Topics include Transportation, Things to Do, Dining Scene, Canada: For Foreign Visitors & more!
West Vancouver is the more 'upscale' part of the North Shore (there's no downscale part, to be honest). Big mansions sit on the slope of the British Properties and the shopping & restaurant scene usually favour independents instead of chains.
There is a big mall called Park Royal. If you feel like a little retail therapy stop into The Village at Park Royal. This intimate mall offers locals & tourists a true outdoor "village" shopping experience. Along with the great many boutiques such as Oliver Barret, Kiss & Make-up, and Beauty Bar, there are several restaurants with covered and heated patios.
Ambleside is a small shopping area directly west of Park Royal. Small eateries and boutiques line the streets. It sits right next to the most popular beach on the North Shore, Ambleside beach. As a result, Ambleside has a distinctive "beachy" feel to it in summer. Great restaurants line the main street there.
Farther along past Ambleside is Dundarave. This is a smaller district, only 4-5 blocks total on both sides. It feels more like a haunt for locals to come and get supplies for daily life, but you'll also find nice restaurants and more independent stores.
Ambleside Park and Seawall: Park Royal, Ambleside and Dundarave are connected by a park that begins on the western shoreline of the Capilano river and heads west all the way into Dundarave.
This is a wonderful seawall walk that prohibits bicycles and roller bladers, so if you are intimidated by the crowds on the Stanley Park seawall you might find this a good alternative. If you walk the whole thing you'll get to see the famous "Pink Palace" apartment building in West Vancouver. You'll know it when you see it.
Ambleside Park is also home to a very picturesque pitch n' putt, right next to the seawall. If the Stanley Park pitch n' putt is crowded you should try the one in West Vancouver. It usually has a lovely breeze and relaxed, casual pacing is always the way to go.
Lighthouse Park: West Vancouver is also home to one of the area's oldest parks . Here you can see old growth forest and hike in amongst the cedars. Many people mention how the forest smells when they are in a grove of cedar trees. You can walk down to rocky beaches, though there isn't much if you're the beachcombing/tidepool investigator sort.
Whytecliffe Park: Whytecliffe sits on the far western shoreline and has high cliffs. There is a U-shaped beach area for swimmers and at low tide you can walk out to a small rocky island. Whytecliffe is also noted for the high number of people learning how to scuba dive there. Rumour has it a local octopus has taken up residence in the rocks under the water and enjoys coming out to say hello to the divers.
Cypress Mountain is actually a Provincial Park. The ski operators work inside the park boundaries. Some of the best skiing and snowboarding can be found here. It has night skiing in Winter. In summer the lifts shut and it becomes a great place to go for hikes, or just a nice alpine walk if that's your style. Take a few extra peanuts in case any Whiskey Jacks show up looking for a snack - they can be very friendly and have been known to perch on a hand or a head in an effort to get a bite to eat.