Hello Class of 2016 and welcome to the Sauder School of Business MBA program and also to the beautiful city of Vancouver. My name is Lynnfield Mitchell and I am a second year student in the MBA program specializing in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I have also lived in Vancouver for the past 5 years. Being quite familiar with the area and also being someone who is always out and about, I have been asked to give you all some interesting insights as to what to see, what to do, and where to eat, etc. in Vancouver.
So, without further ado, here is my list of…
Top Ten Things To See and Do in Vancouver
1. Seawall and Stanley Park
When I think of Vancouver, the first thing that pops into my mind is the Seawall. This is a 22 km long path that lines Vancouver’s waterfront and acts as the perimeter to Stanley Park, which is Vancouver’s largest park with 400 hectares. The Seawall offers two lanes, one for walking or jogging and the other for biking, rollerblading, skateboarding etc. There is nothing more amazing then going for a seaside walk with friends around the seawall, and especially the 8.8km section that surrounds Stanley Park. Be sure to pack a picnic and relax in Stanley Park afterwards. Other Stanley Park highlights include Movie in the Park that takes place every Tuesday evening in July and August playing movies outside for free. Additionally, many amazing concerts are held in Stanley Park, which makes for an amazing outdoor venue.
2. Hit the Beach
Vancouver isn’t Vancouver without hitting the beach as much as possible during the summertime. There are so many beaches to choose from and every one has its certain charm. My favorites are 3rd beach, Jericho and Spanish Banks, Wreck Beach, and the Dog Beach (Hadden Dog Park).
3rd Beach, located in Stanley Park, offers a really beautiful and serene beach perfect for families and picnics. It also offers temperate waters perfect for swimming.
Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, which are both fairly close to UBC, offer clean beaches, BBQ facilities, beach volleyball, and concession stands. These are great spots to meet up with friends and enjoy a BBQ together.
Wreck Beach, another favorite, is located right on UBC Campus making it really convenient. This is Vancouver’s ONLY clothing optional beach, so if you’re feeling adventurous check it out. The people watching here is pretty amazing and you’ll be really surprised to see how many different sports people can play naked! It also offers a lot of great vendors and concession stands during peak season. Be prepared to get your exercise here though because there are A LOT of steep stairs to get down to the beach and after a relaxing day in the sun, these can be quite challenging on the way back up.
Finally, my # 1 beach of all is the Dog Beach (Hadden Dog Park) because I have a 10mth old puppy. This beach is one of the only beaches in Vancouver where dogs are allowed off leash. It makes for such a wonderful environment for your pets to socialize, swim, and tire themselves out. All the people who frequent this beach are really friendly and it makes for a very welcoming community.
3. Eat Somewhere Amazing
In Vancouver, we are very fortunate to have some of the best eats around. With a very multi-cultural city, you can get your hands on just about any type of food you desire.
In November, during our Creativity Class, I wrote a Food Blog for my final project called Lynnfield Eats Everything. Here I challenged my classmates to join me as guest judges at 15 different restaurants, over 15 days, each for under $15. Feel free to check it out for great restaurant ideas.
My Favorite Vancouver Restaurants Are:
Red Wagon: amazing diner style brunch food
Nicili Antica Pizzeria: authentic Napoletana pizza
Bao-Bei: Asian sharing plates
Les Faux Bourgeois: awesome French cuisine
Toshi’s: my pick for best sushi in Vancouver
4. Hike the Chief
Hiking the Chief in Squamish is another favorite pastime for Vancouverites. Located approximately 1hr. from Vancouver, this hike boasts some of the most breathtaking views from the top. This hike takes approximately 3 hrs. round trip and requires a lot of physical exertion, so if you’re looking for a leisurely hike, this isn’t it! Ladders, chains, stairs, rocks, all make up the steep and advanced hike, but all the hard work pays off when you look out over beautiful Squamish at the top.
5. Granville Island
Granville Island is a great place to spend an afternoon and somewhere that everyone visiting Vancouver should check out at least once. Located under the Granville Bridge, Granville Island offers an eclectic community of artists, galleries, theatres, restaurants, studios, cafes, and one of the most amazing food markets. Walk around and check out some of the awesome vendors, have lunch on the pier, and shop for dinner at the market. If your feeling like trying something new, rent a paddle board and take a tour of False Creek by board.
6. Ski or Snowshoe the Local Mountains.
Vancouver is totally spoiled having 3 local mountains in our backyard (Grouse, Cypress and Seymour). Skiing or snowboarding a local mountain is a must during your time in Vancouver. Or if you want something a little more relaxing rent snow shoes and take a winter walk through some of the amazing trails.
7. Go Sailing
I have just taken up sailing this year through the MBA Sailing Club. I am loving the experience and I highly recommend all of you take part in the Sailing Regatta at the beginning of the year. If you enjoy your time on the boat, definitely sign up for the MBA Sailing Club where you will learn everything you need to know about sailing, plus there’s a Regatta in Italy that we take part in.
8. Visit Whistler
Whistler in our little mountain resort community that serves as a great weekend getaway from Vancouver. Just 2-3 hours from Vancouver, Whistler boasts Whistler Blackcomb Mountain, which is one of the best ski hills in Canada. Whistler also offers an amazing town filled with wonderful shopping, excellent dining, and great lakes and hikes surrounding the town. My favorite place to check out, when I’m not skiing the slopes, is the Scandinaive Spa, which features an outdoor circuit of hot and cold pools making for an oh-so-relaxing experience.
Vancouver offers some excellent and very diverse shopping depending on the area you visit.
Robson Street and Pacific Center (downtown) offer all of your big name brands (The Bay, Holt Renfrew, Club Monaco, Zara, Gap, Apple, Top Shop, J. Crew etc.). You can do the bulk of your clothing shopping here.
South Granville, located on Granville Street between 16th Ave and West Broadway offers a wide variety of shoe stores, high fashion brands, and several home interior brands (Anthropologie, James Perse, William Sonoma, Pottery Barn etc.).
Main Street and Gastown both offers a lot of unique, hipster-inspired, boutiques. These are great areas to check out when thrift or vintage shopping for both clothing and home furnishings.
10. Take a Yoga Class
Vancouver is has a huge yoga culture inspired by the fact that we place a high importance on health and fitness and also because Lululemon (the largest yoga apparel retailer in the world) was founded here. My favorite class in all of Vancouver is the Moksha Music class at Moksha Yoga. This class offers one hour of hot yoga (room heated to 40 degrees) with live musicians serenading you while you sweat. Another popular brand of yoga in Vancouver is YYoga, which offers excellent facilities and locations all across Vancouver.
Tips for the MBA program:
In closing this post, I would also like to leave you with some tips that I have learned during the 1st year of my MBA.
1. Stay Organized
You will be juggling A LOT throughout the program, so stay organized. Utilize you calendar as much as possible and time block meetings and even how long you plan to spend on each assignment.
2. See the Big Picture
Don’t get hung up on the small details and remember to always take a step back and see the big picture. You will be given so much work in the program that it is impossible to give 100% on everything, prioritize where you want to spend your time and why.
3. Network, Network, Network
The MBA program offers you a lot of amazing opportunities to get out and network. Take advantage of these opportunities and build your skills and grow your network.
4. Build Relationships
Take time to build meaningful relationships with your classmates, they will likely be your most important network upon graduation. Also, take time to learn from each of their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
5. Have Fun
The program goes REALLY fast. Be sure to balance all of your hard work with also enjoying the wonderful city you will be living in.