So you’re attending a meeting in Vancouver this fall? Get ready to rack up those Insta likes! In the next few months, delegates can look forward to leaves turning fiery shades of gold, orange and red; festivals, musical performances and theatre acts popping up across the city; and seasonal delicacies heating up the culinary scene. Read on for our guide to making the most of your fall trip to Vancouver.
First and most important: what’s the weather like? The city cools down during fall, and the sky gets a little weepy as well. But overall, our coastal climate remains mild with temperatures ranging from a sunny 18˚C (65˚F) to a rainy 9˚C (48˚F) towards the end of the season.
How should I dress? Bring lots of layers so you can add or shed clothing as needed; you should also pack a rain jacket and umbrella for wet days. If you’re planning a post-boardroom trip to local peaks (or if you have a conference event or teambuilding activity at Grouse Mountain), bring warmer clothing such as sweaters, gloves and hat. As always, don’t forget your walking shoes: Vancouver is best explored on foot!
Do I get any perks as a delegate? You bet! Flash your delegate badge and you’ll save on admission to some of the city’s top attractions; enjoy special offers at locally loved restaurants; and scoop up savings on guided tours, as well as spas and boutiques.
What local festivals take place in fall? Fall ushers in a cornucopia of colourful festivals much-loved by Vancouverites and visitors alike. Eastside Culture Crawl (November 14-17) invites art lovers to explore the studios of independent artists and craftspeople; this is a great option for delegates seeking immersion in local culture. Hopscotch Festival (November 18-24) shares the city’s love for libations at a Grand Tasting Hall featuring thousands of beers, spirits, whiskies and wine. A show at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is ideal for group incentives, or for delegates seeking solace after a busy day in the boardroom; this season’s performances range from classical odes to Vivaldi, Strauss and Brahms, to live scores accompanying screenings of Casablanca and The Polar Express.
Suggestions for post-meeting fall activities? Fall is a particularly gorgeous time to visit attractions that shine on rainy days, such as the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which was designed to be enjoyed year-round; and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, whose lush rainforest dazzles in wet weather. Alternatively, delegates on a strict timeline might consider booking an organized sightseeing excursion. Landsea Tours and Adventures offers half- and full-day tours not only in Vancouver and the North Shore, but also along the stunning Sea-to-Sky corridor, and to Victoria or Whistler; planners can book a private charter and tailor the tour to group interests. For a more active adventure, try a guided cycling journey in Stanley Park with Cycle City Rentals and Tours, or an interpretive rainforest walk with Rockwood Adventures. To learn more about the region’s First Nations culture, organize a group trip to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art or the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia; and take note of the acclaimed First Nation art exhibited throughout Vancouver International Airport.
What about delegates who are sports fans? Fall is the beginning of hockey season, which means incentive groups can indulge in box seats at a Vancouver Canucks game (alternatively, planners can book an evening at The SportsBar Live! at Roger’s Arena, where delegates can take in the game while shimmying up to a bar that runs the length of the blue line).
Are there group dining venues better suited to fall? Group dining shines bright in cozy spaces conducive to intimate chatting and networking. In Gastown, book a private dining experience at Wildebeest whose farm-to-table menu is paired with bold cocktails (maximum capacity 146 people). A stone’s throw away in Railtown, planners can arrange for local craft beer or wine flights in The Settlement Building, 24-foot ceilings and exposed wood beams date back to the grand building’s construction in 1923; the venue’s mezzanine private dining area is a picturesque setting to tuck into Belgard Kitchen’s hearty family-style menu (maximum capacity 30 people). For delegates who prefer to dine with a view, head to Ancora whose exquisite Peruvian-Japanese is served against a coveted backdrop of False Creek and the culinary paradise of Granville Island.
What if I want to explore outside Vancouver? Vancouver is an ideal home base for regional explorations. The world-class ski resort of Whistler is a two-hour drive from downtown, and the breathtaking ride up the Sea to Sky Highway alone is worth the journey (follow this weekend itinerary to visit the sights branching out from this legendary route). The mountain usually opens in November for skiing, though day trips to take in Whistler’s incredible scenery and lively village are recommended; new this season is the magical Vallea Lumina, a nighttime multimedia spectacular that opens on November 28.
B.C’s capital city, Victoria, is an equally charming day trip; delegates can either take a leisurely four-hour journey by bus and ferry, or splurge on a scenic 35-minute float plane ride from harbour to harbour. Alternatively, rent a car and drive to the Okanagan Valley, B.C.’s wine country, whose vineyards are particularly pretty during harvest season.