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Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeTrip DirectoryBula! Fiji HubGuns & Butter: Vancouver, Canada Travel Guide (Organic Edition)

Guns & Butter: Vancouver, Canada Travel Guide (Organic Edition)

Vancouver Travel Guide is part of the Bula! Fiji Hub Trip Report.

TPOL’s Guns & Butter Travel Guide is the best way to see as much as you can in as little time as possible. Here’s how it works: A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy. The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa. The guide includes inefficient activities i.e., tourist traps that should be avoided and aspirational activities that are worth doing but may be impossible to see given the constraints of time and resources.

“I hate organic cities, never take me to Portland.” Those were my parting words on my way back to YVR airport. Hate is far from the right word to describe how I feel about Vancouver. The city itself is quite pleasant. The price gouging disguised as local, farm-to-table is where I was turned off.

TPOL’s Disclaimer: I had one day in Vancouver (see Close Call? Connection Flight before Fiji Cancelled), so this is an abbreviated Guns Guide. However, according to my Uber driver, I saw as much as humanly possible in the short time I was there.

Train from the Airport

I took the train from the airport to the Waterfront (see Uber Or Train from Vancouver Airport? Depends on How Many People).

a large sign in a parking lot

Coffee Is Mandatory

a black cup with a brown liquid in it

Before embarking on a day of adventure, I needed a double shot. Where you choose to have that is up to you.

Gastown Steam Clock

No trip to Vancouver would be complete without seeing the Gastown Steam Clock go off.

TPOL’s Trivia: Did you know that the Gastown Steam Clock was named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton?

a clock tower on a brick sidewalk

a alley with graffiti on the side of it


Aesthetically, Chinatown looked a little run down.

a street with a bridge over it

a street sign on a red pole

a brick and stone surface with text on it

Fortunately, dim sum was quality at Jade’s Dynasty.

a plate of food with a spoon

a plate of food on a table

a bowl of dim sum

dumplings in a steamer


a table with many plates of food
$47 for too much food, $ well spent.

TPOL’s Tip: Jade’s Dynasty is located at 137 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T6, Canada.


At dim sum, I met a Vancouver ‘local’, a Mexican expat. He recommended that I spend the day walking around the city. And so we did.

a body of water with buildings in the background

a group of birds on rocks in the water

a body of water with buildings in the background

False Creek 

The highlight of my time in Vancouver was False Creek, “a short narrow inlet in the heart of Vancouver, separating the Downtown and West End neighborhoods from the rest of the city.”

a road with cars on it
Granville Street Bridge

It’s worth the trek up and over the bridge for these colors:

a city with boats in the water

a city with boats and buildings

a city with boats and buildings

Granville Island

The Mexican also suggested that I go to Granville Island for Vancouver’s famous donuts. It’s under the aforementioned bridge.  a sign over a bridge

Lee’s Donuts

After an hour of walking, the moment of truth came as we arrived at Lee’s Donuts. Would it be worth the hype and effort?

a sign on a gatea tray of glazed donuts

a store with a sign and a couple of people standing in front of it

a donut on a napkin

It was not. Like Domino’s pizza, I’ll run on Dunkin’ before walking to Lee’s again.

TPOL’s TIP: 1689 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada

a street with a bridge over it

Lee’s is located within the Public Market, a variety of lively, local shops. Browsing, I wondered who would pay these prices for basic groceries. The restaurants were equally as expensive. This unassuming place was more of a tourist trap than a local way to spend an afternoon.

Burrard Bridge

Disappointed by the overpriced Public Market, I sought to find the natural beauty of Vancouver. Instead of jumping into an Uber, I walked to Burrard Bridge, the parallel Bridge to Granville, for more views.

a body of water with boats and buildings in the background

a body of water with boats and buildings

a plaque with gold text on it

Stanley Park

Running out of time, I Ubered to Stanley Park for more nature.

a city skyline with trees and water

a city skyline with boats in the water

a body of water with trees and buildings in the background

On a cold, windy day, I visited the Girl in the Westuit.

a sign on a stone ledge

a person sitting on a rock in the water

Although some believe it was a replica of Copenhagen’s The Little Mermaid (see Guns & Butter: Copenhagen Travel Guide), the creator has said: I didn’t believe we should have a copy of the mermaid. She is rightfully a symbol of Copenhagen… I proposed to have a life-size scuba diver seated there. At that time scuba diving was getting quite popular here in Vancouver and, just as important, I didn’t know of any similar sculpture anywhere in the world. It was a new idea… There was tremendous opposition and great controversy. I still don’t know why.”

