FalseCreekAtNight TourismVancouver
False Creek at Night (© Tourism Vancouver)

With warm summer and beautiful fall days, an array of outdoor activities, such as boating, gondola rides, hiking, jet skiing, kayaking, nature walks, sailing, golfing and swimming are easily accessible from downtown Vancouver. Cycling or jogging around the 10 km seawall at Stanley Park, which is directly accessible from the conference hotel is popular among locals and visitors alike. A banquet of attractions and special events await the visitor. From intriguing wilderness excursions to luxury resorts, and from innovative museums to resplendent garden festivities, the warm-weather season sizzles in the City.

Vancouver lives where the mountains meet the sea: nature’s skyscrapers lie just beyond. Groomed parks give way to lush wilderness, and city sidewalks become sandy beaches. Even in the heart of the city, nature is just around the corner.

Vancouver is a mélange of sightseeing opportunities, with a wonderful array of public gardens, parks, and beaches where residents and visitors alike frolic: there is always enough room to play somewhere around town. The unique charm and advantage of this city is the range of things for visitors to do and see…from dawn until dusk and through every successive season.

Visitors can eat at world-class restaurants, attend the symphony or major sports events, shop at exclusive boutiques along Robson Street, visit historic Gastown and other sightseeing highlights and never cast so much as glance at the surrounding sea and sky scape, and the incredible outdoor recreation available. Scenic walks are close to Downtown – stroll along False Creek and discover the Olympic Village, Science World and Granville Island or stroll along the sea wall or under the majestic trees of Stanley Park. Those with an appreciation for the outdoors can windsurf at dawn, get in a round of golf after lunch, and take in the city lights at night while dining atop a North Shore mountain. Vancouver is clean, colourful and friendly, with the open cosmopolitan flair that West Coast cities are known for.

A recent column by Suzanne MacNeille in the New York Times described her perfect 36 hours in Vancouver.  

Interested in Local History and Local Architecture?

  • Accompanying Persons can sign-up on site for a complimentary guided walking tour of Vancouver's downtown, from the Westin Bayshore towards Gastown, scheduled for Friday. Sign-up and additional ticket sales for others is based on availability. See details on site.
  • The City of Vancouver has developed a self-guided  Architectural Walking Tour of the Westend, the vibrant neighbourhood surrounding and just south of the Westin Bayshore.

Information on Vancouver attractions and landmarks is featured in several free mobile apps:

  • Portrait Sonore: An independent non-profit organization developed a series of "pocket documentaries" to guide listeners to locations in various Canadian cities, including Vancouver. Highlights little-known buildings, combined with interviews, archival images and music. www.portraitsonore.org
  • Vancouver in Time: developed by the Editor in Chief of the Canadian Encyclopedia, the app details history of particular locations of interest using photos, slideshows, stories and tours. Information is searchable by theme, neighbourhood, maps or trails. www.citiesintime.ca
  • Pocket Guide App: audio tours of over 150 cities, including Vancouver. Content can be downloaded for use in offline mode without a mobile internet connection. www.pocketguideapp.com.


A few of the more popular and famous attractions that are easily accessible from the Symposium venue are listed below:

Remember to Show Your Badge, as many attractions offer discounts and other special offers to Conference Attendees.


Recommended Attractions:


Built by the Guinness Family, it opened Vancouver's North Shore to vehicle traffic in 1938. Its lights were turned on in 1986, celebrating 50 years from the start of its construction, and the 100th birthday of Vancouver. Watch for cruise ships entering Burrard Inlet as you cross the bridge, named after the two mountain peaks that look like sleeping lions. In 2005, the Lions Gate Bridge became a National Historic Site of Canada.


Located on the cliffs of Point Grey at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the museum features one of the world's finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations art and artifacts. See totem poles, feast dishes, and canoes of the Kwakwaka'wakw, Nisga'a, Gitksan, Haida, Coast Salish, and other Northwest Coast peoples in the museum's Great Hall. Explore the unique galleries, where more than 15,000 objects from around the world are displayed, and stroll through the grounds of the museum, where two Haida houses and ten totem poles capture the dramatic beauty of traditional native architecture and design.

