Featured Vancouverite: Tara Robertson

Hometown: I was born in Vancouver, but grew up in Prince George, British Columbia.

How long have you been a Vancouverite? 9 years

I’m a librarian at Emily Carr University of Art + Design on Granville Island. Tourists always come in and use our bathrooms, but locals are never sure if they’re welcome. We have the best collection of contemporary art and design books and magazines in Vancouver. Please come in and take a look.

Now that I work on Granville Island, it’s lost the touristy magic that it had before, but it’s nice community to be part of. My favourite parts of Granville Island are the houseboats behind Emily Carr, the kinetic sculpture by the cement factory (and ie creative’s studio nearby in Railspur Alley), Petit Ami in the market serves up the best coffee (and sass), and Paper-ya in the Net Loft is a stationery fetishist’s dream. The Concourse Gallery in Emily Carr always has an awesome free exhibition, and READ Books is tiny, but has an excellent selection of contemporary art materials—perfect for unique, strange, and delightful gifts for your unique, strange and delightful friends.

Favourite place in the city:
Any of the bike routes. Biking is definitely the best way to see Vancouver. Whether biking along 10th Ave. in East Vancouver under the cathedral of arched leafy tree branches, toodling along the seawall, or biking over the Cambie or Burrard Street bridges, you get to see the neighbourhoods, scenery and connect with other people. I love the new separated bike lanes downtown.

Best way to spend a Saturday in the city:
If it’s the summer, head to Third Beach—the last bit of the bike ride is through the trees. The water is deep enough to swim in and it’s a really relaxed atmosphere. If it’s not the summer, I like going out for brunch (Cafe Medina is a wee bit pricy but my favourite) or for dim sum with friends (Treasure Court on Kingsway is our current favourite). I like wandering up Main Street—some favourites include Regional Assembly of Text (more awesome stationery), Toshi Sushi (only open for dinner, there’s always a lineup, but it’s not expensive and the best sushi in Vancouver).

I’m a big library geek and like to bike to visit branches of the Vancouver Public Library thatI don’t regularly visit. The Central branch downtown is pretty great too.

Favourite Vancouver event:
Powell Street Festival is my favourite event of the year. It’s a celebration of Japanese-Canadian culture, food, art and community. I like how it reflects current Japanese-Canadian communitites, including a lot of mixed race folks like me. It’s got a really community feel, amazing food (including takoyaki!), great performances and I love that they’ve stayed in Oppenheimer Park.

Top insider tip for visitors:
Fluevog shoes has sample sales a couple of times a year. The Gastown location is beautiful, but I think the Granville Street store has a better selection of sample shoes. It’s a great way to get a unique pair of amazing shoes or boots for about half price.

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