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Post-Riot Therapy: 101 Greatest Things About Life In Vancouver

by Andrew Morrison | Ever since the post-game riot nearly two weeks ago and penning my admittedly angry, totally knee jerk reaction to it (amplified in fury 10-fold by my hockey team losing the Stanley Cup), I’ve wanted to be reminded of all the things that make Vancouver worth getting into such a tizzy over in the first place.

It’s not like I forgot, but it feels good to write them down.

I’m over the loss of Game 7 (total lie), but anger nevertheless lingers at the jackasses who posed for photos on burning cop cars, beat down innocents and otherwise abused the name and reputation of this city.

Still, it’s time to move on.

It was in that spirit that my wife and I sat down with a bottle of wine after the kids went to sleep the other night and began trading our favourite things to do, see, eat, drink and be a part of in Vancouver.

We left out most of the glossy brochure fluff – the healthy walks along the seawall, the abundance of yoga studios, the vibrant multi-culturalism and so on (all great things, sure) – and narrowed down what started as a massive list to just 101 things that we could agree on.

Naturally, what follows reflects our own interests, work and personal affections (notice the heavy food component), so it’s doubtful that you’ll hold dear the exact same things. To some, our list might seem bourgeois, blinkered or bullshit, and that’s fine. These are the best things that we get out of our city, and we feel no shame in the way we fashion our good times.

So without further et cetera…

Scout’s 101 Greatest Things About Life In Vancouver

1 | The Nine O’Clock Gun

We might as well start off with a bang! It’s 9 o’clock! So sayeth Stanley Park’s 9’oclock gun:

It’s been hit by lightning, plugged with rocks, short-circuited, silenced by work stoppages and even (briefly) stolen but Vancouver’s famed old Nine O’Clock Gun has—as faithfully as circumstances have allowed—boomed out the time of day from its home in Stanley Park for 107 years now.

What other city in Canada shoots off a canon to tell you with a resounding note of insistence that it’s time to go out and have some fun?

2 | Laneway Housing

For a long time, Vancouver home owners weren’t allowed laneway housing to help pay their mortgages through renters, house aging grandparents or cloister their wayward teens thereby increasing the city’s population density. That changed in the summer of 2009 when City Council approved 70,000 properties for laneway development, thanks in no small part to the lobbying (and awesomeness) of a couple of cool and conscientious little companies that are doing it right. Honour is due.

3 | Tuesday Nights At The VAG

The Vancouver Art Gallery is free (er, by donation) on Tuesday nights. Bring a twoonie and take advantage.

4 | Bike Lanes

Hooray for not getting hit by cars (as much) anymore!

5 | Sunday Soccer at McLean Park

A diverse group of people of every age and background show up at McLean Park in Strathcona every Sunday afternoon to play a legendary – if totally casual – game of footie without nets, refs, corners, throw-ins,  rules or clocks. What if it rains or snows? Big deal. Game on. Come and play! (Don’t worry about the old Korean man looking terrified above. That’s just Kip. He’s a power forward, always lurking on the wing)

6 | Concerts at Malkin Bowl

On the right evening and with the right band, an outdoor show at this one-of-a-kind Stanley Park venue can make for magic like you wouldn’t believe. Psst! The Decemberists play on August 23rd.

7 | David Suzuki

Our very own Superman, and the first guy we ever interviewed for Scout nearly three years ago. Wish he’d run for office one day!

8 | Gastown on Rainy Wednesday Nights

We could just say “Gastown” and include all it encompasses, but it has gotten tricky of late to tell the difference between a Saturday night around Gassy Jack Square from one on the Granville Strip. It becomes a different kind of destination. On weekends, it’s alright if you’re into watching douchebags fight eachother or dig counting grad limos rocking their windows down, but for us it’s best viewed through the prism of a mid-week drink in from the rain, all safe and snug at Boneta, The Heather, L’Abattoir or any of the other reputable refuges nearby. They can take the streets and pee in the alleys, but they can’t take our alcohol.

9 | Awesome Tap Water

The stuff in plastic bottles pales in comparison to what we get from our taps. Drinking what comes from our reservoirs saves money, reduces greenhouse gases, and prevents recyclables from ending up in our landfills and oceans. A toast to some of the best H20 in the world!

