trips Part Two…