Sunday, January 8, 2017

How to Be a Devils Fan In Vancouver -- 2017 Edition

A week from Sunday, the New Jersey Devils will conclude their Western Canada roadtrip, playing the Vancouver Canucks, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Before You Go. At 49 degrees, 16 minutes North latitude, Rogers Arena is further north than any U.S. major league sports venue. (Seattle's CenturyLink Field is the northernmost, at 47 degrees, 35 minutes.) And this is mid-January. It will be cold. And, like the American Northwest cities of Seattle and Portland, it rains. A lot. The city has been nicknamed "Raincouver."

The Vancouver Sun is predicting that temperatures will be in the mid-30s by day and the low 30s by night. They're not predicting snow for Sunday, but they are for the next day, Monday, which could make getting out difficult.

This is Canada, so you will need your passport. You will need to change your money. At this writing, C$1.00 = US 76 cents, and US$1.00 = C$1.32. And I advise you to call your bank and let them know that you will be in a foreign country, so they won't see credit or debit card purchases from a foreign country pop up and think your card has been stolen.

Also, remember that they use the metric system. A speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour means 62 miles an hour. And don't be fooled by the seemingly low gas prices: That's per liter, not per gallon, and, in spite of Canada being a major oil-producing nation, you'll actually be paying more for gas up there. So, in order to avoid both confusion and "sticker-shock," get your car filled up before you reach the border.

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone, so they are 3 hours behind New York and New Jersey. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. The Canucks are averaging 18,364 fans per home game last season, about 97 percent of capacity. That's a bit less than you would expect for hockey-mad Canada. Getting tickets may still be tough.

Remember, these prices are in Canadian dollars. Seats in the lower level, the 100 sections, are $190 between the goals and $120 behind them. The 200 sections are club seats, and available only to season ticketholders. Seats in the upper level, the 300 sections, are $110 between the goals and $44 behind them.

Getting There. It's 2,984 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. It's 31 miles from downtown Vancouver to the closest border crossing, the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington. This is the longest roadtrip the Devils have. If you can afford to fly, you should.

Air Canada has 1 nonstop flight between Newark and Vancouver every day, and it lands at 8:46 PM, right in the middle of a game (if it's a standard 7 PM Pacific Time start). If you don't mind changing planes in Toronto, you can get a round-trip fare for a little over $1,000.

If that's too expensive, the other options aren't too good, because they're a lot longer. For example, here's your schedule if you take Amtrak and the connecting bus service:

Leave New York: 3:40 PM Thursday
Arrive Chicago: 9:45 AM Friday
Leave Chicago: 2:15 PM Friday
Arrive Seattle: 10:25 AM Sunday
Leave Seattle: 1:45 PM Sunday
Arrive Vancouver: 5:15 PM Sunday
Puck drops: 7:00 PM Sunday
Game ends: Around 9:30 PM Sunday, and you'll need a hotel
Leave Vancouver: 6:30 AM Monday
Arrive Seattle: 10:55 AM Monday
Leave Seattle: 4:40 PM Monday
Arrive Chicago: 3:55 PM Wednesday
Leave Chicago: 9:30 PM Wednesday
Arrive New York: 6:23 PM Thursday

And that's $887 round-trip. You'd be better off finding a discount airline.

Is taking the bus any better? Not really: You'd have to leave Port Authority at 3:40 PM on Thursday, changing buses in Buffalo, Toronto, and Winnipeg, and arrive in Vancouver at 7:30 AM on Sunday. It's $504 round-trip, but it could drop to $460 on advanced purchase.

The VIA station, Pacific Central Station, is at 1100 Station Street at National Avenue, while the Greyhound station is at 1150 Station Street, not quite next-door, but close. Main Street-Science World Station to Stadium-Chinatown Station in 6 minutes.

Could driving be any worse? Even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days’ worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don’t get pulled over for speeding, you’ll still need over 2 full days to get there. One way.

