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Vancouver: A Signature City

Program Number: 2678RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/6/2014 - 7/11/2014; 5/30/2016 - 6/4/2016; 8/8/2016 - 8/13/2016; 9/12/2016 - 9/17/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Price starting at: $1,935.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities; Arts, Misc.; Food & Wine; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 11; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Set amid a backdrop of snow-flecked coast mountains, lush rain forest, and sandy beaches, Vancouver is spectacular by nature. Steadily earning accolades as one of the world’s most livable cities, Vancouver boasts stunning parks and seawall trails, rich history, and remarkable cultural diversity. Go behind the scenes with local experts to get an insider's look at the distinct historical, architectural and cultural communities that give the city its unrivalled cosmopolitan nature. Explore well-known and hidden treasures, from a Ming Dynasty-styled rock garden and bustling sea port to eclectic neighborhoods and markets.


• On an expert-led exploration, delve into Vancouver's art and cultural scene, its fascinating neighborhoods and history, and rich Aboriginal culture at the Museum of Anthropology.
• Savor signature dishes at Vancouver's top restaurants and locally inspired food shops while hearing behind-the-scenes stories that will showcase the best of West coast cuisine.
• Explore the temperate West Coast forest with expert ecologist as you stand amongst the some of the tallest old-growth red cedars and Douglas firs. Enjoy the vista of ocean, mountains, ancient totems along Stanley Park's famous Seawall.

Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles daily. Public transportation is used to traverse this coastal city.

Date Specific Information


This date stays at the historic Fairmont Vancouver in the heart of downtown.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

5-30-2016, 8-8-2016, 9-12-2016

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Vancouver (British Columbia)

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Vancouver for its breathtaking hiking and biking trails and majestic views of the tree-lined waterway, the Strait of Georgia. With distinctive neighborhoods, top-rated restaurants and a thriving theater and arts scene, Vancouver is also a sophisticated destination. It is renowned as one of the world’s best cities.

Comfortable downtown hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
  Vancouver, BC 5 nights
 The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is the landmark hotel in downtown Vancouver. Known as the 'Castle in the City’, it reflects the timeless luxury of Canada's iconic hotels. Located just steps from Vancouver’s business, shopping and entertainment district, it is the perfect place to explore Vancouver’s spectacular scenery and vibrant downtown Vancouver lifestyle. Be sure to explore exciting Vancouver events during your stay.
  Contact info: 900 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6 Canada
phone: 604-684-3131
  Room amenities: Each of the hotel's 556 Vancouver, BC accommodations offers the luxury and services of a world-class hotel with the elegance and charm of an English castle. Subtly included in every room are all the modern conveniences for business and leisure travelers alike. •Air-conditioning and personal heat control •Alarm clock/radio •Bathrobes •Coffee/Tea maker •Cable television, in-room Pay-Movies/Games, Video Check-Out •Hair Dryer •Iron and ironing board •Mini-bar •In-Room Business Amenities Large working desk, Business supplies, High Speed Internet Access upon request
  Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include a state-of-the-art health club, indoor pool, Absolute Spa and Sitka Physio & Wellness and on-site dining at Griffins restaurant, featuring bistro dining and decadent buffets, 900 West Lounge with nightly live entertainment and perfectly crafted cocktails and traditional Afternoon Tea
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  middle of program
  Additional nights after:  middle of program

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals to the hotel. Dinner is scheduled for 6:00 pm. You will be staying at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver that night.
  End of Program:
Independent departures from the hotel after breakfast from Vancouver, BC. You will be staying at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. PASSPORTS: Passport requirements are subject to change. Visit for up to date information.
  Parking availability:
Parking at the hotel is approximately $15 per day. Please arrange directly with hotel by calling 604-682-1831.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Vancouver, BC
  Nearest city or town:  Vancouver
  Nearest highway: Highway 1 - Trans Canada
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International
  From End of Program
  Location: Vancouver, BC
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $30 - $35 CDN.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 


Taxi service is readily available from the airport to the hotel. Shuttle service is no longer available from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to downtown Vancouver. For current arrival and departure information to/from the airport, please visit




To Airport






Per Person/One Way:


Approximatley $30 - $35 CDN
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 


Taxi from hotel to Vancouver airport.




