July is an outstanding month to visit Vancouver. The Vancouver Tourism website www.tourismvancouver.com has up-to-date information about events in the city as well as general information for visitors. Below are a few activities we suggest during your time at the conference:

Celebration of Light Fireworks

The Honda Celebration of Light is the largest off-shore fireworks competition in the world and one of Vancouver's Celebration of Light most well known festivals. The 2014 festival will be held over 3 days: Saturday, July 26th, Wednesday, July 30th, and Saturday, August 2nd. Fireworks start at 10pm sharp and can be viewed from many vantage points in and around downtown Vancouver. On Saturday, July 26th (the night before the conference) we will have a casual get-together to watch the fireworks from the beach which is a 20 minute walk (or a short bus/cab ride) from the Blue Horizon Hotel. On Wednesday, July 30th, the last night of the conference, we are organizing a boat cruise & dinner to watch the fireworks from the harbour. We will be sailing with Vancouver Cruises onboard the Queen of Diamonds. Conferee's guests are welcome to attend both fireworks viewing events. However, tickets for the boat cruise on July 30th must be purchased in advance by each conferee and their guest(s). Reservations and payment for the boat cruise must be made by June 20th to ensure space on the boat. More information, including the menu for the dinner and the webform for ordering tickets can be found at this link: http://www.vancouvercruises.ca/buy.php?cruise=479

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Bridge Capilano Suspension Bridge, Cliffwalk and Treetop adventure offer a unique view of the British Columbia forest. Located 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, a free shuttle bus leaves the Blue Horizon Hotel approximately every 15 minutes between 9am and 4pm. The park is open until 8pm in July and return trips are very easy via the public bus for those who wish to stay later than the scheduled free shuttle service. Admission to the park is $35.95 for adults, with discounted pricing for seniors, students and children. While the overall experience is geared for the tourist, the park is a great way to see many perspectives of the local habitat and learn about both the history and native culture of the Vancouver area. More information about the park and it's attrations are on the Capilano website: www.capbridge.com

Stanley Park

Stanley Park was named the best park in the world in 2013, according to TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards. Unlike other large urban parks, Stanley Park was not designed by a landscape architect, but rather the evolution of a forest and urban Stanley Park Seawallspace over many years. In addition to the impressive forest hiking trails, the park also offers beaches, lakes, swimming pool, water spray park, children's play areas, the Vancouver Aquarium, horse-drawn carriage tours, a large totem pole display, a miniature railroad, gardens, restaurants and picnic areas as well as amazing views of Vancouver. The park is located a short walk from the Blue Horizon Hotel but it is enormous, so it is advisable to either rent a bike or purchase tickets for the "Stanley Park Shuttle" which offers a 45 minute narrated tour on an old-fashioned San Francisco style trolley. The bus is a hop-on, hop-off style tour stopping at 15 of the most popular attractions in Stanley Park. All day passes for the bus are $10 per adult and $5 per child, and kids under 4 are free. Bike rentals can be arranged near The Blue Horizon Hotel.

Granville Island

Granville IslandOnce an industrial area under Granville Avenue Bridge, the island was transformed in the 1970's by the Canadian government to be a multi-use entertainment and shopping center. During the day the world class Granville Island Public Market features fresh produce, bakeries, local artisans and specialty food stalls. Artist studios line the streets of the island, including wood workers, boat makers, glass blowers, ceramicists, and sculptors. You can often find artists inside working and happy to chat with visitors. Street performers can be found around the island. The island is also home to a children's playground and free water splash park, as well as several restaurants and boutique shops. At night the island hosts an improv comedy club, several theaters for plays and venues for music events, as well as bars and restaurants. Views from The Granville Island Hotel's restaurant, The Sandbar restaurant upstairs outdoor patio, and The Bridge Restaurant are exceptional. But for the best food on the island, and some of the best in all of Vancouver, try Edible Canada featuring the best seasonal food and drink from across Canada, Go Fish, which is located in a shipping container next to the fishing dock and aguably has the best fish and chips in town, or the culinary school, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) which offers the best value gourmet food in Vancouver. For hours of operation and other information about Granville Island visit their website at: http://granvilleisland.com/.