UBC and South Vancouver covers the southern and western part of Vancouver's west side. It is mostly residential and has some of city's older and more prestigious neighbourhoods. The area is best known for two of its gardens and parks — Queen Elizabeth Park, the highest point in the city, and VanDusen Gardens — and the University of British Columbia campus that has the acclaimed Museum of Anthropology and Wreck Beach.
The gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park
For the purposes of this guide, the district includes the UBC campus, Pacific Spirit Park and everything south of W 16th Ave west of Ontario Street. This includes the University Endowment Lands, the neighbourhoods of Kerrisdale, Oakridge, Marpole and portions of Dunbar, Arbutus Ridge, Shaughnessy and South Cambie. To the north is Kitsilano and South Granville; to the east is East Van; and to the south is Richmond.
The main occupant of the University Endowment Lands is the University of British Columbia (or UBC for short), the largest university in British Columbia and one of the larger universities in Canada. It includes not only the University, but also residential and commercial areas. The campus is surrounded by Pacific Spirit Park, a large nature reserve.
UBC and South Vancouver is well connected to other parts of Vancouver by the Translink bus system. The following routes are good ways to get in and around:
- #4 - Connects UBC to downtown.
- #9 - Travels up and down 10th Ave/Broadway connecting UBC to Kitsilano, South Granville and East Van.
- #10 - Runs up and down Granville Street from downtown to Marine Drive.
- #15 - Runs up and down Cambie Street from downtown to Marine Drive.
- #17 - Runs along Oak Street and Broadway, connecting UBC and South Vancouver with South Granville and Kitsilano.
- #41 - Runs along 41st Avenue from Joyce SkyTrain Station to UBC through the Kerrisdale area.
- #44 - Connects UBC to Waterfront Station downtown (connection to the SeaBus and North Vancouver).
- #84 - Express bus running along 4th Avenue and connects with the VCC-Broadway spur of the Skytrain at Great Northern Way.
- #480 - Travels along 41st Avenue and Granville making select stops between UBC and Richmond.
- #99 B-Line - The express version of route #9 along Broadway/10th Ave. It runs from the Broadway/Commercial Skytrain station to UBC.
The Canada Line follows Cambie Street through the district on its way to Richmond and downtown Vancouver. Stops of interest include:
- King Edward - four blocks north of Queen Elizabeth Park and Nat Bailey Stadium
- Oakridge - easy access to one of the larger shopping malls in Vancouver and transfer point for buses that travel on 41st St.
Granville Street is the main street coming out of downtown into South Vancouver and also provides access to the airport. From Richmond to the south, Hwy 99 becomes Oak Street once it crosses the Fraser River and runs the length of South Vancouver up to South Granville. Cambie Street is an alternate way through the district to the east of Granville St and Oak St, and also provides access to downtown.
Going from east to west, SW Marine Drive/Marine Drive follows the Fraser River and wraps around Point Grey, connecting UBC and South Vancouver with East Van. 4th Ave, 10th Ave/Broadway and 16th Ave are the main roads into UBC from Kitsilano. West 41st Ave and West 49th Ave are other major east-west streets.
- Queen Elizabeth Park, 33rd & Cambie (alternate entrance off 33rd Ave across from Nat Bailey Stadium), . An old quarry that was converted into a number of gardens and ponds. The top of the park is the highest point in the city of Vancouver and offers views of the entire city. Free.
- Bloedel Floral Conservatory, top of Queen Elizabeth Park. Daily 10AM-5PM. Tropical plants and birds under the white dome. $4.60/$2.30 (adult/child).
- VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St. (37th & Oak on the NW corner), ☎ +1 604-878-9274 (fax: +1 604-263-1777), . Open 10AM to around sunset (varies from 4PM-9PM depending on time of year). VanDusen Botanical Garden has a very large collection of plants in the outdoor gardens. Especially interesting are the Canadian ecosystems, with samples of prairie and deep woods fauna. On the last weekend in April, the garden has a giant plant sale with many species from all over the world (they don't always have a Canadian official there to grant export, however). Plant seeds are available in the gift shop. Adults $6.25-$8.50 (winter/summer), Seniors and Youth less.
- Jewish Museum and Archives of BC, #300-950 West 41st Ave. (close to Oak St.) (Located on the 3rd floor of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver), ☎ +1 604-257-5199, . Sun-Thurs 9AM-5PM. A small museum that documents the history of the Jewish community in British Columbia. The museum has a permanent exhibit about this history ("Ties That Bind") and also features temporary exhibits. Check for interesting summer programs at this museum; in 2007 it operated a "Tour de Blintz" cycling tour, which took participants to local Jewish eateries. Free (except for special programs).
- Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, 50-950 West 41st Ave. (close to Oak St.) (Located on the lower level of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver), ☎ +1 604-264-0499, . Mon-Thurs 9AM-5PM, Fri 9AM-4PM. A teaching museum that focuses on the Holocaust, genocide, and anti-racism education. The museum has small thought-provoking temporary exhibits, but these may not be on display during the summer months when the museum traditionally works on mounting its next exhibit. Free.
