Vancouver is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, a fact that is evident the minute you step out the door into a swirl of foreign languages, accents, styles and flavours. International travellers -- whether looking for a little taste of home or simply eager to experience other cultures -- can embark on a worldly adventure at these notable Vancouver-area stops.
The Aberdeen Centre is an ultra-modern, high-design multicultural shopping complex in Richmond
, a 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. Initially conceived as a purely Asian shopping experience, the centre has expanded to include shops and restaurants from cultures around the globe. A hugely popular Japanese dollar store and shops selling discounted international designer clothing are just a sampling of the offerings. Out-of-town visitors should stop by the visitor centre for a passport filled with discounts.
The Italian Cultural Centre in east Vancouver is a place to celebrate and explore all things Italian. Home to bocce ball courts, an Italian language school and Italian-focused library, the organization also plays host to periodic Italian wine tastings, cooking classes and movie nights. If you return in the summer, the popular Italian Week is not to miss, with loads of culinary delicacies, international live performances and family-friendly activities.
Rich in history and architecture, this area east of downtown boasts North America’s third-largest Chinatown, after New York and San Francisco. Highlights of a Chinatown visit include the Millennium Gate on Pender Street, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
, the Sam Kee Building (the world’s narrowest commercial building) and the Chinese Cultural Centre. Plan to spend at least an afternoon browsing shops, strolling markets, admiring the international architecture and dining on dim sum or other Chinese specialties.
Located in Burnaby
, this centre is a joint venture of Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish non-profit societies that have cultivated a welcoming atmosphere for all things Scandinavian. Host to the popular Annual Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, the centre is also home to folk-dancing classes, cultural symposiums and weekly Scandinavian language classes for adults and children.
5. International Dining
Experience other cultures through your taste buds. No matter what area of the city you’re in, it’s easy to introduce your palate to authentic and delicious cuisines from around the world, without ever leaving Vancouver. Click here
to see where you can try African, Indian, Belgian, Spanish, Thai and dozens of other culinary styles.
Travel down to Richmond to visit the International Buddhist Temple, also known as the Guan-Yin Temple, which draws a quarter of a million visitors per year. A sense of peace is prevalent throughout the space, with its classical Chinese garden, twin gazebos, serene lily ponds and hand-carved stone lanterns lining the entrance. This temple is also home to the world’s longest Buddha mural and a bronze incense burner, which is a stunning replica of those found in the Forbidden City. With active monks and nuns practicing Chinese Mahayana Buddhism since its opening more than 20 years ago, the temple resonates with spirituality, providing a haven for international visitors looking for a quiet, contemplative space.
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