World-Class City

Vancouver shines as a place with something for everyone — including these adventure-seeking Sea Ray L650 owners.

Vancouver frequently ranks among the top 10 best places in the world to live. The Economist, for example, ranked it third in 2016. Vancouverites don’t need rankings, however, to know just how great their city is. They can simply look out the window on their morning commute, which, no matter where they’re heading, will likely offer a mix of shoreline vistas and mountain panoramas.

The dome of Vancouver's Telus World of Science at Creekside Park.

And when work gives way to leisure time, residents have a full menu of options to choose from, including skiing and snowboarding, hiking and cycling, and pretty much any water activity that makes them happy. For Jake Wei and Angela Du and their son, Jerry (8), free time means getting onboard their new Sea Ray L650. Yachting itself is a whole new adventure for these Beijing transplants.

“We used to live in mainland China where we didn’t have access to oceans and harbors,” Angela says. “Vancouver is a nice harbor city. We wanted to try something different. We actually don’t know much about living on the water, but we are going to explore.”

Angela is referring specifically to all the overnighting the family plans to do once they get more acquainted with their Sea Ray, which they bought from M&P Mercury Sales Ltd. “They are so kind and helpful,” Angela says of the dealership. “We wanted to buy the most luxurious yacht within 70 to 80 feet. We found the Sea Ray L650 superior to other brands.”

Jake and Angela's L650 glides into the harbor under the shadow of a breathtaking skyline.

So far the family has enjoyed using the L-Class yacht to throw parties and take friends out, and often hosts work-related dinner cruises for Jake, a seasoned entrepreneur working in the media and entertainment industry. Angela likes the spacious foredeck seating and table up in the bow, which she says can accommodate plenty of guests. Plus, inside and out, the Sea Ray has a sophisticated design aesthetic made to impress. “The L650’s interior is modern and fashionable,” she says, “and the outline curve is sexy and sleek.”

The yacht certainly turns the heads of the kayakers at the mouth of Indian Arm, a glacial fjord that lies just minutes from the city. The fjord extends north of Burrard Inlet. Once a boater rounds the corner to go up the arm, sheer granite cliffs and steep wooded slopes make up the scenery. Indian Arm’s rugged terrain lacks commercial development, not only because it’s protected, but also because much of the land is impassable, with minimal access via logging roads.

Because of its accessibility from their slip in Coal Harbour, Indian Arm has become a favorite journey for Jake and Angela. “The water is calm and peaceful,” Angela says of the fjord. “And on the way, we get to also have beautiful sightseeing of Vancouver.”

Looking back at the harbor, located close to downtown, the family can take in the city’s dramatic skyline, which earned it the nickname “City of Glass.” Meanwhile the historic Lions Gate Bridge, which the Guinness family (of Irish stout fame) built, soars overhead. The bridge—officially named the First Narrows Bridge because it spans the first narrows of the inlet—earned its more creative name from two nearby mountain peaks: West and East Lion. A pair of cast-concrete lions mark the bridge’s south approach.

Once on Indian Arm, Angela and Jake make it a point to head to their favorite spots. “It has a famous waterfall,” Angela says. She’s referring to Granite Falls, which is located on the east side of the north end and is the largest waterfall in the region. It tumbles 150 feet, plunging into small pools over rocks. Another impressive site is Silver Falls, which gushes over a cliff like a spout. It’s tucked in a small cove on the west side of the fjord, so it’s easy to miss when cruising by—and that might be for the best. Oral history of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation indicates that looking at the falls could make you “dizzy and all twisted up.”

In fact the fjord is steeped in legend, with tales of an evil serpent named Scnoki that at one time spanned Burrard Inlet like a bridge. The creature is said to have had heads at both ends that held fast to the rocks. Legend holds that he terrorized the people until one day a brother-and-sister team used spears to chase him from the cliffs. The serpent is said to have retreated to Lake Buntzen.

Scnoki’s tale is just one of the many serpent legends that exist about the fjord, and although it’s commonly known as Indian Arm, the area is officially called Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park, a name that means “Serpent’s Land.” The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Province of British Columbia manage the park collectively to protect the landscape, wildlife, waters and the important archaeological sites within. If they look closely at the cliffs flanking the fjord, visitors to Indian Arm can see various pictographs left by the Tsleil-Waututh.

The ability to enjoy a place like Indian Arm is reason alone to rate Vancouver a great place to live. Its beauty, access to a wide variety of recreational opportunities, and relatively temperate climate all play a part in the city’s popularity.

Angela cites Vancouver’s ranking as one of the reasons the family moved here from Beijing 20 years ago, along with its rich culture and proximity. “Vancouver is close to China,” she says. “It has many Chinese restaurants and stores. Living in Vancouver is quite convenient for Chinese-speaking people.”

The family initially traveled back and forth from China to Canada and at one point even moved back to Beijing. But Vancouver drew them back this year, and now they look forward to exploring the area extensively on their L650. Regarding the city’s ranking, Angela says Vancouver is number-one in her book for both work and play. With so many appealing qualities, the city deserves every accolade.


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