Those who want a quirkier (if widely varying) take on Vancouver, or who like to ask lots of questions. Buses are spaced at least 30 minutes apart, so taking the bus as an unbroken loop tour can be less frustrating option than the hop-on hop-off option.
Where, When, and How Much:
- Live tour guide means an always-changing commentary
- Guides make recommendations
- Stops span a range of neighborhoods
- Standard loop includes Stanley Park
- Has a long stop at Canada Place -- the best place to catch the bus
- Very economical family rate
- Buses are less frequent than Big Bus or Vancouver Trolley Company
- Limited historical insight and some factual inaccuracies
- Commentary depends entirely on the tour guide's interests
Basics of a Fun City Sightseeing Tour:
Fun City operates two options for tour participants: a hop-on, hop-off tour and an unbroken loop tour. There is a tour guide on board the bus, as well as a driver. The route is similar to those of Big Bus and Vancouver Trolley Company, with stops at or near major downtown hotels, and attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada Place, Chinatown, and Granville Island.
Fun City Live Commentary:
Having a live commentary is the major difference between Fun City and other Vancouver sightseeing tours. The guides can incorporate timely tidbits, adjust to the interests of the group, and make personal recommendations. But it also means that information can be inaccurate, and important points of interest or history can be easily missed or glossed over.
I took two Fun City bus tours in August, 2012, each with a different tour guide. The styles varied widely. The first guide tried to inject some decent humor into the tour, but fell a bit short on historical information and accurate details. The second provided a drier take, but place greater emphasis on history.
So what is the fun in Fun City Sightseeing? One of the tour guides hosted a real-estate-price guessing game with the tour bus. He also greeted familiar faces, with a “Welcome back” and gave a few people high-fives. At another point, one of the drivers sang a Queen song for the busload. This cheeky element of the tour rates better than the recorded tours.
The down-side are the inaccuracies that sneak into a live tour presentation. One guide pointed out a Starbucks on Georgia street as the location that had exploded in 2008 (that coffee shop is actually located on West Broadway). At another point, the guide talked about the living roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre roof –- inflating the number of species that grow in the grass roof by about 20 times. The guide also talked often about cars -- but didn't once mention important points like the Great Fire.
This flexible itinerary did prove useful, however, when the bus made a special stop at the Stanley Park Teahouse for a rider -- leaving them with the recommendation to order the pie.