In the 1860s, there wasn't much more to Gastown than a saw mill and a rough-and-tumble tavern catering to the Gold-rush. Its population boomed and its buildings spilled swiftly along the Burrard Inlet until on 6 April 1886, it was incorporated as the city of Vancouver. Today, its glass towers are superimposed over mountains and clouds, and link the waters of the Pacific to the wide open skies. Over half the population of this metropolis in the wilderness speak a mother tongue other than English, and it is regularly counted among the world's top five most liveable cities.
Vancouver would be nothing without the striking, natural landscape that it rests amidst; the city majestically connects the coastal mountains to the North Pacific Ocean. Arguably, there’s no better place to take this all in than from the Stanley Park seawall. As you approach its most northern tip, an enveloping view of the Lions Gate Bridge against the backdrop of dramatic mountain tops is more than enough to take your breath away.
- Address: Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, V6G 1Z4, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 681 6728
- Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx
ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIAHotel
An elegant motif of rich fabrics, pale nutmeg tones, and deco-style furniture runs throughout the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, paying homage to its illustrious 1920s past. Featuring Rivolta Carmignani Italian linens to rest your head upon, alongside La Bottega bath amenities, and a view of the austere Vancouver Art Gallery across the street — the Rosewood is a palatial retreat in the heart of downtown.
- Address: 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC, V6C 1P7 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 682-5566
- Website: http://rosewoodhotels.com/en/hotel-georgia-vancouver
Upon arriving at The Douglas, guests are greeted by a living wall, the hotel’s first allusion to the city’s surrounding natural beauty. At check in, a nearly 8 metre replica Douglas fir tree encased in glass commands the front desk. Featuring 178 rooms and 10 suites crafted to LEED gold standards, both the form and function of the hotel was designed with nature in mind. A reflection of the city itself, rooms are swathed in warm woods, task lighting, and works by local artists. With a 2,800 square metre park on the sixth floor, and a 930 square metre spa dedicated to healing, restoration and rejuvenation, The Douglas effortlessly adopts some of Vancouver’s dearest values.
- Address: 45 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 0R3 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 676 0889
- Website: http://thedouglasvancouver.com
With four polished locations and a full service coffee bar on wheels, it’s clear that Matchstick Coffee is a leader in the third wave coffee movement. Husband and wife duo, Spencer and Annie Viehweger, place great value on providing the city with bright and clean coffee, and a space where community can flourish. A menu comprising fresh pastries and bread baked daily, paired with ingredients from the garden, make a fitting accompaniment to their lightly roasted beans.
- Address: 4807 Main St, Vancouver, BC, V5V 3R9 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 569 4807
- Website: http://matchstickyvr.com
O5 Tea BarTea Bar
A bar made from a long stretch of reclaimed Douglas fir by Christian Woo, a gentle interior by Molo Design, and an informed menu of specialist teas at O5 Tea and Kombucha Bar creates an almost camera obscura experience: the busy Kitsilano main street of West 4th avenue is turned on its head by a quiet, calming brew. A trailblazer of the city’s tea front, co-owner Pedro Villalon opened shop with industry pro Brian Noble in August 2012. The pair have been holding steadfast to their mission to serve fine terroir teas ever since. Visiting small farmers and suppliers in China, Taiwan, and Japan at least twice a year, the menu at O5 is an ever changing journey.
- Address: 2208 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V6K 1N8 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 558 0500
- Website: http://o5tea.com
Dining at Osteria Savio Volpe or “Tavern of the Clever Fox” feels removed of Vancouver’s characteristic Pacific Northwest ambiance, in the best way. The stylish take on Italian taverna style dining offers elevated rustic fare in a winsome environment. Watch a performance from the open kitchen of wood fired octopus and handmade pasta tortiglioni, gemelli, stuffed raviolo, while you wait and sip on an Aperol spritz.
- Address: 615 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, V5T 3K5, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 428 0072
- Website: http://saviovolpe.com
THE BIRDS & THE BEETSCafe
Self pronounced as an intensely food focussed counter service cafe, Birds and the Beets delivers on its commitment. Wholesome sprouted grain salads, hearty sandwiches, and au courant breakfast staples bear reason enough to stop in any time of day. Its unfussy decor of cabinet seating is accentuated by hanging plants, no doubt provided by the charming front-of-house flower shop. Keep an eye open too for their host of one time events from burgeoning cooks in the city.
- Address: 55 Powell St, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1E9, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 893 7832
- Website: http://birdsandbeets.ca
Not far from the shores of Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s western peninsula in the Clayoquot Sound, Jason Sussman and Kaeli Robinsong started their modest food truck. What began as a fusion of Mexican cuisine recorded in their travel diaries, with their West Coast roots, has since taken them beyond the tides of their hometown. Now with nine established locations — outfitted as seated restaurants, burrito bars, and of course, food trucks — Tacofino is a province-wide institution. Borrowing bold flavours from back alley barbeques, Tacofino makes their mark using local ingredients from neighbouring famers.
- Address: 2327 East Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V5L 1V6 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 253 8226
- Website: http://tacofino.com
Mak N MingRestaurant
Following Makoto Ono’s string of successful ventures, it’s no surprise that Mak N Ming would live up to this humble chef’s formidable reputation. He and pastry chef Amanda Cheng serve a harmonious blend of flavours drawn from Japanese and French cooking, bringing a new kind of spirited cuisine to the city. With just 28 seats in an unassuming corner building near the beach, the attractive interiors are smartly designed to function optimally, while never distracting from the charisma of the food.
