VANCOUVER -- This
city has long been associated with winter sports. But youll be
hearing even more about that in the coming years, since the city
won its bid to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
With some 250,000
visitors expected during a 16-day period, local tourism officials
are suggesting that travelers begin thinking about their plans
begun on three major event venues in Vancouver and nearby
The three venues
are the Whistler Nordic Center (the site for cross-country skiing,
ski-jumping, biathlon and combined events), a speed-skating oval in
Richmond (just south of the city, near Vancouver Airport) and the
Whistler Sliding Center (the site for bobsled, luge and some other
British Columbias provincial transit authority, Translink, has
given the green light to a rail link that will connect Richmond,
the airport and downtown Vancouver. The project is to be finished
in time for the Games.
But with warm
weather approaching, clients can visit several new attractions long
before the Olympics kick off.
Among them is
Storyeum, a 104,000-square-foot underground theater in the
historical Gastown section, which opened last year.
actors, special effects and music, Storyeum depicts the history of
British Columbia, from the gold rush through the railroad days and
beyond. Admission is $18. Call (604) 687-8142 or visit www.storyeum.com.
Across Burrard Inlet, the Capilano Suspension
Bridge opened the Treetops Adventure. A series of cable footbridges
suspended among giant fir trees, it offers a new way to view the
lush forest -- an interesting complement to the existing bridge
over the Capilano River. Admission is $17. Call (604) 985-7474 or
in June, Vancouvers Biennale will bring sculpture to public spaces
throughout the city for an 18-month period. Among the 20 works are
pieces by Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim and Bill Reid. Call (604)
682-1289 or visit www.vancouverbiennale.com.
Vancouvers hotels continue to make improvements.
Hotel Vancouver renovated its on-site Absolute Spa and recast it as
a mens spa and treatment center -- the first such male-focused spa
in Canada, according to Hayley Winter, spa manager. Call (604)
648-2909 or visit www.absolutespa.com. Room rates at the hotel start at
$195. Call (604) 684-3131 or visit www.fairmont.com.
Pacific Palisades Hotel, the first Kimpton property outside the
U.S., refurbished its four penthouse suites as well as its trendy
offers a Pathfinder package that includes a one-night stay,
breakfast, a wine reception and a guided hiking tour with Eco Trail
Escapes. The package is priced at $319 per night, double; special
room-only rates start at $101. Call (604) 688-0461 or visit www.pacificpalisadeshotel.com.
Suites on Davie opened on Davie Street in 2004 on the site of the
former Park Hill Hotel. The 195-room property has a new outdoor
pool as well as a new spa and fitness center. Rates start at $109.
Call (604) 681-7263 or visit www.sandmansuites.com.
close to the airport have new amenities to discover. The Fairmont
Vancouver Airport has a self-service check-in kiosk that also
enables guests to print airline boarding passes.
The hotel offers
an entire floor of hypoallergenic rooms, available at no extra
charge. Room rates start at $220 per night. Call (604) 207-5200 or
In airport news,
Vancouver Airport opened Plaza Premium pay-per-use lounges, located
in the arrival and departure areas. For $20, passengers can take a
shower, access the Internet and use a self-service bar and
departures lounge is home to new sleeping pods -- ergonomic
recliners housed in a soundproof compartment. Call (604) 207-7077
or visit www.yvr.ca.
about Vancouver and a copy of the 2005 Vancouver Tour Planner, call
(604) 682-2222 or visit www.tourismvancouver.com.
reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].