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Vancouver

West meets East In This New Melting Pot
 
 
    With a breathtaking view of water all around and set against majestic mountains to the north, Vancouver is in the same league as Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong as far as scenery is concerned. Unlike the other two tourist spots which are not in the temperature zone, Vancouver transforms with every season without the uncomfortable extremes of weather.
Its winter is mild, with heavy snow falling mainly on the mountains for skiing. At springtime, flowers are abloom in early March.
   Since Expo 86, Vancouver has become the latest melting pot in the world, with people from all parts of the globe, following the Hong Kong Chinese in the wake of the turnover, making it their new home. Its strategic location from the major population centers of the world is a big plus. Only 20 miles to the north of the U.S. border, Vancouver is also equidistant from Tokyo and London.
    Because of this, Vancouver is North America's fastest growing boom-town, giving it the moniker, "a city of the building cranes." Headquarters to some 160 major corporations, it has the second busiest airport and the largest seaport in Canada. Its accessibility has also made it home to some 250 international business centers.
   Urban tourism is its fastest growing industry, with a year-round tourist traffic drawn by the summer Alaska cruise season from May through September, and the entertainment season from October to April. Its wide-ranging geography and architecture has also made it the favorite of movie producers, making it the world's third most important film and TV production center after Los Angeles and New York.
   Vancouver boasts of one of the most convenient and efficient transportations system in the world. The Vancouver Airport bus brings travelers to selected downtown hotels every 30 minutes. Comparable to Tokyo, Greater Vancouver's transit system is reliable and efficient, but inexpensive. If you wish to go around  the city and to outlying communities as far as Surrey, you may take the Sky Train, which is an automated light rapid transit system. A marine bus, called the Seabus, transports passengers across the Burrard Inlet between Vancouver and the Northshore. Downtown is so well-planned that if you are billeted in the area, you can just walk to most business and attractions.
   Lodging in the city should be no problem--with 14,000 hotel rooms as of last count. But if you find yourself there on a busy day or suddenly catch the fancy of staying another day without a hotel reservation, head for the number of restored heritage homes converted into guest houses. Ideally, you should easily find a room at the historic Canadian Pacific Hotel, located at the heart of the downtown district, which counted among its guests such luminaries as Sir Winston Churchill and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. If you want the best view of the city, harbor and mountains, try Waterfront Centre Hotel.
    A testimony to the recent Eastern contribution to its booming economy, Greater Vancouver's New Chinatown is becoming the latest cultural landmark of the city. Tourists and residents alike flock to this area for its exotic Asian taste, herbs, and spices as well as to view the world's thinnest office building (8 West Pender). Many also refresh themselves at the Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden at the Carrall St., which was re-created using authentic material and contruction methods from China.

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