#LoveVancouver Neighbourhoods: Kerrisdale & Sunset on Fraser

Our #LoveVancouver series continues, with more reasons to get out and explore! These character-rich locales will provide more than a few discoveries for a weekend bike ride. This week, we’re featuring a quaint village just outside of UBC, and one of Vancouver’s most diverse shopping and eating districts. Put on some sunscreen, and let’s go!

Kerrisdale

Like a Norman Rockwell painting within the city limits, Kerrisdale has preserved much of its character ever since it became a neighbourhood at the turn of the 20th century. The name ‘Kerrisdale’ came from one of the area’s earliest residents, Mrs. Mackinnon, who was asked by The BC Electric Railway to name the train stop at Wilson Road (known now as West 41st Avenue). She settled on Kerry’s Dale in honour of the name of her childhood home in Scotland, Kerrydale. While Kerrydale has the whimsical attachment of meaning “little seat of the fairies,” at a certain point, the name was corrupted a bit, and the commonly used name became “Kerrisdale.” Even with the name change though, there’s still a bit of magic (and a lot of charm) in the area, giving it that humble small town feel, especially around the holidays.

Capturing that quaint spirit, is the fact that there are no less than three wonderful spots to sit for high tea in central Kerrisdale. The Secret Garden Tea Company, Faubourg French Patisserie, and Adonia English Tea House all offer up decadent treats that pair delightfully with your preferred steep.

The Kerrisdale neighborhood in Vancouver is filled with low to high end shops for all types of shoppers.

Photo credit: Kerrisdale Business Association

While the area is rife with tree lined residential streets, the main road undoubtedly is 41st Ave. Most of Kerrisdale’s over 250 businesses can be found here, or in the area. Ranging from upscale clothing for both men and women at Hills in Kerrisdale (a family business initially opened in 1914!) to cool Japanese stationary at 1912 Amax Stationary, 41st is perfect for a brisk stroll when you’re in the mood to treat yourself. 

The street runs East to West, and as it meets Arbutus, it connects area cyclists to one of Vancouver’s longest bike routes, The Arbutus Greenway. Running along an old rail corridor, the route is bordered with fragrant greenery and can quickly get hearty peddlers from South Vancouver to Kitsilano in no time. If you’re using the Greenway to venture into Kerrisdale, you’ve likely built up a bit of an appetite. That’s where the charm and hospitality of the area come in once again.

Various finger foods to go along with your tea at Adonia tea House

Photo credit: Adonia Tea House

If you’re in the mood for a freshly baked Funghi pizza with pecorino and goat cheese, then Bufala should be your first stop. Named the “beating heart of the Kerrisdale food scene” by Vancouver Magazine, this award-winning Italian spot is a savoury rite of passage for visitors. 

Further east on the edge of Granville Street is some of the area’s best sushi and donburi at Hikari Cafe. We’d recommend getting an order of their torched aburi sockeye salmon, but really, their entire menu is can’t miss, especially if you finish up with an ice-cold matcha smoothie.

For special family occasions and outstanding dim sum, you should always keep Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant in mind. As Kerrisdale is home to a thriving Chinese community, Golden Ocean is one of the top places to throw a Red Egg Celebration (when a baby reaches a month old). And really, what better way to throw a party than with big plates of wok-fried crab and shrimp dumplings? We’re just about stuffed writing all that, but thankfully we can work it off on the bike ride home. Through the ceramic pot-lined streets, past the countless buildings and homes with heritage status, it may be just down the road from a big city, but Kerrisdale is the place to visit for a taste of humble and unassuming small-town life.

Hidden Gems:

Gem Chocolates: A fitting name for the top chocolatier in the area. Owner Glenn Knowles hand makes every gorgeous piece of chocolate with natural ingredients right there in the shop. That dedication to craft shows in every bite, not to mention the numerous awards Gem has won over the years.

Kerrisdale Cameras: Whether you’re just a hobbyist on Instagram, or a serious shutterbug, Kerrisdale Cameras will help up your photo game. Operating since 1961, they’ve remained the name in photography with in-house experts to help you get your perfect shot, plus competitive prices and sales.

Hager Books: The shelves of this cute little bookshop are meticulously curated to include only the most interesting reads. With a fantastic stock of art books, and a children’s section that boasts both classics and new favourites in equal measure, you’re certain to find your new page turner here.

How To Get There:

Coming from East or West? Hop on the #41 bus that travels along 41st Ave and it will take you right to the centre of Kerrisdale.

Coming from North or South? The #10 Granville bus will take you right to 41st Ave where you can either walk or bus. You can also take the #16 Arbutus bus if you’re coming from downtown.

Learn more about Kerrisdale by visiting www.kerrisdalevillage.com.

