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Coal Harbour: urban luxury on the waterfront


Cruise ships anchor near the iconic five sails at Canada Place
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It comes as no surprise that a young city such as Vancouver, located on the Pacific Rim, is constantly changing. The skyline and seashore is routinely redrawn as urban enclaves crop up in areas that were once relegated to industry. Perhaps nowhere else in Vancouver is this type of evolution more dramatic than it is in Coal Harbour. This community stretches along Burrard Inlet and is flanked by the five sails of Canada Place (and now the Olympic cauldron) on one side and Stanley Park on the other.

True, the Westin Bayshore Vancouver hotel has anchored the waterfront for decades, with its vantage point looking out at Stanley Park, the Vancouver Rowing Club and the North Shore mountains. It’s still a striking sanctuary in an area that has traded busy railways and heavy industry for rows of grand condo towers fronted by manicured gardens and a marina filled with yachts. Other luxury hotels, including the Pan Pacific and the Fairmont Waterfront, which have been joined by the new Fairmont Pacific Rim, draw affluent visitors to the prime harbourfront location.

The seawall promenade that winds its way around Stanley Park and English Bay continues here. The thoroughfare is smartly divided into separate pathways for cyclists and pedestrians. It connects gorgeous Harbour Green park and its mammoth art sculptures to waterfront restaurants and bars, such as Lift, and Cardero’s, before reaching the Vancouver Convention Centre. The new wing of this state-of-the-art facility,   which hosts an estimated 360 events a year, has achieved the highest certification possible for environmental design. Its six-acre roof is home to thousands of live indigenous plants.

Seaplanes, sailboats, charter boats and cruise ships contribute to the hive of activity in and around the harbour. Planes glide in and out of the inlet, taking people to Vancouver Island, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast. In the summer, kids can be seen dashing through the jets of water in the park located at the foot of Bute Street in front of the Mill Marine Bistro. This family friendly spot was named in tribute to the Pacific Lumber Mill Company that once called this spot home in the 1800s.