Outside, it looked like dawn would never come. We dressed and ate in the early morning’s dark, packed our bags, and left our Airbnb apartment that had been home for the past four days. Our taxi idled at the curb.
Right before we pulled into the train station, our taxi driver said with a sleepy glance in the rearview mirror, “It’s been hell getting around this area lately. Roads have been blocked off. This actor, Ryan Reynolds, has been shooting a movie here. Right down there…” he pointed out the window.
I looked but was too late to see what he was pointing at other than a dark, deserted alley that looked nothing like a movie set.
“Did you say Ryan Reynolds?” I said.
(Aka the actor who delivers lines in a perfectly snarky and sarcastic manner. Who has an astounding depth of acting potential. Who is incredibly, incredibly good-looking. But I digress. Back to my story.)
“Yeah, they’ve been shooting in the early morning hours. Surprised they aren’t right now. Oh, here we are. Need help with your bags?”
We paid, grabbed our backpacks, scooted out of the slick leather backseat, and walked into the enormous empty train station to catch the Amtrak south to Seattle.
Our last day in Vancouver, a romantic, if sometimes damp, city with a charming personality that popped out at unexpected times like a shy bookworm emerging with a witty remark or laughing glance. I was tempted to skip the early morning train ride down British Columbia’s oceanic coast to hunt down a celebrity and do tiptoed walk-bys to see how tall he really was. (Come on, celebrity stats are like footballers’ stats: 95% padded.)
But, our train was leaving in under three minutes and my persuasion skills are rusty before 8am and coffee, so I followed my husband to the train tracks, carrying our Chinese leftovers in a Tortuga daypack, already wishing I could return to Vancouver.
Things You Should Always Pack
Vancouver is like Seattle’s foreign cousin. The two cities feel alike in their devil-may-care, cool-kid attitude. But Vancouver has a grown-up edge in its Olympic Village, French influence, and large Chinatown. This city deftly combines metropolitan flair and love of nature.
Vancouver is also Canada’s wettest and foggiest city. A feature that only adds to its mystique.
Waterproof, Windproof Layer
For Vancouver, pack a jacket that is waterproof and windproof. Rain is a regular occurrence here, and Vancouver is right next to the ocean so the breeze whipping inland can bite. I wore FlyLow Gear Vixen jacket with an extra-large hood; it was perfect.
You’ll want a good, sturdy daypack to hold your treasures as you wander Vancouver.
Vancouver is very walkable city. Pack comfortable shoes with well-padded soles to explore Olympic Village, or wander down to charming Gastown neighborhood with one of the world’s last steam powered clocks. Opt for a more athletic pair if you’re planning to hit day hikes outside the city, like Dog Mountain or St. Mark’s Summit.
A moist cold burrows deep into your skin on damp days in this city. Wear layers to combat against Vancouver’s quickly changing weather and wet cold. When I visited in April, one day was driving rain, but the next day was sunny and 60. Wear layers to shed and put back on as the weather changes.
Vancouver is a casual-cool city. My go-to outfit was a pair of dark wash jeans, a long sleeve shirt, waterproof jacket, and leather shoes. I never felt out of place or underdressed anywhere I went.
Since Vancouver is Canada’s wettest city, opt for quick-drying clothes — not dense denim or sweaters that soak up water — to stay warm and comfortable. If you go on a whale watching boat ride, your quick-drying clothes will be welcome as waves splash over the boat’s sides.
Whether you’re out on the water or wandering the Olympic Village, you’ll want some sunscreen. Click to continue…