To Train Station






Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $10 CDN
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 




From Train Station




Checker Cabs
phone: 604-683-4567


Per Person/One Way:


Approximately $10 (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Taxis available at train station or use call box. Amtrak, Via Rail & Greyhound all provide service to Vancouver. Taxis available from the bus or train depot.

Equipment Requirements: Supportive/comfortable footwear, good walking shoes are recommended, breathable, yet comfortable clothing suitable for daily walking, raincoat and/or windproof jacket (lined for cooler temperatures), umbrella, refillable water bottle.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrivals and Orientation
(Sunday, July 6)
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals and transfers to the program hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at at 6:00 p.m. followed by orientation and introductions.
Accommodations: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: The Five Cultures That Shaped Vancouver/City Exploration/Museum of Anthropology
(Monday, July 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Learn about Vancouver’s history and culture and how it has evolved into a modern, progressive city. Examine the historical precedents and urban planning that have enabled the city to achieve its status as one of the most "livable" cities in the world.
 Morning: Vancouver is situated in an exceptional natural environment and is often cited as one of the best cities in the world to live, work, visit or invest in. Travel with your local guide by bus through Vancouver’s downtown core en route to the Museum of Anthropology. See some of the city’s most notable neighborhoods and hear about points of interest along the way.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Museum of Anthropology.
 Afternoon: Explore the Museum of Anthropology and gain a remarkable glimpse into the lives of the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of British Columbia. Discover one of the world's outstanding collections of Pacific Northwest Aboriginal artifacts. Massive totem poles, carved boxes, bowls and feast dishes are displayed in the Great Hall, while smaller (but equally magnificent) pieces in gold, silver, argillite, wood, ceramic and other materials are exhibited in the galleries. Canada's largest teaching museum is located in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea, and its collections, exhibitions and programs are renowned for providing insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Gastown/Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens/Chinatown Historic Walk
(Tuesday, July 8)

