Subject: Re: Vancouver and Victoria
John, Some thoughts on the two Vs from a Seattlite who likes to visit a bunch and just got back from a four day weekend in Vancouver.

Can you do both in 5 days? Sure. I would do three in Vancouver and two in Victoria myself. I have always found less to do in Victoria.

As to where to stay, if you like hotels, we just got a great deal at the Listel (on Robson in the heart of things) on hotels.com and have also had good luck with the Westin Grand but if you are into B& Bs, try The Kenya Court. It is a wonderful B& B on Kitsalano Beach. Each room is a huge (I mean HUGE) apartment. Breakfast is served in a rooftop solarium and the owners are a retired UNESCO doctor and his wife who have been literally everywhere and can talk travel forever. They are wonderful. It is fairly small so book it early and don't worry about the location. You can walk from there to Granville Island (a wonderful shopping and theater area) in about 15 minutes, great restaurants are nearby and you can always take a cab. Vancouver cabs are cheap. We took 7 cab rides in the last two days and never spent more than $5 American on any of them.

As to restaurants, two of our favorites are in Vancouver. For dress up and incredible food try Diva at the Met. Went there for Valentine's Day and it was wonderful as always. For a more casual atmosphere but great Italian food try CinCin on Robson. It is also a great place to see people in the summer as you can sit out on their second floor deck and watch Robson Street (Vancouver's Rodeo Drive) go by.

As far as concerts, check out ticketmaster.ca about two months before you go. One thing we never miss though is TheatreSports. This is an improv group that works out of the Granville Island Theater. We see at least one of their shows every time we are in Vancouver.

Of course you will want to see the Capilano (sic) Suspension Bridge and take an aquabus tour of the False Creek area. Guidebook wise I can suggest the Irreverent Guide to Vancouver and Victoria and Frommer's Guide to the two cities as well.

As to ferries, see Vancouver first, then take the ferries from Tuwwassen (again, I know I am spelling this wrong.)

The last time we were in Victoria we stayed three and a half days and were fairly bored by the time we left. See the Empress (have tea if you can), tour Butchart Gardens and walk downtown. One of the best things we did was take a walking tour with an authentic British bobby. He worked for years in Londan as a true officer and now lives in Victoria. He knows everything and wears his uniform and walks you all over downtown telling wonderful stories.

Can't give you any great hotel recommendations here but can tell you to make absolute sure that you get a room off any of the main streets. Street noise is very loud in the summer and you will want to have a window open as few hotels have air conditioning.

Hope this helps a little.

Jim in Redmond, WA