When deciding where to go for my 40th birthday, many places came up. What place won out where to gather my friends was a corner of the world I had not yet been, the American Northwest. Wednesday through Saturday morning found us in Seattle, but for a twist, I planned the next two nights and my actually birth day to be in Canada and the city of Vancouver. If I was this close to another Major Canadian city, I had to go. From Saturday afternoon to Monday morning, we made Vancouver our home.
Living in Maine for 39 years, I had been to Montreal an amazing amount of times, twice to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Quebec City, Quebec, and Charlottetown P.E.I, and even made it to Toronto for a glorious four days. To have the chance to go to Vancouver, British Columbia on the other side of the continent, I had to do it.
Wanting a little bit of freedom to go off the beaten path if desired, we decided to rent a car from Seattle and enjoy the 2.5 hour drive through the beautiful surroundings. Surprise it rained the whole trip up to Vancouver. We were happy to get off the road and check into our home for the next two night, just one block away from Vancouver’s main gay street, Davie Street.
For my glorious death defying birthday weekend, I chose to rest my rump in the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. It seemed to be the best located place between gay, culture, and down town offerings in the west coast city. The Orbitz option let me do a no-brainer $11 upgrade to a corner room with almost seamless floor to ceiling windows overlooking the skyline. Others in the party were still very satisfied with the non-upgrade for the standard room is wonderful enough. I just wanted the special birthday view.
I still have the hotel bookmarked and will stay there again when I go back to Vancouver. As I ascended to my tower to enjoy the view, our Nissan Xterra was hidden away in the underground parking garage. We were planning on putting on our walking shoes and enjoy the city from this central location.
We ate at a couple of fine places that need to be mentioned. Our first night we desired food right off and found Moxie’s Grill and Bar. We went there since the name Moxie is the same name of a Maine soda (tasting like a mix of root beer, ginger ale, and something else I can’t place). The food was spot on and a good spot to stop right in the middle of the gay district and on the first floor of Sandman Suites, another popular and less expensive option to choose for booking a stay.
The next morning we trekked our way through Gastown, a revitalized neighborhood along Vancouver Harbor. Great shops, historical markers, and after a good walk, we found the Alibi Room. The brunch was truly enjoyable. At first glance, my friend whom detests eggs was disgusted with the menu. He still remembers that brunch to this day as one of the better ones he ingested. The selections and freshness of the food are still clear in my mind and my tongue. It was recommended to us and we are passing that recommendation on to you.
To get our drank on, we scanned the offerings for the evening and looked for where the boys were. One place was offering a show and the other a great happy hour.
THE happy hour to attend in town was marked by the line of hot men waiting to get into Pumpjack Pub. Every type of man was there, thirsty to get in and enjoy the “ambiance.” When I visited, the bar was going through a little construction so it was a little tight fitting the parched men into one cozy spot. I will say, I think I had some of the best conversations with strangers I’ve ever had in any gay bar. Canadian men are always nice and Vancouver was not disappointing. I’m not sure who the DJ was for the happy hour, but he was spinning on a stage suspended by chains (the stage, not him). He was a 5 foot maybe something red headed bundle of muscle. I need to track him down. But there were other scruffy men to keep us all company that afternoon.
We decided to take in a show at The Junction. I think the door was cash only so be prepared with those Canadian bills. They’ll gladly take your American money at face value, you losing about 27 cents on the dollar. The show and the stage were both grand. Once again, the men were very polite and easy on the eyes. This bar didn’t have as much scruff, but more smooth faced and chested men which was totally acceptable.
- Gastown – Definitely soak up this quaint and historic area of Vancouver. Businesses are eager to have you stop in.
- Davie Street – It’s the gay district of town where you will find uber gay to uber mellow bars, restaurants and welcoming people. I was impressed with the amount of options that were present, not in your face like Provincetown, but more like a mellow Fort Lauderdale.
- Stanley Park. Take a little or a long walk through or around this massive park which itself is just a short walk from this metropolis. The aquarium can also be a great rest from your Vancouver walking tour.
- Canada Place and Olympic Cauldron – Along the Vancouver Harbor you’ll find great sights, architecture, and history. Just relax, enjoy and soak in what Vancouver offers.
- Deception Pass – Not in Vancouver, but if you’re driving, this stop along the road is worth the miles. The views of mountains and water all around made you feel so miniscule, the land and water had power. This was magnified by the $8 ferry ride from Clinton to Mukilteo. I would have taken that ferry all day for it made you just be in awe of nature.
For more to do's, I liked the recommendations given at 4guys.ca .
Out of all the trips my friends and I have gone on, Vancouver is the destination that keeps calling us back for more. There are many other things I want to do next time I go back to Vancouver; things that I have already done as well as things that are on my still to experience list.
Vancouver has many nicknames.
- City of Glass.
- Hollywood North.
- Wet Coast
- Terminal City
I think I'll just call it "next on my list to return to."
Until we meet again, Vancouver.