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Guide to Canada's Top Cities

View of a downtown marina.

Photo: Joao Canziani

Vancouver

A coastal playground basks in its post-Olympics glow.

Stay

Opening just in time for the 2010 Winter Games, the Great Value Fairmont Pacific Rim (doubles from $229) couldn’t have asked for a more auspicious debut. Spacious guest rooms with subtle Asian touches, plus a top-notch spa, are hallmarks of the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver (doubles from $384). Great Value The St. Regis Hotel (doubles from $152) has one of the best locations in town, across from the Holt Renfrew department store and in walking distance of most city sights.

Eat

No-nonsense trattoria La Quercia (dinner for two $76) showcases made-to-order risottos and an unusual grappa list. In Yaletown, regional ingredients—from porcini mushrooms to Qualicum Bay scallops—get star billing on the menu at Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill (dinner for two $137), where med student turned much-lauded chef Pino Posteraro runs his open kitchen like a master surgeon.

Shop

Flanked by art galleries, the design shop 18Karat carries covetable goods at reason-able prices—handwoven baby alpaca throws from $186 and mouth-blown glass candleholders for a mere $10. Fashion stylists and Kitsilano trustafarians flock to Gravity Pope Tailored Goods for clothing and accessories that range from streamlined menswear by local label Wings + Horns to leather-wrapped chain necklaces by Natalia Brilli.

Nightlife

The Diamond at Maple Tree Square (cocktails for two $17), an izakaya-style lounge in Gastown, doubles as a cocktail bar in the wee hours of the morning, when everything else is shutting down. The second-floor former brothel evokes a Prohibition-era watering hole, thanks to stripped brick walls and 1920’s chandeliers. Bartenders pride themselves on off-the-cuff concoctions.

Biggest Adrenaline Rush

Why hike up north Vancouver’s infamous “Grouse Grind” with the masses when you can soar 4,100 feet above sea level, straight off grouse mountain’s peak? book a 30- to 40-minute tandem flight from First Flight Paragliding ($235).

Top Sights by Foot

Vancouver Art Gallery
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

BC Place Stadium
Granville Island Ferry terminal —Suzanne Mozes

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