But, if you really, really think driving is a better alternative... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and stay on that until it merges with Interstate 90 west of Cleveland, then stay on 90 through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, into Wisconsin, where it merges with Interstate 94. Although you could take I-90 almost all the way, I-94 is actually going to be faster. Stay on I-94 through Minnesota and North Dakota before re-merging with I-90 in Montana, taking it through Idaho and into Washington, getting off I-94 at Exit 2B to get on Interstate 5.

You'll take I-5 up to the border, past Exit 276. You'll present your passport, and you'll answer whatever questions the Customs agent has. Presuming you have everything in order and you don't do anything stupid to make him (or her) keep you out of Canada, I-5 becomes BC Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway. Once you cross the Lions Gate Bridge, you're in downtown Vancouver.

Not counting rest stops, you should be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2 hours, Wisconsin for 3:15, Minnesota for 4:30, North Dakota for 6 hours, Montana for a whopping 13 hours (or 3 times the time it takes to get from New York to Boston), Idaho for 1:15, 8:45 in Washington, and half an hour in British Columbia. That's 52 and a half hours, so, with rest stops, you're talking 3 full days.

On October 14, 2016, President Obama finally ended the ban on bringing Cuban cigars into America. This also applies to rum, for which Cuba is also renowned. It is still considerably easier to buy these items in Canada than in America, but, now, you can bring them back over the border.

Once In the City. Originally named Gastown, in honor of its founder, mill baron John "Gassy Jack" Deighton, Vancouver was a product of the 1859 Western gold rush that also founded Denver. Europeans first settled in the area in 1862, Gassy Jack founded a tavern on July 1, 1867, Canada's Confederation Day (effectively, its independence from Britain although it was still part of the Empire and remains part of the Commonwealth).

It was renamed for George Vancouver, an officer of Britain's Royal Navy, who explored and charted North America's Pacific Northwest in the early 1790s. Despite having a name that could be French (VAHN-koo-vair, instead of Van-KOO-ver as we say today), and the city being in a country with French as a second official language, he was English through and through. The city of Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, is also named for him, as are places in Australia and New Zealand, which he also explored.

Vancouver was made possible by its selection in 1884 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as its terminus. It was incorporated as a city in 1886, and, shortly thereafter, was consumed in a Great Fire, much as Chicago had been in 1871 and Boston the next year. Like those cities, Vancouver rebuilt quickly, and the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98 was exactly what the doctor ordered. By 1911, the brothers Lester and Frank Patrick were running the Vancouver Millionaires hockey team, and in 1915, they won the Stanley Cup -- still the only one in the city's history, 100 years later.

Like New York, Vancouver is a city of islands. Unlike New York, for whom the Catskills count as "mountains," Vancouver has real mountains. On a clear day, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the Western Hemisphere. On ground level, however, it is as plagued by problems, -- especially poverty, homelessness and crime -- as any city. At least it's cleaner than most American cities.

Home to a little over 630,000 people, Vancouver is Canada's 8th-largest city, behind Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Toronto's neighbor Missisauga and Winnipeg. (Neighboring Surrey is 12th, with 470,000, and nearby Burnaby and Richmond are in the top 25.) But with 2.4 million, "Greater Vancouver" is Canada's 3rd-largest metropolitan area, behind Toronto and Montreal.

Main Street south of Vancouver Harbour, and Lonsdale Avenue north of it, divide city addresses into east and west. There is no divider into north and south, although north of the Harbour are the separate cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam are to the east, Surrey to the southeast, Richmond to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

TransLink runs the B-Line bus service, the SkyTrain rapid rail service, the West Coast Express commuter rail, and the SeaBus ferry service. A 1 Zone fare is $2.75, 2 Zone $4.00, and 3 Zone $5.50. After 6:30 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends and holidays (including Sunday, the day of the Devils-Canucks game), discount fares apply, and buying a $2.75 1 Zone ticket will allow you to travel through all zones. And remember, that's C$2.75, making it about US$2.06, making Vancouver's SkyTrain and buses cheaper than New York's Subway and buses. A DayPass costs $9.75.
Passing by the Harbour Centre tower

The drinking age in British Columbia is 19. Postal Codes in the Province, appropriately enough, begin with the letter V. The Area Codes are 604 and 250, with 236 and 778 as overlays.

