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Introduction

Canada's third largest city and the only place you'll see more yoga mats than briefcases, Vancouver doesn't have to try hard to impress.

You can walk across the downtown core in 20 minutes, or wander the seawall around Stanley Park for hours. Vancouver also has Canada's mildest climate, and as the cliche goes, you can play beach volleyball during the week and snowboard on the weekends.

Yet Vancouver has a dark underbelly. Amid the glittering skyscrapers of Yaletown, and the old charm of Gastown, lie the troubled streets of The Downtown Eastside. This is where addicts and the dispossessed come to escape the harsh winter and seek better lives in a community that struggles for affordable housing and to shake the scourge of drugs.

And the rain. Oh the rain. During the winter, you may only see the sun a few times a month... but when it does show its face, it is glorious.

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