I’m not sure I buy that. Here’s The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen:

a statue of a mermaid on a rock by a body of water with The Little Mermaid in the background

Water creatures aside, Stanley Park is worth the visit.

a dragon head sculpture on a white wall next to a body of water

a body of water with mountains in the background

Olympic Village

The final stop was the Olympic Village. There’s not much to see here as the area has turned into a residential neighborhood.

a man standing in front of a street sign


In terms of big Canadien cities, I prefer Toronto or Montreal over Vancouver. While the scenery in Vancouver is beautiful, I am not paying a premium for this organic tranquility. I suggest you spend your time outside where the experience is free.



  1. Vancouver is awesome – there used to be a tower there that gave you a 360 degrees of bird eyes view of the city and its surroundings. Not sure about the name though …

    Thanks for bringing up great memories!

  2. Stanley Park has a President Harding memorial. Harding was the first US president to visit Canada while in office. He got sick and died at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on the way back to the US by train. There is also the Air India monument built for the terrorist attack that brought down a 747 killing mostly Canadians.

    Richmond, by the airport, has a much bigger and newer Chinatown.

    Stevenson is a waterfront and eating area in Richmond.

    The Museum of Anthropology is closed until mid 2024 and has many nice native art. It’s on the scenic UBC campus.

    Fans of acclaimed architect Arthur Erikson will find several of his works there, including one of his few houses and Simon Fraser University.

    If one likes Punjabi Indian food, there is lots of it.

    Canada bans the sale of houses to foreigners, including Americans. If you have a house or condo, you must rent it or will be taxed 6% of its value every year ($60,000 for a $1M condo) in addition to property tax. This has achieved the politicians’ objectives of making Vancouver a very cheap place to live and buy a home! Trust Canadian politicians, especially Justin Trudeau and David Eby! They are also banning gasoline powered cars in 11 years and taxing them a lot in 4 years.

    Near the gas clock is the Downtown Eastside where there is a lot of fentenyl and all kinds of drugs for sale. There is also St. Paul’s hospital nearby if you get stabbed.

    There are quite a few good restaurants in Vancouver, more than Seattle.

      • Don’t get stabbed if you are American. Their hospitals charge you more than a price of a Maserati for medium injuries and more than in the US. That’s because Canada likes to prey on the uninsured, worse than America. For Canadians, it’s cheap, however. Specialists are free except you must first get a referral from a family doctor which is very slow and difficult. Covid drug Paxlovid is banned unless you are 65 or so, a cost cutting measure.

  3. Chinatown is near the area that drug addicts stab people so Richmond, a much larger area with lots of shiny glass buildings, is a better version of Chinatown.

    The Canadian government hates Chinese from China so if you have a home in British Columbia but the breadwinner is overseas or even in the US or another Canadian province, you will be labeled as a speculator and have to pay high yearly taxes on your home. So if the wife works and lives in BC but the husband is away temporarily, get punishing taxes on your home. Canada has a lot of crazy policies like that because their system of government lacks checks and balances. There is just one real branch of government equivalent to the House of Representatives. No governor or senate to balance it. The head is not a president or governor but the leader of the house-equivalent, which leads to wacky stuff.

    There’s a decent art museum in downtown.

    There are also scenic hikes with pedestrian suspension bridges and gondolas in the Vancouver area.

  4. Lee’s is terrible! Vancouver has a plethora of excellent donut shops including Mello, just one block east of your mediocre dim sum. Only good “Chinese” food in Chinatown is New Town bakery (but only bakery, do NOT eat the meals). Everyone knows great Chinese can be found in many Vancouver neighborhoods and most of the suburbs but certainly nothing on Chinatown.

    Eating in Vancouver is unparalleled for almost any cuisine, hi or lo. It’s a resort style city, not much culture but outdoors and nature is fantastic. But it’s not a cheap place…for any activity!

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