Vancouver is characterized by its rich history, the diversity of its residents and the city’s natural beauty, all of which make it one of the most visited cities in Canada. The arts and culture scene, includes several theatre companies, such as the Arts Club Theatre Company, which is the largest theatre company in western Canada, Touchstone Theatre and Studio 58. Several theatre festivals run throughout the summer.

B

ard on the Beach is the largest annual Shakespeare festival in Western Canada. Other festivals of note include, Theatre under the Stars, the Fringe Festival and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

The largest annual festival is the Vancouver International Film festival, which runs throughout the first two weeks of September. The festival is spread across several venues and there are upwards of 350 films shown each year. The central venue for this event is the Vancity Theatre, which plays a wide array of independent films throughout the remainder of the year, as do the Hollywood Theatre, the Pacific Cinémathèque and the Rio Theatre.

There are several performing arts venues across the city, including the Scotiabank Dance Centre, the Orpheum Theatre, home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Vancouver Playhouse, which are used by the Vancouver Opera.

Vancouver has several museums in the heart of the city. The Vancouver Art Gallery includes over 10,000 artworks by many famous Canadian and international artists, including Emily Carr. The Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) has a local focus, featuring up-and-coming Vancouver artists. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has a large collection of artefacts regarding Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations arts and culture. Other museums in the city include Science World (officially, Telus World of Science), the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

Much of Vancouver’s nightlife happens inthe Granville Entertainment District, a busy downtown street with many popular bars and nightclubs. The street attracts large crowds on weekends, during which time the street is closed to traffic and the bars remain open until 3:00 a.m. Several venues in this area host smaller concerts and shows, including the Commodore Ballroom, the Vogue Theatre and the Orpheum. Large-scale concerts are typically held at Rogers Arena, the Pacific Coliseum, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre or BC Place Stadium. Gastown also has a vibrant nightlife with many upscale restaurants and bars. Davie Street is the heart of the city’s LGBTQ community and nightlife.

Points of interest outside Vancouver include Victoria, Whistler, Squamish, Harrison Hot Springs, Steveston, The Sunshine Coast, Butchart Gardens, Salt Spring Island, Golden Ears Provincial Park, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Nanaimo and Seattle in the United States.

Vancouver is located on Canada’s west coast, which is home to many mountain ranges known for their world-class skiing and hiking. These include Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, Big White, Whistler, The Chief, Garibaldi Lake, Revelstoke, Mount Cheam, Sun Peaks, Crown Mountain, and Mount Baker in Washington State. There are also several beautiful lake and beaches around Vancouver, especially Trout Lake, Sunset Beach, Spanish Banks, Sasamat Lake, Whyte Lake, Kitsilano Beach, Alice Lake, Cultus Lake, English Bay, Second Beach, Lost Lake, Joffre Lake, and Alta Lake.