While at UBC, discover the shoreline surrounding the university campus and hike the 75 km of forest trails in the 750 hectare Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Check out UBC’s excellent Botanical Garden, and the authentic Japanese Nitobe Memorial Garden, a place for personal reflection. The Beaty Biodiversity Museum, opened in 2010, showcases UBC’s vast natural history collections.


Come and join the locals on Granville Island! You'll find artists' studios, galleries, theatres, restaurants, and Granville Island Brewing. Wandering buskers and street performers delight the crowds. Visit the lively public market for freshly picked produce, seafood straight off the boats, gourmet foods, and tasty delights from the bakeries. Enjoy street performers, and take a tour of the brewery. Try the Aquabus as a convenient way to access the Island from the downtown peninsula.


Visit the Lookout Tower, an observation deck 33 floors high atop Harbour Centre - a 360-degree view sweeps across the Lower Mainland, from the mountains in the north to the valleys in the south.


The green heart of Vancouver is the 400 hectare Stanley Park, the City's most famous landmark, and the third largest downtown park in North America. There are wooded trails amongst its 500,000 ancient cedar, hemlock and fir trees, as well as open playing fields, secluded lakes, gorgeous gardens, and the famous Vancouver Aquarium, the largest in Canada. A seawall walkway and cycle route meanders along the park's perimeter and beyond, with beautiful views of the city skyline, the harbour, beaches, and the spectacular North Shore Mountains. Stanley Park took the top spot in TripAdvisor’s second annual Top 25 Parks of the World list.


Travel back in time at the Vancouver Museum. View recreated rooms from Vancouver in the 1900s, an 1800s trading post, a nineteenth century ship's passenger berth, First Nations artifacts, and much more. The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium will take you out of this world with leading-edge astronomy and space themed shows, plus fabulous Laser Light shows. The Maritime Museum is a special place by the sea, about the sea, with lots to see and do, for landlubbers and old salts alike. Thrill to the disasters and discoveries of the Shipwreck exhibition, including real pieces of the Titanic. Discover magnificient sculptures and paintings at the Art Gallery of Vancouver and several world class galleries. Ignite your mind and discover the wonders of science at newly renovated TELUS World of Science. Check out the Vancouver Aquarium iand marvel at the sea otters and other critters, located n the hear of Stanley Park. Discounts are available at many of these museums through the Show Your Badge program.


The magnificent white sails of Canada Place are one of Vancouver's most prominent landmarks, housing the simulation ride “FlyOver Canada”, the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre, and the World Trade Centre. Begin your visit with a scenic stroll and self-guided Promenade into History tour of the landmarks rimming the inner harbour. The Port of Vancouver is the home port for cruise ships operating cruises from Vancouver to Alaska, one of the world's most popular vacation cruises. Every year, more than one million passengers pass through the Port of Vancouver's Canada Place cruise ship facilities during cruise seasons from May to September. Show your Badge at FlyOver Canada for admission discount.


Founded in 1867 and an everlasting memorial to John "Gassy Jack" Deighton, Gastown is the site of the original waterfront city. It is a charming mix of old and new, with cobbled streets, quaint heritage buildings, and the unique Steam Clock. Marvel at Victorian architecture and a unique tangle of mews, courtyards and passages houses cafes, boutiques, collectibles, antiques, fashions and several prominent galleries representing a fine selection of Native art and sculpture.


The legacy of the 2010 Olympic games lives on. Olympic venues in downtown Vancouver include the recently revitalized BC Place Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League's BC Lions, and site of the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, and Rogers Arena, home of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks and the venue for the men's hockey games. City visitors may also want to check out The BC Sports Hall of Fame. It honours British Columbia's outstanding athletes, teams and "builders of sport". Other Olympic venues in or close to the City include Hastings Park – the site of the Olympic figure skating and short-track speed skating, and the Richmond Oval – the site of the speed skating events.


Explore Chinatown’s intriguing sights and fragrances and get an up close and personal look into Vancouver’s important Asian community. Glimpse into the centuries old herbal culture of Chinese pharmacy and admire the beauty of the jade, china, and silk of the Orient. A 'must-see' is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the only classic Chinese Garden outside of China, and fashioned in Ming Dynasty style. Show Your Badge discounts available.