Going In. The official address for Rogers Arena is 800 Griffiths Way, at the southeastern edge of downtown. The street was named for Frank Griffiths, the media mogul who owned the team from 1974 until his death in 1994 and funded the Arena. The actual streets around it are Expo Blvd. to the west and north (separate by the elevated Dunsmuir Viaduct), Abbott Street to the east and Georgia Street to the south.
Parking is $19. The Arena can be reached by SkyTrain at Stadium-Chinatown station. If you came in this way, you will almost certainly enter the Arena from the north.

It was named General Motors Place from its 1995 opening until 2010, when it was temporarily renamed Canada Hockey Place, since Olympic rules forbid corporate names on venues. (Yes, I know: Hypocritical IOC is hypocritical.) Like the Rogers Centre in Toronto and the under-construction Rogers Place in Edmonton, it's named for Canadian network Rogers Sportsnet.

The NBA's expansion Vancouver Grizzlies played there from 1995 to 2001, but never caught on, and moved to Memphis. As the NBA's only remaining Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors play a preseason game there every year. The Arena is Vancouver's main concert venue, as was the Canucks' previous home, the Pacific Coliseum. Neither Elvis Presley nor the Beatles ever performed in Vancouver.

With the Grizzlies and the Seattle SuperSonics both gone, the closest NBA team to Vancouver is the Portland Trail Blazers, 314 miles away. But according to an article in the May 12, 2014 New York Times, the most popular NBA team in Vancouver is easily the Los Angeles Lakers, well ahead of runners-up the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

The main venue for hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Arena is across Georgia Street from BC Place, home of the CFL's British Columbia Lions and MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps. BC Place also hosted the 2011 Vanier Cup, the National Championship of Canadian college football, won by Hamilton's McMaster University over Quebec City's Université Laval. On March 2, 2014, the Canucks hosted the Ottawa Senators at BC Place as part of the NHL's Heritage Classic series, albeit this was the 1st time an "outdoor"game was held at an indoor stadium. The Senators won, 4-2.

One of the popular concourse attractions at the Arena is the Luc Bourdon Wall of Dreams, located at the Gate 3 entrance. The wall commemorates the life of the late Luc Bourdon, the Canucks defenseman tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in May 2009. It also boasts an inspiring display of hockey pucks honoring British Columbia’s rich hockey history.

The rink is laid out east-to-west. The Canucks attack twice toward the east end. Be warned: Its upper deck is said to be steep.
Food. Vancouver is Canada's premier western port. Which means, like San Francisco and Seattle, it is a great food city. The Arena reflects this.

The Centre Ice Grill is on the arena's north side, and the Budweiser Sports Lounge in the southwest corner. Other offerings include: Carve sandwiches at Sections 101, 117 and 321; Catch seafood at 101 and 117; Sante health food at 109, 122 and 313; Smoke's Poutinerie at 111 (I hate poutine); Nathan's Famous hot dogs at 113, 121, 301, 303, 314 and 324 (so they have that in common with the Prudential Center); Triple-O's chicken at 115 and 307; Pizza Hut at 118 and 318; Chop Asian Noodle Stir-Fry at 120; Steamers hot dogs at 120 and 320; Melt grilled cheese at 122 and 310; and Vij's Indian food at 318.

Team History Displays. The Canucks' history has been spotty. Despite playing since 1970, 46 years, they have never won the Stanley Cup. In contrast, the Devils, the Islanders, the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers, the Colorado Avalanche, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Anaheim Ducks, all founded after the Canucks, have won 18 Cups between them. The Canucks' record in Stanley Cup Finals is 0-3. (The Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers have each lost more Finals than the Canucks since 1970, but have also won more.)

