Featured Vancouverite: Kelsey Klassen

Hometown:
I grew up in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. My parents still live in the family house, so even though Vancouver is my new home, nothing feels quite as good as dinners on their back porch.

How long have you been a Vancouverite?
Since Vanier dorm days at UBC (2002), minus a long traveling stint, and two years spent living in Sydney, Australia. I moved home just before the 2010 Olympics.

Occupation:
Journalist at WE Vancouver newspaper (formerly known as the Westender). I write about everything from David Suzuki to Sarah McLachlan, and all the local stories in between. I also edit a weekly fashion section called Shop Talk, and a twice-monthly feature on Vancouver’s style set called It Girl (it has yet to have an It Guy, but that’s coming). I’m also the Undrudgery editor for Vancouver Is Awesome (which just won best local blog!), tracking down Vancouver’s coolest jobs and how people got them. And from time to time, I’ll book a gig and play some music. I thought for sure my set at the 2007 Maple Ridge Jazz and Blues festival, which happened to open for an undiscovered Carly Rae Jepsen, was my ticket to folk stardom. Alas.

For more information on the above, you can visit my website here.

Favourite Vancouver artist:
I don’t know how anyone else chooses this, but I have to go with someone who ticks enough boxes to build a fort with: Andy Dixon.

• Artist (oil paintings mostly)
• Graphic designer (of band posters you take instagrams of)
• Musician (Secret Mommy)
• Musician, again (Andy Dixon)
• Hated musician (Winning)
• Record labeler (Ache Records)
• Public speaker (Pecha Kucha)
• Eventist (Waldorf parties, warehouse parties, gallery shows, DJ sets)

Best way to meet new people in the city:
I always have a great time at long table dinners. Sadly, my favourite for this, The Social Feed, got bought buy a bigger company, so I don’t know what’s happening with them (but congrats, guys!). The Irish Heather puts on a cool one, there’s Jorge Amigo’s Be My Amigo, and then Araxi in Whistler has a farm-to-table feast that attracted a really dynamic crowd when I went this summer. Just getting out to things in general is the best way to make connections, though. Even if you’re shy, like me, go to events that interest you and you’ll start to see familiar faces. Striking up a good chat is inevitable.

Favourite Vancouver neighbourhood:
I’m lucky enough to have lived in a few. It used to be Commercial Drive because it was so easy to get around the city on public transit, and there’s Trout Lake, which is beautiful year round for jogging or getting your bird watch on. Now I think it’s the West End. People say hi to each other and stop to chat, the food is incredible (Le Parisien, Nero Waffles, Pho Express), and it’s the gateway to Stanley Park and English Bay. I just have to buy a paddleboard and start wheeling it down the middle of Denman and I’ll fit right in!

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

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