A walk in the woods

Shopping in downtown Vancouver is just like any other Western city, with grand chain stores and big brands. Yet I’ve also noticed a thriving independent trade. If Robson Street is like London’s West End, Main Street takes you back in time – literally.

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John’s Jukes is a wondrous collection of bar entertainment from a different era. Wutlitzers jostle for position with vintage pinball machines and arcade games. But John himself remains realistic : “It’s a passion, yes, but it’s also a business.”

I’m not sure my baggage allowance will stretch to these.

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The rest of Main Street is great for quirky souvenir shopping. But today I’m not buying, I’m looking.

The Compass Card is Vancouver’s new travel pass. And for $9.75 a day (about  £5) you can use the buses, trains and the ferry to the North Shore.

Many coming here arrive by a free shuttle bus, taking them either up to Grouse Mountain or the Calapino Suspension Bridge. Both attractions will set you back £40 each. But you can get a similar experience for free at Lynn Valley.

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The gorge here is only 50 feet deep, but it provides a great introduction to Vancouver’s outdoor scene. Woodland trails wind around the valley, all with good surfaces for weary feet.

It’s also remarkably accessories for the local classy neighbourhood.

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Back at the North Shore, the Lonsdale Quay public market provides a great place for an early dinner. It’s much smaller than its Granville Island counterpart but great value for money. Fish and chips for £5 – with cod that was possibly caught this morning. If this were downtown you could triple that price.

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