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Photo: jmv

Travel bloggers the world over are in for a treat.

I AM ORIGINALLY from Vancouver, BC, so obviously I was pretty stoked when, during the last hours of TBEX 2010 in New York, it was announced that Vancouver would be the site for the event next June.

What is TBEX?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. I didn’t until a few months ago. TBEX is Travel Blog EXchange, a “community of new media travel writers” founded by Kim Mance,who also edits the online magazine Galavanting.

For the weekend of June 26-27, around 300 travel bloggers gathered to listen to experts talk about travel blogging, to network, and to, well, party.

TBEX 2011 will be in Vancouver, Canada

Since I grew up in Vancouver, I thought it would be a good idea to share some insider tidbits in anticipation of your visit next year.

First, some random facts:

  • The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver. Did I mention that Canada won the most gold medals (14) in the 86-year history of the Winter Games?
  • The population in Vancouver proper is 578,041 (Metro Vancouver: 2,116,581).
  • Stanley Park is 10% larger than New York’s Central Park.
  • As of 2010, it has the 4th highest quality of living in the world, according to
  • Nelly Furtado was born and raised in BC’s capital city of Victoria on Vancouver Island, about a two-hour ferry ride from the city.
  • It is a.k.a. Hollywood North due to the large amount of television shows and movies filmed there.
My picks for eats

Sushi. My favourite when I lived there and possibly even better when I returned for a visit last February:

  • Hoshi Sushi – On West 12th near Macdonald, in Kitsilano.

The Eatery / Photo: iwona_kellie

Another solid choice is The Eatery. It’s more funky with loud music and unique sushi creations. A good place to go with some friends.

Tapas. Head to Bin 941 in the city. It’s cozy, stylish, and damn good.

Fish and chips. Find the tucked away Go Fish, near the entrance to Granville Island. It’s the best I’ve ever had. Anywhere. Part of the fun is finding it.

Hangover breakfast. Can’t beat the one at Milestones. Order the prime rib hash — tender slices of beef over pan-fried potatoes, sweet onions, bell peppers, and roasted corn in a special hash seasoning. All topped with two poached eggs and real hollandaise sauce.

Don’t forget to order a caesar to go with that.

Other cool tips

One way to get under the skin of a city is to read through the local free newspaper (and I’m not talking about Metro or 24 Hours). In Vancouver, this is the Georgia Straight, which was founded as an anti-establishment alternative newspaper in May 1967. Real Vancouver.

I lived across from and loved Kitsilano Beach. But let’s be honest: it’s for posers. Head over to Spanish Banks for some long stretches of sand and lots of volleyball nets. Awesome views of the downtown skyline too, perfect place to watch the sun settle.

Take a walk over the Burrard Street bridge for views on the crescent beaches of English Bay, the docked sailboats in the marina, and the little False Creek ferries puttering back and forth across the water.

Keep your eyes on the calendar for the Commodore Ballroom. It’s the best live venue in the city, possibly the country. I saw Weezer there a few years ago. It was unbelievable.

Finally, win a 7-day whitewater rafting trip in BC

Atlas Obscura is holding a contest where you can win an adventure package in British Columbia. The deadline for entry is July 11, 2010. From the website:

Your trip begins with a spectacular scenic flight over the glaciated Coast Range into Chilko Lake Resort, on the edge of a glacial lake, and ends one week later at historic Gang Ranch on the Fraser River, the lifeblood of Canada’s largest river system. After snapping some victory photos and exchanging high-fives, it’s time for one more chartered flight back over the stunning Coast Range.

Photo: CGehlen

To enter the contest, simply add your email address and postal/zip code in the link provided above.

Resources for your visit

Miss604 – THE source for all things Vancouver.

Translink BC – How to navigate around Vancouver by public transport.

Tourism British Columbia

Vancouver Accommodations

Vancouver Hostels – Find free accommodations and get an insider’s perspective on the city.


Vancouverites, let’s hear it. I know I missed a ton of great things to do and see in Vancouver. What are your favourites? Please share below!