Several other popular destinations are on the City’s North Shore across the Burrard Inlet:

  • The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a wood-and-cable structure hanging 70 metres above a rushing river, while a new Treetops Adventure, the stunning cliffwalk, an interpretive centre, gift shop and restaurant complete the facilities for the visitor. Show Your Badge discounts available.
  • Grouse Mountain is accessible by a gondola and offers spectacular views of Vancouver. Visitors also find a lone timber wolf, a grizzly bear habitat, a renowned restaurant, zip lines, a lumberjack show and a birds-of-prey presentation. There are plentiful hiking opportunities on top of the mountain. Show Your Badge discounts available.
  • Cypress Mountain was the site of the Olympic freestyle skiing and snowboarding. At Cypress, visitors can try out one of the great hiking trails, or just relax and enjoy the stunning views of the city.
  • Lynn Valley, Mount Seymour and Deep Cove are other nature destinations on the North Shore within easy reach from downtown Vancouver. While Lynn Valley and Mount Seymour offer excellent walking and hiking trails, Deep Cove is a paradise for kayakers and canoeist with its sheltered location on Indian Arm.
  • Lonsdale Quay and North Vancouver offer dining and shopping opportunities a short and scenic public ferry ride across the harbour from the City.  Check out the nearby Night Market.


Each year brings a wide range of festivals and events to Vancouver. The events are of all types, including cultural, sports and recreational activities. Vancouver’s best known events include Chinese New Year, the Playhouse International Wine Festival, the International Children’s Festival, Bard on the Beach, the International Jazz Festival, the Celebration of Light, Pride Week, and the Pacific National Exhibition. Events held in September include the International Fringe Festival, the International Film Festival, the Chinese Night Markets, and Farmers’ Markets; along with professional sports team games in soccer and Canadian Football, and pre-season games for the National Hockey League. See our Events page for some of the events taking place during the Symposium.

Running near the Westin

Westin Running Map
Running Map in Stanley Park / Westin [0.2 MB]

Check out amazing running and cycling opportunities at your door step. Explore Stanley Park and Vancouver’s famous seawall.

Westin Workout has produced a map with suggested circular running routes to explore Stanley Park. (approx round trip of 5 and 8 km). Ask the hotel concierge for more details. 


In addition to the running routes listed above, with separated pathways for cyclists, you can also easily explore a bit further.

Check out the Seaside Greenway Map to explore the urban seawall and beaches, developed by Lets Go Biking: Easy Rides in Metro Vancouver.

More information is also available at:

Need a bike to use? For those staying at the Westin, ask the hotel concierge about the BikeWestin program. A dock for the Mobi bike share system and several rental shops are nearby. Remember to Show Your Badge for discounts at some rental locations.


Vancouver has an active Events Scene all year round. The following sections list some of the events taking place around the Symposium dates.


The National

The Brooklyn-based quintet excels at making music that’s downbeat but expansive. Led by Matt Berninger’s literate, cerebral lyrics, sung in his signature sombre baritone, it’s the ultimate ruminative rock (see also adult-alternative music; and the New Sincerity, the movement of our times). Scotland’s urgent yet emotive Frightened Rabbit are worthy openers.

Sept. 22, doors 5 p.m. | PNE Amphitheatre, Vancouver BC. Tickets: $40 at www.ticketleader.ca

Neko Case

The one-time Vancouver-based folk noir singer-songwriter has just released the most outstanding album of her Grammy-nominated career, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. Already heaped with international praise (Rolling Stone calls it “perfectly turned”), let’s hope Neko Case can love herself now as she enters perhaps the most triumphant phase of her stellar career.

Sept. 20, 8 p.m. | Orpheum, Vancouver BC. Tickets: $28.50/$35.50 at www.ticketmaster.ca

Janet Jackson: State of the world tour

Sept. 26. | Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC. Tickets at www.ticketmaster.ca



Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival’s 28th season runs from June 1 to September 23, 2017 in modern theatre tents in Vancouver’s waterfront Vanier Park. The stylish romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, directed by John Murphy (Measure For Measure, 2013), opens the season on the BMO Mainstage. It plays in repertory with a classic staging of The Winter’s Tale, a moving and magical drama directed by Dean Paul Gibson (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014).

June. 1 to Sep. 23 | Vanier Park, Vancouver, BC.  Tickets and information: www.bardonthebeach.org.