Note: Please Note: Public transit will be used during today's programming. Participants should also expect to walk up to 2 miles today, with stops along the way for interpretation. Participants should be prepared to stop en route for approximately 10 minutes at a time.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: An expert on Asian history and culture will be our guide at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the first of its kind outside of China and an authentic representation of an age old garden tradition which reached its peak in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Garden is characteristic of the private spaces within a Ming scholar's residence. With its asymmetrical arrangement of rocks and plants, its winding paths and corridors, and the vistas that overlook its courtyards, the Garden emulates the rhythms of nature.
 Morning: Today, explore two of the city's most fascinating neighborhoods - Gastown and Chinatown. Join a well-known cultural historian on a walk through Gastown, one of the oldest parts of the city and much of the early architecture and character remains, giving it a different look and feel than the glass and concrete of the rest of downtown. Learn about the importance of Gastown and the birthplace of the city of Vancouver, which was created around the same time that Canada became a nation. The neighborhoods are also unique in that they have the kind of old-fashioned architecture that no longer exists downtown or in the West End.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue with an exploration of Chinatown and its brightly colored facades, street markets, and the buzz of modern-day Cantonese commerce. Built by Chinese people to authentically reflect their culture and traditions it is still predominantly populated by Chinese people. (Unlike San Francisco's Chinatown which was built by their Chamber of Commerce to attract tourists.) Discover Chinatown's rich heritage, vibrant culture, and incredible food markets while exploring the colorful streets and alleys. Sample traditional Chinese tea or indulge in steamed rice cakes and warm apple tarts from a traditional bakery. Learn about the Millennium Gate, a four-pillar, three-story high, brightly painted arch spanning Pender Street which was erected in 2002 to mark the millennium and commemorate the Chinese community's role in Vancouver's history.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to sample from the wide array of dining options in this cosmopolitan city.
Accommodations: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Bill Reid Gallery/Gourmet Food Adventure
(Wednesday, July 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Meet with an expert to explore the beautiful collection of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. Bill Reid was the pivotal force in introducing to the world the great art traditions of the indigenous people of the Northwest Coast. He is an acclaimed Haida master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, spokesman and one of Canada's greatest artists. Highlights include over 40 pieces of Bill Reid's gold and silver jewelry, Reid's bronze masterpiece Mythic Messengers and several of Reid's works that are featured on Canadian currency.
 Lunch: Embark on a gourmet food experience.
 Afternoon: Our gastronomic adventure begins with savoring dim sum from none other than Kirin Chinese Restaurant – Winner of Vancouver’s Best Dim Sum for sixth consecutive years by Vancouver Magazine. You’ll visit Vancouver’s gourmet specialty grocer where you will taste award winning cheese and chocolate paired with a local wine. Next, we take you to Vancouver’s most popular Italian Restaurant where you’ll savor their Signature Meatball and fresh burrata paired with 2012 Tinhorn Gewurztraminer. We then take you on a short stroll along Vancouver’s gourmet restaurant street and trendy shopping neighborhood. Then we hop across the street to Hubbub, creator of Vancouver’s top 10 sandwiches for their Pulled Pork Sandwich and beer pairing. You’ll learn how this amazing sandwich is made and experience firsthand the magnetic appeal of this majestic sandwich. Finally, happy bellies are treated to a sweet ending with the best gelato and sorbetto on the continent at Bella Gelateria, winner of North America’s best gelato. Please note tasting locations subject to change.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
Accommodations: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Vancouver: Natural History/Walking StanleyPark/Free Afternoon
(Thursday, July 10)

Note: The walk to/from and through Stanley Park will be approximately 2 miles or 3.22 km over relatively flat terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: A member of the Stanley Park Ecology Society will lead you on an in-depth exploration of Stanley Park, a breathtaking park which remains unspoiled and a testimony to the giant trees which occupied the site of Vancouver in its former days. With the ocean and mountain vista as a backdrop, learn about this unique park and its temperate rainforest ecosystem. Its natural west coast atmosphere offers a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees which transports visitors to an environment rich in tranquility. World famous landmarks in the park will also be discussed including Lost Lagoon, totem poles, various monuments and sculptures, and the 5.5 mile seawall which encircles the entire park.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to explore the many dining options the city has to offer.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore the city on your own. Information will be provided for free time activities.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner and evening wrap-up.
Accommodations: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Independent Departures
(Friday, July 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Independent departures as per individual travel plans.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Vancouver, BC Grouse Mountain
Take the Gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain. If you want a real challenge - or at least a serious workout - try the Grouse Grind. A 2.9-kilometre (3700 ft) trail straight up to the top of Grouse Mountain. When you do the Grind, it's recommended you wear hiking boots and carry water. For those in good shape the hike takes about an hour. An average time would be between one and a half to two hours. The world record for doing the Grind is under 27 minutes! It's free to hike up, but it's not wise (or advised) for you to hike back down so you'll need to pay for the gondola ride to the bottom ($10 - 15 CDN for gondola ride). The Grind is open from late Spring to early Fall, dependant on weather and trail conditions. For additional information, visit
  Museum of Vancouver
Museum of Vancouver (MOV) creates Vancouver-focused exhibitions and programs that encourage dynamic conversations about what was, is, and can be Vancouver. Permanent exhibits tell the city’s stories from the early 1900s to the late ‘70s and are complemented by contemporary, groundbreaking feature exhibits. MOV is located in scenic Vanier Park, set against a spectacular vista of ocean, city skyline, and mountains. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver Maritime Museum
Visitors enjoy the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s many permanent and changing exhibits, the famous RCMP schooner St Roch and Children's Maritime Discovery Centre. The Maritime Museum tells the stories of Canada's ties to the Pacific and the Arctic. As a centre for life-long learning, the Museum interprets our ongoing interaction with the sea through exhibitions and programs for people of all ages. Visitors will discover rich maritime history and traditions and there’s so much to see and do for landlubbers and old salts. Explore the many exhibits on pirates, shipwrecks, lighthouses, early fur trade, fireboats, Vancouver warships, deep-ocean exploration, coastal and transpacific steamship lines, and so much more. For additional information, visit
  Vancouver Zodiac Adventures
Immerse yourself in the pristine scenery and coastal wildlife of British Columbia. On this 3-hour tour, your guide will take you deep into Howe Sound to explore the many islands and inlets. Once there, you will encounter seals and sea lions, visit seabird nesting sites and discover bald eagles. Also be on the lookout for porpoises! Returning to Coal Harbour you will be treated to breathtaking views of downtown Vancouver, English Bay, Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge. The tours are guided by a certified naturalist/skipper and depart from the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver dock. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast

