On my final day in Vancouver I walked up Denman Street all the way to English Bay Beach on the opposite side of the peninsula. Denman has a mixture of shops (most are very tacky) and restaurants (lots of fast food outlets) and bike rentals. It is useful to know that there is a large Safeway store on the corner of Denman and Robson where you can buy a huge variety of help yourself take-away food including Chinese, salads and freshly cooked pasta dishes. Why don’t English supermarkets do this? All we get is a miserable choice of cold antipasti, sandwiches and sometimes a cooked chicken!
(As an aside I bought a pack of croissants, blueberry muffins, fruit and juice for my breakfasts whilst staying in the Westin as the hotel breakfasts were very expensive. Mini fridges come in useful sometimes, especially if they are not the electronically tagged variety).
At the end of Denman you can cross over Beach Avenue onto the beach and walk along another seawall, though whilst I was there parts of it were under construction. From this beach you have a view across the bay where a coterie of freighters lie at anchor – I overheard a Canadian say to his colleague “Welcome to Canada, where our beaches are on a viaduct, not like in the States”
I sat on a bench with the inscription “June’s Place of Hugs” and soaked in the view. (Actually bench inscriptions are becoming a bit of an obsession with me. People do seem to create unusual ones in North America). The beach itself was disappointing – like industrial wasteland with dirty brown sand, and the water was equally uninviting, perhaps that Canadian had a valid point.
Further along the shore you can find the Inuit Monument and a little further along you reach a ferry crossing to Granville Island and the Public Market. The ferries are very small and you are very close to the water, but it’s quite fun bobbing across False Creek. Granville is great if you are self-catering and want fresh fruit, veg, meat, fish etc. There is a huge indoor market there, along with lots of other shops, restaurants, galleries and studios and usually a bevy of buskers including musicians and jugglers along the waterfront.
On this occasion I did not visit Gastown or Chinatown, but if you do make sure you pop into the Inuit gallery which houses an impressive array of north-west native art and Inuit sculptures.
Finished the walk early today as I had to collect the hire car – we were off to spend a week on Vancouver Island the following day! Parked in the Devonian Harbour Park (cheaper than the hotel parking, though neither are cheap) then sat on a bench outside the Westin people watching and taking photos of the harbour and those incredible views as the sun went down.