The Canucks hang banners for their 3 Conference Championships: 1982, 1994 and 2011; their 2 President's Trophies: 2011 and 2012; and their 10 Division Championships: 1975, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. (Note that they reached the Finals without finishing 1st in their Division in 1982 and 1994.)
The Canucks have retired 4 uniform numbers: 10, 1990s right wing Pavel Bure; 12, 1980s right wing Stan Smyl; 16, 1990s and 2000s right wing Trevor Linden; and 19, 1990s and 2000s left wing Markus Naslund.
In addition, the Canucks have taken out of circulation, but not officially retired, the following: 11, 1970s left wing Wayne Maki, who died of cancer in 1974, and only Mark Messier has worn it since; 28, 2000s defenseman Luc Bourdon, killed in a motorcycle accident in 2008; 37, 2000s center Rick Rypien, who committed suicide in 2011; and 38, 2000s center Pavol Demitra, who was killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Air Disaster in Russia in 2011.

In addition, the Canucks have a Ring of Honour, which includes none of the preceding, but does include the following: 1970s center Orland Kurtenbach, 1970s and 1980s defenseman Harold Snepsts, 1980s center Thomas Gradin, 1990s goaltender Kirk McLean, 2000s defenseman Matthias Öhlund, and Pat Quinn, 1970s defenseman and 1990s head coach and general manager.

No Canucks players were named to The Hockey News' 100 Greatest Players in 1998. Bure and Quinn have been elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame. Former general mangers Bud Poile and Brian Burke were awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in America.

British Columbia teams that have won the Memorial Cup, the championship of Canadian junior hockey, are: The 1977 and 1978 New Westminster Bruins; the 1992, 1994 and 1995 Kamloops Blazers; the 2004 Kelowna Rockets; and the 2007 Vancouver Giants.

UPDATE: Bure was the only player identified with the Canucks who was named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players.

Stuff. The Canucks Team Store is located at Gate 6, at the Arena's west entrance. There, you can find the usual items available in a hockey team's "pro shop."

With their spotty history, and less of a glamour team than their fellow Canadians, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canucks haven't had many good books written about them. Bruce Dowbiggen wrote Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever, about the run to the 2010-11 Finals and the ultimate heartbreak. That was the team's 40th Anniversary season, Bev Wake and Paul Chapman also covered it in A Thrilling Ride: The Vancouver Canucks' Fortieth Anniversary Season.

There are 2 DVDs about the team. Vancouver Canucks: Love This Team, Love This Game is a team history video that calls them "BC's Biggest Family." Vancouver: Forever Faithful/The Canucks Movie is less recent, but perhaps still worth a look.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the Canucks' fans 4th, behind only Toronto, Chicago and Montreal, thus 1st among non-"Original Six" teams, and 1st among teams west of the Mississippi River. They said, "Still shelled out cash to support Canucks when team struggled last season." (Meaning 2013-14.)

Canucks fans don't much like the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Ottawa Senators or the Toronto Maple Leafs. They also don't much like the 3 teams that have beaten them in the Stanley Cup Finals: The Islanders in 1982, the Rangers in 1994, or the Boston Bruins in 2011. But since Devils fans don't like those 3 teams either, you'll have something to talk about. At any rate, if you don't start any violence with Canucks fans, they won't start any with you.

Mark Donnelly has sung the National Anthems at Canucks games since 2001. He succeeded their original Anthem singer, Richard Loney, who died in 2015.

The Canucks' mascot is Fin the Whale, which matches their whale-breaking-out-of-a-C logo, which matches the name of the company that has bought the Canucks and the Arena from the Griffiths family in 1995, Canucks Sports & Entertainment, formerly Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment. The company was named for the killer whales that live off the British Columbia coast. (Frank Griffiths and his son Arthur overspent to build the Arena, and Arthur had to sell after Frank's death. He redeemed himself somewhat by helping Vancouver get the 2010 Winter Olympics.)
Fin with our own N.J. Devil
at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.
Behind them is Bailey the Lion, from the Los Angeles Kings.

