In Vancouver I stay at a quirky old hotel on English Bay. Built in 1912 and covered in Virginia Creeper, the Sylvia was the tallest building in the West End until the 1950s.
Speaking of souvenirs, I wander into the Winter Olympics merchandising section of the (Hudson’s) Bay, a major Canadian retail chain. Vast. It takes up most of the department store’s considerable main floor and customers waving credit cards and cash are being steered into special queues to increase the Bay’s profit margins.
Visiting Vancouver a little over two months before the Olympics is proximity enough for me. I have a reduced rate for the hotel, easily get tables in restaurants and empty taxis are a dime a dozen. I guarantee you it'll be different in February.
Here’s the Olympics countdown clock and – unusual for a modest nation – one of the biggest Canadian flags I’ve ever seen.
Of course, Stanley Park is always on the agenda. This shot is taken near the park entrance looking across to the sails of Canada Place.