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Vancouver: where exotic flair meets seriously dreamy guys

Vancouver: where exotic flair meets seriously dreamy guys

‘I first saw the Queen when I was 6,’ says Angus Praught, my exclusive gay guide in Vancouver.

This is British Columbia: a piece of Europe in North America, where ‘Lizzie’ says ‘hello’ from every coin or every banknote.

I meet Angus in Vancouver’s gay area, Davie Village, where one can find most of LGBT bars, clubs, restaurants and venues. Angus, a renowned publisher in Vancouver, loves this area and that’s why he lives here with his Japanese partner.

Vancouver is the biggest city in British Columbia, where at least the 40% of its inhabitants come from Asia or claim Asian origins. ‘Van’ is home to the biggest Chinatown in Canada and a real gem, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden.


Angus is so proud of this city he spends at least half of his time posting on Facebook wonderful pictures of his magnificent home-town. He spends the other half working for his business,, a travel marketing company that publishes Gay Friendly Vancouver and other guides on gay Canada as well.

A former hotelier, Angus is a big believer in Canadian hospitality. So he shows me Davie’s Village, greeting everybody in the street, and he finds some time to take me to English Bay, where last August at least 650,000 people paraded for the local gay pride.

‘It was great,’ Angus says. And I’m sure it was.

Of course, Canadian men are worth the trip. Men, men and more men. Davie Village is crowded day and night, resembling London’s Soho but cleaner and brighter.

But Vancouver, of course, is something more. Cuisine is great, attractions are stunning and its skyscrapers remind me of New York, but with a lot of nature. The city is set against a picture-perfect backdrop of mountains, lush green forests and sparkling blue ocean.


In Vancouver you can ski, you can take a boat and do some whale watching, you can look for squirrels and coyotes in Stanley Park or you can experience some proper fear at the Capilano Suspension Brisge, north of the city.


And forget fast-food restaurants. After five days in ‘wonderful Van’ I saw only one McDonald’s. Environment is everything for a true Canadian and Vancouver is where Greenpeace was founded – and so food is ‘proper’ food.

You can find it at the Granville Market in Granville Island, that is something unique. Salmon, cheese and freshly baked sourdough bread. Chinese and Japanese food and fruits and vegetables (the biggest raspberries I’ve ever seen!). Come by boat, take an Aquabus, and it will be fun.


But Vancouver is now famous for its restaurants as well. Dozens of Chinese restaurants crowd Chinatown, this is the city where you can also find some stalls with Japanese hot dogs (Japadogs): seaweeds, pork sausage, wasabi and teriyaki sauce.

The Raincity Grill, close to English Bay Beach is, according to its owners, ‘local, sustainable and organic.’ I try the ‘100-mile tasting menu,’ everything comes from the local area. Chef Nicolas Hipperson, 26 and proudly gay, makes me try the best food I’ve ever had in the Americas.

Nice food and of course wonderful hotels abound. I tried the Shangri-la Hotel and the Opus Hotel (I’ll share more about in an upcoming story), where I encounter first-hand the best of Canadian hospitality.

This was my first trip to Canada, and it will not be the last one.