10 | No Dress Code

While not technically true (some bars try in vain to weed out the gangster costumes), the chances of getting bounced by a snooty maitre’d for wearing jeans or a pair of Chucks is pretty much nil, and that’s pretty cool.

11 | Early Beach Contemplation At Crab Park

Due to its DTES location, this is likely the least frequented beach in the city, so it’s still something of an unknown to a lot of Vancouverites. On the one hand, that’s a shame considering its amazing views of the the city and North Shore mountains. On the other hand, its lack of popularity means it’s often empty, especially early in the morning when it’s most mesmerising. When first light hits the downtown skyline and the sea planes start coming in, it’s wonderful x 10.

12 | John Fluevog

The designs from this local shoe giant are as uniquely idiosyncratic as the city in which it was born (in the same year as the Canucks, incidentally). Even if you’re not a fan of their quirk on your feet, they’re still a pride-worthy feather in our city’s cap. If you’ve never been to the flagship store on Water St., check it out.

13 | John Bishop

A future recipient – I hope – of the Order of Canada. His skills aside, chef/restaurateur John Bishop of West 4th’s 25 year old Bishop’s Restaurant trained and mentored dozens of talented, engaged individuals who later went on to open or run rooms of their own. Vikram Vij (Vij’s)? Check! Jeff Van Geest (Miradoro)? Yup! The list of names is shockingly long. Even Rob Feenie spent some time toiling in his kitchen. Truly, if we were to trace Vancouver’s rise to its current hegemony as Canada’s most exciting food city, we’d find that it all began at knife point with the passions of this soft-spoken Welshman.

14 | Leeside

A skatepark built, maintained and policed by skaters that is constantly mutating in an East Van tunnel (where Hastings St. goes over the No.1 Highway). Local skateboarders enjoy a wealth of outdoor skateparks, but they’re not much use in the rain. Leeside, then, is a blessing, and nothing short of a remarkable feat of dedication, not to mention a constantly evolving work of art.

15 | Lowtide at Spanish Banks

When it’s low-tide at Spanish Banks, it’s like an open concept beach. Even when it’s packed there’s still enough space to put the zap on your brain. The views of the city and the mountains are also spectacular, and the mingling smells of concession fare, weed and the ocean make for a triply heady sensory cocktail.

16 | Laser Floyd at The Planetarium

A laser light show set to Pink Floyd and enjoyed in recliners is a rite of passage for Vancouverites. Stoners should take note that Dark Side Of The Moon is a better trip than The Wall (broke-ass pro tip: the fountain out front is where roaches go to die). Shows are off now, resuming in July.

17 | Museum of Anthropology

Inside this amazing building by Arthur Erickson out at UBC is a treasure trove of wonders that tell the stories of peoples from around the world, including our First Nations here at home (we dig the totems most of all). The building improved by way of a $55.5 million facelift last year. If you haven’t been in ages or have never at all, it’s well worth checking out.

18 | The Block

Outstanding clothing store on West Cordova. Great taste in jewellery, bags and summer dresses.

19 | Pride Parade

The annual Pride Parade is superb fun; an outstanding spectacle for the whole family to enjoy and participate in. It goes down July 31st, encircling the gaybourhood west down Robson from Thurlow, south along Denman to Beach, and then continuing on to Jervis. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of loose change for donations.

20 | Car Free Day on Main St.

It’s only for a limited time (you just missed it), but wow is it ever a gorgeous zoo from 12th to 29th!

21 | Aquabus

They seem to have gotten stupidly expensive all of a sudden, but the little rides are a pretty sweet option when you’re a pedestrian wanting to get around False Creek or to Granville Island and back from downtown or Strathcona.

22 | Community Gardens

Public garden plots are now everywhere, brightening up our communities like edible, love-made constellations of quiet dedication. Hooray for the green-thumbed and brown-kneed!

23 | Bird Island

We may be the only ones to call it that. It’s the tree-topped mound off the Olympic Village seawall that juts out onto False Creek across from Coopers Park. It may have an official name, but we don’t know it. Great views (that’s one of many above). No open flat for a picnics, but no matter. The little kid in you will still take it over like you’ve just re-read Swallow & Amazons.

24 | Ice Skating At Robson Square

When it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or New Years, or February), nothing gets us more in the winter spirit than a cheery skate under Robson Street. It’s more effective at lifting hearts than Bing Crosby with a Frank Capra chaser. Cross your fingers for a sharp pair of rentals, and remember that it’s a civic tradition to loudly mock the show offs.

