VANCOUVER – If there’s a cooler and more beautiful city on this continent, don’t tell me. And if you do, I will disagree.
Shortly after midnight Pacific time (while you were all soundly asleep back home in Columbus), Blue Jackets Air touched down in Richmond, British Columbia, site of the Vancouver International Airport. It’s about a 30-minute drive into downtown Vancouver from Richmond, and even in darkness, it’s gorgeous.
As soon as you hit the Granville Bridge and drive over the island and into the city, it explodes right in front of you. We came into town straight down Granville St., and if you can’t find something to do on Granville St., you’re not looking hard enough.
Vancouver’s a big city, yes, but it feels like so much more than your standard metropolis with banks, insurance companies, bad traffic and public transit.
First, it’s squeaky clean.
Second, there’s endless stuff to do.
Third, and most importantly, the scenery.
Less than a 10-minute walk from the team hotel is Canada Place and the Vancouver Waterfront, including the Canadian Trail (see above photo). The trail is pretty cool; it’s basically a path that winds around Canada Place and has awesome views of Coal Harbour and, to the west, beautiful Stanley Park.
If you’re ever in Vancouver (which you should do at least once), make the short trek over to Stanley Park and take a morning walk along the seawall. The best.
Oh and we’re here for business – there’s a hockey game tomorrow night.
The team was originally scheduled to practice this afternoon at the University of British Columbia, but ice time opened up at Rogers Arena, so that’s where they will be. It’s a 1 p.m. skate, and after that, the day is ours.
Among the things you should do in this wonderful city, aside from the aforementioned Waterfront and Stanley Park: go to Granville Island (SSW of the city over the bridge), go to the Granville Island Brewing Company, check out the awesome Public Market and then cross back into the city.
The best advice is to buy a day pass on the Skytrain, grab a map, ask a local for help if needed, and have a time.
That’s what I’ll be doing later today.