High risers: Some
natural and man-made peaks
Youthful, diverse and
progressive, Vancouver ranks as one of North America’s
most attractive destinations for groups of all sizes.
Everywhere in this city, the largest in
British Columbia, skyscrapers are going up -- symbols of a boomtown
on the rise. But throughout Vancouver, the urban scenery competes
with stunning natural surroundings such as the North Shore
Mountains, the sparkling waters of the Straight of Georgia and
beautiful Stanley Park.
A further indicator of the city’s
emergence as a truly great world metropolis: Van-couver will host
the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which means even more
development, attention and excitement will come to this hippest of
major Canadian destinations.
The Vancouver Convention and
Exposition Centre is undergoing a major expansion, slated
for a fall 2008 opening. The project -- adding 225,000 square feet
of exhibition space, 53 meeting rooms and a new 55,800-square-foot
ballroom -- triples the center’s size and extends Vancouver’s
overall commitment to sustainable building. The new structure
features a so-called “living roof” that will be home to 400,000
indigenous plants, seawater heating and cooling, a fish habitat,
and recycling and conservation systems.
Several new properties are being
constructed in the city, including the 120-room Shangri-La
Vancouver, slated to open later this year with three
meeting and function rooms with capacity for 16 to 80 people, an
exterior terrace linking the meeting rooms, and a 48-seat theater.
Other amenities will include a 6,500-square-foot spa, an interior
pool, a business center, a restaurant and a bar overlooking the
Vancouver Art Gallery Public Art Site.
At the edge of Coal Harbour, directly
across from the Vancouver Convention and Exposition Centre, the
415-room Fairmont Pacific Rim is set to open in
2009 with various meeting rooms (specifics were not available as of
press time), a ballroom, a spa, a restaurant, a lounge and a
According to Tourism Vancouver, a new,
as-yet-unnamed Kor hotel will open in Vancouver this year.
Local restaurateur Um-berto Menghi
plans to open the 40-room Hotel Giardino in fall
2009, featuring a “modern Tuscan mission” design.
Other properties will see major
renovations in the near future. Among the highlights: The 644-room
Hyatt Regency Hotel will undergo a US$15.7 million
renovation, to finish in April 2007; the 357-room Empire
Landmark Hotel will complete a renovation of its guest
rooms and hallways by spring 2008; and the 255-room
Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel currently is
upgrading its rooms, suites, pool, sauna, lobby and meeting rooms
(to be finished by press time).
Airport is in the midst of a US$875 million project that
includes an expansion of the international terminal, a new building
with additional check-in counters, and new restaurants and
New air routes have been introduced to
Vancouver as well. WestJet has upped service from
both Las Vegas and Hawaii. Starting in summer 2007,
Qantas will offer seasonal flights to the city
from Sydney via San Francisco. United Airlines now
flies to Vancouver from Washington Dulles. In addition, Air
Canada has begun operating a new route between Vancouver
and San Diego.