25 | Farmer’s Markets

What’s better than browsing fresh, locally produced and sustainable organic foods that have been brought to the table by the folks who lovingly shepherded it from the soil? Doing so while outside in the summertime amidst hundreds of people who are as stoked on the prospect as you. Find out where the nearest one to your home is here.

26 | Eli’s Curry Bratwurst

Look at this guy! Eli is awesome, as are his superlative, curry-enhanced hot sausage dogs at the Main St. Farmer’s Market. Pretty sure he’s there every Wednesday from now until the Fall.

27 | Growing Chefs

These good folks, led by incomparable force of nature Helen Stortini, teach grade 1 and 3 kids in local schools about the importance of agriculture and to put a premium on eating good, healthy food. Kudos to the chefs, restaurateurs and culinary students that volunteer their time for it. Our kids love what you do. Thanks for coming to their classrooms!

28 | Lee’s Donuts at Granville Island Market

Holy shit are the honey-dipped jobs not the best damn donuts served fresh anywhere? So warm. So sweet. So good.

29 | The Eastside Culture Crawl

Wandering the neighbourhood and especially the multi-tiered innards of the Parker St. Studios looking at thousands of pieces of locally made art is an inspiring gas. It goes down this year from November 18th to the 20th. Details here.

30 | Street Food

With the arrival of dozens of new street food vendors on our city streets over the last year,  walking our increasingly aromatic streets has become an arduous exercise in choosing between restraint and indulgence. Our faves? Tacofino, Cartel Taco, La Brasserie, Re-Up and Roaming Dragon. Keep ’em coming!

31 | R&B Brewing Co.

The best beers brewed in the city: Raven Cream Ale, Sun God Wheat Ale, Bohemian Lager, Dark Star Oatmeal Stout, Hoppelganger IPA, and Red Devil Pale Ale.

32 | Seaplanes

I’d never want to fly in one, but I dig the sight and especially the sound (of adventure soaring overhead or echoing in the distance). They buzz over our house in Strathcona many times a day. Some hate it, but we love it.

33 | Mid-Summer Mint Julep at The Diamond

The best summer drink of all time (Kentucky bourbon, mint, sugar, ice, metal cup), made perfectly at this Gastown 2nd story bar by any and all of its capable tenders.

34 | Staycations at The Sylvia

The old, ivy-covered hotel overlooking English Bay beach is celebrating it’s 99th year and boasts the longest operating cocktail bar in town. If it’s good enough for tourists, it’s certainly good enough for us. Forget the Gulf Islands this summer. Stay here!

35 | Izakayas & Ramen Houses

Vancouver boasts the best/most Japanese izakaya restaurants and ramen houses in Canada. Exemplars are Kingyo for the former and Motomachi Shokudo for the latter (both located on Denman off Robson). Bonus: the cooks yell at you when you walk in.

36 | Wreck Beach

There just aren’t many places around where you can smoke a joint, crack a beer and whip your dick out in quick succession and not be bothered. Just be cool and respect the beach by cleaning up after yourself and the idiot who chose not to.

37 | Tobogganing at Queen Elizabeth Park

It may only snow for a day or three a year (if we’re lucky), but when opportunity knocks, this high elevation locale is where you kick down the door.

38 | Dinners at UBC Farm

It’s the only working farm within the city limits, and it always seems under threat as the development at UBC seems to never stop. It’s amazing year round, but when Feast of Fields and Outstanding in the Field come to town (latter pictured above), it’s transformed into something that transcends magic to reach a new plane of awesomeness.

39 | FarmFolk/CityFolk

A local organisation that busts its ass trying to educate urban dwellers about sustainable food systems. Also the founders of that glorious summer day known as Feast Of Fields.

40 | Mr Lee’s General Store

Broadway off Main sellers of solid goods from Stumptown Coffee and copies of Monocle to great duds and assorted life essentials. If style was Jesus, this is his resurrection.

41 | Spot Prawn Festival

This annual May/June celebration of the short, local spot prawn season highlights local fishermen and the chefs who don’t skimp on their ingredients, plus the conspicuous consumption of a fabulous and sustainable local product over the environmentally devastating Tiger Prawn, which continues to tempt our wallets from afar (chemically treated farms of southeast Asia) and oh so close (probably your supermarket).