Trip Planning


About The Author

Carlo Alcos

Carlo is the Dean of Education at MatadorU and a Managing Editor at Matador. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He lives in Nelson, British Columbia.

  • Michelle Schusterman

    Wow – amazing tips! Thanks Carlo!

  • erica

    I think you pretty much got it covered! Except to BRING LOTS OF CASH because the HST is now in full effect! ANd also, Stanley Park may be called Xwayxway Park by next June.

    218 flavours of Gelato!!! Including Wasabi!-
    Best Vegetarian Restaurant (and I’m not even a vegetarian)-
    Best place to eat with kids:

    Places/Summer Events-
    – Canada Day is July 1- Canada Day parade @Canada Place

    -If you’re here in July/August 2010- HBC Fireworks@ English Bay
    July 22rd – CANADA
    July 25th – SOUTH AFRICA
    July 29th – UNITED KINGDOM
    August 1st – CHINA

    - Chinatown; Kits pool; Richmond Night Market

    • Carlo Alcos

      Thanks Erica, great additions.

      The fireworks may not be relevant to TBEXers but if you’re in Vancouver you definitely should not miss out. I used to live on Cornwall right across Kits beach and had perfect views of them from my balcony. Some of the best in the world, I tell you!

  • Alouise

    From reading about everyone’s experience with TBEX in NYC I know I missed out on something good. I’ve learned my lesson and already prebought my ticket for 2011. I’m already excited.

  • Cam

    Timely article! Vancouver is one of the best cities on the planet, so the TBEX people are in for a treat.

  • Andrew

    Great advice for first time visitors to Vancouver. Perhaps I could borrow you that weekend for a few hours to show me the real Vancouver. Can not wait to visit a city that I was suppose to visit three times already, but had to cancel each time due to scheduling conflicts.


  • Nellie

    I was just contemplating if I should go to TBEX’11 in Vancouver since it’s a stretch from my original travel plans for next year. But after reading your piece, I’m in! Now, off to TBEX pre-registration page…

  • Anny Chih

    Best hangover place is Bon’s Off Broadway! Grease food heaven! Mmm…

    The Eatery is a cool place, but I wasn’t that impressed with the actual food. Bin 941 is a good suggestion though – great food & wine.

    • Anne

      Amen! Bon’s is the best, hands-down.

      Thanks for this info, Carlos.

    • Carlo Alcos

      Never heard of Bon’s. Will have to check that out when I’m in Vancouver again! There’s also a popular late night vegetarian place on 4th in Kits, open 24/7 called The Naam:

  • Candice

    Dammit Carlo, I didn’t realize it was possible to be this excited for an event that’s a year away.

  • Sandy

    What a fantastic excuse to come home ;)
    The picture of the commodore brings home sooooo many memories….
    P.S: don’t dis kits beach!

    • Carlo Alcos

      Haha. Yeah, I know. I do like Kits, although I think it’s become, like I said, a spot for posers…how about this: If you want to go to a beach to see or be seen, then go to Kits. But if you want more of a relaxed, chilled beach that isn’t about fronting, then head to Spanish Banks.

      Actually, now that I’m thinking more of this…a great walk to do is starting at Kits beach, going all the way back (stopping at the big rock to read the poem about Vancouver rain) then walking around past the Vancouver maritime museum, around Vanier park along the water (taking in views of the city from across the water) and continuing all the way over to Granville Island. *sigh* I guess I do miss that walk.

      There used to be (and maybe still are) two bald eagles that lived in the vicinity and often they would be circling overhead. Sometimes one would perch itself on the totem pole near the museum.

  • Julie Ovenell-Carter

    Let the excitement begin…Vancouver is such a glorious place in the spring!

    You are right about Miss604 (aka Rebecca Bollwit) being a great resource, and there are several other good online guides with lots of insider-y tips about the city too.

    I blogged a list of the best at InsideVancouver here for anyone who is interested:

    See you at TBEX11–got my early bird ticket already!


    • Carlo Alcos

      Sweet, thanks for the link!

  • suki

    TBEX 11 is the same weekend as Eat! Vancouver. Is it worth checking out? :) It’s even in the convention center.

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