Other Desert Cities

Jon Robin Baitz’s emotional and intellectual play tells the story of a leftie daughter who has written a book exposing her wealthy, Republican parents’ terrible secret: Their eldest son bombed a Vietnam-era military recruitment facility and then shot himself. Her book blames the parents and its publication will ruin them. Crackling dialogue and a surprising twist fuel this roiling family battle, a Broadway hit when it debuted in 2011.

Sept. 19 to Oct. 20 | Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Granvile Island, Vancouver BC. Tickets: $29-$65 at www.artsclub.com

Salman Rushdie in conversation

One of the most celebrated public thinkers of our time, the multi-award-winning and bestselling author Salman Rushdie discusses his latest, brilliant epic, The Golden House, at this special event.

Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. | The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, at UBC, Vancouver, BC.  Tickets: $30 - $50. More information.




BC Lions– pro football against Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Sept. 22 | BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC. https://www.bclions.com/


Vancouver Whitecaps– soccer match against Colorado Rapids at BC Place Stadium

Sept. 23 | BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC. https://www.whitecapsfc.com



Bird Walk

Take a guided tour through VanDusen and learn about the native bird species that make their home in the garden. Join Jeremy Gordon for a guided birding exploration in the Garden. Meet in the Visitor Centre Atrium. This event takes place rain or shine. Free for Members or with Garden admission. Reservations or registration are not required or taken for this walk.

Sept. 23 | VanDusen Visitor Centre Atrium, Vancouver, BC. More information.

Pure Protein Night Race

A night run which will take runners through Stanley Park to create a moving celebration of light - a celebration that will continue at the post race party!

Sept. 22 | Stanley Park, Vancouver BC. More information



North Vancouver’s Shipyard Night Market

The market features a live music concert every evening, dozens of food vendors serving a wide variety of tasty foods, a beer garden with locally crafted brews and dozens of artisan stalls.

Every Friday May 5 to Sep 29 | Shipbuilders’ Square at 138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver, BC. More information

Richmond Night Market

The Asian-themed Richmond Night Market is Metro Vancouver’s biggest and most amazing night market, and the largest of its kind in North America.With hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors each weekend, it’s a sight to be seen!

May 12 to October 9| 8351 River Road in Richmond, BC.  More information




Show your registration badge at participating businesses for discounts offered exclusively to Symposium delegates.

Discounts available during Symposium dates. Other restrictions may apply.

Please note some offers are only available when booked in person at the Tourism Vancouver's Visitor Centres.

Participating businesses include:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park - Admission and other discounts
  • Cycle BC Rentals and Tours - 2 for 1 rentals and other discounts
  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden - Admission discounts
  • FlyOver Canada - Up to 20% off admission fee
  • Harbour Air Seaplanes - Up to 10% off regular or scenic flights
  • Spokes Bicycle Rentals - Up to 15% off your rental
  • Vancouver Aquarium - Admission and other discounts
  • Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery - Discount on purchases
  • McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport - Purchase discounts
  • Numerous restaurants around Vancouver

And many more !!!

For more information on this special offer for conference attendees and all particpating businesses, please visit the Tourism Vancouver webiste or one of the Visitor Centres.

Vancouver has a wide selection of restaurants ranging from food trucks to world class fine dining restaurants. The city’s multiculturalism and proximity to the ocean is reflected in the restaurant scene — you will find restaurants for any nationality and the West Coast seafood restaurants will wow you with mouth-watering delicacies.

The following interactive map was prepared by the Organizing Committee to give you a selection of restaurants and cafes in Downtown, many of which are in walking distance from the conference hotel.



Food Trucks &Craft Beer

Interested in Vancouver’s food trucks? Check out the following website to find their current locations:

Vancouver also has a thriving Craft Beer scene. Enjoy local brews in most restaurants and pubs, or enjoy some food while you check out one of the tasting rooms. Many are located with easy access along the Expo or Canada Line rapid transit lines, just outside the downtown area. Or rent a bike and try making a craft beer tour. More information on nearby craft breweries at these links:

Suggestions by the Westin Bayshore:

The Westin Bayshore has also provided the a list of suggested nearby restaurants in the PDF link.

Westin Restaurant Guide
Suggested Nearby Restaurants - Westin Bayshore   [0.9 MB]