42 | Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

One of the biggest and oldest wine festivals in the world held every Spring, right here at home.

43 | Bolognese at Cioppino’s

Cioppino’s is far too refined a place to be thought of as a “pasta joint” (owner/chef Pino cooks for heads of state and other assorted bigwigs), but the heart-fluttering Fettucine Bolognese at this Yaletown institution is still the best bowl of pasta you can get in Canada. So simple. So flawless.

44 | MacLeod’s Books

An institution at 455 West Pender that provides environmental therapy to those who wander its attractively haphazard stacks. One can get lost in here, without desire of being found.

45 | Risotto at La Quercia

Owner/chefs Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme have gotten postively mythic with risotto, moving it out of the staple realm and into the wondrous. Wet, al dente and sublimely stocky.

46 | Public Dreams

The coolest collective of magic makers in town for the past 25 years! They’re responsible for such fine events as the annual Secret Souls Walk, Illuminares, Lunar Fest and A Midsummer Fete, all great things that have made Vancouver better.

47 | 4/20 at the Art Gallery

Everyday at 4:20pm, untold thousands of people in Vancouver raise a joint, bong or a bowl to their lips in celebration of marijuana (and the desire to get stoned). Whether you’re for weed or against it, I don’t care. But there’s no denying that punctuality and the management of time is a cornerstone of modern society, and that’s got to count for something, right? Bonus: on the 4th month’s 20th day (that would be April 20th for the burnouts), thousands of people spark up in unison at the appointed time in front of (and all around) the Vancouver Art Gallery, and cleverly do so without rioting.

48 | SOLEfood

A non-profit urban farm project still in its relative infancy (midwifed by United We Can) with already hundreds of planters providing training and employment to residents of the DTES.

49 | Got Craft?

We love seeing Vancouverites getting creative and setting up micro-shops to showcase their wares in this, the city’s coolest craft fair. This year it takes place December 11th, 2o11, just in time to show your kids, nieces and nephews that Santa’s got mad skills and doesn’t work for Mattel.

50 | Getting In Early At The Cheaper Show

200 artists in one space present 400 works of art at $200 each. Gets better every year. Go early, as in line up and steel yourself for a bit of a dash a la Walmart on Boxing Day, only with the anticipation of much better results. Plus there’s beer. Going down right now – as I type – June 25th at 188 Kingsway. Admission is $10 ($7 for students).

51 | Friday Midnight Movies At The Rio

This beauty at 1660 East Broadway always shows great movies, many of them dated (but awesome), every Friday at midnight.

52 | Beer Flights At The Alibi Room

A beer lover’s frothy dream on the eastern edge of Gastown that overflows with charm. Marked by a passion for introducing new tastes and rarities to Vancouverites. Get started with the “frat bat”, a selection of samples that you can design by lager, ale, stout et cetera.

53 | Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Always great fun with bagpipes, drums, costumes, firecrackers and huge, dancing dragons.

54 | Two Margaritas for $8 at Dona Cata

As if the awesome longaniza tacos weren’t enough at this authentic, inexpensive Mexican paradise on Victoria Drive. Bottoms up. Olé.

55 | Budgies Burritos

Cheap,  wholesome and wholly portable burritos on Kingsway where it splits with Main.

56 | Flowers in February

It’s pretty awesome that crocuses and snowdrops start to struggle out of the frosty soil as early as February. They lighten the heart and instill patience in the grip of winter, colourfully reminding us of what’s just around the corner. Go spring!

57 | In-Store Shows At Zulu Records

The best record store in town (and we’re not just saying that because they write for us) holds in-store gigs featuring local and international artists all the time. Always intimate, personal, interactive and an earful of good times.

58 | Sunday Brunch at Abigail’s Party

We love this little restaurant just up from Kits. If there’s a line-up, no worries. The food and service are worth the wait. If you’re smart enough to make a reservation, then damn you and hurry the fuck up.

59 | The New Save On Meats

The resurrection of this West Hastings icon is done. Yup, Mark Brand’s awesome redux of this multi-story butcher shop, fishmongers, restaurant and commissary kitchen was completed over the weekend, and it’s been rocking ever since.  Check out our photo preview of it here.

