must visit vancouver gems
After two incredible weeks in the city that is quickly becoming my new home, I finally - finally - have internet! In the mean time, my days feel like they are starting to become routine and the craziness of moving is mostly gone. It's nice to have a sense of normal return to my life.
Before I left Vancouver, I made sure to visit all my favourite spots to take it all in. I acted like a tourist in my own city for two days before hopping on the plane. I'm so grateful I took that time because if I didn't, I worry I might have already forgotten what the mountains looked like (Toronto is flat!). So I thought I would share with you the places I had to see within a 48-hour time period when in #Vancity.
It wasn't until 2013, when I was working at the lululemon athletica HQ, that I discovered just how much the long transit trip out to Kitsilano was worth it. This 'hood has my favourite beach, some of the best food I've ever tasted, and adorable little streets to wander. A must-do obviously includes West 4th, complete with dinner and drinks at Las Margaritas. The best Vancouver-based hair dresser also resides on West 1st Ave, and I have to thank Roberto for giving me a fresh new look for Toronto! (P.S. find the new 'do on Instagram)
I love window shopping in Yaletown (and real shopping had I actually won the lottery). If I had an endless decor budget, The Cross would have my credit card on file. And if I could have had a dream Vancouver date night, wine outdoors at Brix & Mortar would have been it. Fun fact: my favourite Vancouver Candle Company candle from the Vancouver Neighbourhood series is the Yaletown scent! Ironically, it just burnt out as I was writing this post.
The nice thing about where I live in Toronto is that it reminds me so much of Gastown, I feel like I never really left it. Everything I love in Gastown - good food, fun shopping, interesting streets - is in in Queen West, minus the annoying tourist shops. But it's not really Gastown without the giant puddles on a rainy day, or the water just steps away. My all-time favourite part of Gastown is all the old buildings. And a stop at The Birds & The Beets of course.
Hidden gem of the area? Getting your tarot cards read at The Good Spirit.
400 hectares of natural West Coast rainforest - need I say more? I plan on visiting Vancouver in the summer for the sole purpose of riding bikes around the Stanley Park Seawall with my family. It's a te Boekhorst family tradition!
I saved Granville Island for last on my 48-hour whirlwind goodbye because I knew all the childhood memories it would conjure would make me cry. And I lasted a good two minutes before being hit with all the feels. My family would visit the waterpark once a year before going to take in the Celebration of Light fireworks. No matter your age, you have to visit the Kids Market in addition to the Public Market. But whatever you do, don't stop there. Wander the streets and check out all the amazing artisan shops and spaces hidden in corners and within alleys. See all that sparkles at the Crystal Ark. Every time I visit, I find something new to love on Granville Island.