#LoveVancouver Neighbourhoods: East Village & West Broadway

Continuing our exploration of YVR districts with #LoveVancouver Neighbourhoods, we come to our next two stops. One is a community on the way out of town, that’s built a new identity with a rebrand, while the other is the bustling heart of a bigger district, Kitsilano. Just another couple examples of how this city is an intersection of tastes, cultures, and experiences.

East Village

While you might think that you’re on the cusp of entering Burnaby Heights, The East Village has plenty to surprise you with before you head out of Vancouver proper. Recently celebrating 20 years with its rebranded identity, East Village represents a community proudly coming into its own. With attractions like Hastings Racecourse (temporarily closed), the PNE Fairgrounds (re-opening following the May long weekend), and businesses that are well over 100 years old (The Princeton Hotel was built in 1912!), the area definitely has a history with Vancouverites. But in addition to those mainstays of the city, East Village fosters plenty of new businesses as well. It’s a mosaic of old and new Vancouver that makes this hood wholly unique.

Photo Credit: @dachivancouver

Centralized mainly on Hastings and surrounding streets, there’s always something to find or do here. One of our fave spots to grab our morning joe, Platform 7 Coffee, is modelled after a vaulted train station complete with booths that resemble private cars on an express railway. Venture into the back, and you’ll find a private garden, perfect for morning reflection over a cuppa tea. One of the newest additions to the neighbourhood fabric is Sneaky Pete’s Pool Cafe, a modern-styled pool hall for any aesthetic obsessed billiard sharks. Bright and family-friendly, you can be rest assured the little ones won’t pick up any grifting tips while chalking their cues. Pool tables are still open for locals while they quietly work behind the scenes to get their patio up and running.

All that tabletop exercise likely has left you a touch peckish, so we recommend visiting any of the delicious spots that East Village is known for. At Dachi, you can dine in on their patio or take out one of their picnic packs. Either way, we suggest you start with their rhubarb-gin and soda-based cocktail, Funny Business, before moving on to the sockeye salmon ceviche and bookending the meal with the delectable orange marmalade ice cream and lemon sugar cookie. Of course, if you’re catering to your darker instincts and need a moody outlet for your hunger, then take out from Jackalope’s Neighborhood Dive should be where you feed your angst. A one of a kind bar/eatery, this is Vancouver’s only heavy metal-themed restaurant (can you believe it?). Worth visiting for the decor alone, this ode to black magic keeps hungry creatures of the night satisfied with their commitment to organic, hormone-free ingredients and some of the best vegan nachos you will ever try. Opposite spectrums of the area’s foodie scene, but both equally outstanding.

Photo Credit: @andinabrewingco

If it’s a sense of adventure you’re craving, then you should take out your East Village brewery passport! Home to notable brew houses such as Andina, Powell Brewery, and Off the Rail (all with patios!), a self-guided tour through their official map will quench the heartiest of thirsts. Oh, and don’t forget to end your crawl with a visit to the Parallel 49 Brewing Company patio for a pint of NorthWest Red Ale, and some zenned-out cloud gazing.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve likely got the message that we quite enjoy this area. But for further proof of how it’s one of Vancouver’s best new neighbourhoods, you’d best visit for yourself. PS-make sure you’ve got enough fridge space for all the takeout, though!

Hidden gems we love in East Village:

Lucky’s Exotic Bodega: For any movie night in, the right snacks are essential. The only problem is, a visit to Lucky’s could easily put you behind your viewing schedule as you wander through the aisles of rare treats. Example: Like Oreos? Would you prefer mocha, s’mores or Nutella flavour?

Odd Society Distillery: A superb choice for stocking your home bar, or just enjoying a patio cocktail, Odd Society never disappoints with their commitment to craft. For optimal weather, order a Modern Hound (vodka, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, orange bitters).

Bosa Foods: We put this at the end because it really needs no intro. If you’ve ever experienced joy from food, then Bosa is an essential pilgrimage. It is the celebration of authentic Italian cuisine, all imported directly from the Meditteranean.

Learn more about the East Village by visiting www.eastvillagevancouver.ca.

West Broadway

It’s Broadway, but WEST. If you only think of West 4th Ave, or Cornwall when you think of Kitsilano, then it’s high time you start visiting this tightly knit community as well. Often referred to as the “heart of kits,” this area has a natural sense of family to it. Many shops here have seen multiple generations of family ownership (Olympia Pizza, Broadway International Wine Shop), while fledgling families set up shop here as well to start a new legacy (Stepback- antique goods, and Fresh is Best- imported Latin American grocer).

With these personal ties to business, West Broadway merchants take a deep amount of pride in their work. Whether you’re stopping by Koko Monk to sample the delicious wares of an internationally renowned chocolate chef, getting the city’s best Malaysian takeout from Banana Leaf, or just sipping on a homemade Darjeeling Masala chai from East is East, there’s no shortage of craftspeople operating at the highest level.

Photo credit: @neverlandteasalon

But there’s much more to West Broadway than simply indulging in exquisite tastes, the area is well known as a cultural hub. Home to the city’s largest Greek community, it’s a yearly tradition for the Broadway corridor to erupt with music, dancing and food vendors for Greek Day. Obviously, things are toned down a bit this year, but in pivoting the tradition, they’ve rebranded all of June as Greek MONTH! Businesses across the neighbourhood will celebrate with window displays, street banners and interactive signs, so grab a souvlaki skewer and stop by one of the public plazas, or just pay a visit to one of the many greek owned shops of the area (Parthenon Market, The Colony Pub, Olympia Pizza, Omega Travel).

When you’ve had your fill of homemade baklava, you’ll likely be ready to unwind a bit. This is where West Broadway shines again as a destination for self-care and wellness.

Photo Credit: @stepback_ca

Gaia Garden Herbals is a favourite of the area for herbal remedies, tinctures and botanical health care products. The expertise of the staff will have you feeling your best with any of their rejuvenating recommendations. On the off chance memories of 2020 still have you feeling a bit tense, then the handful of massage therapy options here are a must. At Le Petite Spa, you can get a refreshing facial or body scrub that will set right even the worst nights sleep, while at Footworks Relaxology, you’ll find affordable foot massages that can easily be scheduled into your daily agenda (the 25-minute package makes for the best lunch break you’ve ever had). Just a handful of the ways you can recharge here.

And really, that’s what West Broadway is all about- celebrating the spirit of connection and family and then, as with any family gathering, getting in some much needed self-care afterwards.

Hidden gems we love in West Broadway:

Purebread: Anyone with a sweet tooth, proceed with extreme caution. A simple stroll by Purebread’s West Broadway location has been known to grind self-control in piles of rubble. But, if you’re going to be in the area anyways… it likely couldn’t hurt to pick up a box of chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies. You know, for a friend.

Vancouver Olive Oil Company: There’s something wondrous about a business that devotes itself to one singular niche. We love perusing the shelves of exotic cooking oils, and hearing about how to best use them at home. It’s a retail experience for anyone feeling fatigued from being broadly marketed to. Dedicate a moment to one singular thing and it will bring a new appreciation for someone’s unique passion.

Stepback: Our vote for Vancouver’s most unique antique/gift shop, every item in Stepback has been meticulously curated to fit their high standard of curiosity. If you’re looking for vintage Scrabble pieces to spell out your sweetie’s name, you came to the right place. Fascinating old world maps, worn signs from bygone shop fronts, you’ll find everything you didn’t know you wanted here.

Learn more about West Broadway by visiting www.kitsonbroadway.com.

Visit www.tourismvancouver.com/love for staycation inspiration and special offers for locals.

 

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