University of British Columbia campus
Totem poles at the UBC Museum of Anthropology
- Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, . M-Th 8AM-11PM, F 8AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 12PM-8PM. Automated "robot librarian" cranes scurry along 5-story shelves holding 1.6 million books, at the beck and call of human librarians. For a geek thrill, watch them through the ground floor windows on the north side of the building. On the 2nd floor, near the Circulation desk, is a more limited view. Free.
- Chan Centre for the Performing Arts— A concert hall and events centre; often the location of convocation ceremonies.
- Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 1825 Main Mall (just up from the Rose Garden), ☎ +1 604-822-2759 (fax: +1 604-822-6689), . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12PM-5PM (closed Mondays and statutory holidays). A small gallery with regular exhibitions. What looks like a woodpile outside is actually a sculpture, made of concrete. Free.
- Nitobe Memorial Garden, 1895 Lower Mall (entrance near the Museum of Anthropology), ☎ +1 604-822-9666 (info line), . Daily from 9AM-5PM, mid-March to Oct. One of the most traditional, authentic Japanese gardens in North America and among the top five Japanese gardens outside of Japan. $2/5/6 (youth/senior/adult).
- Pacific Spirit Park, (by bus, get off at any stop after Blanca St; by car, look for any of the small parking lots scattered throughout the park), ☎ +1 604-224-5739, . 8AM-10PM (or dusk in winter). A relatively undeveloped and heavily forested park. It includes a strip of forest running north-south between Blanca Street and Alison Street, immediately to the west of UBC campus. There are over 100 kilometers of trails and beaches for running, biking, and horseback riding. It also includes the clothing-optional Wreck Beach, wrapping around the west end of the Point Grey peninsula. It's the closest thing to wilderness in the city. Free.
- UBC Botanical Garden, 6804 SW Marine Drive (20 minute walk across campus from UBC campus bus loop, or take bus C20 to the gardens), ☎ +1-604-822-9666 ([email protected], fax: +1 604-822-2016), . 10AM-6PM (5PM in winter). Canada's longest continuously operating university garden, it contains over 8000 different kinds of plants in both designed landscapes and coastal forest settings. Must-sees are the Asian garden, the alpine garden and the food garden. An enchanting oasis. Compared to the more-visited Van Dusen Botanical Garden, the remoteness of the garden means fewer people and a quieter, more private setting. Guided tours free with advance notice. $7 (discounts available), audioguide $3. Free for UBC students, and faculty, staff, or neighbours holding a Garden Pass.
- UBC Museum of Anthropology, 6393 N.W. Marine Dr, ☎ +1 604-822-5087 ([email protected], fax: +1 604-822-2974), . Daily 10AM-5PM (closes 9PM Tu). Devoted to world cultures, but with an emphasis on the First Nations of the Northwest Coast. $14 adults, $12 students/seniors, children 6 and under free ($7 flat rate Tu 5-9PM).
Be warned - Wreck Beach isn't like those other beaches
- Fraser River Park (8705 Angus Drive and West 75th Avenue)  This is a local secret that has spectacular views of the airport. One can watch the planes come and go across the river. This park is popular for dog lovers, as its secluded location is perfect for letting dogs roam free. The park is large enough to have a big field for picnics and games, while the riverfront area has its own beach, depending on the tides. At the edge of the park is an industrial park and a golf course.
- Vancouver Canadians, 4601 Ontario St (Nat Bailey Stadium - 30th Ave & Ontario St), . Vancouver's minor league (single A) baseball team. $11.
- Wreck Beach, UBC campus (Take Trail 6 at the extreme west end of University Blvd just past the Place Vanier residences. You can either park on Marine Dr or take transit to UBC and continue down the same road the bus brought you on foot.), . Probably North America's most famous and busiest clothing optional beach. There is always a festive atmosphere at this beach and many types of goods are for sale from jewelry, to food, to beer. It is only accessible by steep stairs that are not recommended for the faint of heart. Watch out as the police do occasionally crack down on drug use and open consumption of alcohol.
UBC and South Vancouver is served mostly by community centres and one major shopping mall.
- Oakridge Mall— This medium sized mall is anchored by the Bay, Zellers, and Safeway. Shops range in sizes and are mainly on the chic side of fashion.
- Kerrisdale— A busy neighbourhood commercial district. Located on West 41st Avenue between Larch and Maple Street, there are multiple coffee shops and restaurants that serve great food. It has a small town feel, but busy city traffic.
- Marpole— This small commercial district is located on Graville Street between West 63rd and West 72nd Avenue. Granville Street is a major road seeing lots of through traffic and very few people stop to enjoy this area. There are a few shops of interest, including The Connection, a gaming and hobby store, and many good restaurants that serve authentic Asian foods.
- University Village has a number of service stores including a Staples office supply store, photocopying services, several restaurants (including a subterranean foodcourt), a grocery, coffee shops, a liquor store, a newsstand, etc.
This area tends to have fewer restaurants than the rest of Vancouver. There is a cluster of cheap fast food restaurants at the University MarketPlace on the UBC campus (University Ave and Allison Rd).
