Brandon Lind is a Canadian photographer who just completed his master’s in Architecture at Carleton University. And until he starts his new job at an urban design and planning firm, he loves to travel and explore both Canada and his passion for photography, a hobby that came out from needing a creative outlet. For this Excellent Adventure, Brandon headed to Vancouver, B.C.!
Vancouver is a seaport city on Canada’s west coast in British Columbia. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada but with the highest population density. It is one of the top five cities around the world to be recognized for livability and quality of life and its urban atmosphere and proximity to nature and mountains definitely helps create that appeal.
Bather: Why Vancouver?
Brandon: For my master’s thesis project, I was working on a site in Vancouver, False Creek South. I and two other students went out to present our ideas to community members and city officials. Also, Vancouver is always a beautiful place to visit.
Bather: How did you choose to travel all the way across Canada?
Brandon: I wish I could say I had an epic cross-country road trip but I actually got a really sweet deal for some West Jet flights direct from Toronto.
Bather: Where did you stay?
Brandon: With two of my best friends from undergrad, Pauline and Alex. They are both at UBC working towards their own master degrees. I’ve actually stayed with them a few times over the last couple of years. They live in the Kitsilano neighbourhood, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting.
Bather: What was your day-to-day like? Any fun activities that really stood out for you?
Brandon: Because I was staying in Kitsilano, most of my days started and ended around there. Walking along West 4th Ave you can find a ton of cool shops! Plan time to get some ice cream from Rain or Shine — the line is definitely worth it. I recommend the salted caramel!
One of my last days, Alex, Pauline and I managed to get away from the city. Definitely one of the best things about Vancouver is how easy you can access unbelievable nature. We drove up the Sea to Sky Highway and stopped for a hike at Murrin Provincial Park which is just before Squamish. It is an intense hike but really short and the view you get is totally worth it. I think it is kind of a hidden gem as supposedly it's not on all trail maps. You can also jump in Murrin Lake at the end to refresh!
Bather: How does Vancouver compare to other urban Canadian cities?
Brandon: It's definitely one of my top three. I would say it is most comparable to Toronto or Montreal in terms of size but has a way more comfortable pace. There is nature everywhere, even right in the middle of the city. My immediate thought when I landed that continued with me throughout my trip was, "Why don't I live here?"
I got super lucky with the weather but I know the rain can be a big downer, especially in the winter. It is also a pretty expensive place to live. Two things that luckily didn't really affect me on my trip.
Another benefit of staying in Kitsilano is that you are close to Kitsilano Beach (Kits Beach as the locals call it). I managed to make it there almost every day. I would recommend heading there for the sunset and bring a frisbee and a few beers. The perfect way to end your day.
Bather: Any tips for anyone thinking of travelling to Vancouver?
Brandon: Not specific to Vancouver, but more general travel advice: try to stay with someone that lives there instead of a hotel. Whether that is a friend or Airbnb, it is an awesome way to feel like a part of the city and get some local knowledge.
For Vancouver, try to get away from the city at least one day. Try to go deep into nature and understand what it is really like living on the west coast.
Bather: How would you describe your trip in 5 words?
Brandon: Beautiful, Quick, Rewarding, Friendly, Fresh.