All registered participants will enjoy a complimentary excursion on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 19, 2020. The excursions will be offered on a first-come basis. Additional guest tickets will be available at the time of registration or at the Registration Desk during WATOC 2020. In order to get your first choice, it is recommended that you choose your excursion when you register.
Vancouver Harbour Cruise
It is anticipated that the majority of the registered participants will choose the harbour cruise. Complimentary beverages, appetizers and finger food will be served during the cruise. The ships will depart from Coal Harbour, a short walk along the Seawall to the West of the Vancouver Conference Centre. The ships will cruise into Burrard Inlet, pass under the iconic Lions Gate Bridge, and follow the shoreline of Stanley Park into English Bay. The ships will continue under the historic Burrard Bridge and proceed East in False Creek to the Telus World of Science. As you pass under the Granville Bridge, you will get a close-up view of Granville Island, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver.
For those participants who prefer a land-based option, we are pleased to offer the following excursions by bus. Please note that none of the following excursions include beverages and food; therefore, you will be encouraged to have lunch before boarding the coach for your chosen excursion. All excursions will depart from the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Museum of Anthropology at UBC
MOA is probably the most significant museum in Vancouver. The collection includes Indigenous art and artifacts from around the world with a special emphasis on works from the Northwest Coast. The iconic building was designed by renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. Visitors are immediately drawn to the Great Hall with its giant totem poles. Be sure to visit the Bill Reid Rotunda, which highlights the carver’s masterpiece The Raven and the First Men. The collection includes cedar canoes, bentwood boxes, masks, sculptures, ceramics, weavings and many more items. If time allows, visitors are encouraged to ask for directions to the UBC Rose Garden, which is on the other side of NW Marine Drive. The formal rose garden offers an excellent view of Howe Sound and the Tantalus Mountains to the North of UBC.
Grouse Mountain Skyride and Resort
After a 15-minute bus ride via the Lions Gate Bridge, participants will be delivered to the base of the Grouse Mountain Skyride, the largest aerial tramway system in North America. Upon exiting the Skyride, visitors will have many options, including observing the two resident grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, in their five-acre sanctuary. The Birds in Motion teaches about bald eagles and peregrine falcons and the Pollinator’s Garden focuses on bees and butterflies. Another possibility is to enjoy the many hiking trails associated with the resort. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can choose to experience the exhilarating ziplines. One can also go further up the mountain, via the chairlifts that transport the skiers in winter.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The first suspension bridge across the Capilano River was built it 1889, three years after the incorporation of Vancouver. The bridge was constructed from hemp rope and cedar planks. The hemp rope bridge was replaced by a wire cable bridge in 1903. The Capilano Suspension Bridge and associated amenities have been upgraded many times and now are among the most popular tourist destinations in the Vancouver area. The suspension bridge offers an excellent opportunity to cross a canyon between towering evergreens in a cedar-scented rainforest. The Treetops Adventure consists of seven suspended footbridges that allow visitors to observe the tree canopy from about 35 m above the forest floor. The Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along the Capilano River via a series of narrow cantilevered bridges and platforms. There are many interpretive signs that point out some of the interesting features of the temperate rainforest.
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish provides panoramic views of Howe Sound, the majestic coastal forest, surrounding mountains and glaziers in the distance. Each gondola car has a capacity of eight passengers. The ride provides an excellent view of Shannon Falls and the famous Stawamus Chief climbing area. Many activities are possible at the top, including two different interpretive loop walking trails with cantilevered viewing platforms, the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, and access trails to the backcountry. Naturalists are often on hand to explain the local fauna and flora and to describe the geological history of the area. The view from the top provides an excellent opportunity to see the mixing of glazier-fed rivers and ocean currents.
VanDusen Botanical Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park
This bus tour will visit two of the best gardens in the Vancouver area. The 22-hectare (55-acre) VanDusen Botanical Garden opened to the public in 1975. In addition to displays of plants from all over the world, the garden features an extensive collection of native British Columbian (Northwest Coast) plants. There are many water features throughout the rolling landscape. Special features include carved totem poles, large stone sculptures, pavilions and a maze that is very popular with children. The 52-hectare (120-acre) Queen Elizabeth Park is located at the geographical centre of Vancouver and occupies the highest point (152 m) above sea level in the city. It features some of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Be sure to visit the quarry garden, a popular backdrop for wedding photographs.
This bus tour will include many of Vancouver’s most popular attractions. The tour will begin with Stanley Park, a 400-hectare (1000-acre) park, which is Vancouver’s first, largest and most beloved urban park. The tour will include the beaches of English Bay and Spanish Banks and the expansive Point Grey campus of the University of British Columbia. The many highlights will include Queen Elizabeth Park, Granville Island, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, Chinatown, Gastown and Yaletown.