- One More Sushi, #222-2155 Allison Road (on 2nd floor, go up stairs near produce store and over bridge), ☎ +1 604 228-9773 (fax: +1 604 228-9772). Delicious, low-priced, authentic-tasting Japanese food in a friendly atmosphere. One of the best price/performance restaurants in the University Village. lunch $8-10.
- Curry Point, B1-5728 University Blvd (in the underground food court off University Ave, to the left, all the way at the end), ☎ +1 604 221-0112. Very simple but rich and flavourful curry buffet of several curries, rice, naan bread. $6-7 for a full meal.
- University Village Restaurant, 5778 University Boulevard, ☎ +1 604 224-0640. Cheap, quick, and tasty Chinese food, available on campus. $.
- Samurai Sushi House, 5888 Cambie Street (at 43rd Ave) (Just east of Oakridge Centre), ☎ +1 604 325-8597. until 9PM. Well known for having huge portions for small prices. It also has fresher sushi than some more expensive places. During meal times, it can be very difficult to get a seat. In the summer, it can be nice to get take out and walk down to Columbia Park (1 block east, ~5min). Be sure to try their toro (fatty tuna), and salmon sushi/sashimi. Stay away from their tuna sushi/sashimi because it tends to be too frozen. There is another location at 1108 Davie in the West End. $10.
- Seasons in the Park, 405 West 33rd Avenue (at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park) (From Downtown take Cambie Street Southbound to 33rd Avenue. Take the park entrance road to the top of 'Little Mountain'.), ☎ +1 604 874-8008. Lunch and Dinner. If the weather is nice, this restaurant has one of the the best views in the city since it is the highest point in Vancouver. Surprisingly, for a restaurant with this good a location, the food and service are excellent and the prices are reasonable. Try the rack of lamb and the stuffed mushrooms. Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin ate here when they had their 1994 summit in Vancouver. Entrées run from $17.00 to $34.00. Appetizers from $7.00 to $13.00.
There are no nightclubs and only a few neighbourhood pubs. The UBC campus has a number of bars and pubs that cater to the student crowd.
- The Pit, East Mall, UBC campus. A student pub run by the Alma Mater Society (the student association).
- Koerners, 6371 Crescent Rd. A pub in the Graduate Student Building (run by the Grad Student Society) primarily catering to grad students and professors.
- The Gallery, 6138 SUB Boulevard (By the Norm, on the main floor of the SUB). A smallish student-run pub, the Gallery is usually quieter than the Pit, and is a good place to go to grab a pint after class - and closer than Koerner's. Tuesday nights there's karaeoke! $.
There are not many hotels in this area area, just a few older ones along Marine Drive. A better bet is to look for one of the B&B's located in the various neighbourhoods. Another alternative is stay at the (limited) lodging available at UBC. It will be quieter than many other spots in the city and the summer accommodation isn't bad value for what you get, but it is far from any attractions that aren't part of UBC.
- Pacific Spirit Hostel at UBC, 1935 Lower Mall, ☎ +1 604 822-1000 (toll free: +1 888 822-1030), . Private or twin rooms with shared washroom and kitchen facilities. Open from mid-May to mid-August. $33.
- Gage Towers, 5959 Student Union Blvd, ☎ +1 604 822-1000 (toll free: +1 888 822-1030), . Low-rise complex with a range of rooms. One bedroom and studio suites have private washroom and kitchenette. A tower suite room provides a private bedroom with a shared washroom and kitchenette (between 4-6 people). Open from mid-May to mid-August. $40-$140.
- West Coast Suites, 5959 Student Union Blvd, ☎ +1 604 822-1000 (toll free: +1 888 822-1030), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. One bedroom suites with kitchenettes. Open year round. $200 in summer, $130-$160 off-season.
- A Vancouver Traveller Bed and Breakfast, 2159 W 21st Avenue, ☎ +1 604 435-3826 ([email protected]), . checkout: 10AM. Three rooms in a renovated old home in residential area. North Suite has a minimum stay of three nights, other rooms require two nights minimum June-Sept. $80-$145.
- Pacific Spirit Guest House, 4080 W 35th Ave, ☎ +1 604-261-6837 (toll free: +1 866 768-6837, [email protected]), . Two room B&B close to Pacific Spirit Park. Reviewers rave about the hospitality of the hosts and comfort of the rooms. $100-$130.
- Granville House B&B, 5050 Granville Street, ☎ +1 604 307-2300 (toll free: +1 866 739-9002, [email protected]), . B&B in a newer Tudor revival style house. Each room has a king size bed and internet connection. $170-$200 (June-Sept + Christmas period), $100-$150 at other times.
- Arbutus Vista Vancouver B&B (Arbutus Villa), 2172 W 22nd Avenue, ☎ +1 604 603-7289, . Basement suite B&B with private entrance, internet and kitchen. Reviewers like its quiet location, comfort and friendly owners; lower rates in off-season. $164-$245 with min 3 night stay May 1-Oct 15 and over Christmas/New Years.
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