The goal song is "Gold On the Ceiling" by the Black Keys. But the biggest fan chant is the rather generic, "Go, Canucks, go!"

After the Game. Canadians generally don't believe in fighting with opposing fans, they have ha healthy attitude toward guns (they don't need them to feel safe), and they certainly have nothing against New Jersey. Don't go out of your way to antagonize anyone, and you'll be fine.

The arena is in downtown Vancouver, so there should be places to go after the game. I don't know of any place that is a known hangout for visiting or expatriate New Yorkers. The International Village Mall is 2 blocks north of the arena, at Abbott Street and Keefer Place. Whether anything will still be open after the game remains to be seen.

If your visit to Vancouver (for a Canucks game, a Whitecaps game, a Lions game, or anything else) is during the European soccer season (as we are once again in), the best one is probably Library Square Public House, 300 W. Georgia Street, 4 blocks northwest of the arena and the stadium.

Sidelights. Vancouver has been a big sports city since Canada's dawn, and these are some of the other places you should see, to get a feel for it:

* BC Place. Home of the CFL's British Columbia Lions and MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps, and the main stadium for the 2010 Winter Olympics, this facility opened in 1983, in the hopes that, in addition to the Lions and the original, North American Soccer League version of the Caps, it could bring in a Major League Baseball team. That's never happened.
Before the renovation

It originally had the same kind of air-supported white fabric dome that covered the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, but its renovation after the Olympics replaced it with a cable-supported roof that looks a lot better. 777 Pacific Blvd., across Georgia Street from Rogers Arena. Stadium-Chinatown station on SkyTrain.
* Pacific National Exhibition. This was the home of Vancouver sports from the 1950s to the 1990s. The building here that is best known to Americans, because of their NHL viewing, is the Pacific Coliseum. Opening in 1968, it was the last home of the Western Hockey League's Canucks (1968-70), the 1st home of the NHL Canucks (1970-95), and the home of the World Hockey Association's Vancouver Blazers (1973-75).
Because of its interior appearance, and Vancouver's status as a place where filming movies gives studios tax breaks, it stood in for Madison Square Garden for the filming of Miracle, about the 1980 U.S. hockey team. The real-life Soviet team made an appearance there in 1972, as it hosted Game 4 of the Summit Series. It was also the venue for figure skating and short-track speed skating for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is currently home to the Vancouver Giants, a minor-league hockey team.

The PNE grounds are also home to the Vancouver Forum, a 1931-built arena that was home to the minor-league Canucks from 1938 to 1968. It has remained a concert hall, although in 2007, fans at a Smashing Pumpkins concert took the band's name too literally, and a fan died in the mosh pit.
Back when the Commonwealth Games were still known as the Empire Games, Vancouver hosted them in 1954, and the 32,729-seat Empire Stadium was built at the PNE. The British Columbia Lions played there until 1982, moving into BC Place the next summer. The Empire also hosted the city's North American Soccer League teams, the Royals (1967-68) and the original version of the Whitecaps (1974-83).
In 1970, it became Canada's 1st stadium with artificial turf. It was demolished in 1993, and a temporary stadium was put on the site in 2011, to house the new Whitecaps while BC Place was being renovated with a new roof. This new site was quickly demolished.

The Hastings Racecourse, a thoroughbred horse venue, and Playland Amusement Park are also on the grounds. 100 N. Renfrew Street at Miller Drive, on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition. Number 4 bus. 

