Queen Elizabeth Park is by no means a local secret (it sees nearly six million visits a year). However, few people (Vancouverites included) know the interesting history of the 52 hectare (130 acre) park. 

The site was originally a rock quarry, used to build the city's first roads, and housed two reservoirs for drinking water. The quarry was decommissioned by 1919, but the reservoirs remained. In1930 that the BC Tulip Association suggested the quarries be repurposed and transformed into sunken gardens. The Vancouver Park Board eventually took over the area and dedicated the park to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their visit to the city in 1939. The Quarry Gardens, located west of Bloedel Conservatory, were unveiled in 1962 on the city's 75th anniversary.

The arboretum (west of the Quarry Gardens) was started in 1949 with a grant from the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, with the objective of growing every Canadian tree species, particularly those with commercial importance. With annual donations of $5,000 from the Association until the 1950s, the arboretum contains examples of many Canadian tree species. It was eventually discovered, however, that many boreal forest special do not grow well in this climate, and exotic trees were planted instead.

The main attraction to the Park is Bloedel Floral Conservatory. It opened in 1969 thanks to a large donation from Prentice Bloedel that allowed a roof to be constructed over the reservoirs and the construction of the conservatory. The Conservatory contains a large variety of plants and tropical birds. It's a great place to warm up on a cold, rainy day!

While the tourists flock to the north side of the Park, the locals can be found on the south side at the Pitch and Putt, playing tennis, basketball, or roller hockey on the courts, lawn bowling, on the Frisbee Golf course, or log rolling down the hills.

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Everyone knows Vancouverites are addicted to certain things: exercise, the outdoors, lycra, and coffee are among the obvious. Our addiction to good dessert is perhaps less well known, but equally enjoyed. And in a climate that never really gets cold, there's always an appetite for ice cream.

Rain or Shine Ice Cream first opened in Kitsilano in 2013. A second location opened in Cambie Village at the end of March 2015, with a third apparently in the works. The husband-and-wife team that started Rain or Shine had a basic premise: to make homemade (in shop), local, sustainable, organic ice cream. The milk is sourced from Birchwood Dairy in the Fraser Valley. The other ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible, with hazelnuts from Agassiz, berries from the Fraser Valley, and craft beer from Vancouver. 

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