So much goodness can not possibly be contained in one post. Our most recent Judith & Charles trip to Vancouver has proved one of the most photogenic and enjoyable yet. Quite honestly I can’t say that I expected it. Vancouver has always been the rainy city in my books. Maybe because we are geographically so close to the west coast it’s always been the last on our list of places to visit, why go to Vancouver when Los Angeles is just a few extra hours away? We watched the weather app closely for a three day break in the clouds and an hour flight later (vs. a 12 hour drive) landed in Vancouver. Vancouver literally transforms when the sun comes out, I can’t stress this enough but if you are planning a trip to the coast it’s really worth making it a last minute decision based on the weather forecast (#sorrynotsorry). Our history with this city goes back quite a few years when we lived in Victoria, came to Vancouver for shopping trips or made it our pit stop on long drives back home to Calgary. It goes even further for Tyler who actually called Vancouver home for a few months back in his past life (aka. the pre-ania days aka the dark ages). It is also the most culturally different city on our tour. For those of you who don’t know it probably draws more influences from China than it does from it’s own country, hence it’s cheeky nickname, Hongcouver. With places like the Richmond Night Market, endless choices in asian food and retail and one of the biggest China Towns in the country it’s the perfect place to try new things. There is definitely ample evidence of Vancouver’s Native American history all around the city as well. Tribes like Haida,Tsimshian, Kwakwaka’wakw have greatly contributed to the art culture in this part of Canada. Clad head-t0-toe in Judith & Chalres newest fall 2016 collection we are excited to take you on a tour of some of West Coast’s staples as well as some of our newest discoveries. There are places we wanted to visit but because of time restrictions were not able to. Safe to say this isn’t our last time here and we already can’t wait for our follow up trip.
WHERE TO STAY: FAIRMONT WATERFRONT, fairmont.com/waterfront-vancouver
Fairmont has been so good to us over the last few weeks of traveling from coast to coast and Vancouver is home to FOUR Fairmont hotels, all within walking distance of each other. The choice is hard and you will base your decision on individual preferences. We were lucky to call the Waterfront property our home for the duration of our stay in Vancouver. We took our upgrade to the gold member’s 9th floor which meant we also had access to the president’s lounge and beautiful breakfast and snackbar. In moments like these I really wish that there was nothing to do outside the hotel so that we could relax and take advantage of all the amazing perks of staying at these beautiful properties. One of our more exciting discoveries with the Fairmont group was their bee initiative. Currently 20 hotels house bee hives on thier rooftops across the globe. Together with harvesting their own herbs and vegetables they also harvest their own honey! with the declining honey bee populations worldwide they took it on themselves to help however they can. You wouldn’t suspect a huge brand like the Fairmont to have such delicate sustainability systems in place but it turns out with their kitchen being 100% waste free to the hotel operations at 90% they are in fact one of the greenest hotels we’ve had the pleasure of staying at. who would have thunk?!
WHAT TO DO: GRANVILLE ISLAND, granvilleisland.com
Granville Island has been more or less an enigma to me until the recent years. The first time we crossed over was a few years ago on a press trip but it was this week that we actually had an opportunity to do some exploring. In a nutshell it is a big market, you have plenty of stands selling fruits and veggies, you will also find pre-made food, fresh fish, juices, teas, lots of coffee and flowers and plenty of shopping. Granville is also home to one of the most prestigious art schools in Canada, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. You will find a lot of artist studios walking up and down the island. You can take a water taxi from the mainland or drive over the bridge from the south side of Anderson street. It’s a great place to catch a ferry tour around the Vancouver Bay area.
BLOEDEL CONSERVATORY (Queen Elizabeth Par), vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/
I am sure that you have already noticed how big Vancouver is on nature, and no wonder. The Pacific Northweat climate is home to some of the most luscious forests and landscapes. The constant rainfall surely has quite a big part to play in all this. It only stands to reason, then, that many of our Vancouver hotspots happen to be gardens. This was my first time to any of these and I absolutely loved them all. THIS is the reason why Vancouver is such a beautiful place to live, imagine having these at your disposal all year round, I mean, a walk in the park takes on a whole new meaning when you are making your way through these beautifully landscaped spaces. You may have also noticed I’ve become quite obsessed with green houses (coincidentally a friend recently sent me this article). First order of business upon our arrival in Vancouver was to find a green house, the Bloedel Conservatory was on top of our list and because it’s also the highest geographic point in the city it also offered a beautiful lookout on the Vancouver skyline (see photo at the start of this post). It is a class A heritage building and houses some of the most beautiful plants and birds i have ever seen. A true piece of paradise and what a perfect escape from Canada’s famous winters. I was unable to post all of the photos in this post but take a look at my facebook album from this trip for a comprehensive look at all that you can find inside. *entry to the conservatory costs $6.75 per person.
VAN DUSEN BOTANICAL GARDEN, vandusengarden.org
Another amazing garden to cross off your list when you are in Vancouver and luckily just down the street from the Bloedel Conservatory is the Van Dusen Botanical Garden. This one is a bit of longer time commitment and is definitely more of a place for relaxation. You can walk the whole park without seeing another person, have a picnic in one of their many open spaces, sit down for lunch or dinner at the beautiful Shaughnessy restaurant and take in their fun hedge maze. The Van Dusen has a very Alice In Wonderland kind of feeling, every corner is full of new discoveries and amazing colors. *entry to the park is $8.25 per person.
DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN, vancouverchinesegarden.com
This was my first time at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden and in the general Chinatown area. First impressions suggest that the neighbourhood is slowly becoming gentrified, in the best sense of the word. We are still seeing a lot of the traditional Chinese influences that make it so unique but new store fronts, services and restaurants are popping up brining that cool factor in to play. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden is definitely one of the former and transports you to another world all together. In the heart of Vancouver’s downtown you can find a peaceful sanctuary that, if you didn’t know better, could be a movie set. It’s just that beautiful. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen PARK is free of charge and the garden costs $12 per person for admission. Both are not to be missed.
STANLEY PARK, vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx
Stanley Park is home to one of my favourite art installations of all time and not surprisingly is Vancouver’s most visited tourist attraction. The Brockton Point Totem Poles are some of the more impressive Native American art works available to the public in both their scale and their history. The Park itself is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, the changing colors in the fall are absolutely stunning to look at and photograph. One of our favorites (not necessarily cost effective) was renting a couple mobi bikes just outside our hotel and taking them out for a few hours around the park. These city bikes, meant primarily for getting from one place to another, cost $7.50 for the day at 30 minute intervals and an additional $5 for every half hour if not returned in that time. With various drop off points throughout the city they are truly promoting them as a means of transportation rather than recreation. The bike path through the park goes only one way so when you ride in you are committing to finish the whole loop, the good news is that there are amazing view points all along the ride, it could also have been one of the last times this year we see Canada geese before they head down south for the winter (at which point do they become Mexican geese?).
WHERE TO EAT: TACOFINO, tacofino.com
No trip to the west coast is complete without a visit to Tacofino. A native to Tofino, the Tacofino brand spread like wildfire throughout the Victoria and Vancouver areas, totalling 6 different locations (2 of them food trucks) it is the quintessential taco joint, along the delicious fish and seared tuna tacos (a MUST!) you should have their chicken burrito, it’s life changing and you will never look at tacos the same way again. It’s the perfect Pacific Northwest spin on all our Mexican favorites.
If LA is the city in America where food trends start, Vancouver is easily it’s Canadian counterpart. Circling back to the asian influence on the Vancouver culture we stumbled on Pokérrito (actually it came highly recommended at Onyx, see below), a fusion of the Hawaiian poké and the Mexican burrito you can build your own bowl or a sushi burrito or pick one of many pre-made options. The line-up was out the door and the food well worth the wait. Mouth watering, trendy and photogenic, a real millennial treasure!
UYU SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM, uyuicecream.com
I have always been a huge fan of asian deserts. There is something about them that feels less deadly to your cavities and always involves some exotic flavor that makes me feel like I’m adventurous with what I eat (I’m not). I found Uyu on Instagram (where else?), they change their flavours weekly and make the ice cream picking process as easy as 1, 2, 3. Simple, delicious and unique.
WHERE TO SHOP: GASTOWN, gastown.org
Vancouver’s downtown is divided into a couple of really note worthy neighbourhoods, each offering their own unique experience. Gastown is one of these neighbourhoods, the old Steam Clock on Water Street is the landmark characteristic to the area. You will find any and all kind of shopping here from furniture stores, high end designer, souvenirs to restaurants and coffee shops. There is even a western wear store for those heading out to Calgary right after.
Located on Water Street in the heart of Gastown, Litchfield is one of those stores that makes you wish you were renovating your entire apartment like yesterday! After spending way too much money and asking for it to be shipped back home (because marble trays and countless magazines later…) we took a few minutes to take photos of the inspiring space. Talk about #HouseGoals!
GRANVILLE STREET, granvillestreet.com
Another one of my favourite spots to shop in Vancouver is Granville Street, it spans way past the core downtown area and across the bridge and offers a large selection of entertainment, shopping and nightlife. Granville is home to some of Canada’s most historic live music venues like the Orpheum and Vogue Theatres and the Commodore Ballroom. The beautiful neon lights up Granville right at dusk making it come to life when everywhere else dies down. You can always catch a great concert at one of the venues or come down for an evening stroll.
ONYX AESTHETICS STUDIO, onyxaestheticsstudio.ca
Another one of my instagram discoveries, Onyx is already famous for their nail art (follow @onyxaesthetics to see for yourselves) it just opened about 8 months ago and is already one of the top nail salons in Canada. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to get a full set of nail art done on my visit but it’s good to have a go-to place in every city we travel to none the less. Adding this one to my list!
find Judith & Charles online at judithandcharles.com & shop their Vancouver locations at PACIFIC CENTRE (701 West Georgia St), OAKRIDGE CENTRE (650 West 41st Ave) & KITSILANO (2207 West 4th Ave). Follow #JudithandCharlesCITY on Instagram and Twitter as we make our way across Canada, only one city left, can you guess where we’re going next?
BIG s/o to Strathberry bags & Rogues shoes that are accompanying us on this cross Canada journey. In Vancouver wearing the Strathberry backpack in tan, the Strathberry midi tote in black & pomme noir. xoxo