* Denman Arena. Built by the Patrick brothers in 1911, this 10,500-seat arena was the largest in Canada at the time. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association's Vancouver Millionaires played here until 1926, winning the 1915 Stanley Cup, 100 years ago. When the PCHA folded, the Vancouver Lions of the Northwest Hockey League took over in 1928, and played here until 1936. It was also home to a women's hockey team, the Vancouver Amazons.
That was when, mere hours after hosting a fight by former Heavyweight Champion Max Baer, the arena, brick-faced and supposedly fireproof, fell victim to a nearby fire. Sounds suspicious. Devonian Harbour Park is now on the site. 561 Denman Street at Georgia Street. Bus 240 from downtown.

* Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. Home to Vancouver baseball since 1951, and originally known as Capilano Stadium, in 1978 it was renamed for Bailey, a local restaurateur and civic booster. Scotiabank bought naming rights in 2010. It seats only 6,013, so it's small even by Triple-A standards. But it has the old-time look, complete with support poles holding up an overhanging roof.
The stadium was built by Emil Sick, who also built the ballpark of the Pacific Coast League's Seattle Rainiers, which would later be home to the ill-fated Seattle Pilots of the American League. The Vancouver Mounties would play PCL ball there from 1956 to 1969, and would finish as they began, as a Seattle farm club.
The city would be without professional baseball until 1978, when the Vancouver Canadians joined the PCL. They won Pennants in 1985, 1989 and 1999. But in 2000, they were moved to Sacramento, and were replaced by a new Canadians team, in the Northwest League, a short-season Class A league like the New York-Penn League that includes the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones.

By 2011, they were the only affiliated minor-league baseball team in Canada (all the others are now in independent leagues), and became, perhaps appropriately, a farm club of the country's only remaining major league team, the Toronto Blue Jays. They won Pennants in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2015, they had a pitcher named Tyler Burden -- not Tyler Durden. 4601 Ontario Street at 30th Avenue, in Queen Elizabeth Park. Number 3 bus.

The closest MLB team to Vancouver is the Seattle Mariners, 144 miles away. In spite of this, national pride is still the determining factor: According to Vancouver Sun poll this past April 2 -- before the Jays made the Playoffs for the 1st time in 22 years -- the Jays are easily the area's favorite baseball team, with a 56 percent share of the market, to the Mariners' 13.

If Vancouver were to pursue teams in the sports they do not currently have at the major league level, they would rank 28th in population in MLB, ahead of only Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee; and 24th in the NBA.

* University of British Columbia. Founded as the Western Canada extension of Montreal's McGill University, UBC's main campus is at the western edge of Vancouver Island, about 6 1/2 miles west of downtown. Bus 4. Their football team, the Thunderbirds, have won the Vanier Cup in 1982, 1986, 1997 and 2015. Their hockey team, however, has won no major trophies.

* Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum. Montreal has Pointe-à-Callière, Toronto has Fort York, and Vancouver has the MOV and the VMM. The MOV is the largest civic museum in Canada, and shares facilities with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. And while it was founded as a Gold Rush town and a railroad terminus, the VMM shows that there's no escaping that Vancouver is a port city. 1100 Chestnut Street at McNicoll Avenue, in Vanier Park. Number 2 bus.

* Science World at TELUS World of Science. This is the glass sphere seen in so many photos of Vancouver. 1455 Quebec Street at Terminal Avenue. Main Street-Science World station on SkyTrain.

There's also the Forbidden Vancouver Tour, which takes visitors to naughty sites in Gastown, and places that sent booze to America during Prohibition (and took in Americans looking for a drink, as the border is 31 miles from downtown Vancouver, further than Windsor but closer than Montreal or Toronto). Cathedral Square, Dunsmuir and Richards Streets. Granville station on SkyTrain.

The only one of Canada's now 23 Prime Ministers (including the newly-elected Justin Trudeau) to have come from British Columbia is Vancouver native Kim Campbell, the 1st female head of government in North American history -- unless you want to go back to, and count, Queen Anne in the early 18th Century, before either the U.S. or Canada gained independence. Campbell served for just 4 months in 1993, after the resignation of Brian Mulroney and before the ensuing election, for which he let her take the fall. She is still alive, so there is no historic site in her honor.