Sunset on Fraser

While Commercial Drive and Main Street have long been the established streets of East Vancouver, another longtime challenger continues to hold its own as a destination to visit: Fraser Street, specifically the Sunset neighbourhood (between 41st and 50th Ave). While it’s only a stretch of nine blocks, it has a long history as a shopping and food district.

Fraser Street, specifically the Sunset neighbourhood, has a long history as a shopping and food district.

Photo credit: Sunset on Fraser Business Association

One of the city’s most ethnically diverse areas, families of all backgrounds call Sunset home, with only 50% of households speaking English as their first language. This wonderfully rich tapestry of cultures has created a community of businesses with multilingual services and wares from around the globe.

Considered Vancouver’s Southern Gate, Fraser is one of the city’s oldest and most storied streets. Beginning in 1875 as a muddy forest passage, it was first named North Arm Road and linked two Indigenous trails that eventually became Kingsway and Southeast Marine Drive. As time passed, so did the landscape of the road. Once lined with thick overbrush, the forest was eventually cut back to make way for orchards and dairy farms. But when a streetcar line arrived on Fraser in 1909, the area experienced a boom of businesses and started to look more the way we see it today. Since then, Sunset has become home to immigrants from China, Germany, Russia, Vietnam, India, Latin America, and The Pacific Islands, to name a few.

Plenty of colourful fabrics to choose from at Rokko Sarees & Fabrics on Fraser

Photo credit: Rokko Sarees & Fabrics

It’s no wonder the area is so vibrant with food and fashion. Keeping Fraser bright for many years, if you’re hoping to add a little life to your wardrobe, then Rokko Sarees & Fabrics is the place to go. Like a tailor’s dream, walking through Rokko and feeling the endless stock of immaculate fabrics, you’ll no doubt be overcome with all the possibilities. If you’re on the guestlist for a South Asian wedding, then you’d best stop by to consider the dress code. 

If you’re hungry, your biggest challenge will be settling on where to go first in Sunset! Absolutely packed with delicious businesses, the area is well known for its tempting menus. Of course, if you’ve never been, then a stop at one of Vancouver’s most popular Filipino eateries, Pinpin, is a requirement. A fantastic place to catch up with your crew after a long hiatus, Pinpin caters to big appetites. For newbies, your first meal here should go as follows: Kare Kare (oxtail & vegetables in a peanut sauce ), Inihaw na Pusit (BBQ’d squid grilled to perfection with traditional spices), and finished off with cassava cake or frosty bowl of ube (purple yam) ice cream. 

If you decide to shop around for your final course though, Maxim’s Chinese Bakery is ready to take in all wandering sweet tooths. A trusted name for celebrations and parties, bringing one of their mango mousse cakes to a gathering will immediately make you a hero. 

Asian inspired desserts can be found along Fraser Street in the Sunset neighbourhood

Photo credit: Baker & Table Cafe

If instead, you’re opting for a liquid dessert and prefer a nightcap, then one of Sunsets’ newest eateries is ready to serve. Indochine Kitchen + Bar offers a trendy Asian Fusion spot to watch the game or just sip on chilled white wine, and people-watch from their open-air entrance. 

There are more than enough spots here to fill your monthly meal plan, but if you’re striving to cook more at home, then Sunset is also a Mecca of produce and grocery. Walking in either direction of the street, you’ll be engulfed in the sweet smell of fresh fruit and flowers. With such a high volume of proud grocers in such a small area, you’re bound to find that secret ingredient in no time.

If you’re noticing the food section on this one is a bit bigger than normal, then you might be right. But it’s a testament to the Sunset community and how beautifully so many cultures fit together. We’re firm believers that where you find good food, you’ll find good people. Nowhere else is that philosophy more true than at Sunset on Fraser.

Hidden Gems:

Boba Monster: Knowing about this little shop will come in handy during the next heatwave. Order a brown sugar milk tea with pearls, and seek shade immediately.

Baker & Table Cafe: Home to one of our fave treats in Vancouver, Japanese mochi buns! While we wouldn’t say no to one regardless, what makes them unique at Baker & Table is that owner and head baker Hitomi fashions each one into the likeness of a familiar character. Take your pick from fluffy versions of Totoro, Pikachu, Baby Yoda, or Hello Kitty!

Breka Bakery & Cafe: For you early risers, Breka is a great spot to grab a cup of joe and work on your laptop on a productive morning. Extra points if you buy a loaf of Challah bread for your breakfast toast the next day.

How To Get There:

Coming from East or West? The #49 bus travels all along 49th Ave, which will drop you off right at Fraser.

Coming from North or South? The #16 Fraser bus will take you from one end of Sunset to the other. Or you can take the Canada Line train to the Langara/49th Ave stop and bus over from there.

Learn more about Sunset on Fraser by visiting www.sunsetonfraser.com

 

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