Farewell Vancouver: My Personal ‘Best Of’ the City

Best place to pause and reflect: Lost Lagoon. || Photo Credit: Miranda Post

Best place to pause and reflect: Lost Lagoon. || Photo Credit: Miranda Post

Flash backward: Expo’86, the #3 Main Street bus, I was a visiting eight year old. I thought every culture in the world lived in Vancouver and the city smelled damp like spring time and green everything. This small-town, interior B.C. girl was as overwhelmed and overjoyed when we stepped off the bus to go to Science World. I remember thinking that Vancouver was the coolest thing since Jem and the Holograms and Kraft Dinner.

Flash forward: every time I step out of YVR or drive home down Davie Street, I still inhale deep Vancouver’s fresh, moist air I loved so much as a kid. And, I still think Vancouver is pretty cool – better even than a Tupac hologram or late night poutine.

For the last few weeks, as my little family and I prepared to cross the Rockies to our new home in Edmonton I’ve been unusually weepy.  Every time I crossed Lion’s Gate Bridge, walked in Stanley Park or visited one of my favourite spots (there are so, so, so many) I became a bit weepy because it could be my last (for a while).

Exactly 10 years, seven months and 16 days ago I moved to Vancouver in search of a job, friends and a home after 15 months of international work and travel. I’ve lived in the WestEnd mostly with appearances in Kitsilano, East Van and Chinatown/Main Street.

It was such a privilege to share some of the places, people, activities and eateries/drinking holes that I admire with Inside Vancouver readers over the past year and a half. Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing your views. I’m a list maker, so as a farewell to you and to my favourite Canadian city, here’s my personal ‘Best of’ list.

Tacofino || Photo Credit: Flickr/Jenn Arr

Tacofino: worth the wait. || Photo Credit: Flickr/Jenn Arr

Best lesson in patience: La Taqueria on West Hastings or the Tacofino food truck at 12:15 p.m. on a weekday.

Best place for cheap and delicious pho: Thai Son Pho at 375 East Broadway.

Best casual date place for sunset drinks: window seats at The Three Brits Public House in English Bay.

Best restaurant to sample offbeat seafood: Unsung Heroes at the Blue Water Cafe.

Best place for Nachos (and a pint of Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale and a day of snowboarding): Cypress Mountain’s Crazy Raven.

Best cure for a hangover: brunch at Save on Meats.

Best location to pause and reflect: Lost Lagoon.

Best place to dance to live music: Commodore Ballroom.

Got Craft | Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Photo Credit – Got Craft (facebook)

Best ways to buy local, indie and amazing goodies: go to a monthly Blim Markets or Got Craft or visit Tiny Finery in Hastings Sunrise.

Best places to grab a party dress/outfit: Smoking Lily or House of Jewels or Meadow Gifts & Apparel.

Best destinations to gather house treats: Re-fined on Main Street, Attic Treasures on Commercial Drive or Production Road in the WestEnd.

Best cups of coffee: tied between JJ Bean at either the Marine Building or Bidwell locations or Joe’s Cafe on Commercial Drive.

Urban berry foraging || Photo credit: Miranda Post

Urban berry foraging || Photo credit: Miranda Post

Best place for urban berry foraging/tasting (salmon berries, thimble berries and black berries): pssst I can’t tell but it has been voted Trip Advisor’s BEST Park in the World.

Best places to become a pen pal: Regional Assembly of Text or Paper Ya on Granville Island.

Beaucoup Bakery's almond croissant = yum. || Photo credit: Miranda Post

Beaucoup Bakery’s almond croissant = yum. || Photo credit: Miranda Post

Best bakery to satisfy (pregnancy) cravings for an almond croissant: Beaucoup Bakery.

Best stores to stock up on cute, earth-friendly baby stuff: Parade or Little Earth (or read my guide here).

Best excuse(s) to cross the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge for an afternoon: either hike the Baden Powell to Quarry Rock or Canoe up Indian Arm, then buy a ‘rolly polly donut’ at Honey’s and grab a little something from Ahoy/Room 6/Sunnyside Up in Deep Cove.

Best spot to lug your mini Weber out for a BBQ: New Brighton Park.

third beach

Third Beach: views, sand & sun plus the odd drum circle.

Best place to suntan, test out new gumboots or dance to a drum circle: Third Beach.

Best park to walk your dog and watch tug boats and log drivers: Fraser River Dog Park.

Best place to feel a sense of community: West Coast Wednesdays at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

Best place to spend an afternoon of eucalyptus steaming, getting a massage, soaking in a jacuzzi, lounging in a plush robe, drinking tea and reading: Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.

A view from Cypress Mountain Lookout || Photo Credit: Flickr/KeepitSurreal or Kyle Pearce.

A view from Cypress Mountain Lookout || Photo Credit: Flickr/KeepitSurreal or Kyle Pearce.

Best place to see Vancouver in all her glory: Cypress Provincial Park lookout.

Best rainy fall weekend:  Eastside Culture crawl fuelled by salted chocolate chip cookies from the Wilder Snail and post-crawl drinks at Odd Society Spirits or Vancouver Urban Winery.

Best mini-escape: spend a day on Bowen Island.

Best street to catch a bus: anywhere along Davie Street because seriously, who doesn’t love pink bus shelters?

Photo credit: Karma Teachers/Puresouls

Photo credit: Karma Teachers/Puresouls

Best spaces for karma yoga: Sitka on West 4th or Karma Teachers on West Hastings.

Thanks Vancouver! I’ll miss you.

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