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Discover Vancouver, Canada, with Pete from Samesun Backpackers

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Pete from Samesun Vancouver

What are you most proud of about Vancouver?

I love the acceptance of everyone in this city. We have a very diverse community and I love how everyone gets sort of mixed up in this big melting pot.

How many days should someone plan to visit?

3 nights is the minimum in any city but 4 would be better.

Suggestions if someone only has 24 hours in Vancouver?

Change your travel plans. Seriously though you can rattle off all of the major central attractions in a day such as Stanley Park, Granville Island and Gastown if you have to. Getting a bike for the park would be a must. Vancouver’s a great city to explore on foot.

Where’s the first place you take visitors?

Usually over towards Main St. to hit up some of the tiny craft breweries. Then walk down towards Gastown through the infamous intersection of Hastings and Main and onto some great little restaurants.

Canada's Flag in Vancouver
Ooohhh Canada…
Best local drink?

Beer. This is Canada. Some of my favourite breweries are Brassneck here in Vancouver and Driftwood out of Victoria. For something different, go to the Revel Room and get the Revelation.

Best place to get coffee near Samesun?

Revolver is the way to go.

Quirkiest place to visit?

The Jimi Hendrix Shrine is a weird one.

Best park to read a book?

People are gonna think I’m gonna say Stanley Park. And, they’re right. Third Beach at Stanley Park.

Best viewpoint to see the whole city?

From the top of one of the mountains on a clear day. Even better if it is winter and you are riding on top of the city. My favorite is Cypress but hiking up Grouse in the summer is also a great way to do it.

Vancouver from Grouse Mountain
Vancouver from Grouse Mountain by Ruth Hartnup
Cheesiest attraction you can’t help but love?

There’s a bull at the corner of Georgia and Richards. I dunno why, but it’s awesome.

Cheapest meal around the hostel?

You can get a piece of tuna nigiri pretty much anywhere for $1.50. How do you beat that?

About the weather?

Uhm, yeah it rains. So plan accordingly. Layers are the way to go. In LA, bring sunscreen and a light jacket. Gets chilly on the water at night.

A perfect day in Vancouver?

First of all, the sun is shining and it’s 28 degrees. Head down to English Bay for a benny and a Caesar. Then grab a kayak and hit the water for two hours. Afterwards walk down the seawall and take a boat to Granville Island for lunch. Then continue on to Olympic Village to hit one of the tap houses there. After that the day will likely get fuzzy and probably involve Gastown.

English Bay Vancouver
The very popular English Bay on a sunny day by Sebastien Launay
The only desert you should have in Vancouver?

The bourbon bacon donut at Cartems.

Best local website to check out before visiting?

Van City Buzz is great.

What’s the coolest bus route?

The Seabus over to North Vancouver.

Little Inukshuks on Vancouver's Shore
Little Inukshuks on Vancouver’s Shore
Best advice about Vancouver’s public transportation?

It’s really good. Get a book of ten tickets from a 7-11, although this will be changing to a card system similar to the Oyster in London very shortly (or so they say). In LA, public transit sucks.

Best yearly events?

The August long weekend is the best weekend to visit. This is the grand finale of the Celebration of Light (the fireworks competition) as well as the Pride Parade.

How to spend the day in Vancouver with only 5 euros?

We don’t use euros. But I’ll convert that to Canadian dollars which is about $7.61. You can do this. If you have a reusable water bottle, tap water in Vancouver is fantastic so keep on refilling every chance you get. Take in a free breakfast at the Samesun, while lunch will be a steamed pork bun from New Town Bakery for $1.60. A California roll (invented in Vancouver) and a miso soup will set you back about $5 for dinner. To pass the day start at Canada Place and walk the seawall as much as you want around Stanley Park and False Creek.

Seawall Stanley Park
Beautiful Stanley Park by noahbloom
Best district to get lost?

Gastown. You never know what or who you’ll find.

Best district to buy cool souvenirs?

Granville Island

The one souvenir a traveler should buy?

Smoked salmon

Best district to look like a local?

Kits Beach

Best day-trip?

The Sea to Sky highway up to Whistler.

Kitsilano Beach
Head to Kitsilano Beach to blend in with the locals by Francisco Anzola
Best days to visit Vancouver?

Any day ending in y.

Where can we find you on a Friday night?

At home. I work early on Saturday. But Saturday night, either Alibi Room or the Craft Beer Market.

Best hangover breakfast place?

Charles Bar

The weirdest questions you’ve been asked?

I’ve had some weird ones, including if the hostel has electricity, can I bring my pet goose in to the rooms and does Canada have a government.

Cool cats at the Beaver bar
Cool cats at the Beaver bar
Coolest feature of Samesun?

The Beaver bar. A great place for backpackers to meet and drink.

Why do you work in a hostel?

Travel is my love.

Who was the most inspirational traveler you’ve met?

I’ve met a few. But I remember going to a soccer game with a 70 year old British fella last year who had been everywhere and still stayed in dorms. He could also out drink most of the boys we went to the game with. Proves you never get too old for this. No Danny Glover here.

What would you do if not working for a hostel?

I’d probably still be in kitchens.

Any hostels you’d love to visit?

I just want to see what’s going on in Lisbon. They seem to have some pretty rad places over there.

Fun fact about Vancouver that no one would have guessed?

The Bon Jovi album Slippery When Wet was named after a Vancouver strip club.

For more info about Samesun Vancouver and their sister hostels in Western Canada and in Venice Beach, LA, check out their website.

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The Hostel Worker

I once asked a fellow hostel worker if he was still sane after working in hostels for so many years. His response: "Well, sane is another word for boring." Here's to many more hostel years!

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