Harbour Air (tel. 800/665-0212 or 604/274-1277; www.harbour-air.com) offers daily floatplane flights from the downtown Vancouver terminal next to the Canada Place cruise ship terminal. The 20-minute “Vancouver Panorama” tour (C$114 per person) flies over Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains, and all around the metro region, giving you an unparalleled bird’s-eye view of the magnificent terrain. A variety of other tour options are available, as well as scheduled flights to many destinations around the province.
Harbour Cruises (tel. 604/688-7246; www.boatcruises.com) will take you on a sunset buffet dinner cruise with onboard entertainment (C$80) or a 4-hour luncheon cruise up the Indian Arm inlet (C$65) for a blend of the scenic and the savory. If time is tight, Harbour Cruises also conducts a 1-hour narrated harbor tour aboard the MPV Constitution, a 19th-century sternwheeler with a smokestack (C$30 adults, C$25 seniors and children 12–17, C$10 children 5–11, free for children 4 and under).
Accent Cruises (tel. 800/993-6257 or 604/688-6625; www.accentcruises.ca) runs a sunset cruise most nights from Granville Island, departing at 6pm depending on availability, with a chicken-and-salmon buffet (C$65 per person).
Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours (tel. 604/525-4465; www.vancouverpaddlewheeler.com) offers sunset dinner cruises that depart from New Westminster Quay and sail along the mighty Fraser River aboard the 19th-century vessel SS Native (C$65 adults, C$60 seniors, C$50 children 6–12), as well as day trips to historic Fort Langley, Steveston, and Harrison Hot Springs.
Big Bus (tel. 877/299-0701 or 604/299-0700; www.bigbus.ca) runs a fleet of double-decker buses on a 90-minute “hop-on, hop-off” sightseeing loop around the city. A good place to start the tour is at Canada place, and buses roll by frequently. Two-day passes C$45 adults, C$40 students and seniors, and C$25 children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under, and C$115 family pass.
Landsea Tours (tel. 877/669-2277 or 604/255-7272; www.vancouvertours.com) offers a wide array of tour options, including a 4-hour city highlights tour through Vancouver in a 24-person van. Offered daily year-round at 10am, and April to early November at 2pm as well (C$75 adults, C$45 children). You can also take a tour up to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridges well as tours of wineries, Victoria, Whistler, and the new Sea to Sky excursion.
Vancouver Trolley Company (tel. 888/451-5581 or 604/801-5515; www.vancouvertrolley.com) operates gas-powered trolleys on a route through downtown, the West End, Stanley Park, Kitsilano, Yaletown, and Chinatown. Tours depart every 20 minutes from 30 stops, where passengers can get on and off, explore, and catch another scheduled trolley. Onboard, drivers provide detailed commentary. Purchase 1-day and 2-day tickets from the driver or, in summer, at the Gastown ticket booth at 157 Water St. Two-day fare C$45 adults, C$40 seniors and children 13 to 18, and C$25 children 4 to 12.
First Nations Tours
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation of North Vancouver leads a number of cultural and eco tours that provide an introduction to both First Nations culture and the stunning Indian Arm fjord. Their company, Takaya Tours (tel. 604/904-7410; www.takayatours.com) operates from the Cates Park Paddling Centre in North Vancouver in summer (tel. 604/985-2925), and conducts a roster of outdoor tours ranging from nature walks to cultural boat excursions. Prices run from C$35 to C$95, with dinner options available for groups.
Vancouver Foodie Tours (tel. 877/804-9220 or 604/295-8844; http://foodietours.ca) offers walking tours of some of the city’s best dining options—there’s a food truck tour (C$49 per person), “guilty pleasures” gourmet tour (C$69), and a Granville Island Market tour (C$49). Tours are led by well-informed and passionate local foodies, and are a great way to discover the delectable tastes of the city.
Chef and Chauffeur (tel. 604/267-1000; www.chefandchauffeur.com) runs several tours of the Fraser Valley, located an hour east of the city, and the more distant Okanagan Valley, famed for its fruit, produce, meats, cheeses, and wines. Participants start the day with coffee, fresh orange juice, and cinnamon buns or berry scones while their guide maps out the day’s adventures. The tours, in a luxury SUV, visit a variety of wineries, farms, bakeries, and cheese makers. Optional dinner and overnight add-ons are available. Tours range from C$200 to C$3,000 per person.
Swallow Tail Tours (tel. 778/855-9453; www.swallowtail.ca) offers a variety of gourmet tours of Vancouver and the surrounding area. For instance, the Canapé Crawl visits three top restaurants where participants get to sample tasting plates paired with beer, wine, and craft cocktails (C$100 per person). Other tours might head into wine country, go foraging in the forest, or crabbing on the beach.
Forbidden Vancouver (tel. 604/839-3126; http://forbiddenvancouver.ca) takes you on a journey into Vancouver’s dangerous, disreputable past with a number of entertaining walking tours. The Lost Souls of Gastown tour, for instance, resurrects the wild frontier days of the 1800s; Prohibition City introduces you to the speakeasies, gangsters, corrupt pols, and dirty cops of the 1920s. Tours are led by expert storytellers in costume. The cost is C$22 adults, C$19 seniors and students, more for “special event” tours.
During the summer months (July–Aug), the Architectural Institute of BC (tel. 604/683-8588, ext. 306; www.aibc.ca) offers a number of architectural walking tours of downtown Vancouver neighborhoods, including Chinatown and Granville Island, for only C$10 per person. The 2-hour tours run on a rotating basis Tuesday through Saturday, departing at 1pm sharp from the AIBC Architecture Centre at 440 Cambie St. Call or visit the website for details and to book.
If you want to organize your own walking tour—say, through the West End, Shaughnessy, or Gastown/Chinatown—Tourism Vancouver has lots of tips, maps, and advice for you. Drop by the visitor center at 200 Burrard St., call tel. 604/682-2222, or visit www.tourismvancouver.com.