Give us the lay of the land. The layout of Vancouver, I think, is unique to any other North American city. Like Manhattan, it's surrounded by water. But then that water is not surrounded by New Jersey; it's surrounded by mountains. The vistas are incredible. Stanley Park is larger than Central Park in New York. It is central to all of Vancouver. You can literally disappear in Stanley Park in a way that you can't in Central Park, because it's not so wide. If you were in the middle of it, you would think you're in Alaska.­ It's surrounded by the ocean, with bridges on all sides. It's called the Sea Wall - you can actually get a bike or Rollerblades and go around the entire thing. It would take about an hour and a half; it's a huge chunk of land. Downtown is directly connected to it, and the mountains surround all of that.

What is your base in Vancouver? There's something new called the Opus Hotel, which is a fun hotel to go have a drink at, but I haven't stayed in a room there. When we were renovating, we stayed at a really cozy place called the Wedgewood Hotel. They have a beautiful restaurant in the lobby - very cozy. We've had a condo in Kitsilano since '96, which is our little secret hideaway. It's a lot of old, big houses, many of which have been converted into what they call "stratas" - a big house that's been turned into four condos, and they are completely their own landlords. So it's a lot of young people in the neighborhood, a lot of first-time home owners, a lot of great dog-walking streets. Big, old trees. Kitsilano doesn't feel like a suburb in any way; it feels like a part of the city - it's across the bridge from downtown - and with the exception of Broadway and Fourth, it's mostly residential. It's on an angle, almost sort of like San Francisco, so from a lot of places you have great views of the ocean or of downtown. There are a lot of good little cafés - Sophie's, for instance, is in Kitsilano. People tend to really live in their neighborhood.

Where would you start your day? Sophie's Cosmic Café. Sophie's has a great ham-and-Cheddar omelet. The walls are covered with weird old photos and weird toys and games from the '50s. Sophie herself is always running around with a pot of coffee. She's like a Bette Midler character. She loves her job and loves kids, and there's a big toy box there for kids to play in while they are waiting for their breakfasts to come. It's got a real homey feel.

Who's the first person you call when you get back to Vancouver? Helga. She and I have been friends since high school in Toronto. A lot of weird people came out of my high school. Helga and I and David Furnish, who is Elton John's partner, were in theater class together. Helga and I went together to David and Elton's wedding just before Christmas, in London. We've stayed close to him. She and I have been friends for 27 years, and she ended up going to Vancouver before I did. When I got there we sort of reconnected, and she now lives four doors down from our place. She's kind of a Kramer. She's the one who will burst in at any moment for a cup of coffee. She takes care of our place when we're away. And then we'll go over to Gabby and Gerry's. Gabby was in my theater-school class in 1982, and we'll go to their place for a barbecue. It's like our family - our unusual family.

But it's all about the great outdoors, right? On the other side, from Stanley Park, if you were looking across to Kitsilano, you would see a series of beaches. They are all beautiful, and they are all quite swimmable in the summertime. I think probably the prettiest is Locarno Beach. It's just volleyball nets and an incredible view of the mountains and of downtown. There's a weird period of time, usually in the summer, where tides can come out for what seems like a mile, and the sand becomes very soft and mucky. It's just amazing to run around there in your bathing suit, and it feels like you're walking on water. It's a really beautiful place. Particularly when the tide is out, because we take our dogs there when we are in Vancouver for longer stretches of time. To run around in the muck with our dogs and our son is probably my happiest time.

Where do you send friends for lunch? There's a place called Market Grill, which has the best burgers in town. That's on Granville Island, and that's my favorite lunch. It's a booth - literally like a burger booth. Really fresh burgers and fries. It has a great salmon burger and a great chicken-teriyaki burger. And it's right on the water.