Vancouver: Treetops & Totems!

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Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada will have you under her spell the moment you arrive. Surrounded by water with mountain views, first-timers will fall hard for Vancouver’s beauty. From treetops to totem poles, are you ready to get amongst it?

History, culture, and nature await with a treetops adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Jump on the free shuttle from Canada Place, downtown on the waterfront.  A book of Vancouver discount vouchers will be waiting onboard. Flick through and find “10% off Capilano tickets” to use at the gate.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Capilano Suspension Bridge @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

The bridge and park’s history begins in 1889 with Scottish land developer George Mackay buying 6,000 acres of dense forest either side of the river.

With help from a friend and some horses, he built the original bridge from hemp and cedar planks that same year.

A wire cable replacement was constructed in 1903 to be totally replaced (in just 5 days) by new owner Rae Mitchell 50 years later.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
View from the bridge over Capilano River Canyon @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Rae encouraged visitors, established walking trails and opened the first gift shop. Since 1983, his daughter, Nancy has been the driving force behind further development and promotion of the bridge and its surrounds.

Nancy’s induction into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame acknowledges her for serving and advancing tourism in the region.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Treetops Adventure @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Spanning 450 feet (137m) and the Capilano River, the bridge is a smidge hairy to cross, but cross you must for the Treetops Adventure. Your bird’s eye view takes in the coastal rain forest’s canopy and the Capilano River Canyon below.

Informative signage describes the ecosystem, rainforest, and forest inhabitants and you can join a complimentary tour to learn more. The walk isn’t long, but it is spectacular.

Vancouver. BC> Canada.
Soooo cute! Forest inhabitant @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The thrilling Cliff Walk is another challenge for your nerves, but the views are worth every heart palpitation. Vertigo sufferers beware, although mostly timber underfoot, there are sections with glass or metal mesh opening to clear views of the canyon below.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
The Baron on the Cliff Walk. A pilot who suffers from vertigo. Go figure. @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Capilano is anglicised from the Squamish people’s “Kia’palano” meaning “beautiful river”. Totem poles have been erected here for 90 years recording Squamish history. A tour of the totems shares the story behind each one and the legends they’re based on.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Kia’palano totems.
@ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Loggers Grill or Bridge House Café will feed and water you while the Trading Post has you covered for souvenirs. Canadian designed and manufactured apparel plus local chocolates, maple syrup, and smoked salmon can be shipped home saving on excess baggage.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Fuel from Loggers Grill @ Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is not to be missed. With trees over 1000 years old, hug one today, and it may even hug you back.

The University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is another Vancouver “must do”. 20 minutes from downtown on the cliffs of Point Grey, take in the glorious views of mountains and sea from these traditional Musqueam people’s lands.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology.

The Outdoor Sculpture complex has 2 19th century style Haida village houses. In front, stand memorial and mortuary totem poles carved by First Nations artists.

Enter the Great Hall with 15m high walls of glass bringing the landscape in and housing huge sculpted figures, totem, and house poles. Free guided tours clarify the origins of canoes, feast dishes, textiles and bentwood boxes on display.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
The Great Hall @ MOA.

Inside Bill Reid Rotunda, his famous work Raven and the First Men takes pride of place. Carved from a huge block of yellow cedar, it tells the story of his Haida ancestral past when Raven finds the first men in a clam shell on the beach.

Bill Reid’s intricate accessories and other pieces in gold, silver, argillite and wood surround the rotunda. (More of Bill Reid’s work can be seen at the Bill Reid Gallery, Downtown)

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Bill Reid’s Raven and the First Men @ MOA.

In the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery, Walter C Koerner’s collection of 16 – 19th-century ceramics consists of more than 600 pieces. Tin-glazed and lead-glazed earthenware and stoneware pieces make up this unique collection.

MOA embraces technology in the Multiversity Galleries. Touch screens provide additional images, audio and video to enhance the more than 16,000 pieces on display.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Over 16,000 pieces are displayed in the Multiveristy Galleries @ MOA.

Temporary exhibitions on world arts and culture can be found in the O’Brien and Audain Gallery. Launching on November 17th, Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures will run until April 2017.

Drawing from the museum’s immense and diverse textile collection, this exhibition is a study in social status, political standing, and spiritual beliefs reflected through clothing and adornments from across the globe. A must for anyone interested in fashion and textiles.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Japanese Silk from the many textiles @ MOA.

Your wallet may take a hit at the MOA Shop. The vast range of handcrafted accessories, clothing, art, books and homewares by First Nations and International artisans will tempt you.

Each year 15-25-year-olds who identify as First Nation, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Inuit, or Metis are encouraged to design a t-shirt motif. The winner’s print is sold in the MOA Shop for 12 months until the next competition winner is announced.

Vancouver. BC. Canada.
Mask from a collection @ MOA.

Appreciating the stunning treetops adventure and absorbing First Nation’s culture, Vancouver reveals her compassion for the environment, acceptance of diversity and respect for her indigenous roots. Add sustainable food, great restaurants, craft beers and distilleries, love for Vancouver only grows. More from this impressive city is yet to come, after all, it’s a place we love….

** pays for all accommodation, dining and drinks resulting in unbiased and honest recommendations you can rely on.

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