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For all the complaining Canadians do, you’d think the travelling experience within our own borders would be a complete nightmare. OK, so sometimes it is — like when you pay more to fly to Nova Scotia than you do to fly to Florida, or when you want to drive to far-north Ontario but realize it’ll take you 20+ hours to get up there — but for the most part, we’ve got it good.

So good, in fact, that our very own Vancouver International Airport placed #8 on the annual Best Airports in the World list. If you take a look at the rest of the winners, there is not a single other one in all of North America. That’s right; YVR is tops for the entire continent.

We have to admit this news was a bit surprising, because last time we were there it was a mess of construction and yellow signs directing us all over the place. But all that chaos seems to have been worth it! So what is it about YVR that has critics and travellers alike in love with the place?

They have air hockey tables right there in the corridor.

Just ask Jon Montgomery.

It’s very comfortable to sleep in.

According to Sleeping in Airports (yes, it’s a site), Vancouver International is one of the most comfy places to sleep if you’re on a layover or just plain exhausted from travel. Most of the bright-coloured terminal seats have high backs and drink holders in the armrests. Pearson, are you paying attention?

The Star Wars R2-D2 plane flies to YVR.

This special plane flies from Tokyo to Vancouver, and is the only Canadian stop. Jealous!

There’s a giant aquarium in the international departures lounge.

That’s right. Who doesn’t want to look at a bunch of cool sea creatures instead of staring at a bunch of dead-eyed, irritable travellers?

Vancouver International Airport

The First Nations are well-represented.

Finally, an airport that honours its surrounding population and history! This isn’t an endless maze of grey passageways and sterile signage. It’s alive with statues and art and other wonderful things to take your mind off the fact that soon you’ll be in a bus with wings flying through the air.

Vancouver International Airport

There’s plenty of shopping to be done.

The entire airport is dotted with fun shops and franchises, especially the international terminal, which has an Hermès, a Brooks Brothers, and even a Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post. Here’s Jon Montgomery again, having a great time.

You can get to the city via their Translink train in 25 minutes.

According to multiple travellers, the Canada Line train, which runs from the airport to downtown Vancouver, is an absolute breeze. Other cities (which shall remain nameless) have a lot to learn from YVR’s example.

Vancouver International Airport

So many added bonuses.

These include unlimited free wifi, good signage, rest zones, luggage storage and — believe it or not — showers for public use (at a price, of course). Talk about civilized.

Giphy

We don’t know about you, but next time we book any flight, even if it’s to Europe, we’re going to try to get a stopover at YVR.