Author: Bill Richardson

Description: Lake Woebegone goes British Columbian in this humorous slip of a novel about an unconventional Vancouver B&B, which features twin bookworm brothers, a talking parrot and a motley crew of hotel guests.

First Fish, First People, Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim

Author: Meg McHutchinson, Judith Roche, One Reel

Description: A collection of native voices from Pacific shores, all remembering the salmon. It's a lovely book, illustrated throughout with black-and-white photographs, and made more poignant by the salmon's decline in the coastal regions.

Insider's Guide Victoria & Vancouver Island

Author: Gerald Hill, Kathleen Hill

Description: A quirky, personal guide to Vancouver Island by two residents, with a focus on out of the way places, food and cultural attractions. Organized by neighborhood, the guide includes excellent listings of where to eat, stay and shop.

Lonely Planet Vancouver Encounter

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: With a section of not-to-missed highlights and a calendar of annual events, this lively pocket guide organized by neighborhood includes suggested side trips, along what to see and where to shop, eat, drink and play. With a double-sided pullout map.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest

Author: Peter Alden

Description: A compact photographic guide to the wildflowers, trees, mosses, butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the Pacific Northwest.

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Author: Jon Dunn

Description: From Alaska to Baja California, Nova Scotia and Florida, this guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Tabbed for easy access, the color range maps in this sixth edition are outstanding.

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska

Author: Andy MacKinnon, Jim Pojar

Description: A terrific handbook to nearly 800 species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, ferns, mosses and lichens found along the Pacific coast from Oregon to Alaska.

Snow Falling on Cedars

Author: David Guterson

Description: A beautifully wrought, extremely evocative novel set on San Piedro Island in Puget Sound in the 1950s. Readers are rewarded not only with some fine storytelling and beautiful prose, but also with a vivid glimpse of life on these islands in Puget Sound.

The Island Within

Author: Richard Nelson

Description: A beautifully written tribute to the Pacific Northwest. Drawn from the author's journals, this is an account of the natural and cultural history of an island in the waters of Haida Strait, with emphasis on the relationship between people and the land.

The Raven Steals the Light

Author: Robert Bringhurst, Bill Reid (Illustrator), Claude Levi-Strauss (Introduction)

Description: A classic collection of 10 Haida myths and legends with accompanying black and white etchings by Vancouver artist Bill Reid. These stories capture the storytelling traditions of the Haida.

Vancouver Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species

Author: James Kavanagh

Description: This pocket-sized reference for the bird enthusiast includes illustrations of over 120 species and a map of local birdwatching hotspots.

Vancouver Map

Author: Berndtson & Berndtson

Description: A laminated, folded map of Vancouver, British Columbia at a scale of 1:15,000.

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