The downtown area of Vancouver is a bustling metropolis filled with quaint streets, opulent high-rise residences and office towers. And yet, with all that commerce going on there is still an abundance of recreational activities. For bicyclists, the seaside bicycle route is a wonderful, well-marked fifteen-kilometre route from the Stanley Park seawall that takes you through False Creek, Vanier Park, Kitsilano Beach and Jericho Beach, as well as Spanish Banks and the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. My favourite pastime is a stop for cappuccino, enjoying a swim at any of the beaches I pass by, or strolling down streets chock full of eclectic shopping opportunities. When hunger strikes, I can choose from any number of first-class restaurants along the way. Information on determining the best route for you, along with any upcoming events along your chosen path, can be found at Cycling British Columbia. For bike rentals and advice, try The Reckless Bike Store.
If you’re here in April, try your hand - or rather, your feet - at Run, a 10-kilometre race held every year for elite and novice athletes which runs directly through the heart of downtown Vancouver. Ten kilometres makes even an nonathletic guy like me feel like a superstar. Sometimes the stress of the city makes me crave an invigorating walk in the woods - just what the doctor ordered. Even in the heart of downtown Vancouver you can still jog over to Stanley Park for a variety of sporting activities including volleyball, running or jogging on fastidiously maintained surfaces, all the while catching glimpses of the wildlife that abounds in the area. It's certain to improve your day tremendously - I know it works for me. Up-to-date information can be found at the offical WalkJogRun Web site for Vancouver.
Got the sailing bug? All that water demands a wide variety of sailing opportunities. Pass the International Sail and Power Association’s certification test and rent yourself anything from a two-person, high-speed catamaran to a double-masted schooner and troll the waters off the city's shoreline where many tiny bays and calm waters make for perfect places to set anchor. Land’s End Sailing School will be happy to assist you. Wave to me from your vessel - I'll be the guy on the beach catching a few rays.
In Stanley Park you can swim during the summer months at the Second Beach outdoor pool. I swim for hours at a time there, then occasionally take a brisk walk to Robson Street where some of the finest shopping and dining awaits without even having to move my car! For downtown residents who prefer indoor swimming there’s always the Vancouver Aquatic Centre overlooking Sunset Beach, featuring an Olympic-sized pool as well as a sauna, whirlpool and toddler pool.
Yes, there is even golf in the middle of this urban city. Located in one of Vancouver's finest natural parks, Stanley Park Pitch & Putt offers sculpted fairways, mature trees and lush greens in a spectacular setting alongside English Bay. Information on this golf course can be found at the Vancouver Parks Web site.