Vancouver Faces

raulPhoto credit: Rebecca Bollwitt/

I interviewed one my favourite people in Vancouver, RAUL PACHECO. Multi-talented, Raul is a consultant/researcher/educator in environmental politics and policy by day and a popular blogger by night – Meet Raul.

Best kept secret in Vancouver?
I think many people don’t really realize how many inexpensive or free activities we have in Vancouver. If I told you the secret to all my hide-outs it wouldn’t be a secret, would it? I’ll share two of the best – First, Trout Lake – going for a walk there with a close friend on a warm and breezy Sunday afternoon? Bliss. Second? The beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park, and the pitch & putt there. If you want to learn to golf, one of the best places to do so. And the views of the city are amazing!

Favourite restaurant in the city?
I have many restaurants that are my favourite, so it’s kind of hard to pin down one of them. I’ve reviewed a lot of them on my UrbanSpoon page. I have favourites in each cuisine – for Ethiopian food, The Red Sea Cafe (Broadway and Fraser) is my absolute favourite. The sushi and variations of said sushi at Irashai Grill is fantastic. For Mexican food, I’m torn between Doña Cata, Don Guacamole and Salsa and Agave. And for Italian, Quattro on Fourth has always had a place in my heart, as has the Water Street Cafe. For brunch, I adore Crave, The Nice Cafe and Rhizome (all of them around the Main Street area).

You’re originally from Mexico, what made you want to move to Vancouver?
The first time I moved here I did it because I wanted to do a Masters in Technology Management and only UBC had this program in Canada (at the time, I didn’t want to do my graduate degrees in the US). The second time, I had been accepted to several prestigious universities in the US to do my PhD but I had lost my auntie to cancer earlier that year, so I figured moving to a country and a city that I didn’t know would break my heart (after the pain of my loss) so I decided to come back to UBC to do my PhD. I don’t regret the decision. I completed my PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies and love my field of research!

Favourite place to be in Vancouver on a sunny day?
I am a fan of walks around parks and of exploring our beautiful city. So you’ll probably find me trying to get to one of our many parks. I try to discover new locations every Sunday, so for example, recently I went for a walk to Kensington Park and I discovered the Avalon Farm location.

Best thing about your neighbourhood, South Main aka SoMa?
Everything. This summer we have Car-Free Sundays and the events are amazing. The energy in the neighbourhood is simply incredibly. I don’t need to walk more than ten blocks and I get EVERY type of cuisine, food, coffee, etc. For example, if I wanted, I could go for brunch (Crave), sushi (Zipang), visit a market (Blim), go for a drink at a bar (Public Lounge), have coffee (Bean Around The World) and listen to live music (The Purple Crab) without even walking six blocks. What can be better than that?

Erica Lam

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