Business trip: Vancouver
Campagnolo has quickly been catapulted to fame thanks to its house-made Italian salumi (thinly sliced, cured meats and sausage) sourced from organic, free run farms nearby; a famous crispy chick-pea salad served with chillies, mint and citrus; and its pizza, pasta and seasonally inspired main dishes served by a knowledgeable staff. A year after it opened in 2008, Condé Nast Traveller magazine named it one of the 50 hottest restaurants in the world. The atmosphere (fir beams and concrete) and neighbourhood (the urban pioneering end of Main Street) are rustic, but the fresh, flavourful, carefully sourced fare makes it worth the 10-minute cab ride from downtown.
At Bacchus Restaurant in the Wedgewood Hotel, you will find an elegant, clubby atmosphere of richly upholstered chairs, white linen table cloths, dark wood panelling and a twinkling piano tended to by a suited staff and sommelier — perfect for a lunch or dinner when quiet conversation with a colleague or client is key. The menu features traditional Canadian fare such as wild British Columbia salmon, roasted Brome Lake (Quebec) duck and Alberta beef tenderloin.
Off the clock
While Canada’s Pacific southwest is gorgeous from the ground, it is even more spectacular if seen from the air. If you have an extra day, stroll over to downtown’s Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre and catch a 35-minute seaplane flight (150 Canadian dollars each way) over the sparkling Strait of Georgia and the verdant Gulf Islands to Victoria, the quaint capital of British Columbia. The seaplane splashes down in the middle of town and docks at the Victoria Harbour Water Aerodrome — within walking distance of the grand Fairmont Empress Hotel (great for high tea) and the downtown streets packed with boutiques, restaurants and cafes.
Much of the allure of living in British Columbia is easy access to its natural delights, of which locals frequently indulge. Join them on nearby Grouse Mountain — just 15km from downtown — for skiing in the winter, hiking or zip lining in the summer, or just taking in the magnificence on the Skyride aerial tram to the mountaintop observatory. Fit business travellers up for a challenge should consider “The Grouse Grind”, a 2.9km trail up the mountain face, referred to locally as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”. If that is too much of a challenge, consider a nice flatlander bicycle ride along the seawall at Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park.
Don’t do this!
Do not smoke. As you might expect in a healthful city known for its fresh air, Vancouver has the strictest smoking laws in Canada, including a ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars, including outdoor patios. In addition, smokers can only light up of they are at least 6m away from building or restaurant entryways or windows. Smoking is also banned at all city parks and beaches.