Team USA fans line up for a photo before the Olympic Cauldron
On the occasions I've had to chat with strangers over the past week, many of them have been visitors from the USA. At CityCaucus.com we've been contacted by folks coming from places like Chicago, several from Seattle and just over the border in Bellingham, WA. Last week I had a lovely chat with two fellows from Punxsutawney, PA, who were head over heels in love with Vancouver. On Saturday night we shared good cheer with two ladies up from Los Angeles, one of whom who volunteered at the 1984 Summer Games and was visiting her eleventh Olympic Games in a row! For our friends from the USA who might be reading our guide, we encourage you to find out more about our city and our province.
While I'd love to wax about my hometown, mine is just one perspective. Vancouver is a great city – beautiful, diverse, kind of expensive, but worth every penny. Our metropolitan region is dynamic, diverse and inviting. Our economy is fairly sound, and the recent recession has not hit us hard. Affordability is an issue – both for living and doing business here – but we're working on these issues.
We're a city that has embraced sustainability, and we're becoming more comfortable leaving our cars behind when transit options exist. Vancouver is a city of neighbourhoods, and I encourage visitors to explore them when time permits.
We're pretty chauvinistic about our clean water, clean air and award-winning locally produced wines. If I can make one recommendation while you're paying attention to us, it's to visit Okanagan wine country, about five hours drive east of Vancouver. It's a fantastic summer vacation destination, and you can choose from over 100 wineries in British Columbia, most which are concentrated in the Okanagan Valley.
It's been great meeting you all, and it thrills me to see your reaction to Vancouver. I sincerely hope that you come back, and tell your friends about us. For a couple of great resources, please visit HelloBC.com and TourismVancouver.com.
Oh, and about last night's hockey game? It's okay to beat us now and again at our national sport. But please don't make a habit of it, eh?