Vancouver's version of the Sydney Opera House – judging by the number of postcards it appears on – this iconic landmark is shaped like sails jutting into the sky over the harbor. Both a cruise-ship terminal and a convention center, it's also a stroll-worthy pier, providing photogenic views of the busy floatplane action and looming North Shore mountains. Here for Canada Day on July 1? This is the center of the city's festivities, with displays, live music and fireworks.

Inside and outside the building there are permanent reminders of Canada's history and culture, from totem poles (inside) to the Canadian Trail (outside), a walking route illuminating the nation's 13 provinces and territories. Check out the pedestrian tunnel connecting the building to Waterfront Centre; it's lined with large-format photos of yesteryear Vancouver.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vancouver attractions

1. FlyOver Canada

0.15 MILES

A breathtaking movie-screen simulator ride that makes you feel as if you're swooping across the entire country, waggling your legs over grand landscapes…

2. Marine Building

0.26 MILES

Vancouver's most romantic old-school tower block, and also its best art-deco building, the elegant 22-story Marine Building is a tribute to the city's…

3. Vancouver Lookout

0.28 MILES

Expect your lurching stomach to make a bid for freedom as the glass elevator whisks you 169m to the apex of this needle-like viewing tower in just 40…

4. Jack Poole Plaza

0.29 MILES

Recalling Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Winter Games, this handsome waterfront public space is the permanent home of the tripod-like Olympic Cauldron. The…

5. Steam Clock

0.33 MILES

Halfway along Water St, this oddly popular tourist magnet lures the cameras with its tooting steam whistle. Built in 1977, the clock's mechanism is…

6. Coal Harbour Seawall

0.35 MILES

An idyllic 2km waterfront stroll from Canada Place to Stanley Park, this is a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. En route you'll pass the landmark…

7. Dominion Building

0.42 MILES

A handsome architectural vestige of yesteryear Vancouver, this copper-hued, French-style vintage skyscraper across from Victory Square is well worth a…

8. Flack Block

0.44 MILES

Restored to its former glory in 2014, this dramatic corner landmark across from Victory Sq is chiefly noted for its hulking, elaborately-carved stone…