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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7 Responses to Farewell Vancouver: My Personal ‘Best Of’ the City

  1. Diane

    I also love Vancouver, even though I live in Suburbia now. I recently went downtown and was pleasantly pleased with the way Gastown, and the Woodward bldg. area up to the stadiums has been developed. I wish I could afford to move back; but impossible on a pension.

  2. Shinsuke Ikegame

    I just left Vancouver after spending time there for almost 8 years. Now I am back in Asia, I miss Vancouver almost every day :(

  3. MoogsC

    One Edmonton winter and you’ll be back. ;)

  4. Daniela Gomez

    I went there on exchange almost 4 years ago, and became in love with the city, so much that is hard to think of a better place to be in. I miss you Vancouver!

  5. Sivia

    great post – been away for about a year, and I miss Vancouver in similar ways – the air is tops, e.g. land and get outside at YVR and just breathe! Good luck to you wherever you are going and may you be able to visit Vancouver regularly.

  6. Olly

    Came to Vancouver for 6 months – 42 years ago. Say no more!

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