Vancouver’s sunny summer season is always busy with visitors, but in the quieter winter months, there’s still plenty to do. The cultural calendar is packed with festivals, theater events and concerts.
And, of course, if you wanted to acquaint yourself with the snow, head for the mountains to ski, snowboard or snowshoe less than 30 minutes from downtown.
This winter, we’re particularly excited about these three new reasons to visit Vancouver.
Dining at the Parq
When the swooping towers of the Parq Vancouver complex opened in September 2017 next to the BC Place arena, not only did it add two deluxe hotels to the city’s lodging landscape — JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Douglas, Autograph Collection — but it also created a new dining destination, with eight food and drink outlets tucked behind its coppery-glass façade.
Las Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and her chef husband Kim Canteenwalla are the brains and kitchen brawn behind the Parq’s wide range of restaurants. The complex’s signature eatery Honey Salt, located on the lobby level of the JW Marriott, is the Vancouver version of the couple’s original Vegas dining spot. Look for farm-to-table comfort food at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
On the high rollers’ gaming floor of the Parq’s casino, 1886 serves high-end Chinese food, drawing on gourmet traditions from Shanghai, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hunan. Opt for a Peking duck tasting menu or choose from live local seafood like B.C. Dungeness crab or geoduck clam. This white-tablecloth dining destination also makes dim sum for lunch and to satisfy those pesky late-night cravings.
Newly opened in December, Victor features classic steaks, specialty cocktails and, of course, exceptional Pacific Northwest seafood. Situated on the scenic, sixth-floor Parq level, it includes a sushi and raw bar where you can select from Japanese-style fish and West Coast oysters, crab and other shellfish.
Exploring a new art museum
The city’s local art scene just got a facelift with the recent opening of Polygon Gallery, located on the North Vancouver waterfront across Burrard Inlet from the city center. Formerly the home of the long-running Presentation House Gallery, the new eye-catcher designed by Vancouver-based Patkau Architects (who also dreamed up the Audain Art Museum in Whistler) is mounting exhibitions that focus on photography and media-based art.
The inaugural exhibit, “N. Vancouver” (through April 29), features works by more than 15 regional artists who have captured the area’s landscapes and cultures through photos, video, textiles, carvings and other media.
With a glass atrium on the first floor and a waterside terrace on the second level, the museum has a fabulous view of the downtown Vancouver skyline.
It’s easy to get here, too; cruise to the new gallery on the SeaBus, the 12-minute ferry between Waterfront Station and Lonsdale Quay that’s a part of the city’s public transit network.
Getting festive at Dine Out Vancouver
The annual mid-winter Dine Out Vancouver festival isn’t new, but every year it features a changing array of food events and a host of first-time participating restaurants offering special menus.
Kicking off with a Grand Tasting Event at the Orpheum Theatre, this year’s festival runs from January 19 to February 4. The highlight will be the World Chef Exchange series, pairing Vancouver-based chefs with top toques from around the globe.
Maenam’s Angus An will host a dinner with David Thompson of Bangkok‘s Nahm; Andrea Carlson of Burdock & Co. will cook with Tokyo chef Fumihiro Matsumoto of Kantera; and an evening of Canadian indigenous cuisine will match Edible Canada’s chef Tobias Grignon with indigenous chefs Rich Francis, Shane Chartrand and Bill Alexander.
Also on the festival lineup are food-focused neighborhood tours, craft beer and wine samplings, cooking workshops and the always-popular Secret Supper Soiree, a moveable feast that transports diners on a classic 1930s trolley to several undisclosed locations.
Over the course of the epicurean extravaganza, nearly 300 restaurants around the region will provide value-priced three-course tasting menus. Many events and dinners sell out, so don’t delay in making your reservations for the tasty festivities.