Romance Week: Now Hear Vancouver
Wedding bells are ringing and you're headed to Vancouver, the verdant metropolis of British Columbia that has enjoyed legal same-sex marriage since 2003. (Gay marriage was legalized across Canada in 2005.) This humble-yet-happening city of 600,000 residents is among Canada's most gay-proud cities, with its annual midsummer Pride festival drawing as many attendees as the entire citywide population.
It's hard to imagine a city more welcoming than Vancouver, where locals are so eager to share the best parts of their city that introductions may soon lead to a personal guided tour. For brides and grooms, arranging a memorable ceremony can be as easy as hiring one of a bevy of wedding planners, such as Viva Las Weddings and Two Dears and a Queer.
Or you can take the super-easy route and pay a local marriage commissioner about $80 to do the hitching as simply as you like. If it's a dreamy honeymoon you seek, plan on some quality outdoors time by day with fun, gay nightlife to follow.
Calling all live-music fans! Vancouver remains quite the hotbed of indie music. Great bands like the New Pornographers, the Organ (featured on The L Word), Mother Mother and Hot Hot Heat first got their grooves on here. Pick up a copy of the Georgia Straight weekly paper for tips on who’s performing during your stay. If you’re an interactive type, consider a little karaoke or sing-along at the Biltmore Cabaret, Numbers Cabaret, or the Railway Club, where you can also hear live music nightly.
You can tempt your taste buds in all sorts of ways in delectable Vancouver, but few cities serve up such an impressive array of Asian eateries. It’s hard to go wrong with a trip to Chinatown, where you’ll find the best seafood, dim sum and other Chinese staples at virtually any hour of the day or night. But just west of Chinatown is the original Guu (one of several locations), serving traditional Japanese tapas, called izakaya, like kimchi fried rice, yaki udon, and an array of succulent sashimi.
Though Commercial Drive -- aka "The Drive" -- is a hub of LGBT activity, Davie Street is where much of Vancouver’s gay nightlife takes place. It serves as a main artery through downtown, lined with gay-centric restaurants and clubs that always keep the DJ booths warm. To stay near the action, book your honeymoon suite in nearby Yaletown at the Opus Hotel. Among the city’s most fashionable accommodations, the property stands out for its sleek decor and tech-friendly amenities (think iPad loaners).
Most Romantic Move:
Hop aboard a tiny 12-passenger Aquabus ferry from the north shore of False Creek to Granville Island, where you and your significant other can stroll through the lovely public market, duck into one cute shop after another, and ultimately cozy up at Edible Canada -- a charming bistro exclusively serving B.C. and Canadian food and drinks.
Pairs Well With:
There’s nary a more beautiful city than B.C.’s capital, Victoria. From Vancouver, hear the ferryboats sound their departure across the Strait of Georgia on your way to one of the world’s most British cities outside of Great Britain. And, of course, no trip to Victoria would be complete without the grand ritual of afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress.
Click and Go
Vancouver Pride Society
Viva Las Weddings
Two Dears and a Queer