60 | Greenpeace

Though currently based in Holland, environmental group Greenpeace started right here in Vancouver in 1971. It now has millions of supporters and offices in 41 countries around the world.

61 | Yoga Pants

Wait…how’d this get in here? The best thing to come out of Vancouver since Greenpeace?

62 | Lazy Coffee At Le Marché St. George

We are awash with good cafes in this town, but none offer such a cozy, while-away-the-hours atmosphere as this looker on St. George. It doesn’t hurt that they pull great shots of espresso either.

63 | Good Gigs At The Biltmore

One of our favourite local venues for live music. See what’s on the immediate horizon here.

64 | Southbound on Burrard St. Bridge

Put your headphones on and cruise southbound to dig sweeping ocean views en route to Kits Beach.

65 | Sneaky Sneaks at Gravity Pope

The shoes on the front and center table at this Kitsilano store are tastefully curated (if exorbitantly expensive), but we make a bee-line for their killer selection of Vans, Converse All-Stars, and Adidas Gazelles hidden away on the rear-right wall.

66 | Anti-Social

Always engaged and on the level, this is the best skateboard shop in the city (also doubles as an art gallery).

67 | Eugene Choo

Possibly our favourite store on Main. Owner Kildare Curtis probably has the best taste in clothing of any man in the city, as evidenced by the daily awesomeness displayed on his racks and shelves.

68 | Bavarian Beerfest at The Alpen Club

Ja, zee Germans know how to go off zee hook. Oom-pa-pa bands, lederhosen and beer, oh my!

69 | Breakfast At Medina

Go for the Belgian waffles with lavender chocolate and 49th Parallel coffee at this Beatty St. cousin of Chambar and stay for the skillet-served fricasee of slow braised short rib, wood smoked cheddar, apple and arugula topped with fried egg. Holy shit that just made us hungry!

70 | Endowment Lands Trails in Autumn

Beautiful, you have met your match. Pick a dryish day and dig it.

71 | Kris Krug

My friend Kris Krug is an omnipresent local visionary and polymath; an outstanding photographer, teacher, creative director, web strategist, technologist, author and all-around good timer (he’s the bearded one).

72 | Cherry Blossoms

Usually appearing from around the end of March and blooming to pink glory throughout April, nothing says Spring time in Vancouver than a gust of wind blowing down an otherwise calm residential street that results in a cherry blossom downpour. And of course we have a festival to celebrate it. Awesome.

73 | Summer Malteds at Moderne Burger

Seriously. Malteds make milkshakes look stupid, and the ones here – served tall and ice cold – are sublimely righteous.

74 | The Fried Rice & Beer Cure At Bao Bei

This super sexy, award-winning Shanghainese newcomer in Chinatown changes the ingredients of its fried rice just about every day, and its many variations have never been anything but kickass. At what other Chinese restaurant in the world can such a treat be paired with an ice cold beer and The Smiths?

75 | Pivot Legal Society

“At the core of all our work is a deep commitment to challenging laws and policies that undermine the dignity of those most on the margins or that intensify poverty and social exclusion […] Whether mounting a challenge to a municipal bylaw or to a section of the Criminal Code of Canada, we focus our energy on cases with the greatest potential to make lasting systemic change.” Applause.

76 | Portland Hotel Society

A local, non-profit housing society providing living spaces for the “hardest to house” on the DTES. Also the folks who are going to be bringing us the restoration of The Only.

77 | The Penthouse

It might look like a dive peeler bar, but it’s a piece of Vancouver history. Owner Danny Filippone sometimes takes people on organised tours (under the auspices of Heritage Vancouver) and tells all the old stories. Did you know Frank Sinatra used to hang out here or that the stage has held the heels of porn legends like Nina Hartley? Sure, they serve beer and girls take their clothes off – how horrible! It’s the history…

78 | Dace Moore

The godmother of Vancouver fashion.

79 | Writer’s Festival

One of North America’s top literary events, held annually over six days every Autumn (this year, 18-23 October). Scribes that have attended in years past have included Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Maeve Binchy, Peter Carey, Roddy Doyle, Timothy Findley, Tomson Highway, John Irving, P.D. James, Thomas Keneally, Rohinton Mistry, Frank McCourt, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Anita Rau Badami, JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Carol Shields. Solid.