* Victoria. The capital of the Province of British Columbia, and the home of the 1925 Victoria Cougars, the last team from outside the NHL to win the Stanley Cup, and the last B.C. team to win it, is 72 miles southwest of Vancouver, 106 miles northwest of Seattle, and 25 miles from the closest border crossing, the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington. From both Vancouver and Seattle, it can be reached without a car, but, in each case, you'd need to take a bus and a ferry, since, like Vancouver, it's on an island.
The British Columbia Parliament Building in Vancouver

It's not a very big city, home to around 80,000 people, which is why it's never had an NHL team. But, like Edmonton over Calgary, it is Victoria, not Vancouver, that is the Provincial capital. It is the hometown of basketball star Steve Nash (who grew up there after immigrating with his family from South Africa) and singer Nelly Furtado (who, in her song "Promiscuous," asked collaborator Timbaland, "Is your game MVP like Steve Nash?").

If you're just that much of a hockey history fan, and want to see where this legendary team played -- Game 2 of the 1925 Finals against the Montreal Canadiens was played at Denman in Vancouver, but Games 1, 3 and 4 were played in Victoria -- the Patrick Arena, also built by the Patrick brothers in 1911 (and, suspiciously, also destroyed by fire, in 1929), was at what's now 2100 Cadboro Bay Road, at the corner of Epworth Street, about 2 miles east of downtown. Bus 11.
A replacement, the Victoria Memorial Arena, a.k.a. The Barn on Blanshard, was built in 1949, hosted 2 new teams called the Victoria Cougars, and a Victoria Maple Leafs in between and (I swear, I'm not making this up) the Victoria Salsa afterward.

This time, it was legally demolished, because it was cheaper to build a new arena on the site from scratch than to maintain the old one. The new one is named the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, seats 7,000, and hosts the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL (whose official name is now just those letters, "ECHL," because it would be stupid to call yourself the East Coast Hockey League and have a team on the West Coast of Canada). 1925 Blanshard Street, corner of Caledonia Street downtown.
The Barn on Blanshard, and its replacement on the same site

Lester and Frank Patrick are buried in Victoria, at Royal Oak Burial Park, at 4673 Falaise Drive, 6 miles north of downtown. Bus 72.

The tallest building in Vancouver, and in the Province of British Columbia, is an apartment tower called Living Shangri-La, 659 feet tall. 1128 West Georgia Street at Thurlow Street. Burrard station on SkyTrain.

Nearby, at 355 Burrard Street, is the Marine Building, which stood in for the Daily Planet Building on Smallville, the recent re-imagining of the Superman story. Due to Canada's tax breaks for film studios, Vancouver has become the country's Hollywood. Other TV shows filmed there include Airwolf, MacGyver, 21 Jump Street, The Commish, The X-Files, the Stargate series, Dark Angel, Seven Days, Highlander, The L Word, The 4400, Eureka, Fringe, Psych, Arrow and Once Upon a Time.

Movies filmed in Vancouver include First Blood (the first Rambo film), The Accused, Legends of the Fall, Intersection, Jumanji, the Air Bud films, the Blade films, the Scary Movie films, the Final Destination films, the previous round of Fantastic Four films, the Night at the Museum films, the Percy Jackson films, Timecop, Titanic, Van Wilder, Juno, 2012, Hot Tub Time Machine, Watchmen, the execrable Twilight films, and the Superman reboots Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Those did not use the Marine Building to stand in for the Daily Planet.)


Vancouver is Western Canada's leading city, and a West Coast gem fully able to stand alongside Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. And it has a strong sports heritage, including the Vancouver Canucks. The city still hasn't won a Stanley Cup in (literally) a century, but then, as a traveling Devils fan, that works in your favour (as it would be "spelt") there. Good luck.

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