"First English Speaking Community in the West" Top 5 Page for this destination Vancouver by glabah

Vancouver Travel Guide: 82 reviews and 233 photos

Fort Vancouver: Center of Early English Community

Fort Vancouver was constructed by the Hudson's Bay Company as part of their effort to obtain furs (mostly beaver, but many other animals were trapped as well) for the contemporary styles of Europe.

By the 1830s they had launched the first steam boat on the Columbia and Willamette River system - and one of the first steam boats to touch the Pacific Ocean.

100 years later, the same land was being used as part of pioneering aviation history.

Today, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is the primary tourist draw to Vancouver, Washington. This includes the reconstructed fort (the original burned after the British left), the old US Army buildings in the area, and the Pearson Air Museum all on the same national historic site.

The site remains under continued scientific investigation, as artifacts are continually dug up and analyzed. The preservation process may be watched through one of the windows of one of the buildings at the fort.

Growing up in Oregon City, the OC school system occasionally took us to Fort Vancouver as part of various history lessions. However, some of my more recent photos from 2007 are here for you to see.

Other Vancouver Activities

Vancouver is an actively growing suburb of Portland, with a number of restaurants and a fairly active convention center. Downtown Vancouver is undergoing rebuilding, and a new Waterfront Trail leads along the Columbia River waterfront between restaurants and condominiums and the river. A Red Lion hotel sits right at the western end of this trail, and has a wonderful view of the river (I've attended events in the dining hall there, but never spent the night).

Vancouver also has some extremely nice parks, should your children need some time out of the car. Vancouver Lake Park and Frenchman's Bar Park are located on what was once intended to be a main highway, but wound up being turned into an end. Due to the proximity of a large wildlife refuge, your chances of seeing interesting bird life here is reasonably good, with bald eagles showing up occasionally.

If you are a rail fan, the Vancouver yard is quite busy, and visible from local roads.

Nearby Activities

Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area - including many trails and some resorts

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Portland, Oregon - home of a number of items including opera and stage events, hiking in local parks, artists events, and several museums.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Smaller community, some items cheaper than Portland
  • Cons:Smaller community, less attractions than Portland
  • In a nutshell:Good for Travelers that like what is here (Fort, Trail, Parks) but little else here.
  • Last visit to Vancouver: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (17)

Comments (2)

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2009 at 2:45 PM

    Hey Glenn. This is one place I'd love to visit. Love your fall colours travelogue :o) Well written page. Cheers, Ann :o)

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    Like this tip --Don't Get Shot! Hehehe...we have to return to vancouver, so much stuff to do there...


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