Vancouver Essentials

We are heading to a wedding (reception), but it is not in Vancouver. It provides a good excuse for some family visits and some old favourites.

2 July


Picked up at the airport, after the world’s longest wait for luggage.

We stayed at an AirBnB on West 4th in Kitsalano, mostly for the logistical aspects of bedrooms-times-dollars available, but also a good oppportunity to spend more time outside the Downtown/West End peninsula than we did in an entire year living here.

Step one is always fighting jet lag, so some fresh air and maximum sunshine were sought. A short loop taking in Volunteer, Margaret Piggot and Point Grey Parks, a beach walk to Kitsilano Yacht Club and Pool and back was sufficient. At some point lots of ice cream was bought.

3 July

Downtown and West End

Everyone else thought that shopping was a good idea, I did not. Instead I went to see all the bits I liked when living here.

Bute Street, around Robinson Street

Bute and Alberni

Marine Building from West Hastings Street

I did meet up for lunch (and to buy some Gap shorts because all other shorts are dreadful. Get your shit together New Zealand)

Anyway back with the walking by myself. St. Paul’s Hospital

Kitsilano Beach and Vancouver Aquatic Centre from Burrard Bridge

Sunset Beach from Burrard Bridge

Evening Wander

Dinner at Black & Blue for steak was followed by everyone agreeing that walking around some more was a good idea. Starting at Bute and Alberni, we headed North through the West End and Davie Street down to Sunset beach for sunset, no less.

I love these 60’s monstrosities, for reasons that are unclear to me. They have an aged charm of some sort.

We jumped on a tiny false creek ferry and made our way under Burrard Bridge to Granville Island.

From there it was a decent walk under and along Vancouver’s “totally not a motorway” back to the AirBnB.

July 4

Brunch and Beer

Joe Fortes. Chicken and Waffles. We can go home now.

From there an easy ride on the Sky Train to VCC Clark station and you find yourself in East Van around Clark Drive. This is how I remember Vancouver every time we left the West End/Downtown Sanctum: not great.

We made it to Strange Fellows without getting murdered by SUVs, somehow, but I’d eaten so much chicken and waffles that I could not stomache any (lovely from previous experience) beer. More family turned up though, making up for a lack of imbibing.

Dinner was a BBQ party with some old (and new) friends at Commercial Drive - a 15 minute walk from the brewery.

July 5

A Smokey Start

Woke up way to early to the smell of someone smoking outside - the worst, but I managed to get back to sleep. Back up again at 9-something (jet lag does make for the most wonderous sleep-ins) and it smelt like the delicious charred broccoli they make at Gemmayze Street (in St Kevin’s Arcade on K’rd, do try it).

A local restaurant had gone up early in the morning and took out a building next door. Not ideal, but no one was hurt.

English Bay and Stanley Park

Back into the West End and down Davie Street to English Bay to find Bahn Mi sandwiches - the place had closed but another was nearby that did a reasonable job. I’d forgotten that the Coke tastes bad in North America.

From there I got us a bit lost in Stanley Park, eventually finding ourselves at Beaver Lake rather than Lost Lagoon.

After some desperately-looking-for-a-bathroom-because-the-walk-was-much-longer-than-ancipated, we headed back up through Coal Harbour to get the bus back to Kits. I’d never seen this building before, but I like it quite a bit.


We headed out into the wilderness of Vancouver, going an extra stop (Burquitlam) on the Skytrain that was possible when we left Vancouver a few years ago. A visit to the new and very large Safeway preceded a walk to a family friend and then an oddly long and circuitous drive to nearby Pitt River for a BBQ dinner.

Heading back to Burquitlam after dinner was another friends and family event - a meetup at the foot of a new apartment building alongside the train station (and Safeway)

Heading back through the empty parking lot surrounding the Skytrain station was a good reminder about the inherent weirdness of urban planning.

The station is lovely though, and buildings are popping up around it. Picture a few `burbs in Auckland a few years after the CRL opens/Light Rail goes in - a weird mix of old and new thinking.

July 6

Sleeping in and doing little

Day at leisure

July 7

See you later

Shoe shopping on the closed-to-cars West 4th, followed by sock shopping for obvious colour coordination reasons. Each store would bring their products and services out onto the roadway with hundreds of people having a relaxed stroll around - nice and festive and unrushed. A Greek food truck was the final ‘tick’ on the Vancouver to do list (when is Auckland going to get some decent Greek food anyway?).

Lunch was going to be at the lovely VanDusen botanical garden, but a communication/reservation issue meant a no-goer and a wasted bus ride. We ended up instead at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (sound of me dying slowly) where had actually-pretty-decent pizza.

A brief goodbye and BOOM on our way to that wedding.