80 | Tojo Hidekazu

If you’ve ever wondered why we’ve got such an abundance of good sushi in Vancouver, it’s partly because Tojosan has been pushing the standards up for so long. The guy’s a genius.

81 | No Freeway Cutting Through The City

Chinatown and Strathcona dodged bullets on this score. Phew.

82 | Long Table Dinners At the Heather

The Irish Heather (technically next door in The Salty Tongue) serves up an affordable, full plate and companion pint each week on one long table, communal-style, so folks in the neighbourhood and from further afield can break bread together.

83 | ECUAD Grad Show

The annual grad show at Emily Carr University of Art & Design is sort of like a giant coming out party for the young, creative class. Takes place every May, and it’s awesome.

84 | Bramwell Tovey

Maestro of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and all around stand-up guy. Aside from his obvious talent and career accomplishments, we love how he and the VSO refused to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony when the organising committee “requested that the orchestra pre-record music that other musicians and a different conductor would mime to at the televised event”. The nerve!

85 | The Canada Line

Leaving Vancouver is always hard, but coming home is now so much easier.

86 | Jack Evrensel

Most restaurateurs are natural bon vivants who enjoy taking credit for every accolade earned. That’s not Jack. He may be mistaken as mercurial by those who expect emphatic, jovial gesticulators for hosts, but he does what counts while seldom peering out from behind the curtain. He’s known to micro-manage, down to menu fonts and soundtrack choices, but it makes a beneficent difference. Demanding perfection on a level that customers can barely fathom, he shows what matters more than the flash and dash of a dressed up dog and pony show. Much respect.

87 | Oceanwise

The Vancouver Aquarium is pretty cool. We’ve been members for years and our kids dig it like you wouldn’t believe. Its Oceanwise program is even cooler. It serves to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood, spreading its gospel to the people through the city’s conscientious chefs:

Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. The options are highlighted on their menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it easier for consumers to make environmentally friendly seafood choices. The Ocean Wise logo next to a menu or seafood item is an assurance that the item is a good choice for keeping ocean life healthy and abundant for generations to come.

Thanks to the program’s success in Vancouver, it has spread beyond the province to make tremendous inroads across the country. There’s certainly a lot of work left to do in education consumers and restaurants about their seafood choices, but we’ve come a long way, and it started right here. Bravo!

88 | Winter Fondue at Au Petit Chavignol

Behold, the hot genius of this undersung East Hastings glutton-magnet! The surface of the cave-aged Gruyere and Vacherin Friebourgeois fondue boils and bubbles, penetrated with bread cubes, frites, gherkins and slices of sizzled sausage until nothing is left but a general feeling that all is right in the night. The most amazing thing to eat in the depths of a Vancouver winter, bar none.

89 | Hastings Race Track

Lucky #89 is a singular experience that should be experienced once by every Vancouverite except for soul-sunken habitual gamblers. Be sure to lean into the buffet between hollers. They do a mean roast.

90 | The Patio At Brix

I recently wrote in the paper how I loved “the dreamy, evocatively bricky and miraclulously-lit courtyard cloister at Canadian cuisine-themed Brix.” Yup, I still do.

91 | Heather Deal

Vancouver city councillor who gets shit done and fights back hard against our image as a No Fun town.

92 | Meatball Sandwiches at Meat & Bread

Just…wow. Look at that beast!

93 | Mike & Fiona of Urban Rush

We don’t have a TV, but we occasional do shows. These two are awesome at introducing us to locals we wouldn’t otherwise be aware of, plus they’re funny as hell in person.

94 | Marquis Wine Cellar

A wonderful wine store with great, knowledgeable staff, an abundance of verve (lobbying against our immensely stupid local liquor control laws) and always well-stocked shelves. Hats off to John Clerides, the force of nature behind it.

95 | Old Faithful

It’s only been around for just over a year, but this is one of the most original stores in town and we dig it a lot. Bonus: among a great many other things, they sell an incense that smells like a Gulf Island beach fire when you burn it.

96 | Little Nest

This Charles St. gem off The Drive serves wholesome food in a great environment that focuses squarely on kids. If you have shit-causing rugrats, you know it.

97 | Pecha Kucha

In front of hundreds of their peers, Vancouver’s creative class take turns going up on stage to speak about what inspires them. Always illuminating. Always fun. Quite possibly the most informative night out in town.

