One perfect day in Vancouver's Gastown

Explore the tastier side of this Vancouver neighborhood

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  • The newly renovated Victorian Hotel is a great place to stay with 49 cushy rooms and modern details.

    Victorian Hotel

    Janis Nicolay

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One-of-a-kind finds: Most of what's in the artfully curated Old Faithful Shop--custom teardrop terrariums, reclaimed-wood cutting boards, rosewood cheese knives--is handmade, so you can feel good about surrounding yourself with beautiful things. 320 W.Cordova St.; 778/327-9376. 

Porchetta heaven: Queue up with a young 9 to 5 crowd at Meat and Bread sandwich shop. You'll be treated to the cozy aroma of herby roasted meat and the shop's addictive porchetta sandwiches--crusty rolls that give way to juicy pork loin and crispy cracklings. $; closed Sun; 370 Cambie St.; 604/566-9003. 

After hours: Climb the dark stairs to the Diamond restaurant and bar for a bird's-eye view of Maple Tree Square, the epicenter of the neighborhood. This candlelit boîte has a speakeasy vibe, and the clever cocktail menu with categories like "proper," "delicate," and "boozy" gently guides you to your ideal drink. $$ U.S.; 6 Powell St.; di6mond.com

Make it a weekend: The Victorian Hotel may look a bit faded-rose from the outside, but inside, the newly renovated boutique hotel has 49 cushy rooms that blend fine antiques and modern details like contemporary crystal lamps and white chaises. From $99 U.S.; victorianhotel.ca

3 ways to get your outdoorsy fix without leaving city limits

Hike & forage: Harvest strawberries and miner's lettuce in the wooded foothills of Fraser Valley on Swallow Tail Tours' half-day hikes. You'll learn how to identify the edible flora all around you, and finish with a three-course picnic. $57.33 U.S.; swallowtailtours.com

Pedal the park: Just a half-hour walk from Gastown is Stanley Park's 1,000 acres of green space. Hop on a bike at Spokes Bicycle Rentals (from $17.50 U.S. per hour; 1798 W. Georgia St.; 604/688-5141) and cruise along the English Bay waterfront and under Lions Gate Bridge.

Leafy retreat: Walk 57 feet above the forest floor in a leafy rain-forest canopy at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, where the themed gardens stay uncrowded in summer. $8.34 U.S., plus $12.51 U.S. for canopy walk; 6804 S.W. Marine Dr.; 604/822-9666.

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