West Vancouver is a province in British Columbia, Canada. It forms a part of the North Shore municipality along with North Vancouver. It covers an area of 87.26 sq km and had an approximate population of 44,000 in 2011. This North Shore area was originally occupied by various tribes like the Squamish First Nation, Tseil-Waututh First Nation, and the Musqueam First Nation. The Europeans arrived with Captain George Vancouver in 1792 and by the end of the 1860s, it became a thriving town. In 1912, West Vancouver was separated from North Vancouver and was incorporated as an independent municipality.
West Vancouver lies to the northwest of the city of Vancouver. It is located on the northern side of English Bay and on the southeast shore of the Howe Sound. It is home to Horseshoe Bay. The Barnaby Mountains are easily visible nearby. In fact, the entire territory of the North Shore is marked by towering ranges, deep ravines and valleys, and spectacular natural beauty. The Capilano River corridor separates West Vancouver from North Vancouver.
The province enjoys a mild temperate coastal rainforest climate. Rainfall is plentiful and has contributed to the greenery around the area. Snow occurs regularly from November and skiing is a popular activity.
How to reach (transport)
In order to reach West Vancouver, it is most convenient to travel to Vancouver International Airport in Richmond. Taxis or rented cars can take you to your destination, or you can even charter a floatplane.
Another option is to arrive in Vancouver. From here, you can rent a car or board a bus that crosses the Lion’s Gate Bridge over the Burrard inlet via Highway 99 and you will arrive in the North Shore region. You can also cross the Second Narrows Bridge on Highway 1. It is also located on the same inlet. If you prefer to travel by water, you can take the ferry from Vancouver Island to Horseshoe Bay. Some scenic railway routes also serve the area.
When to visit
The climate of West Vancouver is somewhat wet, but it attracts tourists throughout the year. Spring and summer (from March to August) are the most popular tourist seasons. However, fall (September to November) is mild and is less popular. You can also visit during the winter (December to February) if you are looking for a skiing holiday.
Culture (Fairs and Festivals) and Traditions
West Vancouver is an affluent and prosperous area. In fact, it is often referred to as one of the wealthiest municipalities in Canada and has some of the most expensive housing communities in the region.
Several festivals are celebrated in British Columbia in the North Shore region ranging from cultural programs, and farmer’s markets to exhibitions, art, and crafts, etc. West Vancouver takes part in many of these festivals.
Points of interest (places to visit)
Some of the sights that you should not miss in West Vancouver are as follows:
- Cypress Mountain is one of the most attractive spots, especially in winter. It is the best cross-country skiing area in Canada. It was also the Official Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard Venue of the 2010 Olympics.
- The 137-meter-long Capilano suspension bridge is one of the landmarks of West Vancouver.
- The West Vancouver seawall allows you to enjoy the oceanfront as well as access some of the best shops in the district. You can also catch sight of the local wildlife.
- There are several art galleries in the area including Spirits, which sell some great First Nation art and craft items.
- The Gertrude Lawson museum is housed in a beautiful stone building and contains exhibits from the history of the area.
- There are several parks in West Vancouver that provides entertainment and activities for the whole family. The Whytecliff Park offers the best scuba diving facilities in the area while a hike to the Lighthouse Park in the Point Atkinson area can provide you with great scenery. Finally, the Park Royal shopping center is the first mall in Canada to open in the 1950s and is a great place to explore.
The best way to enjoy the charm of West Vancouver is from a vast number of motels and bed and breakfasts that are spread throughout the area. These include Bay View bed and breakfast, Alice’s guest house, Lighthouse Park Vancouver bed and breakfast, Ocean View bed and breakfast, Bay View at Green Gables, Horseshoe Bay Motel, and many more.