Vancouver’s multicultural charm
I have spent dozens of Christmases on Canada’s West Coast in Vancouver, the city I grew up in. Although I’ve not lived there for many years, I’ve often returned home for the holidays to visit friends and family.
In recent years I’ve developed a better appreciation and understanding of the city’s Asian character – more than 40 per cent of the population is of Asian origin – a fact that I took for granted while growing up.
Though not all Asians celebrate Christmas, the festive spirit is alive and well in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, especially in the lead up to Chinese New Year (February 8 in 2016), which is more widely celebrated by the Asian community.
Regardless of the time of year, stop into Bao Bei brasserie on Keefer Street in Chinatown for a scrumptious mix of Shanghai, Taiwan and Vietnamese cuisines – their pot stickers, mouth-watering dumplings stuffed with finely minced pork or vegetables, come highly recommended.
During the festive season the Bright Nights festival lights up Stanley Park, which provides impressive views of the sea, mountains and city. Other family-friendly seasonal musts include the Circle Craft Christmas Market on Granville Island, where local artisans sell their ceramics, arts and crafts, jewellery and other unique creations.
Whistler-Blackcomb, one of the world’s top ski resorts, is only 125 km north of Vancouver.
First-time visitors are often surprised that it’s possible to sail and ski in Vancouver in the same day. For skiers, the North Shore Mountains are a 45-minute drive from the downtown core, and about 125 kilometres north along the Sea to Sky Highway lies Whistler Blackcomb, one of the world’s top ski resorts.
Text by Katja Pantzar. Photo by iStock.