Vancouver: How to spend 24 hours in Canada's coolest city
Tom Sweeney maps out a perfect day, from pancakes to to plush hotels, in Vancouver.
10am: Pancakes & Palpitations
The billionaires live in North Vancouver, so we'll rough it with the mere millionaires on the southern, city side of the harbour. For breakfast, pile into syrup-soaked pancakes in Granville Island Market, which showcases just about every world cuisine. Next, fasten your seatbelt for a thrilling, 6,000km coast-to-coast virtual flight at FlyOver Canada, soaring over the country's most awe-inspiring sights, including Niagara Falls.
How: granvilleisland.com; flyovercanada.com.
2pm: A la cart menu
Vancouverites lunch at kerbside food trucks and carts, and you'll find half a dozen within sight of FlyOverCanada serving a vast selection of dishes from cod and chips to, alarmingly, curried haggis. From here it's a half-hour harbourside stroll (watch the seaplanes take off and land) to Stanley Park and the award-winning Vancouver Aquarium, where the cute sea otters are the stars and the white beluga whale feels like a hard-boiled egg... if you get to stroke it.
How: streetfoodvancouver.com; vanaqua.org.
5pm: Clock this
Wander around vibrant Chinatown, then explore nearby Gastown, the birthplace of Vancouver, which grew from the saloon that 'Gassy' Jack Deighton opened in 1867. The city's historical heart is also its hippest hang-out, full of boutiques, galleries, cool bars and raved-about restaurants. The most-photographed attraction is the steam clock on Water Street - it looks ancient but was built in 1977. Visit the Vancouver Lookout for 360˚ views.
How: gastown.org; vancouverlookout.com.
8pm: A dram good idea
Stay in Gastown for a sociable dinner, sharing the long table with genuinely friendly locals at Salt Tasting Room, a feel-good wine, charcuterie and cheese vault. Round off your perfect day with a nightcap in the Irish Heather gastro pub, which has a mind-boggling whiskey menu. If you like grand hotels, retire to the 557-room Fairmont Vancouver (rooms from around $359/€243), or chill out in the charming and homely seven-room West End Guesthouse.
How: salttastingroom.com; irishheather.com; fairmont.com; westendguesthouse.com.
Air Canada Rouge (flyrouge.com) flies direct from Dublin until October 9, or connect via Toronto or London.