Then, out of nowhere, I'm hit by the unmistakable waft of several types of meat sizzling on mobile grills.
There are more than 100 registered food trucks in Vancouver, and today, most of them seem to be here on Howe Street.
Despite the competition, their wares are pricey, but I chance upon a bargain as a gaggle of tourists on a street food tour waddle away from Big Dogs Burger Bus.
They're on sample-sized portions, and their odd numbers mean there's half a juicy, gorgeous-looking bison burger left over.
I ask the vendor -- a multi-tattooed vegan, believe it or not -- if I can buy it for $3.25 (half the price on his chalkboard) and he agrees.
It's not the medium-rare wagyu tenderloin I'd been daydreaming about 15 minutes earlier, but it's still a mighty fine few mouthfuls of meat.
When I've finished, I ask if he's got any tips for doing the city on the cheap.
"You could go to the Vancouver Art Gallery," he says, pointing at the building directly behind me. "It's free on Tuesday nights."
Amazing. I round the corner and charge up the steps to the entrance of the scholarly looking building, whereupon I plant my palm firmly on my forehead.
I'd already used today's freebie -- the Chinese garden -- and the rules of the challenge were clear.
I head through the doors, anyway. Maybe I can buy something from the gift shop.
Turns out, there's no need. The burger chef had got it wrong -- admission on Tuesday nights isn't free, it operates on a donation basis.
I sheepishly drop five cents into the box and spend the rest of the evening familiarizing myself with the vast majority of the gallery's 10,000-strong collection.
Ignoring the accommodation and cable car slip-ups, I've so far spent $22.80, leaving me with $7.20 to survive my final 24 hours in Vancouver.
Public transport is now out of the question, so, anticipating plenty of walking, I make sure to swipe a couple of extra croissants at the breakfast buffet.
I kick things off with a walk from my downtown digs to Stanley Park.
At 404 hectares, the park is a good chunk bigger than New York's Central Park, with less of an artificially landscaped feel to it.
I see the famous totem poles at Brockton Point, stroll through gardens and forests and tour more monuments and memorials than you'd find in some major European cities.
It's not until I reach Beaver Lake, though, that I fully understand why Vancouverites are constantly banging on about this place.
Situated sufficiently deep into the park to escape even the faintest hum of city life, it must rank as one of the most calming urban environments on Earth, even when raccoons steal your croissants, which happened once I'd fallen asleep.
After shooing the would-be bandit away, I check my watch and realize I've been asleep for almost three hours.
I head back to the city taking a detour along English Bay beach and along the coast.
A 30-minute stroll leads me to Kitsilano Beach.
Were it not for the pastiness of the bodies sprawled across its sands, the beach's volleyball nets and shimmering heat mean it could easily be mistaken for a Californian coastline.