Ecotouring: Lean & Green Vancouver

Canada, Extras — By on April 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

By Julie Ovenell-Carter
Special to The Lost Girls

5 budget-friendly tips for sustainable sightseeing on Canada’s Left Coast

Vancouver, B.C.—recently named Canada’s greenest city—aims to be a jolly green giant by 2020.

Already boasting the smallest carbon footprint of any major North American city and an international reputation for sustainable community planning, Vancouver recently vowed to become the greenest city in the world in less than a decade.

It’s an inspired vision, but it’s going to require a team effort. Happily for tourists, it’s relatively easy—and inexpensive—to tread lightly in Lotusland. Here are five simple ways to help both the planet and your budget on a visit to Vancouver:

  • Take public transit: You certainly don’t need a car or taxi to get around downtown Vancouver. The city’s efficient transportation system includes buses, boats, trains and rapid transit. Save money with a day pass or books of discount tickets at any FareDealer outlet (such as the 7-11 store in Vancouver International Airport.) You can even plan to sightsee via public transit: many of the lines follow especially scenic routes.
  • Explore by bike: Rent a bicycle (built for one or two) from one of the shops near Stanley Park or along the Coal Harbour seawall and take advantage of Vancouver’s excellent network of dedicated bike lanes. You can get to all of the city’s prime tourist attractions easily by pedal-power—and take advantage of the many inexpensive street food carts along the way.
  • Forgo bottled water: Metro Vancouver’s ultra-filtered tap water is arguably the best in the world. There’s no need to buy or drink bottled water. And to make it easy to refill your reusable water bottle, download the city’s “Tap Map” app to quickly locate a water fountain near you.
  • Eat green: A growing number of chefs are committed to locally sourced products and OceanWise sustainable seafood. (The famous 100-Mile Diet originated in this part of the world after all!) Among the most reliable Vancouver restaurants for environmentally responsible cuisine: Raincity Grill; YEW at the Four Seasons; Coast; and BlueWater Café. If you’re looking to eat cheaply, head to Granville Island or look for weekly street markets to buy farm-fresh fruits, veggies, honey, bread, eggs and other organic fare. Especially in the summer and fall, it’s not hard to find sustainably harvested picnic fixings.
  • Get out—and stay out: Vancouver is a notoriously fit city and residents seize any excuse to cavort with Mother Nature in the great outdoors. Put on your running shoes and exercise like a local on the myriad mountains, beaches and seawalls. If you don’t want to break a sweat, just walk—over a bridge, across park, through a shopping district.

When Julie Ovenell-Carter powers off WhyGoCanada for the day, she enjoys an evening constitutional in one of Vancouver’s many beautiful—and very green—parks and gardens.

    1 Comment

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