http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/travel/op-ed-vancouver-lotus-land-where-the-mountains-meet-the-sea/article/433698

Op-Ed: Vancouver — ‘Lotus land’ where the mountains meet the sea Special

Posted May 20, 2015 by Igor I. Solar
Vancouver, a metropolis or gorgeous scenery, is not only one of the world’s most livable cities, it is also a favourite destination for visitors from all over the world, and a magnet for international meetings and conventions.
Downtown Vancouver and Coal Harbour seen from Stanley Park.
Downtown Vancouver and Coal Harbour seen from Stanley Park.
What brings visitors to Vancouver? There are many reasons, which include a temperate climate, the beauty of Stanley Park, and a blend of ethnic cultures, but perhaps the most remarkable reason is the geography of the city. Canada's largest and most diversified port is surrounded by water on three sides. The Burrard Inlet separates Vancouver from the North Shore communities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. On its western boundary, beyond the British Columbia University Endowment Lands, is the Pacific Ocean's Strait of Georgia. South of the city are the various arms of the Fraser River separating Vancouver from the city of Richmond, Sea Island, and Vancouver International Airport.
Vancouver skyline and Burrard Inlet seen from North Vancouver.
Vancouver skyline and Burrard Inlet seen from North Vancouver.
The North Shore Mountains, visible from most parts of Vancouver, form a very interesting backdrop for the city, particularly during the winter months, when they are covered in snow. Among the best known and attractive mountain locations are Cypress Mountain Sky area, Capilano Mountain, Lynn Canyon Park, Mount Seymour, and of course The Lions, the twin peaks that make one of the most recognizable Vancouver sights, and give their name to the Lions Gate Bridge, another distinctive Vancouver landmark and a symbol of the city.
View from Vancouver across Burrard Inlet towards North Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains.
View from Vancouver across Burrard Inlet towards North Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains.
But it’s not all just great scenery. Additionally, there is a vibrant cultural life, represented by the Vancouver Art Gallery, The UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Aquarium, The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and a plethora of popular artistic events from rock to folk music.
The city’s gastronomical scene is abundant and widely diversified from typical West Coast cuisine to on-street food vendors, to ethnic specialties including Chinese, Indian, Thai, Cambodian, Greek or Italian, just to mention a few alternatives. Various festivals take place in Vancouver all year long, from the Polar Bear Swim on January 1, to the Festival of Christmas Lights in late December.
BC Ferries Terminal at beautiful Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
BC Ferries Terminal at beautiful Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
Vancouver s Gastown - Maple Tree Square. Interesting old building in the narrow corner of Alexander ...
Vancouver's Gastown - Maple Tree Square. Interesting old building in the narrow corner of Alexander St. and Powell St.
Thus, it’s not surprising that in 2014 Vancouver received almost 9 million overnight visitors, and is anticipating that during 2015 over 9.3 million visitors will come by to old Gastown and environs contributing about $6.1 billion to the local economy.
An important contributor to the tourism travel into Vancouver is the busy spring and summer Cruise Line’s schedule. The 2015 Alaska and Hawaii cruise season will see more than 800,000 passengers departing and arriving at Canada Place terminal on over 240 calls by 29 cruise ships belonging to 15 cruise lines. This heavy traffic places Vancouver as one of the top cruise ship ports in North America for 2015.
Downtown Vancouver  Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal  and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Downtown Vancouver, Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Furthermore, a recent report by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has rated Vancouver as North America’s top destination for international meetings. In 2014, Vancouver hosted 60 international meetings, more than any other city in North America. This significantly emphasizes Vancouver’s strong reputation as a global conference destination.
View of downtown Vancouver from the Lookout at Harbour Centre building.
View of downtown Vancouver from the Lookout at Harbour Centre building.
MagnusL3D