Featured Vancouverite: Mikala Taylor

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

How long have you been a Vancouverite?
5 years. I moved here from London, England, where I lived for 7 years. I used to come visit friends and see bands here when I was in my early 20s, and had a real soft spot for Vancouver, so when we decided to leave London, here’s where we came. I wanted less stress, more fresh air, and a new scene. My husband immigrated with me sight-unseen because I kept raving about how West was best, and how he could just cross a bridge to snowboard.

Occupation:
Passion or paycheque?Β The passion job is that I’m the creator/writer of BackstageRider.com, a quirky music website with tons of unique features and photos focusing on US/UK/Canadian alt/indie/rock/electro music. It’s the culmination of my life’s work in and around the music industry and I kind of have a crush on it.

The paycheque job is that I’m the online content and social media manager for Tourism British Columbia (within the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation), which is also pretty rad. I get to market this awesome province to the world by day, and rock out alongside fellow fans, friends, and local music bloggers by night.

Best way to spend $100 in Vancouver:
Buy bacon/veggie links, HP sauce and some soft buns. These will come in handy later, trust me. Then head over to Sushiyama on West Broadway and gorge on piles of sushi and sashimi for dinner. Walk up the street to the Biltmore Cabaret, buy tickets to a really good gig, drink tons of beers with friends, and take a cab ride home. In the morning, hangover-friendly sandwiches will be nearby to soak up the hangover. Sorted! Who needs stuff when you can have experiences?

Your best Vancouver haiku:
City is not boring
You just need to look harder
Take risks, stay up late

Top insider tip for visitors:

I’m a Vancouver Farmer’s Market obsessive, and this city offers them year-round in so many different locations. Why get shrink-wrapped, injected, fiddled-with food that has been shipped from the US and beyond when you can buy items that have been plucked from the ground hours earlier, has been grown in the nearby sun, harvested with care, and is free of hormones or pesticides? The Farmers Markets have an uncanny ability to make me happy. I run into friends there, enjoy a snack, and pick up seasonal goods from people I respect that work hard to bring us their bounty. I prepare better food, waste less, and socialize more. I’ve even gone to markets hours after getting home from partying the night before… it’s always worth it and not as expensive as you may think.

You can also have someone else do the work for you. Eat and drink as much as you can at the restaurants and bars of this city. Get out of the downtown core (unless you’re quaffing the bottled beers and nibbling at Six Acres in Gastown or having a huge greasy awesome breakfast at the Templeton Diner on Granville Street). Have a cocktail made by Arthur Wynne at The Union Bar (next to the Jimi Hendrix shrine on Union Street), Chinese fusion at Bao Bei, pizza from Pizza Farina on Main Street, or vegan/vegetarian Mexican at Bandidas TaquerΓ­a on Commercial Drive. And if you win the lottery, the Omakase at Tojo’s really is that amazing. I still think about the flash-fried white-fish-stuffed morel mushrooms dusted in seaweed from there (drool). Line your stomach, get a bit squiffy, then head out for a concert. I’d call that a perfect way to experience Vancouver by night.

Do you know someone who would be a great featured Vancouverite? Let us know in the comment box below!

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