98 | Pizza at Nicli Antica Pizzeria

When it’s perfect, it’s better than a 16oz ribeye steak next to a double-baked potato lathered with all the fixings. Finally, real deal pizza has arrived, and it’s pretty damn amazing.

99 | Wild Blackberries

Find an old set of railroad tracks in the city and you will find juicy blackberries by the bucketful in late August.

100 | Museum of Vancouver

It was pretty awful and static for a lengthy spell, but presumably after a key hire or two they’ve really amped up their engagement within the community. Also worth checking out is their new blog, though I wish they’d post more often!

101 | The Vancouver Canucks

We’re still theirs, as always, to the last and after. Not enough time has passed for the hot, numbing sting of their loss to cool, but as I’ve reminded myself above, there are plenty of enjoyments besides. October’s not far off, and when it comes the ride will begin anew.

Coconuts go!


There are 26 comments

  1. […] I am very glad that we are here and are experiencing everyday life in a foreign country. I think my appreciation for the finer points of Cheongju would skyrocket if I could stop reading things like this. […]

  2. Thanks for the Scout shout, Andrew! An honor to be included with the winter fondu and those killer meatball sandwiches. Yum! Outstanding in the Field will be back in BC soon for our annual visit, and we can’t wait. Not to UBC this time, tho…. Instead, July 9 at North Arm Farm in Pemberton and July 10 at Glorious Organics at Fraser Common Farm Co-Op in Aldergrove. Looking forward … Lisa & the OitF crew

  3. So well done. Best List i’ve read in Vancouver. Had a riot reading it (if i can say that). #101 made me laugh.

  4. Fabulous article… I learned so much!! Can’t wait to try some of these out.

    And that island you call ‘Bird Island’ – real name is Habitat Island.


  5. Thanks Sandra. We’ve been calling it Bird Island for so long and have shepherded so many adventures there with the kids that it’ll be really hard to switch. Cool to know just the same!

  6. I heart Vancity! You missed sunset with a cold brew at the Jericho sailing club 🙂

  7. Totally awesome list! Only thing i would add would be Nat Bailey Stadium…we are lucky to have that little ball park.

  8. […] reading Scout Magazine’s Post-Riot Therapy: 101 Great Things About Life In Vancouver, I was inspired to pay some tribute of my own. Here are a few gems that were not listed on Scout. […]

  9. I’ve been a Vancouverite for a year and a Scout lurker for almost that long. Though I’ve never felt compelled to comment before, this list deserves a hearty congratulations and a heartfelt thanks. You guys knocked it out of the park with this one.

  10. Message to new residents/visitors. Stop calling it “VANCITY.” Or ‘VAN.” Thanks. No one born here calls it that, except when visitng a crappy local credit union or accepting candy from a stranger and we need to describe the vehicle he was in. Or wait, call it that, it helps people born here identify douchebags when they aren’t wearing “VANCITY” hats or “WELCOME TO EAST VAN” shirts. Thanks.

  11. The least you could have done is throw a shout-out to the suburbs for being pretty cool after running us down in the riot post. I’m guessing that the ratio of people who suck to people who don’t in Vancouver and Surrey is approximately equal. Whalley is sometimes called the DTES of Surrey, but it’s also full of cool places and cool people who really care about their community and would never hurt someone else’s.

    Oh, and awesome post :). I didn’t know Save-On-Meats had reopened! Used to work a block away from there.

  12. Thank you Andrew! As always you have your finger firmly placed on our city’s pulse. Much gratitude for spreading the word. We truly live in the most amazing spot.

  13. This is exactly not what Vancouver needs as post-riot therapy. Instead of being self-critical and trying hard to understand what the riot was about, people are taking the opportunity to be self righteous and self-affirming of Vancouver’s supposed greatness. A lot of which, it seems, is the stuff that we can buy and consume here in Vancouver. So banal.

  14. […] be regularly checking out Scout Magazine (who gave me a nudge in this direction with their article Post-Riot Therapy: 101 Greatest Things About Life in Vancouver) and tapping into my organizational side to calendar and plan things. No more of this, […]

  15. […] it would grow into this and are honoured to have recently been included in Scout Magazine‘s 101 Greatest Things About Life in Vancouver! As we have grown over the years, so has our look and we are happy to finally show off what we have […]