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The City of Angels always hovers between dream and reality. Once a near-forgotten colonial outpost, the pueblo metamorphosed into an agrarian paradise before reinventing itself as a movie colony. Perhaps no other city owes so much to the technological innovations of the 20th century, from the automobile to the airplane. Little wonder that LA is oft described as the “dream machine.” In LA, reinvention is a way of life. Yet this talent for change has created a city with a rich ethnic diversity and a sizzling culture. LA is the source for trends that migrate across the country and then the world. Where else can you enjoy a Thai taco or munch on a kosher burrito? Or travel from downtown’s high rises to the beaches of Malibu, shopping in Beverly Hills along the way?
Los Angeles is a port of embarkation and disembarkation for some cruises.
Cable cars, the Golden Gate rising from the fog – welcome to San Francisco, arguably the most romantic and cosmopolitan city in the United States. San Francisco has it all: a colorful history, superb restaurants, sophisticated museums, world-class shopping, and that elusive air of romance and abandon that’s part of the tang of the city.
Victoria exudes old-world charm and fragrant, colorful flowers are everywhere. Founded in 1843 by James Douglas of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the city was first known as Fort Victoria. By 1848, Vancouver Island was a British colony and Victoria was its capital.
In 1858, Victoria was a tent city and the base for some 25,000 prospectors on their way to the Frasier River gold fields. When Vancouver Island was incorporated with mainland British Columbia in 1868, Victoria became the capital of the entire province.
Although it’s a port city, Victoria is not as industrially oriented as Vancouver. The harbors, especially Inner Harbour, are dotted with pleasure craft, ferries and floatplanes. The city is renowned for its beautiful gardens, charming houses and very British feel.
It seems unlikely that a character named “Gassy Jack” Deighton would be responsible for one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. But that’s history for you.
During the gold rush, Gassy Jack saw a chance to make money from the hordes of miners on their way to the Yukon. The saloon he built became the focus of the shanty town known as Gastown. From that ragtag group of shacks, modern Vancouver was born. The provincial government persuaded settlers to change the name of the town to Vancouver, after Captain George Vancouver, who sailed the region’s waters in 1792.
Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver is a cosmopolitan place with a European feel and a personality all its own. It’s a community with a rich ethnic mix – including the second-largest Chinatown in North America – and stunningly beautiful parks.
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