- Address: 1629 Yew St, Vancouver, BC, V6K 3E6, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 737 1155
- Website: http://maknming.com
If a jazz-inspired, Japanese-Italian restaurant brings about questions of uncertainty, then Kissa Tanto’s house sourdough, nori butter, and olive oil starter should quickly put out any misgivings. Upstairs in a once abandoned unit in Chinatown, the “house of plenty” is the second presentation from restaurateur Tannis Ling and executive chef Joël Watanabe of Vancouver favourite Bao Bei. A rich interior of deep jewel tones and accurately jazz-inspired atmosphere mirror an equally assorted and delightful dining experience.
- Address: 263 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC, V6A 1T8, Canada
- Phone: 1 (778) 379 8078
- Website: http://kissatanto.com
After years of collaborating as a design studio, and developing a portfolio of highly regarded work, friends Vince Lo and Alvin Kwan evolved into SORT. A bright, airy concept store tucked away on a tree-lined street in Kitsilano, SORT offers a meticulously selected range of design products. From design tomes, to stationery and home goods, each item is chosen with a focus on quality, aesthetics, and a shared goal of improving everyday life. A direct extension of Lo and Kwan’s discerning yet approachable taste, SORT is a welcome addition to the city’s growing creative community.
- Address: 2550 Stephens St, Vancouver, BC, V6K 4K4 Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 565 0382
- Website: http://sortdays.com
LITCHFIELDLifestyle & Design shop
Influenced by his life on the West Coast and formative years in Japan, Jonathan Litchfield’s eponymous Gastown store is filled with objects to elevate the everyday. Browsing through the long and narrow boutique, refined wares such as handmade scented soaps, painted ceramic dishes, and design tomes line the shelves.
- Address: 38 Water St, Vancouver, BC, V5M 4B7, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 428 5880
- Website: http://litchfieldtheshop.com
OLD FAITHFUL SHOPHomewares & Lifestyle Shop
Old Faithful Shop stays true to its West Coast roots. A modern general store which harkens to a bygone time, the renovated 19th century storefront takes inspiration from co-founder Walter Manning’s grandparent’s store. Carrying well crafted goods for a decidedly endearing household, find artisanal pantry ingredients, cosy living accessories, and a small library of publications inside. As well as, resident french bulldog, Jean-Pierre, or as they call him, “the Boss”.
- Address: 320 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1E8, Canada
- Phone: 1 (778) 327 9376
- Website: http://oldfaithfulshop.com
After five years of empirical research through thriving pop up ventures around the city, friends Lyndsey Chow and Lauren Clark found a permanent home for their womenswear shop, Hey Jude. Carefully sourcing vintage items, Chow and Clark depict each season’s vision in a lookbook, creating a cohesive brand and shopping experience. Complemented by a curated selection of in vogue homewares, jewellery, and natural skincare, Hey Jude is a beacon for Vancouver’s stylish residents.
- Address: 315 Abbott St, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 0G6
- Phone: n/a
- Website: http://heyjudeshop.com
ONE OF A FEWWomenswear Shop
Longstanding One of a Few was one of the first to set up shop in Vancouver’s historic Gastown before the neighbourhood became the creative and fashionable hub that it is today. Featuring pastel brogues and a dedicated vintage line, the boutique is an expertly curated collection of clothing that invokes images of femininity and ease.
- Address: 354 Water St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B6, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 605 0685
- Website: http://oneofafew.com
RODEN GRAYMenswear Shop
Vancouver’s landscape of menswear retail is rich and varied, and Roden Gray undoubtedly reigns as one of the best for high end apparel and accessories. Catering to its effortlessly on-trend clientele, they stock industry favourites and designer basics. Housed in a contemporary space of ever rotating displays and knowledgable staff, you’re sure to find something covetable here.
- Address: 8 Water St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1A4, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 689 7302
- Website: http://rodengray.com
The marriage between classic cuts and contemporary style lives happily together at Neighbour. An extension of owner Saager Dilawri’s obsession with quality fabrics, the shop stocks essential pieces that over time, will wear and age as well as you do. After four years of success with his men’s outpost, Dilawri expanded, opening Neighbour/Woman (over on 45 Powell Street), which follows much of the same ethos. In both stores, you’re bound to discover wonderful, lesser known labels.
- Address: 12 Water St, #125, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1A5, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 558 2555
- Website: http://shopneighbour.com
Across the cluster of railroad tracks, past sooty auto shops, and faceless concrete buildings, Equinox gallery sits like a signal flare in its vibrantly painted red warehouse. It is a visual sanctum in an otherwise nondescript neighbourhood. With more than 1,200 square metres of floor space and nearly 8 metre tall ceilings, Equinox regales in exhibitions from artist such as Fred Herzog, Marie Khouri, and Gordon Smith.
- Address: #110-525 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, BC, V5T 1E1, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 736 2405
- Website: http://equinoxgallery.com
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGESight
Every local in every city, at one point or another, is guilty of taking for granted their city’s most celebrated tourist destinations. For Vancouver, one such example would be the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Originally built in 1889, this footbridge entrenched in the Coast Forest Region spans 460 feet long and is a sight that represents great history and wonder.
- Address: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 4J1, Canada
- Phone: 1 (604) 985 7474
- Website: http://capbridge.com