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Vancouver (BC)

As slick and modern as it is nostalgic, Vancouver is one of Canada's most recent triumphs. It's the largest city in the nation's west, and has gracefully transcended its sawmill origins to become a vibrant cultural hotspot.

An old-world British ambiance clings to South Granville, despite the fact that it slumped into industrialism for a while. The government injected Granville Island with some much-needed capital a few years ago, and the entire district has blossomed into a quaint commercial area rife with English pubs, craft boutiques, open-air markets and some of the best hotels in Vancouver.

Most of the accommodation in Vancouver is located in the greater downtown district. Guests based in this area enjoy easy access to Vancouver's hippest clubs, cafés and lounges in easy walking distance of each other. Vancouver may be small by big-city standards, but it still has plenty to offer on the cosmopolitan front. From cultural institutes like the Museum of Anthropology to Chinatown and the sublime classical Chinese gardens. Vancouver also has a fantastic shopping scene that includes large malls and exotic, ethnic marketplaces.

It cannot be denied that Vancouver's true power to move visitors is rooted in the outdoors. Every winter, skiers parade through Vancouver as a last stop on their way to Whistler. Nearby Grouse Mountain operates a cable car and can be skied in the winter or hiked in the summer. Other summertime activities include mountain biking, beach combing, kayaking and golfing. Vast tracts of national parks lie to the north and the east.

The fastest way into the city is via Vancouver International Airport. From here, the Airporter shuttles passengers to the city centre, stopping by major hotels along the way. This well-connected airport operates services across North America and to parts of Asia and Europe.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Vancouver, click on the interactive Vancouver map on the left-hand side of the page.