Monday, July 6, 2009

Book Review: Wallpaper City Guide Vancouver

Title: Wallpaper City Guide Vancouver
Author: editors of Wallpaper magazine
Publisher: Phaidon
Pages: 240
Price: $19.95 (CDN)

Wallpaper Magazine has been publishing city guides since 2006, with over 60 guides already available and now it's Vancouver's turn. I saw a rack display of these pocket sized guides (6.2 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches) in Chapters and I have to admit they looked pretty darned good all lined up with their minimalist colour coded covers. The Vancouver guide is probably the most attractive miniature travel guide I've ever seen, and it should be since it's designed for the type of person who would rather die than be caught holding a glossy Fodor's guidebook. The slick design is also very functional and well thought out. There are foldout maps on both front and back covers, tabs for easy navigation, and a handy colour coding system that lets you know what neighborhood each location is in. The photography is also top notch, with a much more modern aesthetic than the typical over saturated photos found in travel books.

While this is a great looking book the content is definilty not meant for the average tourist. The bulk of the information concerns luxery hotels, restaurants and stores most of which I personally have never set foot in. There is a nice summary of the architectural highlights of the city (not that we have many) but the book doesn't include any information on "tacky" tourist spots like The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Aquarium, or the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Essentially the guide is aimed towards a very select target market whose needs it meets very well, but whose lifestyle is not shared by the average person. Also, in a testament to the importance of good editing, the trendy neighborhood Yaletown is misspelled as Valetown several times.

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