Story by Breeder Steve
Vancouver, British Columbia, is the heart of Canada’s burgeoning marijuana marketplace. Stores that cater to beginning and advanced marijuana growers dot the townscape, and in every neighborhood you can find a thriving smoke shop. Best of all, acquiring great seeds for your garden is easy. Growers have a number of top outlets available locally to fulfill all their seed needs.
However, there’s much more to “Vansterdam” than just the phenomenon of B.C. Bud—but getting stoned makes the city all the more enjoyable. Vancouver lies in a magnificent setting. Evergreen forests grow nearly to the city limits, while the protective Coast Mountains and warm winds blowing in from the Pacific help give the city a surprisingly mild climate, with an average temperature of 53 degrees.
When the city fathers were planning Vancouver in the early 1900s, the intention was to put the downtown area in North Vancouver, but the skyscrapers sprouted up across the narrows from North Vancouver, on a little peninsula. In time, the financial and commercial center, hotels, marinas, cruise ship terminal, and Canada’s highest-density neighborhood, the West End, took root there.
It may take a little time to understand the drastic difference in location between Vancouver’s West Side and West End, and West Vancouver. The Kitsilano district offers great restaurants and shopping, while the neighborhood around Commercial Street is known as the city’s counterculture district. Grab a map and orient yourself. To find out what’s going on in the city, pick up the free paper, The Georgia Straight.
Most visitors will enjoy Vancouver to its fullest if they embrace the outdoors, as the residents do. In the city, walking, rollerblading, and biking are local obsessions. The nearby mountains offer sensational challenges to hikers, climbers, and skiers, while fishermen can test their skills every month of the year. The summertime beach scene is an experience not to be missed. As for food, few cities offer Vancouver’s diversity of dining choices—and cannabis is appreciated almost everywhere as a tip.
The very best stoner vacation in North America starts right here.
Peddling on Pot
Rent cruising bikes from Denman Bike Shop (710 Denman,  685-9755). Ask for the cooler on wheels. Fill it with ice and three times the appropriate amount of beer or other spirits, and tow it behind your big cruiser. Take a tour by the Vancouver Yacht Club. The historically relevant gun goes off at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Ride around Stanley Park, go under Lion’s Gate Bridge, past the beaches, and then back to the bike shop. There are lots of places to stop, drink, and get high. Your bike must have a bell; it’s the law.
If you’re a little more hard-core, you’ll want to do some downhill trail riding on the North Shore.
Skiing for Stoners
If you’re in Vancouver during the winter and have Alpine inclinations, make sure you visit one of the North Shore ski slopes. The choices are Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour. Grouse offers magnificent views of the city and islands, especially on night runs. Leaving vapor trails on the chairlift or resting in the glades by the warm glow of your pipe’s cherry are lovely ways to be a ski bum. Take the “ganjola” up to the restaurant for dinner and drinks with a view.
If you have a bit more time, check out Whistler Blackcomb. For steep, expert conditions, try Nelson’s Whitewater in the Kootenays, Red Mountain near Rossland, and Big White near Kelowna. Other cool places worth checking out are Apex near Penticton and Sun Peaks near Kamloops. Further north is the powder heaven of Chetwynd. If it’s a cold year with lots of snow, even Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island deserves mention.
The interior ski resorts have smaller queues and constant snowfall that often impairs vision. The snow in the Coast Mountains range where Whistler’s located is a little heavier than in the interior, where it’s so fine and dry it’s called “champagne powder.”
Whistler is a full-fledged ski town with a thriving social scene, many bars, shops, and restaurants, backcountry options, and even helicopter drops for the hard-core. Every house and hotel room seems to be equipped with a hot tub.
The smaller resorts in the interior of the province have a selection of bars and restaurants, but not nearly as many as Whistler. A major plus in Big White is that you can ski to bars and restaurants, and to the chairlift, from where you’re staying. You never have to use a vehicle for the duration of your visit.
For ski holidays, fly to Vancouver and catch a connecting flight to hidden gems in the interior like Sun Peaks and Silver Star near Vernon. In a good year, the interior resorts are open by the middle of November, with the best snow falling in January and February.
When buying buds at ski resorts, you’ll usually get a slightly better deal in the larger towns or the cities. Many chairlift operators deal pot but charge premium mountain prices.
Nudists and Beerball at Wreck Beach
Numerous beaches around town are great places to chill out and get high. From Stanley Park to Wreck Beach, the seaside is nearly all beach. As you walk at the bottom of the cliffs towards Point Grey, you’ll find little groups of guitar-playing trippers.
Past Point Grey and Spanish Banks you hit Wreck Beach, the only nudist beach in Vancouver. You can get anything you want there: cannabis, pot food (brownies, cookies), mushrooms, other drugs, and even free love. In the summer, get a haircut while you’re butt-naked with a mixed drink in one hand and a big joint in the other.
Beerball at Wreck Beach is a local custom. Logs have drifted in over the years, and some industrious folks “planted” a forest of them like telephone poles of various heights on the beach. A can is placed atop one of the poles. The object is to knock the can down with a volleyball and win a free beer. Picture 30 naked stoners wrestling for control of a volleyball. At sunset, fires get lit and the drum circle pounds out throbbing rhythms.
No description of Wreck Beach would be complete without mentioning the stairs. Walking down is easy, but at the end of the day, many a burnt stoner has had trouble making the trek back up. Be kind and help those in need. You might be one of them.
Scoring B.C. Buds
Like anywhere, Vancouver offers schwag, top-quality buds, and everything in between. If someone shows you garbage, move on. You’re never too far from stoned people, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting stocked and stoked.
An eighth-ounce of respectable indoor costs C$40 (US$30). A quarter-ounce should run C$50–70. Ounces usually retail for an average of C$200, creeping up to C$300 for the ultra kind. Since 9/11, local prices have declined; the tightened-up border has put a dent in the export market.
Mushrooms are usually cheap and plentiful. Ounces of Psilocybe cubensis can be had for as low as C$100. Ounces of local liberty caps will run a little higher if they’re picked at their peak.